Foundation Cloth

Foundation cloth a fabric backing fabric used for "punching into" with your punch needle tool. This fabric will hold your punched loops into place. Foundation cloths are generally an open weave fabric for larger punch needle and a tighter weave fabric for small punch needles. The weave of the fabric allows the punch needle shaft to go into the fabric. Each punch will create a loop or pile on the reverse side of the fabric. The weave of the fabric will hold your yarn or floss into place. As more punches create more loops the tension builds and keeps everything together.
Punch Needle Cloth Chart


There are a few main choices for rug hooking and punch needle fabrics. For large needles that take yarn the options include Primary Rug Backing, Monks Cloth, and Primitive Linen. Let’s explore some of the differences of primary rug backing and monks cloth as both fabrics are available in the shop.

Shown below is Primary Rug Backing. This fabric is 100% polyester. It features an even warp and weft. This fabric is made for professional rug making with tufting guns. Polyester makes it strong to hold up to the force and power of the tufting guns. Primary rug backing is amazingly smooth for punching by hand. It stretches nicely in hoops, snaps frames, and on carpet tack frames. Sold in square yard increments.

Please feel free to contact us for larger cuts of Primary Rug Backing for your larger tufting frames. Orders over 4 sq yards are given a discount. Colors available are white, gray, and black.

Next is Monks Cloth. This fabric can be a bit tricky. Tricky to find the correct monks cloth that is. Some craft stores such as Joanns sell a fabric also called monks cloth BUT it’s not the same. It is similar but not what you really want. Their version is for doing cross stitch or Swedish weaving.

A true monks cloth made for punching or rug hooking will be slightly off white/tan in color. It will also have a line every two inches. This true monks cloth is made of 100% cotton and will have a slight stretchiness to it. This stretch to the fabric will help stretch it onto frames or hoops for punching.

This fabric is not as strong as primary rug backing shown above. If you’re using a tufting gun I highly suggest using primary rug backing and not monks cloth.

A new monks cloth with 2 inch grid lines is also now available. (photo above) It's great for making geometrical designs. This grid monks cloth is not as soft and stretchy as the other version but is still a great foundation cloth for punching. 

All of these fabrics mentioned so far will fray as they are an open weave fabric. This can be stopped or slowed by sewing or surging the edges. Also practice cutting your pieces about 1.5 to 3 inches larger than the finished project or frame. This will allow yourself room to grab the fabric and stretch in a hoop or frame. Also, this provides some safety space for if the ends begin to fray. This way they are not fraying and ruining your punched area. In other words cut a piece of fabric bigger than your punch frame. It can always be trimmed off later. Better safe than sorry. 

NEW to the shop is a stop fray glue. It works great for preventing fraying. Just dab a line of glue where you don’t want any fraying. 


Primitive Linen will be coming back to the Mini Masterpieces Shop Soon! (Shown above)



Next we have a cotton backing cloth, it is a 100% cotton fabric. This is a natural beige color as it is unbleached. It works well with all three smaller needle tips of the Lavor punch needle 3 piece set. This means it holds a full six strands of embroidery floss with the smallest needle tip and up to small yarns with the largest needle tip. It stretches nicely into snap frames, gripper strip frames, and even embroidery hoops. This fabric is 100% cotton so it could rip if you were to overly re-punch an area a few times. The natural color makes a lovely background color for if you don’t want to completely punch a design. Videos of this in use are on my Instagram and YouTube as well. It does also work with the Ultra Punch large needle tip and a full stand of floss. *The Ultra Punch is so sharp though you’ll want to be careful to not rip the fabric.

Next we have Weavers Cloth. This fabric is a cotton and polyester blend. The polyester adds strength to the fabric to hold up better to more punching. This is a preferred fabric if you are using the Ultra Punch needle as it is a very sharp needle tip compared to others on the market. Weavers cloth is a natural cotton color. The tight weave holds embroidery floss and stretches nicely in frames for punching. This fabric will not work for larger punch needles with yarns.

If your needle is making a big hole in your fabric that you cant scratch back into place then the needle is too large. If you can take your finger nail and scratch the fabric back into place your needle and cloth combination should be good to go. This rule applies to monks cloth as well.