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The Ultimate Guide to Punch Needle for Beginners

Source: https://www.thecuriouslycreative.com/punch-needle-for-beginners/ 
Another Guide: https://sarahmaker.com/how-to-punch-needle/
Another Guide: https://www.marchingnorth.com/punch-needle-for-beginners/
Another Guide: https://studio-koekoek.com/punch-needle-tutorial-for-beginners/
Another Guide: https://northshorecrafts.com/pages/how-to-punch-needle


The Ultimate Guide to Punch Needle for Beginners

punch needle project
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, The Curiously Creative may earn an affiliate commission to help support the site at no extra cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info. 

What is Punch Needle?

A member of the embroidery family, punch needling is a fun, tactile craft that offers a cool, textured finish. Punch needling is considered faster than traditional embroidery as it doesn’t involve small needles or complex stitches. Rather, punch needling is done using a special punch needle tool and a series of single loops, one after another, until you have created a sweeping, cohesive image or pattern. You can use punch needling to create trendy wall hangings, one-of-a-kind cushions covers, beautiful bags, plush toys, and you can even experiment with rug creating. The best part? The learning curve for punch needling is minimal, so you can create plenty of pretty pieces in no time at all.

The History of Punch Needle

The exact history of punch needling is a contentious one, but it is agreed that it’s been around for hundreds of years. There are records of its use in medieval times and by the Ancient Egyptians, who would have used punch needling to decorate their religious robes. The first proper punch needling tool is accredited to Ebenezer Ross, an Ohioan man who named the tool “the Griffin.” This tool quickly surpassed early rug hooking tools for its agility. The Griffin became available widely, offering folks the chance to create items at home, such as rugs to sell for a profit. With inventions like the tufting gun, punch needling fell off the radar for a while. However, there has been a resurgence in its use in the last decade, thanks to social media and blogs. People have been using punch needle to express themselves as a hobby or even as fine art.
 

What is the Difference between Embroidery and Punch Needling?

Punch needling is considered a form of embroidery, but they are rather different. Embroidery is used to embellish fabrics with colors or by adding materials such as gems, pearls, beads, and more. Embroidery is usually done on clothing or accessories and blankets or bags. Embroidery requires you to use a small needle to apply thread or yarn, with hand stitches ranging from basic to intricate. Punch needling does not require needles nor stitches. Instead, you simply loop your yarn or wool into the canvas! Punch needling requires specific tools that help pull the canvas very tight to avoid and runs or pulls. Once you are in a rhythm of punching, it is a speedy process. This is unlike embroidery, which requires attention to detail and therefore takes more time.

What is the Difference between Rug Hooking and Punch Needling?

While one could make a rug using a punch needle tool, they are different crafts. The techniques are similar, but the main difference is that rug hooking uses a rug hooker pull, which pulls the materials loop up with its hook. Alternatively, the punch needle punches the loop down when pushed down. Essentially, they do the opposite!

What Supplies Do I Need for Punch Needle?

Let’s get started with punch needling! To begin, you will need to acquire the following items:
  • Punch Needle
  • Wire Threading Tool
  • Foundation Fabric
  • Yarn
  • Frame or Hoop
  • Patterns
  • Scissors
  • Pattern (optional)
punch needle for beginners - supplies
 

Punch Needle

 


Punch needle tools can vary in length and width to accommodate different materials thickness, but they will always have a long, hollow, long metal tube with a small hole on the end, which the thread or yarn will run through. Punch needles have handles, typically wooden, to allow you to grip easily. An Oxford Punch Needle Tool is a great starting option.


Wire Threading Tool

 

A small wire threading tool will help thread your yarn into your punch needle! They’re very small and can be reused again and again.


Foundation Fabric


When punch needling, the fabric is your canvas! The most common fabric to use is monk’s cloth, a rough fabric made out of cotton or linen, with detailed 4×4 weaves making it easy to follow along. Linen and burlap are also suitable for punch needling but be mindful of the thickness of the fabric and the size of your punch needle.

Yarn
 


Yarn is a fun part of punch needling, as you can play around with the types and colors! It is best to start with 100% wool or wool/acrylic blends, as they are easiest to punch and offer a full, yet cozy feel. If you are super unfamiliar with yarn, note that size 1 means the yarn is super fine, and size 6 means it is very bulky. What you pick will depend on your punch needle, but size 4 is usually standard.

Frame or Hoop
 


A frame is important as it holds the foundation fabric snug while you punch. You can opt for circular hoops such as the no-slip embroidery hoop or the q-snap PVC frames or the rectangular frames, such as gripper strip frames. You can also DIY with an old paint canvas by removing the canvas and using staplers or grips. Whatever you choose, be mindful there is enough tension as it needs to be tight to keep your work in place.

Pattern
 

If you feel confident, you can freehand your design on your canvas! Otherwise, you can sketch your rough idea to follow along, maybe putting “b” for blue or “p” for pink to remind yourself what colors to use in what areas. Alternatively, you can print a free pattern online to trace onto the foundation fabric to follow along for more precision.

Scissors
 

You will want scissors for cutting your foundation cloth to size and the yarn as you go along!

Punch Needle Kits
 

For beginners, it’s always nice to start with kits that come with all the tools and supplies that you need with a pattern that you already like! At times, it will also come with helpful instructions. Here are some cute kits you can get started with on your punch needling journey.