Punch needling is a technique that goes back thousands of years and has developed over time to produce a vast variety of different styles and finishes. Because of its popularity, there are now abundant patterns and kits to choose from to create highly textured, impressive designs.
Before you start a punch needle project, there are a few things you need to consider. The first important decision you need to make is what type of foundation cloth to use. Like any craft, it takes time to perfect, but having the right materials is the first step to success.
Here are some of the most popular types of backing fabric for punch needling:
Most popular choicemonks cloth
The most commonly used fabric for punch needling is monk’s cloth. It’s an even weave fabric that comes in different varieties, but because it is intended for rug hook and punch needle applications, it makes a brilliant choice for your foundation.
Monks cloth has a loose, even weave that allows for the needle to smoothly move across the fabric. It also works well under tension, as it grips the loops evenly and can cope with a lot of pressure. For different designs, it can also be dyed to match your chosen color scheme.
Overall, this fabric is perfect for beginners, as well as being a go-to fabric for people more experienced in the craft. It was intended for punch needling, so is designed accordingly.
Looking for an alternative? Try linen fabric
Linen is a versatile, durable fabric that can make a great alternative, depending on your preferences and the requirements for your project. Because linen has many uses, there are certain types that can work really well for punch needle projects – it’s simply a case of trial and error.
This material is a loose woven fabric, which can sometimes cause it to be uneven. It’s usually woven with a single thread, unlike some other varieties that allow you to frog your work multiple times.
Linen usually comes in a neutral color and can also be dyed, but it doesn’t come with guidelines and the holes per inch varies greatly for the best results, aim for 11-15 holes per inch, although you can easily experiment with different options until you find the right one.
Option 3: Weavers cloth
Another popular option is weavers’ cloth. Although it’s used less often than the other two options, it can be useful for certain types of projects. For example, if you’re working with finer yarns or embroidery, it can be a fantastic choice as the material is even-weave and has a tighter structure.
Weavers’ cloth is made from 55% polyester and 45% cotton, making it strong enough to prevent tearing when you’re using it. Additionally, the closure is great, which means that the finished loops stay in place and don’t slip out when you’re in the middle of the project.
Which is best?
Having a foundation cloth that you can depend on is vital to any punch needle project. Without it, it can be difficult to finish your work to a high quality. As this type of craft is repetitive and requires vigorous movements, the strength of the material is an important decision.
You can use a variety of punch needle fabrics for your next project, but it’s important to consider the individual project itself as you will need material that can maintain its weave, stay in place, and will be durable in the long term. The weave tightness should also be suitable for the thread size and the thickness of the punch needle, as the wrong choice can mess up your design.
Overall, there are pros and cons to the different types of backing fabric options listed, but it’s important to make your own decision based on what is most suitable for the design you have created.