Punch needle for the first time

I have just been trying out punch needle for the first time. It suddenly popped up everywhere on Facebook and Instagram and it looked so easy and fun to do. I have a weakness for everything with yarn and fabrics and I just had to try it out.

What do I need for Punch needling?

I started looking on the internet where to buy a punch needle and materials and what kind I needed. There are a lot of different types to buy, but there are also a lot out stock because it suddenly has grown into a ‘hype’. We all are sitting at home looking for something new to do and then something like this gets popular.

I choose to buy two different punch needles. One which can punch with very thick yarn and is adjustable. The other one is for more fine yarn and comes with 3 different needles. I also bought a special fabric for the Punch needle. This is a Monk fabric and is an open woven fabric that makes the punching easier to do. On my search on the internet I also learned that you have to choose the right kind of fabric to get a good result. If a fabric is too open woven for your punch needle your loops will pop out easily. And if your fabric is too tight for your punch needle you will have to punch very hard resulting in damaging your hand, and/ or the fabric.

Monk clothes and punch needles in an embroidery hoop

How does Punch Needle work?

The punch needle forms a continuous loop stitch. Every time you push the punch needle down, it pushes down a long end of the yarn. When you bring the punch needle back up, it folds this end into a loop. There are no knots used. The tightness of all the loops packed together keeps it from unraveling.

Punch Needling can be done with cotton or wool floss or yarn suitable for knitting or crochet. Depending on the needle thickness, you have to use different kinds of thickness yarn.

Punch needle first attempt

My first attempt was punching with an embroidery hoop. I already had some very cheap hoops which I thought I could use, but I was so wrong! It was a disaster. The hoop couldn’t hold my fabric while punching and I had to tighten it up all the time and it made me rush my work and I just wanted to finish it. The result is also not that great. It was the first try and I have learned that a ring only works with a more fine woven fabric and fine needles you don’t have to push hard into the fabric or you need to buy a more expensive special No-Slip embroidery hoop or frame.

Punch needle second attempt

After my first frustrating attempt, I decided to try something different. I took a wooden frame with a painter’s canvas that I had. Ribbed the fabric off and with a staple gun I stapled a cotton fabric on it that I already had at home.

This time I wanted the fabric to stay put and tight without going anywhere. It worked!!

I choose a very simple design and with patience I started with my smaller punch needle’s. I suddenly had more pleasure in doing this and because I didn’t have to think about the fabric staying in place, I could think more about how I placed the needle in the fabric and how I wanted my pattern.

Punch needle third attempt

This was definitely screaming for more and all kinds of ideas came to me. I wanted to try out different kinds of techniques that I thought could be used with the punch needles. As a designer, I have the habit to think further than doing just the normal things you are supposed to be able to do. With that said, I started up with a new frame and a bunch of ideas.

I sorted out different kinds of materials and colors and just started trying out one technic after the other.

I didn’t rush my work and I was really enjoying doing this. Through my work I switched between my thick and thin punch needles and I used corduroy fabric from an old pair of trousers. I used scratch of fabrics that I already had and different kinds of yarns and I was punching from both sides of the fabric to get different kinds of structures. The colors I kept basic.

Further, I tried to punch fabric strips onto the fabric. I simply just used a thin needle and punched the yarn into the fabric strip on top of the monk clothes. That worked actually quite well and gave it a nice structure to the total look.

Everything has been punched into the fabric and I think it almost gets a look of woven wall art. The frills underneath are the only ones that I had to do with a normal big needle.

Final result

To finish the work, I sew a piece of cotton fabric to the back and hoops from yarn to the top for a wooden stick.

I am actually very proud of this result. It’s something that I will hang here at home and I certainly think that I will try to make more like this in the future. If you have experience with punch needling I would love to hear from you or see some of your work. Maybe a link in the bio could be fun to share?

Have a nice day!


  1. Jeanette Renting Reply

    Leuk dat je het geprobeerd hebt. Het trekt mij helemaal niet. De wandhanger op de laatste foto is geweldig, mooi met al die structuren.

    • Marianne - Simple Colorful Reply

      Dank je wel. Ik moet toegeven het is best leuk en ik ga zeker meer uitproberen.

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