A Fiber Art Adventure: Beginner’s Guide to Punch Needle

by | Jan 9, 2024 | Crafts

As a beginner to the world of Punch Needling, I have lots to share with you! I’m going to cover three main topics or questions and with it, give you some of my own personal tips and tricks. Let’s begin:

Punch needle is the art of illustrating with yarn. Often used in embroidery hoops or on canvas, this fiber medium is great for all skill levels as it doesn’t require a lot of materials or time. A good, medium weight yarn, punch needle tool, some monks cloth, and frame (such as that embroidery hoop) is all you need to create a vibrant piece of art with fun texture and interest.

Now, time to break it down further…


Valentine punch needle coffee bar display
Close-up of Valentine punch needle art

What is the best yarn for punch needle?

The ideal yarn for punch needle projects is typically a non-slippery, bulky yarn with a consistent thickness. Wool and wool-blend yarns are popular choices due to their natural elasticity, providing a nice texture to the finished piece. However, it’s essential to choose a yarn that fits the needle size you are using and ensures smooth punching without fraying or breaking.

The yarn I used for my projects (full supply list below) was medium #5 weight and I had no issues with my uber basic punch needle tool. However, if you use a yarn that is too thick, you’ll run into some challenges. It’s important when working on your punch needle project that you have plenty of slack with your yarn. If the yarn is too thick for your needle, it will be too tight and not easily flow while you work.

Are all punch needles the same?

No, punch needles come in various types and sizes, each suited for different projects and yarn weights. The two main types of punch needles are regular and fine. Regular punch needles are suitable for medium or thicker yarns, while fine punch needles are designed for thinner yarns or embroidery floss. Additionally, there are adjustable punch needles that allow you to control the loop length. The choice depends on the project requirements and personal preferences.

Preference can include the kind of yarn your wanting to use (thick or chunky vs thin or fine) but it can also be determined by the loop size. What do you want the visit project to look like? Short and tight or “fluffy”?

The three most popular options that I found in my research were the Oxford Needles: High quality tool with no additional threading tool required. They’ve been around for almost 30 years and have an impeccable reputation.

Lavor Needles: Adjustable for multiple settings and widely used with newbies and novices alike.

Lastly, the Adjustable NeedleProbably the most popular amongst crafters on social media. This tool is great for it’s super easy adjustable settings and comes with great reviews.

Punch Needle tool

What I actually used…

For my project, I used a super cheap, super basic needle that came in this starter kit I ordered and it worked just fine. Going forward, I definitely want to invest in a better needle for more options and better experience in the process. BUT! As a brand new punch needler, this tool from this kit, worked perfectly fine and I had tons of fun making it.

Three different punch needles

How do I choose a punch needle?

When choosing a punch needle, consider the following factors:

    • Needle Size: Ensure the needle size matches the yarn weight. Larger needles are suitable for thicker yarns, while smaller needles work well with finer yarns.
    • Adjustability: Adjustable punch needles provide flexibility in loop length, allowing you to achieve different textures and pile heights in your work.
    • Ergonomics: Consider the comfort and grip of the punch needle, especially if you plan to work on larger projects. Ergonomically designed needles can reduce hand fatigue during extended use.
    • Brand and Reviews: Look for reputable brands and read reviews to ensure the punch needle you choose is of high quality and meets your specific needs. Price points can vary so make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

I highly encourage you to look into each of the brands we talked about earlier to determine which needle best fits your project needs. If you are like me, and brand-spankin’-new, I highly, highly recommend and starter kit.

As I discussed in my Quilling for Beginners post, I strongly believe that when you are new to a craft and having to start from scratch, it’s helpful (and easier) to start with a kit that has everything you need.

Obviously, your not going to get the best quality most of the time with kits, but that’s ok. You need to make sure you even like the process before you start investing in tools and supplies.

9x9 monks cloth on wood frame

Punch Needle Framed Artwork – The Perfect Beginner Project for a Heartfelt Valentine’s Day

When I decided that I wanted to make something out of needle punch, I wanted something other than just an embroidery hoop. What can I make that I actually want to display in my house? No offense to the embroidery hoop!!

I found these 9×9 famed monks cloth that looks just like a canvas. Perfect! These monks cloth “canvases” are perfect for a cute little art project that you can display just about anywhere. I put mine in my happy place, the coffee bar.


Here’s everything I used for this XOXO picture project:

Supplies for Valentine punch needle craft project


This project is incredibly easy and instant gratification. Follow these steps and you’ll be hooked (pun intended).

  • Begin by printing your design on regular printer paper and cutting it down to fit in the center of your 9×9 square.
  • Place the design on the back side of the moncks cloth. You should be able to see the design through the cloth on the front.
    • If not, like me, you can pin or tape the paper to the back. Optionally, if it’s sunny out, you can prop your square on a window for back light.
  • Trace the design with a sharpie.
    • Don’t stress about the lines being perfect, you’ll be covering them with yarn.
    • TIP: Outline along the outside lines. The font’s and designs we created have thick lines on purpose, I recommend tracing on the outer side of those lines.
cutting down paper
Attach paper to back of monks cloth
Trace design with Sharpie
  • Thread your needle punch tool:
    • IMPORTANT: It matters that you thread this tool properly. When I started, I forgot to thread the yarn through the hole in the needle’s head and it caused a lot of frustration. So be sure to follow the steps:
      • Feed your threading tool from the needle tip to the base.
      • Once all the way through, thread your yarn through the loop.
      • Pull the threading tool gently through the punch needle.
      • Take the yarn out of the threading tool.
      • Feed the threader through the hole on the tip of your needle.
      • Thread the yarn through the loop again and pull through the hole.
      • Set threader aside.
Yarn through threading tool
Threading yarn through punch needle head
Threaded punch needle tool
  • Pick a corner to start:
    • The open side of the needle should face the direction you’re going. For example: If your going to work from left to right, then the open face of the needle should be facing to the right.
    • Push the needle through the cloth as far as it can go.
    • Flip over your work and pull the end of the yarn through to the back so you have a loose tail.
    • Flip back to the front, pull your needle up and out, grazing the cloth (don’t pull out too far or you’ll make a giant loop) push in another spot along the drawn line.
      • TIP: Try to keep the loop size consistent and short.
  • Follow the outline design and begin filling in.
    • There’s no right or wrong with how you add your yarn. I like to outline first and then fill in. You can fill in and outline last or some combination of both. Top, bottom, left, right, diagonal or circles, doesn’t matter what direction you go, it should just feel fun and natural.
    • TIP: Take your time, punch your needle through as far as you can with each puncture, and work up super close to the yarn so there’s no bald spots.
    • TIP: Watch your yarn that you have enough slack as you go. Tight yarn will not hold.
    • TIP: Make sure to turn your needle so that the open front is continuously facing in the direction you’re going.
  • IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE: Simply pull the yarn out, re-tighten your yarn in the needle and re-do that spot. The material will still hold.
  • To finish: On your last punch, flip your work over and pull the yarn through for some slack. Cut the yarn and pull out the needle. Repeat the process for each section or color change.
    • TIP: When pulling the yarn through to cut, make sure you’re pulling from the loose yarn through the needle not from the finished work end.
backside of punch needle project
Valentine's Punch Needle
Punch needle Valentine decoration

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Time to Get Crafting!

Alright friend, now it’s your turn to give this project a try!

Don’t forget to tag us when you post it to social media because we cannot wait to celebrate with you!!

Use #talktothehands so we don’t miss it!


Check out these great posts next!

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