Seasonal Crafts

Graduation Gift Card Holder


Graduation Gift Card Holder Tutorial

Get ready for graduation season by making these adorable gift card holders featuring customizable cross stitch people! The designs on these felt envelopes (of sorts) are inspired by the graduate emojis as well as the designs in the newly released book, Cross Stitch Celebrations: Graduation. They're a perfect way to add a handmade touch to the kind of gift that folks of all ages appreciate.

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 2 to 3 hours

Shop Supplies

Additional Supplies:

Emoji Graduates Cross Stitch Pattern  (click to download)

*The colors shown and listed in the pattern can easily be switched to customize the design to match your favorite graduate. Match the felt color to the stitching!


1. Download the Emoji Graduates pattern above. Begin cross stitching the graduate of your choice, starting at the top of the design. Use a single strand of embroidery floss about 36" long and fold it in half. Thread the ends through your needle and leave a loop at the other end.

Come up at the bottom of the first stitch and go back down at the top without pulling the loop through. On the back of the fabric, slip the needle through the loop and pull it to secure the starting thread.

Starting thread on cross stitch

2. Cross stitch the design, working all of the whole stitches. When you reach the end of a thread, slide the needle through the backs of other stitches to secure it, then start a new thread as in Step 1. Leave the eyes and the back stitching until the end.

Cross stitching graduate

For this small project, you can hold the fabric while you stitch and skip using a hoop.

3. For the eyes, first stitch the cross stitch, then outline the eyes with a back stitch. This fills them in more. Make the mouth with a back stitch.

Backstitching eyes

To make the tassel, stitch each section with a long back stitch. These long stitches look more like a real tassel.

Stitching graduate tassel

4. Trim the stitched Aida cloth so there are five extra squares of the grid on each side of the design. Remove one row of threads on each side. 

Trimming edges of cross stitch

Measure and cut a piece of felt that's 3 x 8". Use scallop shears to trim one end of the felt rectangle.

Cutting scallop edge

5. Place the graduate emoji near the scalloped end of the felt, making sure the sides and top are evenly spaced. Stitch around the edge with two strands of embroidery floss. Use a running stitch, working one square in and going up and down through each square of the fabric.

Stitching design to felt

6. Fold the felt piece so the straight end extends slightly beyond the scalloped end. Stitch along the sides with two strands of embroidery floss and a running stitch. 

Stitching sides of gift card holder

Your gift card holder is all finished and now you can add a card (or cash) inside for gifting! Once you make one, you'll probably want to go ahead and make more. You can customize these for everyone on your graduation gift list!

Finished gift card examples

These little pouches are a bit larger than standard gift cards, which means there's room for extra cards. It's a great way for recipients to keep a bunch of gifts safe in one place! Another fun way to upgrade this gift card holder is to punch a hole at the back and attach a tassel!

Finished embellishment ideas

These patterns are also a great companion to Cross Stitch Celebrations: Graduation by Mollie Johanson. The book contains over 30 patterns that you can customize, mix, and match, and one of the ways to do that is with the graduates in the book. There are several poses and hairstyles that you can easily switch around with each other.

Cross Stitch Celebrations: Graduation book with finished examples

The emoji graduates add to the number of possibilities because these charts are designed to swap in and fit perfectly. Tips for doing this are included in the book!

Alternate finished design

No matter if you're making large or small projects, these cross stitch designs are sure to help celebrate the students in your life!