Punch-needle embroidery is a raised and tufted needlework, like rug hooking, done with embroidery floss threaded through a special hollow needle. There are many types and brands of punch tools, both manual and battery operated, and they all work the same way. Each punch tool comes with a beveled needle, a threader and instructions. Punch-needle embroidery can be used to embellish clothing, decorative holiday items and pillows in a fun and fast way.
Choose the pattern and size it for your project. Transfer the pattern to the back of fabric using transfer paper, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Draw floss through punch tool. Push the threader up through the needle point until it appears at the top of the punch tool. Insert the floss through threader. Pull threader carrying floss back through the punch tool and the needle shaft, leaving 2 to 3 inches of floss at the point. Remove threader. Thread the needle. Insert the threader horizontally through the eye of the needle. Insert the floss through threader and pull floss through eye of needle.
Secure fabric tightly into embroidery hoop, pattern-side (back) up. Hold needle perpendicular to fabric. Starting on 1 side of pattern, punch needle in and gently pull needle out; this will make 1 loop on the front. Punch needle back into fabric about 1 needle width from the 1st stitch, again gently pulling it out. Punch in and pull out, with consistent spacing and tension, “walking” the needle across the back of the fabric. Keep the beveled edge of the needle facing away from the stitching line to prevent splitting previous stitches.
Clip the end of the floss about 1 inch long on the back when you have completed one area of color. Secure the floss end with a small dot of glue.
Practice using the punch tool on scrap fabric before starting work on your project.
Stitches or loops should be worked very close together. They will lock each other in place and create a carpet-like texture on the front of your project.
Start with simple patterns that have just a few areas of each color. As you practice, you will quickly progress to creating more intricate details.
Work 1 section of color at a time, starting at the center of your pattern. Within each section of color, you may work right to left and then left to right, top to bottom or bottom to top.