Whether you thread your punch needle with yarn or embroidery floss, you’ll need a dependable foundation cloth. Because this fiber art, as its name suggests, relies on the repetition of a relatively vigorous gesture, it’s crucial that this cloth is durable, capable of maintaining its weave with every punch. You can use a variety of fabrics, from monk’s cloth—the most popular choice for traditional punch needle rug hooking—to traditional linen, but the weave tightness should be appropriate for the thickness of your punch needle (which corresponds to your thread size). Choosing the wrong backing can result in loops that inadvertently fall out or messily bunched designs. Our picks below will help guide your search.
1. Dorr Mill Monk’s Cloth
Woven specifically for punch needle art, this monk’s cloth is the best you can get. Made of natural cotton, it is soft yet resilient, capable of holding its structure even as you repeatedly puncture it with your needle. Unlike cheaper monk’s cloth, it resists fraying and has a consistent grid, with 12 neatly woven double threads per inch, that can accommodate larger needles. It also features a white line every two inches to assist you with counting.
2. Weavers Cloth for Punch Needle Embroidery
If you tend to work with embroidery floss or fine yarns, choose this even-weave cloth that has a tighter structure. Made of 55 percent polyester and 45 percent cotton, this fabric is strong enough to prevent tearing while you punch and offers good closure, so finished loops don’t slip out. The cream color offers a versatile canvas for all kinds of projects.
3. ZX Vision Monk’s Cloth
This is another good choice if you’re seeking monk’s cloth for small projects, experiments, or practice. You get three pieces of 100 percent cotton squares, each measuring 11 inches by 11 inches—an ideal size to use with a hoop. Unlike Dorr Mill’s product, this cloth doesn’t feature pre-stamped guidelines, but the weave is just as neat and also double threaded to provide a strong foundation for rapid punching.
4. Boao Linen
Linen is also an excellent pick to use as foundational fabric, especially if you want to make heirloom-worthy objects. The weave tightness is similar to that of weavers’ cloth, but the finish is more sophisticated, which is handy if your pattern calls for a lot of exposed areas. We like this high-quality option, which includes six pieces of clean, unbleached linen—each finished with sealed edges to prevent unsightly fraying.
5. AK Trading Co. Burlap and Cotton Blend
If you want to experiment with a slightly unconventional but appropriate backing, consider this fabric, which is made of 50 percent burlap and 50 percent cotton. This combination results in a tightly woven cloth that has a nice weight to it, a noticeable stiffness, and beautiful texture. Unlike pure burlap, this fabric’s weave is consistently structured while carrying subtle variations in color, which can lend your finished piece a unique homespun look.