A note from Charlotte: A few months ago I was looking for needlepoint inspiration for new projects and I kept thinking back to my friend Emily and the wonderful DIY needlepoint key fobs she makes for her friends and family. I hadn’t done a guest post in ages but I knew that this would be the perfect time to break one out! Rather than explain how to make needlepoint key fobs to y’all myself, I thought I’d have her hop on here and share her expertise. I used her advice to make my first key fob and included those photos below.
One of my favorite things about needlepoint is that your projects can turn into amazing gifts for friends and family. Whether it’s a personalized needlepoint belt, a Christmas ornament, a door hanger, or a pillow, there’s no denying that needlepoint gifts are thoughtful, meaningful–and for us stitchers, fun to make!
Personally, one of my favorite needlepoint gifts to give are DIY needlepoint key fobs. They’re functional, fashionable, and make for quick, manageable projects that recipients can actually use on a daily basis. They’re also a great project for beginner needlepointers since they’re small and don’t require any fancy stitches (in fact, a basic continental or basketweave stitch is actually best for key fobs!).
So whether you’re ready to stitch a needlepoint key fob as a gift for a friend or family member, or just want to make one for yourself (I don’t blame you), here are some helpful tips to get you started.
Measure Twice, Stitch Once
I should first mention there are a couple different types of key fobs you can make. There’s the loop variation (where the canvas is folded over and sealed together at one end), and there’s the flat variation (where the key fob is flat, with the stitched part on top, and leather, typically, on the bottom). Personally, I prefer the loop variation (and will talk about this kind below) because it gives you a little more space to design and stitch, but both are great options!
When planning out your key fob, I like to start with a long rectangle of canvas (somewhere around 3” x 11”–but this part doesn’t need to be exact!), on which you can trace the size of your key fob outline.
Size It Up
The nice thing about key fobs is their sizes can be flexible (wider, thinner, shorter, longer) based on the design you’re stitching, and your own preference. Personally, I find that about 7-8 inches long, and 20-23 stitches tall makes for a great size to start with, and work off of, if needed.
Tip: Make sure to leave about an inch of stitched canvas on either end of your fob–this is the part the leather will be stitched on to. If you are stitching a specific pattern, words, or letters onto your key fob, make sure to plan accordingly so your design doesn’t get cut off or covered up!
If this is your first key fob, it’s always a good idea to double check any sizing or finishing questions you may have with your finisher or local needlepoint shop.
Design and Stitch
Now comes the fun part–the design! Key fobs are great for abstract patterns, initials, monograms, school abbreviations, small designs or logos–the list goes on.
Draw or paint your design onto your canvas, pick your colors and fibers, and get to stitching! When picking a canvas, opt for 18-point over 13-point so that you can be more precise with your designs and get a tighter-looking finished product.
Tip: Since key fobs will get a lot of daily wear and tear, it’s best to choose a durable fiber like wool or pearl cotton. Also opt for a sturdy continental or basketweave stitch to keep your stitching looking good for years to come.
Once you’re done stitching, it’s time to finish your fob and, as Beyonce would way, put a (key)ring on it.
If you’re good with a sewing machine and have a few pieces of scrap leather, you may be able to finish your key fob yourself–but otherwise plan to take it to your local needlepoint shop or send it to a professional finisher. For key fob finishing, I’ve used and would recommend Hilltop Leather Shop. If you know of any other great finishers or finishing tips, be sure to leave them in a comment below!
My last tip? Be prepared for all of the awesome compliments you’re going to get on your brand new, hand-stitched DIY needlepoint key fob—you really can’t go wrong with this project!