PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Punchneedle Embroidery

What is Punchneedle Embroidery?

Punchneedle is a form of embroidery that uses a hollow needle to create loops of thread on fabric. Also known as thread painting for the complexity and texture of design that can be created with this technique, it creates a textured pile surface akin to a miniature version of a hooked rug.

punchneedle by planetjune

Why Punchneedle Embroidery?

Here are just a few of the reasons I find it so appealing:

  • Easy: Only one simple stitch to learn; you don’t have to be super-neat to get a beautiful result
  • Fast: No need to knot the ends of the thread, and, other than the outline, it doesn’t matter exactly where you place your stitches, as long as you punch enough stitches to fill each area
  • Stunning results: Easy to create bold, bright, appealing embroideries
  • Relaxing: Unlike cross stitch, there’s no counting involved – just fill in each area with colour like a paint-by-number painting!
  • Inexpensive: After you’ve bought a punchneedle and hoop, the only supplies you need are fabric and embroidery floss
  • Easy to fix mistakes: Any stitch can be easily pulled out without affecting neighbouring stitches; with a few simple techniques you can fix any unsightly mistakes
  • Portable: Carry all your project supplies in a small bag for those crafting on-the-go moments
  • Versatile: Make finished embroideries into framed artwork, decorative patches or appliqués, or add fabric borders to make quilts, cushions, etc – there’s limitless potential here

punchneedle patterns by planetjune

All the punchneedle projects I’ve made are archived on my blog – take a look for some more examples of punchneedle embroidery in action!

Punchneedle Tool Information

There are several types of Punchneedle Tools commonly available, and size information isn’t labelled consistently between brands. If you’d like to buy a Punchneedle tool, find out everything you need to know before you head to the craft store (or shop online), with my Punchneedle tool information post.

punchneedle comparison

Additional Supplies

In addition to your punchneedle tool (see Punchneedle Tool Information, above) you’ll need:

  • a lipped embroidery hoop
  • weaver’s cloth (or other tightly woven fabric – see The Punchneedle Handbook for further details)
  • a pair of sharp scissors
  • embroidery floss
    Note: You can use any brand of stranded embroidery floss (e.g. DMC or Anchor) with your punchneedle (a standard medium punchneedle uses 3 strands of floss)
  • a pattern (see Patterns, below)

Free Introductory Tutorial

I’ve made an excerpt from my eBook, The Punchneedle Handbook, into a free tutorial so you can get a taste for what punchneedle is about.

Buy The Punchneedle Handbook

buy The Punchneedle Handbook by June Gilbank

My eBook, The Punchneedle Handbook: Miniature Punchneedle Embroidery Basics & Beyond, includes everything about punchneedle from the absolute basics for those who have never heard of this craft, to my techniques that will allow absolutely anyone to create beautiful punchneedle embroideries. I designed the eBook to be a go-to reference book for all your punchneedle questions, including a useful troubleshooting section. See more details and the table of contents.


Try my free 2.5″ Poinsettia design, which uses Punchneedle Embroidery for a fast and festive result. It can be made as an applique and attached to almost anything to give it a more Christmassy feel!
punchneedle poinsettia by planetjune
Go to the free Punchneedle Poinsettia pattern >>

You’ll find more punchneedle patterns in my shop, available to purchase individually, or you can save money by choosing the custom set of any three patterns.

planetjune punchneedle patterns

I hope you’ll enjoy punchneedle embroidery as much as I do!


  1. Beverly Reid said

    I had never heard of punch needle before but after finding you through several boards on pinterest I think I could do this!

    • Lisa Strawn said

      i have a 1922 punch needle with instrution is it worth anything

      • Shelly said

        It wouldn’t happen to be the needle for making rugs would it? If so I would be interested in it.

        Thank you,

  2. nora said

    any classes for you soon here in toronto?????/

    • June said

      Aww, I’d love to, Nora, but I’m afraid I’m living in South Africa now – it’s a bit too far to commute for a class…

  3. Cami said

    I am so glad to have found this information! I was living in Mexico and punch needle is pretty popular there. I bought the tool but don’t know how to use it! From what you describe, it has a lot of the enjoyable qualities of crochet. Sounds great to me! 🙂 Thanks again! (And thanks to Rachel Hobson for linking us up.)

  4. minahasan said

    thank you fot your information about crochet but i can not use thisplease guide me

    • June said

      I’m not sure what you’re asking, Mina, but the above links on this page should help; you can read my free basic tutorial, and find the link to buy my Punchneedle Handbook for more complete instructions 🙂

  5. Ritianne said

    Hi, I wanted to ask if after finishing the punchneedle embroidery you need to do something to fix the stitches so they do not come undone if you was the cushion cover?

