Punch needle embroidery: Cute, cozy projects for cold nights

A woman's hands center a needle punch patch in the shape of a brightly colored rainbow onto the back of a dark blue denim jacket.

There’s something satisfying and deeply therapeutic about needle punch crafts: They’re easy, repetitive and immediately gratifying. Plus, with a small project and simple design like the ones below, it only takes a few hours to end up with needle punch patches that are wearable, frameable or giftable. 

We asked textile design expert Keda M. to teach us some needle punch basics. Follow along to create your own adorable, fuzzy needle punch patches to adorn jean jackets, tote bags and more.

Inspired? Create and share by tagging @HallmarkStores.

Materials needed for needle punch patches include scissors, a pencil, yarn in your colors of choice, evenweave fabric, fusible interfacing, iron-on patch adhesive (if making patches), and a punch needle.

What you’ll need:

  • Size 13 Oxford needle
  • 5 ounces yarn in your desired colors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Embroidery hoop: You’ll want one bigger than your patch on all sides.
  • Fabric marker or Sharpie
  • Monk’s cloth: You can use many different materials for needle punching, but evenweave fabrics make it extra simple. Wash and dry your fabric before starting.
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing: It makes the fabric easier to punch through and gives you a smooth surface to draw the pattern.  
  • Iron-on adhesive or fabric fuse sheets (if making patches)


If you do embroidery, cross stitch or needlepoint, you probably have most of these supplies handy. If not, they’re easy to find or order online and are usually inexpensive.

How to make needle punch patches  

A woman's hands sketch a rainbow pattern onto a piece of evenweave fabric that's been fused with interfacing and inserted into an embroidery hoop.

First, prep your fabric.

Following the instructions on your interfacing, iron it to your monk’s cloth.

Put the ironed fabric in your embroidery hoop with the design (which will be the back of your patch) on top, facing up. Make sure it’s pulled tight and even.

If you’re tracing your design, you can do it right onto the fusible interfacing. If you’re freehanding it, draw it after you’ve stretched the fabric in the embroidery hoop. 

Important note: You’ll be needling through the back of the fabric—so the loops of yarn don’t get crushed—so remember your finished patch will be a reverse image.

Pro tip: If your design is too intricate, you might lose some detail. Keep it big and simple, especially when you’re starting out. We recommend art without lots of tiny details—iconic images like rainbows, flowers, coffee cups, etc.

A woman's hands thread a punch needle with magenta colored yarn.

Next, thread your needle. 

Unlike sewing needles, Oxford needles are easy to thread. Starting at the bottom, thread your yarn through the metal loop, towards the slot in the handle. Pull it through the slot and through the eye of the needle.

Pro tip: Thicker yarn means you’ll need a bigger needle—and fabric with a more open weave. Keep that in mind when choosing yarn.

A woman uses a punch needle to create a rainbow pattern in a piece of evenweave fabric that's been inserted into an embroidery hoop; the first three inner arches of the rainbow have been embroidered with light pink, white and aqua yarn, and she is starting a fourth arch with magenta colored yarn.

Then get to needle punching!

To start, hold about an inch-long tail of the yarn down with your thumb, and punch the needle through an opening in the weave of your fabric. You’ll want the slot on the needle facing the direction you’re moving. 

Lift the needle back up through the fabric, slide it to the next opening and punch it through. Don’t let the tip of the punch needle come off the surface of the fabric as you move from one punch to the next.

The direction you move to fill in your design is up to you, based on the design and whether you’re right- or left-handed. You can outline and fill it in or go row by row—whatever helps you feel the flow.

To change colors, cut the yarn—leaving about a half-inch tail—and move on. There’s no need to knot or finish anything off.

A woman uses a pair of scissors to trim excess fabric from her completed needle punch patch in the shape of a rainbow.

Cut out your needle punch design.

Take your design out of the embroidery hoop and trim any straggly yarn.

Before you cut the cloth, follow the instructions to carefully adhere the iron-on adhesive or fabric fuse sheets to the back. Added benefit: It’ll secure your loops so they don’t pull out.

Don’t get too close to the needle punch loops when you’re cutting—you’ll need a little fabric around the edges to hold it all together.

On the left is a collection of needle punch patches in different patterns, including a rainbow, a coffee cup, a potted plant and a geometric pattern; on the right, a woman's hands center a completed needle punch patch in the shape of a rainbow onto the back of a dark blue denim jacket.

If creating an iron-on patch, peel the backing off the iron-on adhesive and iron it on to your jacket or bag.

If you’re heat-fusing it, apply the iron on the garment or tote side—not the yarn—so you don’t crush the beautiful loops you created. You can always pin the patch on before turning it over and ironing it to help secure it in place.

On the left is a needle punch patch in the shape of a coffee cup, fused to a cream-colored canvas tote; on the right is a needle punch patch with a potted plant design in a light-colored, natural wood frame with a rope for a hanger attached to its back.


Also, if you’re framing your lovely creation, you don’t have to add the iron-on adhesive. But you probably figured that out!

With these tips, you’re one step closer to becoming a needle punch embroidery expert and the coolest gift-giver at any party. Personalized patches made with love? Yes, please! 


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