Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Disney Family Haunted Mansion Cross Stitch Wall Hangings

Copyright 2017 Needlework Kits

Over the past few months, I have been making two cross stitch wall hangings. These wall hangings are designs from Disney Family. Disney Family published two counted cross stitch designs inspired by the attraction the Haunted Mansion. The first pattern is a sign saying "Tomb Sweet Tomb" while the second pattern recreates the wallpaper from inside the ride.

I started working on these cross stitch designs in July. I managed to finish the first pattern in August and quickly began work on the second design. The second cross stitch pattern took a lot longer to complete, but I finished the design a couple of weeks ago. You can see the progress I made on both cross stitch designs on my Instagram.

===> Click here to see the Disney Family post for the Haunted Mansion Cross Stitch

First Impressions

I have never been to Disney World or been on the Haunted Mansion ride, but I was interested in making this cross stitch for one of my fiancee's good friends. The Haunted Mansion is her favorite ride at Disney and she has collected lots of Haunted Mansion inspired merchandise over her several trips to the park. She recently bought a house with her new husband and these cross stitch wall hangings were planned to be something she could hang in her home.

The "Tomb Sweet Tomb" pattern didn't seem intimidating to me. The design is very simple with just the words. The picture does include a few extra elements, but the PDF doesn't include these extra details. If you want the extra details, feel free to use the image on the page as your reference once the letters are sewn on.
Copyright 2017 Needlework Kits

Now the wallpaper pattern is a different story. This one can be challenging for those venturing into cross stitch for the first time so this pattern might take you longer to make. There are more details on this design. The biggest challenge of this design was actually the blue background and making sure the blue would fill up the entire front of the wall hanging. I found myself double checking the wall hanging to see if there were no gaps or spaces showing on the front.

Important Facts About These Designs

One of the nicest things about cross stitch is that you don't need a whole lot of supplies. The materials list in the Disney Family's post doesn't get too specific on what you need. The patterns' designers probably left these materials vague to allow people room to chose their own colors and embroidery hoop sizes.

When I made these wall hangings, I used the following materials to make the kit. My list is a little more specific than Disney Family's list, but feel free to make adjustments to fit your preferences.
  • Aida Cloth. You can find this at any craft store or online. Like Disney Family, I used 14 count. You can buy the white cloth, but you can use yellow if you have it. Cut out squares to be at least 8" x 8". 
  • 2 felt pieces. You can pick any color for your felt backgrounds. You can find felt pieces at your local craft store.
  • Masking tape. I use masking tape to tape the ends of the Aida cloth so it doesn't fray as I work with it.
  • Needle. Disney Family uses a tapestry needle, but I didn't have any in my sewing kit. I used an old needle I got from one of the Bucilla craft kits.
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • 2 Embroidery hoops. I had to play around with the sizes, but I ended up using 6 inch hoops. You can find embroidery hoops of all different sizes at craft stores or online.
  • Variety of embroidery threads. I used black, white, light blue, and a light purple. Regardless of what colors you end up using, I recommend using light shades of color for the wallpaper background. Any darker shades of color thread will make it harder to see the black elements.

Let's Put Everything Together

Disney Family says this cross stitch will take you at least 5 hours to make. It took months to make both cross stitch designs. This project might take you more time depending on how many wall hangings you plan on making and how fast you sew. If you are making the wall paper cross stitch, this could even take more than 5 hours since there is lots of details.

Copyright 2017 Needlwork Kits
The directions for these wall hangings is mostly there to teach readers how cross stitch works. If you have never cross stitch before, read over the directions. I recommend watching a couple of YouTube videos before you begin making any of these designs. This will make you can see how cross stitch works visually and become familiar with some tips other crafters use.

Once you finish reading the directions, print and take a look at the PDF guide. I folded my guide into fourths and put a small dot in the middle of the creases. This helped me figure out where I would be starting sewing.

As I sew through cross stitch, I use my pencil to cross off what stitches I've done so far. This helps me figure out where I am on the cross stitch just in case I need to stop and take a break. I often make small dots on the guide to double check my counting before I start sewing anything. If you are new to cross stitching, feel free to mark up your design pattern as you sew. Marking up your pattern is a great way of helping you avoid mistakes as you sew.

