A reconstructed model of the extinct bird, the dodo (Raphus cucullatus) against a white background

A reconstructed model of the dodo (Raphus cucullatus)

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How to cross-stitch a dodo

Bring back the dodo with cross-stitch.

You will need:

  • dodo-coloured embroidery thread (we used DMC thread and the colours you need are on the pattern, but you can also choose your own colours)
  • cross-stitch fabric (we used Aida 14 count fabric)
  • an embroidery needle
  • an embroidery hoop
  • scissors
An illustrated picture of a dodo

Dodo cross-stitch pattern to download and print

Dodo pattern PDF (70 KB)


What to do

To cross-stitch your dodo, you need to make a small cross of embroidery thread to match every coloured square on the pattern:

  • Choose a square roughly in the middle of the dodo pattern and sew a cross of that colour in the centre of your fabric.
  • Keep following the pattern, making a cross in each square. Work outwards from the centre, changing colour when needed. 
  • A good way to know when to change colour is to count how many squares there are of the same colour on the pattern in a given direction.
  • To make a cross, sew two stitches of thread diagonally over each other.  
A cross-stich dodo in an embroidery hoop

A completed cross-stitch dodo


  • Use three strands of embroidery thread (standard DMC thread is six strands thick, so you'll need to separate it into two).
  • Always start from the back of the fabric when making a cross and always sew the two diagonal stitches of every cross in the same order, so that the same diagonal stitch is always on top.
  • When you have a line of squares of the same colour, you can save time by sewing them in one go. Start by sewing one diagonal stitch for each of the crosses in your line and then return with the other diagonal stitch. 
  • Don't worry if the back of the fabric becomes a little messy with thread, it will be hidden.

Did you know?

The dodo was a giant ground pigeon that lived in Mauritius. We knew it to be extinct in 1680.