Punch Needle Iron On Patches

One day I came across a photo on IG of a woman wearing a jean jacket vest with a punch needle patch. I immediately loved it! 

For one, she has great style! I admired the lettering, the colors, the message.

And two, it was a beautiful message. You see this patch was a Pride patch. ‘Love Is Love’ in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet (yes I did just spell Roy G Biv in my head when writing that out) on a white background. It was hard not to do the same exact design.

You can check out the jean jacket patch on Brittney’s IG page @fibirdstudio! Tell her I say Hi! 🙂  

It wasn’t until months later, I thought about how you would go about making such a patch. Piecing together the steps you’d need to take and the supplies you could use to do it.

In the end, I decided there are 2 options. You can sew the patch to the jacket or you can use a 2 sided iron on adhesive. 

Once I thought of iron on adhesive, I had to try it. If it worked, it would open up a whole new world of punch needle projects!

I will, of course, have to try sewing on a patch someday. But for now, ironing is my new best friend. 

Punch Needle patch on jean jacket

Patch Ideas

Before I get into the details of how to do the patch, I wanted to point out all the possibilities an iron on patch can bring. This has me giddy with excitement!! So many ideas!!!

An iron on patch is one of the easiest crafts I’ve tried. All you do is iron. Why have I not tried this before??!! 

Basically you can put a patch on anything that has access to the backside of the fabric. If you can get an iron on the back side, you can put a patch on it.

There is one caveat. The patches are stiff. If you want your piece to flow (i.e. curtains), the patch will not fold or flow. So you may need to make smaller designs for the patches. 

Punch Needle Coasters

Here is my list of ideas!

  • Coasters (pictured above) or trivets – use felt on the back side
  • Wall art – instead of using a whip stitch to finish, you can iron on fabric to finish off the back
  • Pillows – buy a pillow case and iron on instead of making an entire pillow
  • Tote bag
  • Book bag
  • Jackets
  • Dresses
  • Shirts
  • Curtains

If you have any other ideas, PLEASE tell me! I love to hear your creativity. And if you try any of these ideas, I’d love to hear! 

I have tried coasters, works like a charm! Can we say ‘gift ideas’!! Christmas is coming……..just saying…… 

Because the idea of patches came from a jean jacket, that’s where my heart lead. No further delay, let’s get into it! 

Needle Punch Materials to make iron on patch

Materials

1. Trace outline of patch

To start, think about where you want your patch to be placed. A heart on the front? Several small patches on the back panel? One large patch on the back panel? 

I chose a jean jacket for my daughter. I didn’t find a jacket that I loved and my daughter needs a fall jacket, so she was the lucky winner. 

I chose this jacket from Old Navy. 

Since the jacket was small, I was limited to my patch options. I thought some cute hearts or squiggles would be cute on the front, but there just wasn’t enough room. 

In the end, I chose the back panel and decided to fill it all in. I thought this would make it look like it was part of the jacket. 

To get an outline for my punch needle design, I laid my Monks cloth onto the back panel. Using the ridges of the jacket, I outlined the area with a black sharpie. If you have a fabric marker, this would be preferred. However, I didn’t have any issues with the sharpie. 

Lay Monks cloth on jean jacket to trace design outline

2. Transfer the design to the opposite side

You will want your loops to be on the pretty side (the side you will see when you are done). Because we want our loops on the viewing side, we need to work from the back. 

This means we need the outline we drew to be on the opposite side. 

To get the outline on the back side, hold the Monks cloth up to a window and trace the outline on the back side. 

Transfer needle punch outline to the back side of foundation fabric

Mark this back side with a B to avoid confusion later on. 

Write a B on the back side of your punch needle foundation fabric

3. Insert Monks cloth in frame

Now that we have our outline drawn, you will need to find a working frame to fit your project. 

My daughter’s jacket panel was small enough to fit into the 9” Morgan No Slip Hoop. If you plan to do several small patches, the 7” Morgan No slip hoop would be a great option. If your outline is larger, the 12” Morgan No Slip Hoop is an option. Or you can get a Q snap frame (seen here). 

Another option for a large panel is an artist canvas or wood frame and tacks. For a complete tutorial on this frame, see Artist Canvas Turned Into Punch Needle Frame blog post here

Insert the Monks cloth into the frame.

Place needle punch foundation fabric inside punch needle frame

Pull tight without stretching the outline lines too much. 

Pull Monks cloth tight in Morgan No Slip hoop frame

4. Draw the lines for your design

Now it’s time to design!!! Draw the lines of your design onto the Monks cloth. Be sure to draw the lines on the side marked with a B. 

Draw needle punch design template on foundation fabric

5. Start Punching! 

Once you have your design laid out and your frame ready, it’s time to start punching. First, thread the punch needle tool

Use threading wire to thread the needle. Insert the threader into the top of the needle.

Insert threader into the top of the punch needle tool

Place 2 inches of yarn through threader loop end.  

Insert yarn into threader

Pull threader and yarn back through the needle.

Pull yarn through punch needle tool

Push a loop of yarn through the eye of the punch needle. Pull yarn through.

Push yarn through the eye of the punch needle

To adjust the punch needle for different loop lengths, use notches. Simply twist the needle, pull or push to desired length and turn to lock in place.

For this project, you will want a smaller loop length. On the adjustable handle tool shown in photo, use the 4th setting (4 slots showing on the bottom of the needle). You can also use the Oxford Regular #10 punch needle tool

Adjustable Punch needle tool on setting number 4

If your design has small detailed areas (i.e. eyes of an animal), start with those areas first. If your design is simple with large areas to fill (similar to my piece), you can start wherever you want. I started with the dark copper yarn on the edge. 

