Basic Punch Needle Instructions

Here are some punch needle instructions for when you're ready to get started on your project. You use a special tool to pierce the fabric. It's sort of a long needle attached to a hollow tube.

punch needle instructions

I have a Ultra Punch Cameo 3 Needle Set that's very easy to adjust for different loop lengths and thread sizes. Some needles use a slightly different threading sequence, so please check the instructions that came with your needle, too.

Each stitch creates loops on the opposite side from where you are working.

Russian punch embroidery considers that opposite side with the loops to be the right side of the finished piece.

Japanese Bunka Shishu is a Japanese style that considers the side with the flat stitches to be the right side.

Both methods are quite beautiful and have a lot in common.

Threading the Needle Punch

Your needle should have come with a long threader. Place the threader into the hollow tube of the needle from the tip so the loop end is sticking up out the top. Insert the thread. Pull the threader down.

Now put the threader through the needle eye from the outside to the tube side, which is considered the front of the needle. Insert the thread and pull the threader through. You're now ready to punch!

Punch Needle Instructions for Use

Hold the needle vertically. Push down into the fabric. Lift up just enough to remove the needle. Move one needle space away for Russian punch needle, or whatever length desired for Bunka, and insert the next stitch. Keep the front of the needle facing in the direction you are going so that the threads don't get in your way.

Have a continuous feed of thread flowing loosely into the needle. It should drape over the back of your hand. Make sure it doesn't get caught on anything or your loops will pull out as you try to stitch.

To end a thread, simply snip the end. You can trim and sculpt loops, if desired, or leave them as they are. They should not fall out if your fabric was stretched tightly.

Now you know how to punch needle!

Tips for Success

  • Work the outlines first then go back and fill in. Work from the outside to the center, around and around, following the punch needle instructions above.
  • Add contour and a 3D dimensional appearance to Russian punch needle by varying the loop length. Check the punch needle instructions that came with your needle to learn how to change the loop length. Use a loop length one size longer when making dots with a single loop.
  • If you decide to trim the loops after all punching is completed and the piece has been removed from the hoop, be aware that cutting changes the appearance of the floss or yarn color. It usually makes it darker.
  • In Japanese Bunka it's important to work from background to foreground. For example, if you're doing a flower, you need to do the stem and leaves before doing the flower petals. And each petal should be worked from the center out. Overlapping threads give some dimension. Use it in your favor!
  • Bunka is generally not washed, but washing Russian punch needle will help fluff the loops. They should become more secure in the fabric with washing, too.

More to Explore

design your own cross stitch
embroidery hoops
embroidery patterns
cross stitch fabric

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