Punch needle embroidery is a type of needlework that is similar to that of rug hooking. The technique consists of punching thread down through a piece of fabric via a hollow needle, locking the thread against the back, and pulling the loose end up to the face of the fabric once again.
The needle and thread is punched down again into the fabric with the thread creating a loop on the surface. You can create short loops, long loops, or press the thread against the surface for a textured look.
Punch needle embroidery is a great hobby for the modern crafter who wants to enjoy their hobby, but doesn’t have a lot of time to spend on more involved crafts. It’s easy to get started with punch needle embroidery, especially with the variety of punch needle kits available for everyone from beginners to experienced punchers.
What are Punch Needle Kits?
A punch needle kit is a kit that contains everything you need to punch a pattern in wool or embroidery floss. Some kits come with a printed pattern already stretched on a frame or embroidery hoop, a sufficient amount of yarn or floss to complete the pattern, and instructions that show you how to follow the pattern, which type of loop to use, and where to use a specific color.
Punch needle kits are similar to embroidery kits in that they come complete with the supplies and pre-printed pattern. All you have to do is supply the creative energy to complete the kit.
Tools of the Trade
It’s easy to get started with punch needling because it doesn’t require much in the way of tools or materials. A kit provides you with everything you need, and some include the correct diameter of needle for the project.
Some also provide you with the handle for holding the needle, but you may prefer to use your own handle. Here’s a look at what you’ll need to become a successful needle puncher.
You’ll use several different types of needles as you get involved in the craft in order to punch with different thicknesses of yarn and thread. The instructions that come with the pattern also tell you the needle size you need and which thread it’s supposed to be used with. Thinner threads need a finer needle size, and thicker yarns need a needle with a larger opening.
Something to keep in mind is the fact that needles get dull with use, and kits tend to come with the least expensive types of needles. The steel used for these materials is typically low-quality and loses its edge more quickly than ones such as an Oxford punch needle.
If you’re just starting out with punch needle embroidery, you’ll do fine with the needles provided in the kit or less expensive ones from the craft store. However, if you enjoy the craft, it’s worth spending extra on your needles for durability and their ability to hold an edge.
You can sharpen your needles easily by punching them through a couple of layers of aluminum foil. This has the effect of removing the burrs that dull the needle and extends their useful life.
Always be sure to put your needles away in a case when you’re not using them. They can cut skin, even when dull, and leave a large wound behind. This is true of all needles, but a punch needle can cause more damage than an embroidery needle.
Punch Handles and Sets
The punch handle gives you the control and leverage you need to drive the thread through the fabric. It’s a repetitive action, but you refine the motion according to the stitch, loop length, and thread. You can get started using a standard handle made of wood and shaped to fit the hand.
Eventually, you’ll want to try different handles and handle/needle sets to explore the different types of stitches and use finer threads.
Boye makes an adjustable length punch needle set that consists of a handle with threads, allowing you to dial in the depth of the grip. For kits that use finer threads, a Lavor punch needle comes with an interchangeable handle and very fine needles.
The Oxford punch needle set features an ergonomically designed wooden handle and the ability to thread your fiber through the handle to the tip of the needle.
1. Botanical Trio Punch Needle Kit
This kit from Crafter features a refreshingly simple designs with neutral colors and an easy-to-follow pattern. The designs include a poppy and tulip combo, a philodendron, and a wild violet. It includes twelve skeins of Crafter’s single-ply Lana wool blend, three pieces of monk’s cloth, and one 10″ non-slip hoop.
The hoop is designed to hold the monk’s cloth taut and makes it easier for punching. It does not include a needle.
2. Dimensions Relax, Renew, Refresh
This lovely kit from Dimensions features a set of seashells in soft colors that makes you feel like you’re at the beach when completed. The kit is best suited for someone who has some experience in punch needle embroidery as it has multiple colors and uses a dense loop technique to achieve the final look.
The kit comes with the printed fabric pattern, thread, embroidery needle for adding in words, and instructions. The needle and hoop are sold separately.
3. ChloeArtCrafts Leopard Faces Kit for Beginners
Bring a bit of the wild side into your home with this leopard face punch needle kit from ChloeArtCrafts. The kit comes with all the materials you need to complete one wall hanging. It features a preprinted pattern and a wooden base for hanging.
4. JennyDiyCrafts Funny Punch Needle Full Kit
You’ll have to make up your own mind if the critters are gophers or chipmunks in this adorable kit that spoofs paintings by the Masters. The kit features four different characters with all having a sip from a cup of boba tea. The stitches used in the kit are on the larger side, making it easy for beginners to master and advanced punchers to enjoy.