Tomb Sweet Tomb

The Tomb Sweet Tomb pattern is the first design on the PDF guide. This pattern is also the easiest out of the two patterns. While the image on the Disney Family post includes curls and a skull as part of the design, the pattern in the PDF does not have these elements. Instead the pattern is mostly about the words and keeping things simple by having the words stay in one color.

Tomb Sweet Tomb was an easy pattern to make and I was able to work quickly through the design with minor problems. The design might seem boring, but I think Disney Family did this on purpose to allow crafters a little more creativity. Just search "haunted mansion cross stitch" on Google and there are plenty of images showing how other crafters tackled this pattern.

Some of the ideas you can do with this cross stitch are adding other accents and elements to match the Haunted Mansion theme. This might be adding faces of some of the characters from the ride or just adding a skull. If you decide to add any other elements, make sure you keep them small so they don't overshadow the text. You can also change up the colors so it isn't just black text.

Wallpaper Design

The next design in the Haunted Mansion cross stitch guide is the wall paper. This pattern is meant to replicate a portion of the wall paper found inside the ride. The design is much more challenging than Tomb Sweet Tomb because there are a lot more details and a background that fills in the entire design. When I saw this design, I knew I was going to spend most of my time on this pattern and did a little bit of strategy before I began sewing this design.

The game plan for this design was sewing the pattern in order of color. I would try sewing a little bit of the middle of the cross stitch to help me figure out my spacing. Then I would sew all the black elements first. Once the black elements were all the cross stitch, I would add the white thread into the smaller areas. Finally, I would finish by sewing the entire background in blue thread.


Copyright 2017 Needlework Kits
Overall this approach worked very well until the blue background. I ended up using a much larger hoop than the design was expecting so I had to use more blue thread than I was anticipating to fill in the top of the cross stitch. This ended up with me using all my blue thread before I could finish the bottom. I decided to use light purple thread to fill in the rest of the bottom and sides.

The background was the most challenging part of the cross stitch since blue background is meant to fill in the entire cross stitch. I was often double checking to see if blue thread was covering all the areas inside the hoop. If I were to make this pattern again, I would just lightly trace inside of my outer hoop onto the Aida cloth before I begin sewing. This way I know how far to exactly sew out in the background without having to stop and check to see how far out I need to sew.

Framing the Cross Stitch Designs

The wallpaper design might have been tough, but it wasn't as nearly as frustrating as framing both of the cross stitches. I had to do a little bit of research when I got to this part of the process and it turns out there are two ways to do it. The first is using glue to keep your Aida cloth down and putting on the felt back. The other is using embroidery stitches to sew down the edges and use a blanket stitch to sew on the back.

I decided to try sewing on the back to the cross stitch and found two methods on YouTube to try. I used both methods on these wall hangings. The Tomb Sweet Tomb design uses the standard running stitch method. I used a running stitch on the edge of the cross stitch then pulled it closed. The wallpaper design uses a spider web approach where I string thread across the back of the cross stitch to hold down the edges.

Both techniques were tricky for me since I had the same problem with both when I was using the cross stitch. My thread kept breaking as I was sewing the edges together, ending up with me redoing several stitches to finish one stitch. I felt the running stitch method was a little easier to do than the spider web technique, but you are welcome to try both to see which one works best for you. If you have any tips for this step, share them in the comments.

While sewing the edges was difficult, actually sewing the felt background to the back was the worst part of these wall hangings. As I was using the blanket stitch to sew down the cross stitch, my needle kept getting caught in the hoop. This resulted in me either getting stabbed by the needle or trying to push the needle through as hard as I can through the cross stitch just to get through both the felt and Aida cloth.

Conclusion

Disney Family's Haunted Mansion cross stitches designs are great for crafters at any level. I like that Disney provided two patterns that fit different experience levels that fit within the Haunted Mansion theme. Although the designs do take much longer than Disney Family recommends, Disney Family does offer room for crafters to be creative.

Would you like to see more Disney-inspired cross stitches? Let me know what crafts you would like to see in the comments.

Notes

Images belong to Needlework Kits.


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