Needle Punching Nightmares: Avoid These Mistakes

by | Mar 14, 2024 | Crafts

Learn from my failure! All the things you shouldn’t do in Punch Needle and my reaction to a punch needle tool I purchased on Amazon because it’s so dang popular on social media. But not to worry, in the midst of a lot of four-letter-words, a new project emerged and I think you’ll enjoy just as much as I did.

Among these blunders were threading the needle wrong, not enough slack, the wrong sized yarn and needle for the material, and just downright failure on the part of the tool manufacturer. 

The moral of the story: Embrace the flops and fails to learn and grow from your mistakes. Be willing to pivot because you just might make something great in the process!

Read on to find out how I made a multitude of mistakes needle punching a Valentine’s Day pillow and the new project I transitioned to in order to salvage my mental state. 

Punch needle tool in packaging
Popular punch needle tool

Failure #1: My New Punch Needle Tool

Back in January I posted a blog tutorial on how to make Valentine’s Day decorations using the art of Needle Punch. This article and video drew in tons of positive feedback and I have to say, I loved every second of that project.

I loved it so much that I felt confident in ordering an “upgraded” punch tool. In deciding which needle to get, I referenced my own research and went with a tool that I could order on Amazon (because I’m inpatient with shipping) and it’s a device that I have seen numerous times across YouTube and other social media platforms.

With all that research, I never once caught anything negative about this particular tool. But I have something pretty stinkin’ negative to say….

punch needle on amazon

The Adjustable Punch Needle Tool

My initial thought to this punch needle tool was:

‘What a great idea! It’s like having multiple needles in one and that’s perfect! What a time and space saver!’

Yea well, it helps to be able to use it in the first place. Beginning with threading the yarn.

All punch needles, with the exception of the Oxford needles, require a threading tool to get the yarn or thread through the needle before you can begin. To do this, you simply insert the threading wire down the center of the needle, place your yarn in the loop and pull through. Easy peasy!

Short wire frustration

The adjustable tool from Amazon comes with a threading tool but it’s not long enough! Defeating the purpose altogether. I fought with this threading tool for almost ten minutes before I was finally ready to start the project. And in the process, broke the handle… IT WAS MADDENING!

Now, going forward, knowing what I know now, I do plan on trying again with this tool. I’m hoping for a successful project so that I can share it and encourage you to complete another project as well.

To Recommend or Not to Recommend?

In the meantime, I really can’t support or promote this punch needle tool. I was very disheartened and disappointed in myself for not catching the negative reviews – that should have been one of my first steps in researching. For that, I apologize for my previous post!

What I would recommend for anyone wanting to venture into a higher quality tool with the reputation to back it up, is the Oxford brand. They have been in business for decades and know what they’re doing when it comes to this craft. 

not enough slack on the yarn

Failure #2: Not Enough Slack

Just so we’re clear, I’m not referring to slack on myself. Yes, you should totally cut yourself some [extra] slack when learning a new craft or skill, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

Not enough yarn slack. You’ll notice in the video, my hand is pinching the yarn so it’s unable to move freely through the needle.

This issue can be fixed easily just by paying attention to your yarn. A lot of frustration can be mitigated just by making sure that you have enough yarn looseness to work with.

What you don't want punch needle to look like.

Failure #3: Wrong Size Needle & Yarn

When I was preparing to do this specific project, I looked into the type materials you can punch needle with. Using a canvas-like or linen material works because it has a weave fabric.

However, the size of the needle and yarn are equally as important as the material your punching on. This I learned the hard way.

When selecting the materials for your punch needle project, make sure you are using the proper sized yarn or thread and needle for the material you want to work with.

For example, if you want to use a linen pillow cover, then you’ll want to go with a finer yarn with a smaller needle. Unlike what I used: A medium weight yarn in a medium to large needle. The results were unfortunate.


The Great Transition

At this point I was feeling incredibly defeated and frustrated. With all these ideas and plans I had been working towards all out the window, it was time to pivot.

So I turned to a tried and true medium that I love and actually know what I’m doing… Needle Felting!

In the past, I’ve shared needle felting projects like DIY Mushroom Decor | Needle Felting for Beginners and my favorite, Easiest Felted Christmas Decorations | Needle Felted Trees where I teach you how to felt and what to use. Check those out next!

This was the perfect direction for me to complete my Valentine’s pillow. Needle felting is remarkably relaxing and satisfying. Everything from the abundant colors to choose from to the fast pace of executing your design, it really is #instantgratification.

Watch the disaster unfold HERE:



Here’s more fun posts you’ll love!

DIY Heart Shaped Crayons for Valentine's Day
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