Your frame is one of the most important tools in Punch Needle. Your frame keeps your backing fabric stretched tight, and the tighter it is, the easier it is to punch! There are multiple options for Punch Needle Frames, but which one is right for you? Below, we’ll break down the 3 frame types and the pros and cons of each.
Gripper Strip Frames
Pros: professional, most effective frame for keeping backing fabric tight, can move pieces on the frame so you can create work of all sizes
Cons: the most expensive option, larger sizes can be harder to transport
The Gripper Strip frame is the top tier of Punch Needle Frames, and was created specifically for this craft. It’s sturdy and reliable, makes prepping your backing fabric a breeze, and keeps your backing fabric tighter than any other frame out there. If you are committed to punch and know this is more than just a fling, splurge for one of these and you won’t regret it! Easily disassembled for transport if necessary, larger sizes can be used to create artworks of all shapes and sizes since you can move the piece on the frame without snagging the yarn.
The Morgan No-Slip Embroidery Hoop
Pros: affordable, lightweight, portable, good for children
Cons: need to constantly keep tightening the backing fabric, limited to making smaller pieces that fit within the frame
The Morgan No-Slip Embroidery Hoop is a good option for new punchers who are just dipping a toe in the punch needle world. If you want to give punch needle a try but aren’t ready to commit to a pricier frame, this is a great first step! Keep in mind this frame was designed for embroidery, which doesn't exert the same level of force on the backing fabric as punching, and as a result your fabric will become loose and need to be re-tightened over time as you punch. The No-Slip Hoop is great for making smaller decorative pieces, for punching on the go, or for punching into various small sections of a larger piece of fabric that you don’t want to snag. It is the only frame option that doesn’t use any metal teeth or nails, so it’s perfectly safe for kids as well!
Carpet Tack Frame
Pros: affordable / DIY, can make any size that you want, can move your work on the frame (carefully)
Cons: requires construction, requires extra nails/tacks to get backing fabric tight enough, sharp nails can be hazardous for children (and adults), hard to transport
The carpet tack frame is the OG frame of the rug hooking world, the original, the kind that has been used by rug hookers for years. Carpet tack can be easily found at any hardware store or online, is affordable, and with a little DIY you can make yourself a frame (or many frames) in multiple sizes! This is a great option for beginners if you have the tools and the time, and for more experienced punchers who are looking to create frames in larger, custom sizes for bigger pieces. Do note that you will want to use felt or another type of fabric to cover the edges of your frame as you work, since the nails will stick up through the fabric and can be hazardous to your arms as you work. It can take some time and practice to get your backing fabric tight on this frame, and may require the use of extra nails or tacks to keep it tight. This frame is not recommended for younger children.