Using Paint for cross stitch design
There are several amazing cross stitch design programs available but if you want to give designing a try before investing in a new program this tutorial is for you. I use paint for this purpose because it is free with windows PCs and it was the only program I had for this purpose as a secondary school student.
1. When you open up paint you will see some blue dots on the edge of the white drawing area. You can click and drag these to make your drawing area bigger or smaller. As you do so take a look at the bottom of the screen. You will see the dimensions of the drawing area in pixels. Each pixel = one whole cross stitch so if you have a target size for your design you can easily set it now.
2. In the Zoom options turn on the grid. In Vista this option will be under View> Zoom> Show grid
In windows 7 this option will be in View> Gridlines (tick this checkbox)
3. Zoom in so the grid is a comfortable size for you to work with.
Be aware that in Vista the grid will vanish when your picture is viewed at 100% and in Windows 7 the grid will change scale neither of which is useful to you.
4. Now you can draw. Use the pencil tool to draw on your grid. Like a regular cross stitch pattern each square represents one whole cross stitch.
In paint you cannot easily represent Half stitches, french knots or backstitch. There is a method I used to use but it is far more complicated than using a dedicated cross stitch design program.
This method is good for making small and simple designs and to have a go at drawing your own before investing in a program.