Start in the middle of your outline. If you start at the edge, the tail end will stick out and possibly come undone over time. 

Start punching in the middle of your design area

To ensure a clear outline, use a short stitch length for your first row around the outline. A short stitch is about every 2 holes in your Monks cloth. 

First row of punch needle is close stitch every 2 holes in fabric

Insert needle until wooden handle touches canvas. Pull the needle out and move over 2 holes. Be sure the open slot of the needle is pointing the direction you are working. And be sure to graze the fabric with your needle tip. 

Punch needle handle touches the fabric each time

If the needle tip is lifted too high, you will get loops on the back side. 

After the initial first row outline all the way around, you will open up your stitch for the remaining rows. A larger stitch will be every 3-5 holes depending on your yarn. 

Next row is offset the first punch needle row

For your second row, you will want to punch in the middle of your mountain peak on your first row. Since you are opening up your stitch, you will go into every other mountain peak. 

Check your work as you go. If there are bare spots, punch closer together. 

If this is your first time punching, don’t let all these details scare you. It is much easier than it sounds. The close stitch for the outline and the larger stitches for the next rows is something I have learned over time. It helps make the design prettier. BUT it is not necessary. I recommend just starting. Graze your needle and touch your handle each time and you will do great. You can also go back later to fill in gaps. 

To turn corners: When you come to a corner, it is easiest to turn the frame in your hands. Leave your needle in the fabric, turn the piece, turn the needle, ensure the open slot of your needle is facing the direction you are working and continue punching. 

To finish each color: No knots needed! Punch the needle to the long loop side. Pull a small loop out and trim. 

Punch the punch needle tool to the front side of fabric and trim tail

Pull Punch Needle tool out of the fabric leaving the short tail on your loop side.

6.  Clean yarn tails

After you have finished all yarn colors, you will have multiple short little tails throughout your design. Simply trim these tails so that they hide within the other loops. 

If you have any straggling yarn bits, trim those as well. The fabric will hold the yarn. 

trim all yarn tails when needle punch project is complete

Remove Monks cloth from frame.

Remove monks cloth from the morgan no slip hoop

7. Trim Monks cloth 1 inch around design

Trim the excess fabric around the design. Leave about an inch of fabric to allow for ironing and possible fraying.

Trim Monks cloth 1 inch around punch needle patch

8. Iron

Using an iron on it’s highest dry setting, iron your punch needle piece so that it lays flat.

Fold in seams around the patch and iron. 

Iron folded seams down

9. Cut adhesive paper

Using your patch as a guide, cut the adhesive paper to match. 

Use the needle punch patch to cut the adhesive paper to size

10. Iron 2 sided adhesive to patch 

Ensure the Monks cloth is tucked under the adhesive paper. 

Using an iron (highest dry setting), iron the adhesive paper to the patch. My iron has settings 0-6 and I used the 5 setting. Note: Your iron will set on the paper. 

Hold for 4 seconds. 

Iron on adhesive paper to needle punch patch

Allow adhesive paper to fully cool. 

Trim any paper edges hanging over your patch. 

Trim any extra paper after adhesive paper has cooled

Remove backing paper from the patch.

Peel off the backing paper from the punch needle patch

11. Iron patch onto jacket

Place patch on jacket ensuring it will fit into the intended area. 

Holding the patch, flip the jacket. Ensure patch is placed in intended area. 

Lay punch needle patch down and line up to jacket

Iron the jacket side to activate the glue. Hold 10 seconds for a heavy material such as a jean jacket. 

Iron jean jacket to the punch needle patch

Check patch to see that glue is gooey. Do not pull or mess with the patch too much as it will loosen the effectiveness of the glue. If you see the glue pulling up, it is working. Let it be. 

Ensure the edges of the patch are ironed well. Do not leave the iron on too long. The glue will melt away essentially and become useless. 

Allow to cool thoroughly. 

Videos

As always, the full video tutorials. I know I like short videos when trying to learn something. So this time around, I made 2 videos. One is short, cutting out a lot of the details (sometimes I explain too much).

The second video is a long video with more details on the process. If you’re having issues, this video might help you. I go into a lot more detail in several areas.

12. Enjoy!! 

My absolute favorite part! Seeing what you created! 

Finished punch needle patch on jean jacket

You finally get to see your overall vision complete and in full form. Every time it makes me giddy with excitement. And that is why we create! Right??!?! This feeling at the end of a project is why we do what we do. And it’s the best feeling! I would describe it as ‘feeling alive’. Creativity makes us feel alive. 

Creativity makes us feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Sometimes I think this prevents us from starting. But this feeling of vulnerability and unease is why seeing the end project is so rewarding. We have to go through the yucky part to get to the feeling of accomplishment and growth. I’m SO glad we as women seem to continue to push through this over and over. I’m not sure we even know we’re doing it. We know we love seeing our ideas come to fruition so we continue to push and feel yucky. And this is a wonderful thing!! 

Girls XS jean jacket with punch needle patch

If you are one of these women, you are amazing! Pat yourself on the back. If you are like me, you don’t feel like this is amazing because you do it so readily. But if you really think about it, there are millions of people out there that don’t create because of the yucky part. You are amazing because you put yourself out there, you create, you feel vulnerable, you feel uneasy, and you create anyway! You. Are. Amazing! And I’m honored to be here with you. 

May you feel loved. 

May you feel at peace. 

May you be happy. 

Until next time! 

Xoxo,

Shawna