Starting out in Punch Needle

What is Punch Needle? Everything you need to know about the embroidery technique of the moment!

Punch needling is THE new, exciting and fashionable form of embroidery for all levels. It will allow you to create bold accessories and beautiful projects for your interior decoration! In just a few years, punch needle has experienced explosive growth in popularity, driven almost entirely by social media. Here we explain how to make your first punch needle project.

What is needle punching? 

A very simple relief embroidery technique, punch needle uses a tool called a "magic needle" to punch loops of thread into fabric. You can achieve a variety of unexpected and fun results by combining different types of wool yarns (colours, materials, thickness). It is a quick and easy process to experiment with to create items for the home such as cushions, paintings or to create fashionable accessories. The art has been reinvented in recent years and has become the perfect addictive activity for those who enjoy therapeutic hobbies.

Before describing the different stages of punch needle in more detail, a bit of history... Punch needle dates back to at least medieval times and perhaps even to ancient Egypt. The technique was used to decorate religious vestments and to make rugs to pass the time on long sea voyages. The technique is said to have developed in Russia, before arriving in the United States in the 18th century.

Starting out punch needle embroidery

punch needle kits

Needle punch is a very easy activity to learn and ideal for beginners. It also helps to develop self-confidence and is a very useful play activity in art therapy to learn to let go and relax. Punch needle allows for a wide range of projects in hobbies, but also in home decoration, perfect as gift ideas.

Everything you need to punch needle

punch needle kit

In order to create relief embroidery, punch needle requires specific materials. For this purpose, the Figured'Art punch needle kit for beginners and enthusiasts consist of :

  • A 26cm x 26cm pre-printed linen canvas
  • Quality wool yarns: we make sure that in each kit, a sufficient quantity of wool is offered
  • A punch needle tool
  • A 20cm diameter embroidery hoop 
  • A needle threader
  • A punch needle tutorial to help you make your embroidery

We have selected a variety of designs adapted to each of you, according to your tastes and preferences: landscapes, characters, animals... You can therefore vary the choices! Punch needling requires some practice to get the best results. But once you have found the right movements and the right rhythm, you will quickly achieve the desired results with precision.

How to punch needle for beginners?

If you are a beginner in punch needle, here are the different steps to master this technique:

1. Before you start to work, you need a taut canvas to work with. To do this, stretch the linen canvas into the punch needle embroidery hoop.

needle punching kit

With our various needle punch kits, you can choose your design from the various models offered by Figured'Art. As the design is already printed on the canvas, this will make the activity easier.

2. Use the needle threader provided in our kits to help you thread the wool thread into the magic needle. To begin with, thread the needle through the eye of the needle and then insert the piece of wool through it. Finally, you will need to gently pull the needle threader to thread your wool yarn through the eye of the needle. Make sure to leave a certain length of wire sticking out.

magic needle

3. If you want large loops on the right side of the fabric, turn it over and stitch on the wrong side. This will create loops on the right side and smooth, flat stitches on the wrong side of your linen fabric. If, however, you prefer the look of smooth stitches, stitch on the right side instead. Both techniques will allow you to create contrast and add volume to your work: long loops, for a fluffy look, or smooth, flat stitches, perfect for small figures or fine details.

4. You can now start needling! It is important to hold the needle upright to push it into the fabric and pull it out, but without lifting it from the fabric. By sliding the needle, you can then stitch the next stitch and the tension of the fabric will hold the stitches in place. Repeat these steps until your canvas is complete.

punch needle embroidery

5.Finally, cut your thread and coat the back of your work with textile glue to ensure that everything stays in place.

The important point is the use of the needle, it is necessary to adopt the right gesture by making sure to keep it straight and by keeping the eye of the needle always facing the fabric. As mentioned earlier, you should always slide the needle in even stitches horizontally from right to left if you are right-handed and vice versa for left-handed people. It is also important to mention that if you have to change the direction of the stitching, it is not the needle that has to rotate but the frame.

But what can you do if you are not not satisfied with your points? If you are new to this activity, it can definitely happen! Don't worry, just lift your needle and pull slightly on the wool thread which will make your last stitches disappear. To remove the holes from the stitches you made earlier, simply scratch the fabric with the tip of the needle.

Your punch needle project is extremely strong once the work is finished, with a few precautions, most of them can be washed. To punch needle on clothes, turn them inside out and wash them cold. Do not wash them with other garments that have zips, velcro, hooks or anything else that can get caught in the loops. For frequently washed items, if the loop side is on the front of the design, you can apply wash safe fabric glue to the back for added safety, this will increase the longevity of the embroidery.