    • June said

      The stitches can only be pulled out from the back side of the piece, so, if you wash it and the back may be exposed during washing, you should put it in a laundry bag first, so nothing will snag a loop and pull any of the stitches out. For added security, you can cover the back of the piece with a thin layer of washable fabric glue to lock the loops into place.

  6. lj fitz said

    Hello June,
    I used to use “pretty punch,” punch embroidery products. This is what I taught all my classes with. There thread, patterns, and needles were good quality products! If you or anyone else has punch emb questions-i will try to help. I can be contacted by email. Thanks lj
    I LOVE your crochet flowers!!! And ami!!!

  7. Elise said

    Hi June! You’ve inspired me to learn to do punch needle. I was wondering, how hard is it to free form your own punch needle work a beginner?


  8. Bev Cook said


    I saw your homemade spool for your punchneedle. I’m wondering if you are selling them or can tell me how to make one. What a great idea!


  9. Marg Clarke said

    I was wondering if you had any other books on punchneedlembroidery?

    • June said

      Not yet, Marg! I do have plans for a second punchneedle book, but I haven’t found time to write it yet 🙂

  10. Linda Messick said

    Dear June,

    I purchased the Clover Embroidery Stitching Tool at Joann’s yesterday and am having a difficult time putting it together. Do you have any videos that provide this? There are written directions enclosed in the packet but I am still unsuccessful:( Perhaps your Punchneedle Handbook has this info?
    Thanks for your help in advance.


    • June said

      Sorry, Linda – I use the Cameo Punchneedle so I can’t help you with anything specific to the the Clover tool. Your best bet for product-specific instructions would be to try contacting the manufacturer (or, if that doesn’t work, you could try googling to find a blogger who uses the Clover tool and try asking them for help).

  11. Ann Swaim said

    I have been having a hard time finding the yarn for pertty punch or any other yarn that will work,can you please help me. Thank you

    • Billie G said

      I used to be a dealer for Pretty Punch & have a lot of spools of yarn depending on the color. I also have the yarn 2/24 cones.

      • Pat Coffey said

        I am making a rug and am in need of a color #26, very light green. If you have an extra spool, what would it cost to have it mailed to me in Arkansas, USA

    • Joy Murphy said

      Hello Ann, My name is Joy Murphy and I have over a hundred spools of the thread you are looking for. I am selling all my punch embroidery items. I also have different needles. I am located in Belleview, FL

      • Adel Norris said

        Do you still have the yarn spools available? If so, could you send a picture? I am looking for yarn for a big project I am about to start and want to make sure I am gong to have enough yarn to complete it.

  12. Diane said

    Hi – When I use my punch needle, the thread will not stay beneath the fabric, it pulls right back up with the needle. Am I using too little/too much thread?
    Thank you!

  13. June said

    Hi to everyone who is asking questions here! You’ll find the answers to all these and more in my eBook, The Punchneedle Handbook – there’s a link to purchase it in the above post 🙂

  14. Jan said

    You might like Russian Needle Punch, and or look at PunchNeedleMarketplace they have a needle spool holder for about 3.00 , had one very similar in the earlier 80’s I think it was Purrfect Punch, the best I ever had. ……….jan

  15. Nova Warne said

    Hi June my name is Nova, I live in Australia and have been doing punch needle embroidery for quite some time now and I love it. Its quick, neat and the absolute best of it is that its so versatile. I started by using kits but it didn’t take me long to branch away from the “norm” and doing projects “outside the square”. I’d love to be able to email you some photos from my portfolio – is there a way to do this if you are interested?

  16. Judy said

    Hi! June
    Received a punch needle kit as a x-mas gift and am still trying to figure out
    what I’m doing wrong going from right to left.
    My thread does not want to stay in unless I’m doing something wrong.
    Can you help me if you can?

    • June said

      Judy, you can read my free basic tutorial (linked above) which may solve your problem, but if not, I suggest you buy my Punchneedle Handbook (also linked above) for a full step-by-step tutorial and a complete troubleshooting section that will solve all your punchneedle problems.

  17. Priscilla Mutenure said

    Hi. I know a lot about punch needle art work. I am doing cross stitch because I lost my punch needle kit. I have looked everywhere in South Africa for the needles and they are either out of stock or no one knows what they are. Is it possible to send me needle kit if i paid for it?

