Here’s part two of Easy Crafty Gift Ideas: Cross-stitched iPhone case with pixel art inspiration!

Most of the crafty community has already heard about these awesome iPhone cases, which you can personalize with cross-stitch. Check them out here, here, and even a Doctor Who case here!

Clearly these are so versatile – you can easily stitch just about anything on one of these! But at my company’s holiday party, I got a new idea for giving these iPhone cases — offer them as a gift for one of the men in your life*, along with a little guidance for how-to embroider something very cool on the back. It’s a make-it-yourself gift that they can personalize and assemble themselves Christmas morning!

This is Mike, the awesome husband of my friend Shelby, the crochet enthusiast! Mike is displaying his new iPhone case, which he designed and cross-stitched with Link from The Legend of Zelda. Here’s how he did it:

I googled for pixel art of Link from the second Zelda game, then treated each pixel as an X in the cross-stitch design. I have never cross-stitched before (excluding maybe once, a tiny bit, when I was like 6 or 7 years old).

Pixel art is a form of digital art, perhaps the most basic form. To the modern eye, it looks unsophisticated (can you imagine a Toy Story movie, Shrek, any new digitally animated film… pixelated?), but it was recently reborn as a new form of popular art. Some call it inspirational. And I call it a retro revival of 80’s culture, which is very “in” across all forms of design.

Back to the iPhone case: Mike did a little trial-and-error to make the perfect final product. His first try (above) features a smaller Link:

The pixelated image I have matches the small Link. When I made the big one I just paid attention to the right number of pixels. If you want to get technical this is the Link “sprite” (as they were called on Nintendo: Sprites as opposed to pixel art). </iamanerd>

Here is the original image, followed by Mike’s final, larger Link on the iPhone case:

So here’s the gift idea: Give the iPhone case (available online at ThinkGeek, and in Denver, at Fancy Tiger Crafts), a pixelated printout of his favorite 80’s character, plus embroidery thread in matching colors.

You can learn how to turn your own pictures into pixel art here, but it does require Photoshop. There is freeware on the web that claims to do it too, but I have not tested the products (and with all freeware, be careful what you download!).

But there is really no need to make your own pixel images – there are plenty on the web! Here are a few examples:

*Of course, this is a gift that you can give anyone, crafty or not, man or woman. But I say this is a perfect gift for your man assuming that your partner is probably not as crafty as you are. It is a really easy, satisfying project for someone who doesn’t know a thing about sewing or cross-stitch. If your partner, man or woman, is crafty, then I am just jealous and you can ignore the rest of this post.