How To Punch Needle

How To Punch Needle

The punch tools can change a bit but the basic rules stay the same. You are using a needle to punch yarn through fabric and create a loop or  “pile” on the reverse side. Thus creating a loop pile carpet. These can be made into rugs, pillow, wall hangings, and more! 

Depending on the needle brand will use a threader to feed the yarn through the needle shaft and out through the eye of the needle. This varies for the Oxford needle as it doesn’t require a threader.

You always want to keep the needle close to the fabric when sliding over to the next punch. 

Don’t punch too many punches all bunched up next to each other or you’ll create a bulge or mountain of yarn on the reverse that wont be uniform.The more you practice the easier it is to get even stitches.

Shown in the video below you’ll see how to thread the SKC or Lion Brand Adjustable punch needle.
Shown below is how to thread an Oxford Needle.


To cut your fabric to fit your frame you can pull a thread or for monks cloth two threads. This will give you an even line to cut along. This prevents fabric waste when you are able to cut evenly.


Next you will need to get your foundation cloth tight on a frame. There are a lot of options here. A gripper strip frame, embroidery hoop, Morgan No Slip hoop, Snap Frame, or even a hand made wooden frame with carpet tack strips.


Snap frames are easy to assemble and use. They eliminate the need for tack frames. I find this handy if you have small children around who could get poked by a tack frame.

Morgan No Slip Hoops are great as they have a small grove inside the hoop to help keep fabric taut. 

Wooden embroidery hoops do not hold the fabric as tight as some other options but they are a great starting point to give the craft a try before making a larger investment into a different frame. 

Once you’ve gotten your fabric tight you’re ready to punch!


The tighter your fabric is the more even your loops will be and also it will be less to no strain on your hands. So get that fabric nice and taut.

Once you get the basic idea of punching you can really start to play around with different designs and textures.

Transfer a design to your fabric using a permeant marker. A water based one may rub off onto your hand. Once the design is fully punched you wont be able to see the marker lines at all.

You can print free Punch Patterns™️ from our website and use a sunny window to transfer the design to your foundation cloth. You can even hold the cloth up to your computer screen if you want! Use the light from the screen to illuminate the image through the fabric and copy it. Careful not to get marker on your screen! 

Make sure your yarn or thread runs smoothly through the needle. If you have to tug at it then its too thick and your loops will not stay in the foundation cloth.


Let’s finish our projects now!

For starts you do NOT need to seal, glue, or do anything to keep the loops from just falling out. How?! If you have used the proper foundation cloth and needle combo you don’t need to glue the yarn in place. The cloth will hold to loops. For those of you thinking well that can’t be I can assure you that’s the case and has been  a rule of thumb in the punching world for years. There are some exceptions however…  

1 – Small kids in the house who love to pull your projects apart?! Yep it happens. I know from experience a 2 year old can destroy a rug in a matter of seconds. The beauty is it can be re punched. Don’t want to punch it again? Then GLUE it. I suggest Elmers glue as a non toxic option for kids but it will not be washable. Want to wash it? Then use a washable fabric glue. Simply paint it or use your hands to gently rub the glue on the working side of your punched project. 

2 – Don’t want to use glue but still feel the need to seal this project up? Try Ultra Heat N Bond. This product comes in a large roll and its cost effective. Simply follow the instructions on the package. See video at left for an example of this process.

3 – Made a huge floor rug? Try using professional rug making products.

4 – Tufting gun rugs with a cut pile gun NEED GLUE. The scissors on the gun cut the yarn and nothing will hold the yarn in place now. You need glue in this case. Use professional backing glues.

The downside to glueing or sealing a project is that if damage occurs you cannot go punching it back into place. The glue will gum up and ruin a needle or make the backing cloth impossible to punch into again. I highly suggest you only glue a project when absolutely needed. 

Glue can also be used to seal up edges if you want to leave a project in a hoop. Shown below is a double hoop with fabric glue to keep it in place. The yarn isn’t being glued here as it is just a wall hanging and I want to be able to go back and punch repairs later if needed.