    • June said

      Priscilla, I’m also in South Africa at the moment, so I know how difficult it is to find craft supplies here! You’ll probably to have to import one from abroad – I suggest you either look on ebay for a seller who ships internationally, or check online shops in UK/Aus/US etc to see if they offer international shipping.

  18. Dorothy Atkinson said

    June you are killing me. Another hobby, do I need it? YES!!! I guess I can manage it, I can’t give up my Amigurumi though. I have to go back and read your info again. You don’t sell the tools do you? My son picked up a huge pkg. of embroidery thread. I really don’t think it is a high quality. Is it ordinary embroidery or crewel embroidery thread?

    • June said

      I don’t sell the tools, I’m afraid, but see my Punchneedle Tool information post for more details of the types of tools that you may be able to find in a local craft shop or online.

      I use 3 strands of 6-strand embroidery floss for my punchneedle work, so, unless you want to use a larger needle tip, you should use a stranded embroidery floss so you can separate it into finer strands.

      If you do decide to take punchneedle up as a hobby, you’ll find my ebook, The Punchneedle Handbook, invaluable for learning the skill and troubleshooting whenever it doesn’t work as anticipated!

  19. Nancy said

    I found this site looking for a free tutorial for a bee to put on my hat. I did not find what I am looking for but, I found a lot more than I expected. This site is great. although I am not real new at this I am NOT an expert by far. Keep up the good work. We all need a site like this. Every beginner and others should see this site.

  20. Martin Ryan said

    What do I need to start punchneedle and cost for it , thank you marty

    • June said

      Marty, check out my introductory tutorial and tools info page (both linked above) for the answers to your questions, and I recommend my Punchneedle Handbook if you’d like further details and instruction.

  21. Martin Ryan said

    How much is the punch needle embroidery kit

  22. Jill said

    Hi June!

    I made a number of things with Needle Punch Embroidery in the late 1980’s. I used pictures from magazines, coloring books and the ones that were available thru the company my friend was selling for. I still wear the sweatshirt I made of Garfield that I copied from a greeting card. There is so much that can be made with this craft. I still want to make Yosemite Sam with his mustache brushed out on the back of a jean jacket!

  23. Dorothy Atkinson said

    I would like to learn how to do Punchneedle. As I write this I realized what a dumb question this is. Of course I will Google and I am sure I will find all of the info. that I will need.
    June take care of yourself. You are in my thoughts.

  24. sandra said

    Gracias por enseñar algunos conocimiento, no soy una experta pero si se de cada cosa un poquito, pero hoy 10 de noviembre aprendí dos cosas del tejido, gracias nuevamente

  25. Robin Knapp said

    Hi June, first of all, we Aussies may have different names for things, so does “weaver’s cloth” go by any other names?
    Secondly, if I can’t find it at a craft shop, can I use Aida cloth for needle punching?
    Lastly, if I can use Aida, what count would you recommend?
    Thank you, and best wishes,

    • June said

      Robin, I don’t know of any specific other names for weaver’s cloth, but you can use any tightly woven non-stretchy fabric. As I explain in The Punchneedle Handbook, a cotton/polyester blend – like weaver’s cloth – is the best choice, as the fibres are less likely to fray under the stress of the punch than a pure cotton fabric. If you have any other questions, the handbook covers them all!

      You’d find weaver’s cloth (or a suitable alternative) in a fabric shop, not with embroidery supplies. And you definitely shouldn’t use Aida for punchneedle – the holes in the Aida wouldn’t hold the loops of floss in place at all; you need a tightly woven fabric without any holes.

  26. Ariz azmi said

    I want learn about punches desighining but here is no buddy knows about punches can you help me ??

    • June said

      I have written an outline for an ebook on how to design punchneedle patterns – if there’s enough interest in this topic, I’ll complete and publish the book 🙂 (You can sign up for my Punchneedle newsletter if you’d like to be notified if/when it’s complete – I only send news when I have a new punchneedle pattern or book, which doesn’t happen often!)

  27. daisy boyer said

    Hello c is very nice what you do I would love to try but called me before embroidering on fabric must draw the cartoon c is AC and is that one can make a baby blanket s please thank you

  28. Holly McG said

    Hi June,
    I bought the handbook and read through it. I got all of my supplies and am excited to start my first pattern. But I am wondering, should I wash my fabric before I get started, or is that not necessary? Pre-washing fabric is just a habit from sewing, and I wasn’t sure if it is also a part of punch needle. Thanks!

    • June said

      Hmmm, I’ve never seen prewashing fabric mentioned in the punchneedle literature (and I read every book I could get my hands on when I was learning), so I don’t think so! The density of stitches should keep the backing fabric from any noticeable shrinkage, even if you wash the finished piece.

