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Colorwheel Picture Frame
by Lois Caron


1 sheet of 7-count clear plastic canvas

1 tapestry needle size 18 or 20

1 large plastic tapestry needle or a bodkin

1 skein each of Rachel B 2 Raspberry; B 8 Bright Yellow; B10 Turquoise


Rachel is a tubular nylon thread which is fun and easy to work with. It has a shiny, slick appearance. It can be stitched flat to give an almost transparent effect or it can be scrunched up to achieve deep, rich colors. And you can do all sorts of other neat things with it. Because itís hollow, you can thread other threads through the center of it.

For this class, weíre going to take advantage of this feature to create different colors from the ones we started with. So even though weíre only working with three primary colors of thread, weíll end up with a total of six colors!

CAUTION: Once Rachel is stitched, it wears like iron. While you're working with it, though, it can ravel. If this happens to you, clip off the raveling end of the thread as soon as you notice it.If you don't, the entire length of thread will unravel and you'll end up with a pile of fluff!


In order to make the thread thick enough to work with AND to make the new colors, weíll thread one color of Rachel inside another.

First, prepare all of your skeins of thread. When you remove the skein from the label, untwist it and cut the entire skein through the knot. You will now have 10 equal lengths of thread. To keep them from getting all messed up and lost, loop each color back onto the label as in the picture here.

Now take one length of the yellow Rachel and thread it onto the bodkin or larger tapestry needle. Take another length of the same color and gently squeeze one end until you can see it open up. Carefully pass the threaded needle through the hole youíve opened up. While youíre doing this, stop every few inches to smooth the outside thread over the inside one. Continue until the needle starts to come out the other end. Hold onto the beginning ends of the thread and gently pull the needle out. A trick I find useful is to knot the far ends of the two combined threads before I remove the needle from the other end. Then smooth the entire length of the two threads until you get everything even. This may take a few tries at first, but be patient because the results are worth all the effort.

Next, thread the raspberry through a strand of yellow. Does the new color look like you expect it to look? Thread the turquoise through a third strand of yellow.

Repeat this with all the colors, so you end up with a total of six colors.


The entire design is worked in cross stitch. If you donít know how to do cross stitch, refer to the directions in our Tips and Guides section. (Click here for cross stitching tips) Each color block is six stitches wide and six rows deep.

  • Start in the upper left corner with Yellow.
  • Leave one plastic canvas ìthreadî blank at the top and left side and stitch the first block.
  • Next stitch the Raspberry/Yellow to the right of the yellow block.
  • Then stitch the Raspberry.
  • After that do the Raspberry/Turquoise. This completes the top of the picture frame.
  • Underneath the Raspberry/Turquoise stitch the Turquoise.
  • Under that stitch the Turquoise/Yellow.
  • In the bottom right corner of your picture frame stitch another Yellow block.
  • Repeat the rest of the colors around the frame.

When you are finished you will have stitched each color twice.



Cut away the excess canvas. If you started at the upper left corner of the canvas, you will only need to cut around two sides. BE SURE TO LEAVE A BLANK ROW OF CANVAS ALL AROUND THE STITCHING!

Carefully cut out the center of the frame to make room for a picture. BE SURE TO LEAVE ONE PLASTIC CANVAS THREAD BETWEEN THE STITCHING AND THE CUT OUT AREA!

With your choice of color, do a half cross stitch all around the outside of the picture frame, covering up the blank row. Do the same on the inside.

Mount your photograph on the reverse side of your picture frame. Then cut out a backing from pretty paper or a piece of felt and glue it to the back of your frame. Attach a hangar or a piece of cardboard to make a stand.

If you enjoyed making up new colors, try this again with a totally different selection. To make it even more fun, make up your own designs, too. We did another picture frame in pastels below , but there are dozens of other possibilities since Rachel comes in 46 different colors. Itís amazing to see what happens when you put them together. Sometimes two colors which look atrocious side by side create a magical new color when theyíre combined. See what you can discover and create!


COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part of these instructions/project nor the included diagrams/illustrations can be reproduced or distributed in any form (including electronic) or used as a teaching tool without the prior written permission of the CARON Collection Ltd. One time reproduction privileges provided to our web site visitors for and limited to personal use only.

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