Make Your Own Portrait Pattern

Be warned: making your own pattern involves some basic photo editing (I use photoshop) and basic coding (in Processing). If you’d like to commission a custom pattern instead, get in touch via my contact page.

For something simpler, check out my online clickable pattern maker.

Getting your image ready

cropped color photo of a man's head

1. Crop your image down to 70 px by 70 px with your desired subject in the middle.

black and white cropped photo of a man's head

2. Desaturate your image completely / convert it to greyscale.

black and white cropped photo of a man's head

3. Adjust the levels in your photo so that it spans the full range from white to black. (This will affect some images more than others.)

black and white photo of a man's head on a red background

4. If there is any part of the image you’d like to exclude from the pattern (ie. the background), replace it with a solid true red fill (RGB = 255,0,0).

Want to know what we're up to?

Sign up for updates about pattern making tools, new patterns & sales in the shop


You're almost done! Click here to see the rest of this form.
Marketing Permissions

Digital Artisanal will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates, emails, giveaways and news.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our privacy policy in the footer menu of DigitalArtisanal.com.

We use MailChimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to MailChimp for processing. Learn more about MailChimp's privacy practices here.

Working the code

  1. Download Processing from their website.
  2. Open up DigitalArtisanalPortraitMaker.pde.  You can download the zip file here, or copy & paste the raw text from here (no download required). Note: If you copy & pasted the code instead of downloading the zip file, you’ll also need to add ZapfDingbats.ttf or some other symbol font to the data folder.
  3. Change the name of your 70 px by 70 px image to MyPic.jpg and place it in the folder at DigitalArtisanalPortraitMaker/data. Note: if you downloaded the zip file, this should replace my sample image.
  4. Read through the comments in the .pde file to find out how to adjust the output colors and color threshold.
  5. Press the play button in Processing!
  6. While looking at your sketch, press the R key to export your pattern and a rendered stitch image. They’ll show up as pdf files in the DigitalArtisanalPortraitMaker folder.
  7. Share your work on Instagram and tag @digital_artisanal!
5 monochrome cross stitch patterns of people and/or animals
Just a few patterns I made using this tool.