5. Needle Creations Planet Needle Punch Kit
You’ll gaze in wonder at the planet on your wall when you finish this Planet needle punch kit from Needle Creations. The kit provides a challenge in the form of using different yarns in contrasting color gradations.
The kit requires you to work different colors in small areas at a time, which means you’ll be changing your yarn frequently as you work the pattern. There’s also additional embellishments to make the planet sparkle and pop.
The kit includes a printed pattern on 100% cotton Aida cloth, a punch needle, threader, embroidery hoop, instructions, and embellishments for finishing the work.
6. Redxing Punch Needle Embroidery Starter Kits - Mona Lisa
You can have your very own version of the Mona Lisa to hang on your wall with this kit from Redxing. The kit features the use of a flat loop to create texture and provide a clear image when it’s completed.
You’ll have your own smile on your face whenever you look at it. It comes with an embroidery frame, a printed pattern on cloth, cotton thread, punch needle, and instructions.
7. Abbraccia Punch Needle Embroidery Kit - Mushroom
This kit features a simple mushroom design done in a flat stitch, and uses a minimum of colors to complete the design. It’s intended for beginners, but it’s also a refreshing design for more experienced punchers. The kit includes punch needles, yarn, scissors, embroidery hoop, and printed pattern on cloth.
8. Leisure Arts Punch Needle Kit - Triangles
The colors and finished texture of this kit give the appearance of a patchwork quilt. It uses a flat loop of varying lengths as opposed to tufted loops, creating an interesting texture. It’s great for someone who wants a change from making tufts and wants a little challenge.
9. Dimensions Floral Gnome Punch Needle Set
If gnomes and flowers are your thing, then this punch needle kit is for you. This beginner’s kit from Dimensions features a popular gnome character holding onto a daisy for the ultimate in cuteness. The kit comes with enough yarn to complete the pattern, printed fabric, a 5mm punch needle tool, threader, and embroidery hoop.
10. The Starry Night Punch Needle Kit
Vincent Van Gogh’s eponymous painting ” The Starry Night” gets sampled for this beginner punch needle embroidery kit. It comes with a pre-printed pattern, cotton thread, a reusable punch needle, and an embroidery frame for working the pattern.
You can use the finished piece as a wall hanging, a tote bag, or sew it onto the back of a denim jacket.
11. Pllieay Punch Needle Floral Design Kit
This kit consists of two different floral designs, one simple and the other more detailed. Both are excellent for beginners as they’re smaller in size, and use vibrant blocks of color to complete the design quickly. The kit comes with instructions, printed fabric, two embroidery hoops, punch needle, threads and threaders to help draw the thread through the needle.
12. Fishevo Sunset and Moonlight Punch Needle Kit
This two-piece set from Fishevo delivers a sunset and a moonrise in beautiful, bold colors using a flat loop. You’ll want to hang them next to each other once you’re finished and enjoy the visual you created. The kit comes with one embroidery pen, two sets of punch needles, printed cloth pattern, two embroidery hoops, threader, cotton thread, and instructions.
13. Needle Creations Punch Needle Canvas Kit
This butterfly and roses design from Needle Creations is rectangular in shape, a nice change from the round embroidery hoop that’s popular in the crafting genre. The pattern is good for intermediate punchers who want a challenge, but don’t want to deal with the need to constantly change the color of the floss.
The kit comes with a pre-printed fabric panel in a frame, one needle, embellishments, and instructions.
14. ProJoyJoy 4 Pack Punch Needle Embroidery Starter Kit
This kit for beginners features four drastically different designs that provide different challenges, but won’t overwhelm. The Shiba Inu and llama designs offer a beginner a good place to start with few color changes and stitches, while the painting pushes you with its use of multiple colors and stitches.
The kit comes with a set of punch needles, scissors, embroidery hoops, pre-printed patterns, and enough yarn to complete each design.
15. ForSheLovedWool Beginner Punch Needle Kit
The lemon and flower design of this punch needle kit is simple and sweet, and you’ll love how fast you can complete it. The kit comes with a prepared foundation cloth, wooden embroidery hoop, plenty of yarn, and an adjustable Lavor punch needle. The instructions come in the form of a step-by-step photographed instruction booklet to show you how to complete the kit.
Stitching It All Together
Punch needle embroidery is easy to learn, quick to master, and gives you endless possibilities for new additions to your home decor or personal items. You can turn a finished piece into a wall hanging, rug, coaster, cushions, or into a tote bag.
Kits for the craft come at all difficulty levels that range from beginner to advanced, and you can make your own designs on monk’s cloth. There’s almost no limit to what you can do, and you can easily transition from making small items to large ones with a bit of practice.
Punch needle embroidery is so enjoyable and gratifying that you’ll find it hard to put down your work once you get started.