  29. Melodee Barrineau said

    I have been looking in to doing punch needle. I notice there are more kits in cross stitch than in punch needle kits. Can you punch needle cross stitch kits? I have found beautiful hummingbird and landscape pattern in the cross stitch that I would love to try. The cross stitch kits seem to be more reasonably priced as well.

    • June said

      Melodee, not really, I’m afraid: while you could use a simple cross stitch pattern for punchneedle – just fill in the areas of each colour from the pattern with punched stitches – you can’t use cross stitch fabric (as the holes would be far too large to anchor the punched stitches in place) so you’d have to transfer the cross stitch pattern to a suitable fabric before you begin to punch the design, and you’d also need to buy more floss, as punchneedle uses much more floss than cross stitch.

      I’d say the difficulties outweigh any advantages; by the time you’ve bought more fabric and floss, and transferred the pattern to the fabric, you’d be better off buying a punchneedle kit that includes everything you need and is ready for you to start punching!

  30. María de los Ángeles Figoli said

    Bellisimos tus trabajos June!!!!!! Toda mi admiracion para vos

  31. René Yvonne said

    Would Calico fabric be suitable for punchneedle? I have quite a lot of Calico and make needlepoint rugs for my and my granddaughter’s dollhouses on canvas. I think punchneedle on Calico would make a more carpet pile look to the rugs.

    • June said

      Rene, punchneedle is a perfect medium for making realistic miniature rugs! You can use any tightly woven non-stretchy fabric. As I explain in The Punchneedle Handbook, a cotton/polyester blend – like weaver’s cloth – is the best choice, as the fibres are less likely to fray under the stress of the punch than a pure cotton fabric. (The backing fabric will be completely hidden anyway, so it won’t affect the finished appearance of the rug.)

  32. Doris said

    Bought your Punch Needle instruction book. Found some useful tips in there, so thank you.

    I usually do projects that I draw myself or I use purchased clipart. I think of punch needle as coloring, but much more complex since I have to figure out colors/stitches myself. I have several different types of needles and I use anything that will go through them–baby yarn all the way down to sewing thread.

  33. Anne Schipper said

    I would like to use punch needle to embroidery quilt blocke. Is there anything special I need to know.

  34. Alecia said

    I would like to use this to cross stitch or use a cross stitch kit to comeplete a baby blanket. Is there a way to do this with the punch needle? I noticed an earlier comment about cross sticking and was wondering how this could be done.

    • June said

      Alecia, please see my earlier reply to this question, here. Also, the back of a punchneedle embroidery needs to be covered, so you could only use it on a blanket if you completed the embroidery as an applique, as I show in my free Punchneedle Poinsettia pattern (minus the felt backing) and then attached the applique to the blanket.

  35. Debbie Prosser said

    Ready to start a project. Making a chicken for granddaughter to frame and display, at the fair, when she shows her chickens. Do I want to use the 1 ply needle, 3 ply needle or there is a 3rd one called yarn needle? Also what loop length would you suggest I use?

  36. Beverley said

    i just cant get the punch needle concept. how do i make loops stay in fabric??? i push needle thru and pull needle up to fabric line and when i move the needle for next stitch it comes out…What am i doing wrong???

    • June said

      Beverley, there could be several reasons for your problem (e.g. you’re holding the punchneedle facing the wrong way or you’re sliding the needle too far between stitches). If you’d like further assistance, my Punchneedle Handbook explains the correct punching technique with close-up photos and has a detailed troubleshooting section for when things go wrong like this. Good luck!

  37. Tracey Fairclough said

    Hi. I have a question. Can this tool be used on Aida? I’ve make a cross stitch but now need to do all the outlines, and wondered if this tool would work?
    Thanks in advance

    • June said

      I’m afraid not: punchneedle needs tightly-woven fabric to hold the stitches in place; the holes in aida fabric are far too large, so the stitches would probably pull straight out again as you punched.

  38. Susan Cox said

    I wish I could as half good as you June! That embroidery looks super cute. Thank you for sharing!

  39. Kathy said

    I bought your book but I can’t find the information on do I wash my weavers cloth before I punch needle it.

    • June said

      The instructions in the handbook are complete, so if it doesn’t tell you to do something, you don’t need to do it! As I said in my reply to Holly, above, the density of stitches should keep the backing fabric from any noticeable shrinkage, even if you wash the finished piece later, so there’s no advantage to prewashing, as far as I know.

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