How to Make a Crochet Color Chart

By Rachel Choi – 17 Comments

Have you ever wanted to make a blanket with a particular picture, logo, or symbol on it but couldn’t find a pattern for it? Maybe an afghan with cute teddy bears on it or a throw with you’re college mascot? In this tutorial I’ll discuss how you can make your very own color chart so that you can use it as a guide while crocheting. Color charts are commonly used to create blankets, but they can always be used to create designs on any item you can imagine, from bags, hats, sweaters, etc. If you’ve never worked with color charts before, feel free to learn about How To Read Color Charts before making your own.

1. Determine your gauge with your desired stitch.
To start, determine the stitch you want to crochet your item with. Often times single crochets, Tunisian simple stitches, or double crochet stitches are used when working with color charts. But you can use just about any stitch you desired. Once you’ve decided which stitch you want to use, make a gauge swatch with your stitch. The exact size of your swatch isn’t relevant, but if it’s too small it may be hard to measure you’re swatch. A swatch that is 4″ – 8″ should be fine. To determine your gauge, count the number of stitches it took to make the width of the swatch and the number of rows it took to make the height of your swatch. For example, a gauge may be 16 single crochets = 4″ wide and 16 rows = 4″ tall.

2. Determine your finished size and the number of stitches and rows required.
Now it’s time for a little math! Write down the dimensions of the item you want to crochet. Use the gauge to determine how many stitches and rows will be required to make the finished size you desire. For example, if you want your finished size to be a 20″ square, and your gauge is 16 single crochets = 4″ wide and 16 rows = 4″ tall, you’ll need a total of 80 single crochets on each row and 80 rows to make a 20″ square.

3. Calculate scale and chart size.
To calculate scale, you must decide how many stitches each block on the color chart will represent. On simple color charts, one block will represent 1 single crochet stitch. However, if you are using a different stitches or if you’d rather have a different scale, each block can represent 2 or more stitches. You want the blocks to represent a set of stitches that will look like a square when crocheted. For example, 3 double crochets next to each other may look more like a square compared to 2 double crochets, which may look more like a rectangle. Once you’ve decided what your scale will be, you can determine your chart size. For example, if you determined your finished size requires 80 single crochets on each row and 80 rows, and each block will represent 1 single crochet stitch, then your chart will be 80 blocks wide and 80 blocks tall.

4. Draw/chart your picture.
Now that you know the size of your chart, it’s time for the fun part! Drawing your picture can be done in a number of ways. You can use the old school method of drawing your chart on graph paper. Or you can draw it on the computer with any drawing software you’d like. Just remember to have the correct number of blocks on your chart. You can use as many colors as you desire to make your picture, but only one color can go into each block. If you have a picture that you already want to use, you can draw a grid over it.

Have fun making your own color charts! Need help while making your chart? Feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help!

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  1. Lane † says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, Rachel!!

  2. Peggy says:

    Thanks from me as well. I’m working with a Facebook group, Crochet Charity Exchange, to make afghan squares with animal images for an ASPCA project. Your tips will help me create some appliques!

  3. LuAnne says:

    I did this years ago — saved a picture of Minn. Vikings logo, pasted it on Word Document, enlarged it to fit page, then printed it on graph paper. Worked great, used thread to do coaster as experiment, now to do a afghan. Been lazy to figure how many stitches/rows per square on grid. Oh well, some day.

  4. pearberry says:

    Hey Rachel, I wish I read this post first before attempting to make my own color chart! I wanted to crochet a logo but there was no pattern for it so I found a program that put graph lines on the logo and just went with that. I used an H hook and single crochet stitches. I’m surprised the logo came out right, but the logo on the finished product came out slightly stretched out horizontally. Is this a gauge problem? Thanks!

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Pearberry, yes you can call it a gauge problem. When you put regular graph lines over an image, you’re assuming that each stitch will be a perfect square shape. If your single crochets are wider than they are tall, which isn’t unnatural, it’ll make what you’re crocheting seemed stretched horizontally. When you first determine your gauge, you can see if the stitches are perfect square shapes or not and adjust the scale and drawing if needed.

  5. Steve says:

    I did something similar for the WVU logo for a friend. I found the logo on the internet and then put graph paper over the print-out. When I held it up to the light — it was easy to use. And I’m also planning to use a downloaded paw-print logo for charity work for our local SPCA. Your very good explanation will help with doing the math!

    But, I must complain about your grammar! Sorry, I have a real thing for certain grammar problems, and I MUST comment on your misuse of the word “you’re.” The word you are actually looking for is “your,” a word which means belonging to you. The word “you’re” is a contraction for the phrase “you are.” It’s a common mistake, but one that can easily be corrected. Sorry if my “grammar police” routine bothers or irritates you, but I hope it will help you in the long run.After all, good grammar makes “your” writing easier to understand, and I think “you’re” wanting to be understood!

  6. Peggy says:

    Hi – I just crocheted a paw print square for an ASPCA project and found it to be fun to do, and visibly a paw. FYI – it came from Crochet’N More and is a free pattern there.

  7. pearberry says:

    Hi Rachel, thanks for your reply! can u explain or provide some examples as to how I to adjust the scale or drawing? thanks.

  8. Rachel says:

    Pearberry: To adjust the scale and drawing, see steps 1 – 3 in this tutorial. After you determine your gauge (step 1), you can calculate the number of stitches and rows required to get the finished size desired (step 2), then calculate your scale and drawing size (step 3).

    For example in step 3, if you want your scale to be 1 block = 1 stitch, then make sure you have enough blocks on the chart to make it the width you desire. You can calculate the number of blocks required using your gauge created in step 1. In the problem you first discussed, it seemed like there were a few too many blocks horizontally, which made your picture stretched out.

  9. Irene says:

    hey rachel,

    I was wondering how I would make a color chart for a hat, specifically a beanie. i want to make one for my friend for christmas, but i’m not sure how I would lay it out.

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Irene! You can make the increase on the top of the beanie using a beanie pattern, like one from the Family Beanie Set (these beanies are worked in single crochet). If you use the top of beanie from a pattern you’ll already know how many stitches are needed for each round. When you get to the sides of the beanie you can make a design/chart for it like you would for a flat design since no increasing is needed on the sides on the beanie. If you wanted to make a design on the top of the beanie as well, that may be a bit more tricky and require some experimenting! But as long as you still have the same gauge and stitch count as in whatever beanie pattern you are using the beanie will definitely fit the wearer’s heads. It’s just a matter of where you want to change colors in the beanie to make the design you want.

      • Vi says:

        I’m looking for it again but I read that for crocheting pictures or designs on at hat using a hexagon chart would be easier when planning because the stitches and slants in a hat would make block charts come out bad lol that is from personal experience I had one ugly hat.

  10. zeniada says:

    Thanks for the help but do you have any idea where we can get graph paper with the amount of blocks I would need?

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi Zeniada, I’m not sure how many block you’re looking to use, but you can always use more than one piece of paper. You can tape several together if you’d like.

  11. Vi says:

    I have seen some you can print online just might need a little digging cause I forgot the site.

  12. fariba kafi says:

    Dear Rachel,Thank you for the clear explanation and good instruction,they are very very helpful for everyone.thanks

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