Introduction: Punch Needle Hanging Bird

About: I like all things artsy!

This is a fun and easy project which will be a great addition to your home decor! Choose your own colors and create a lovable little bird to hang up and enjoy!


12 Count Monks Cloth

Embroidery Hoop, such as Morgan No-Slip Hoop

Yarn- four colors of your choice. I used red, blue, yellow, and dark gray in a medium/fine weight wool. You can use a bulky or thick yarn for a different look (see peach colored bird picture).

Punch Needle- make sure you have a punch needle that is the right size for the yarn you use. My favorite kind of punch needle is the Oxford Punch Needle. I used a #14 Fine Oxford Punch Needle for medium/fine yarn for the red bird

For bulky or thick yarn, as used in the peach bird, use Oxford #10 Regular Punch Needle

Fabric Glue- you can use another liquid glue or even wood glue

Felt- Color of your choice. I used white


Air Dry Clay- I used Das Terra Cotta Air Dry Clay (I also added a bit of red acrylic paint to the red bird's beads)

Terra Cotta:

Tool to pierce a hole in clay, such as a pencil

Other Items Needed:



Sewing needle and thread (same color as the felt)

Sewing Clips or straight pins


Painters tape or masking tape

Glue gun

Step 1: Print Templates and Prepare Cloth

Print PDFs of bird template and felt pattern piece.

Cut Monks cloth into square/rectangle that will fit with your 9 inch hoop. My cloth was 12 x 10 inches. Monk’s cloth easily frays, so as an option, you can use painter’s tape around the edges.

Put cloth into a 9 inch hoop. Tighten hoop as you pull cloth taut. In the end, cloth should be as taut as a drum.

Step 2: Transferring the Image

Print off the bird template and cut around the bird image so that it will fit inside the hoop. If needed, outline the image again with a black sharpie so that it is strong. Tape the image to the back of the hoop.

Hold the hoop with the template up to a window so that you can see through the cloth to the bird image. Use a light colored marker to outline the bird image onto the monk’s cloth.

Step 3: How to Punch Needle

Punch Needle Instructions:

According to instructions provided by your punch needle, thread your needle with the bird color yarn.

Place the tip of the needle on the outside line of the bird using the color you’ve chosen for the bird. Punch through the cloth all the way down, as far as the needle will let you, and then evenly pull up the needle skimming as close to the surface as possible to the next stitch point and repeat process. You do not want to lift the needle too far above the cloth because then your loops will come out unevenly. Also, make sure the yarn is loose from the ball. If the line ever gets too taught while punch needling, the stitches will be uneven or fall apart. Stitched correctly, the yarn loops will stay in place because of the tightness of all the loops that form together.

You will notice that the yarn loops appear on the other side of the cloth. This is the “right side” of the project, the side you will want to display.

Stitch length and placement depends on the size of the yarn. Check the right side of the project to make sure that there are not cloth spaces showing between yarn loops. I always stitch a little closer together for outline rows, and I usually outline with two rows.

Other tips:

-When making outline rows, try and stagger your stitches like you are layering bricks.

-Keep checking your loops on the right side to make sure they are even as you punch. If you make a mistake, simply pull the yarn up from the wrong side and start over!

-If you need to turn the needle in a different direction while stitching, turn the needle when it is all the way punched down into the cloth, and then when you pull it up, place the needle where you want it.

- To end a color, pinch the yarn as you pull up the needle, and then continue pulling up the needle until you have excess yarn above the stitches. Cut the yarn near the surface, and using your needle, push the yarn end through to the other side. You can trim it later.

For further instructions on how to punch needle, I suggest watching Amy Oxford’s set of five “Pear Project“ video tutorials: These tutorials will teach you all the basics of punch needling.

Step 4: Outlining the Bird

When punch needling, always outline the objects in two rows of yarn with a closer stitch. This makes sure that the object parts are clearly defined.

I outlined the bird with red in two rows.

I outlined the wing in yellow in two rows.

I outlined the blue of the wing inside the yellow with two rows. Finally, I outlined the beak in dark gray with two rows. Next, I gave the eye of the bird three punches.

Step 5: Filling in the Bird

After outlining the bird and all its parts, I then began filling in the different areas. My preference for filling in shapes is to punch needle by circling around each shape until I finishing off each shape in the middle, rather than punch needling in rows.

I did not add another yellow row to the wing since I felt that two rows were sufficient.

Side note: in my peach colored bird, I ran out of yarn, so I had to improvise and add a yellow tone yarn around his eye. Feel free to add different colors to add interest to your bird!

Step 6: Finishing Off the Loops

After finishing the punching, turn over to the “right side” or the side with the yarn loops. Using your punch needle, you can arrange the loops if they are disordered. I also finish it off by cutting off any longer loops or stray pieces of yarn sticking up.

Step 7: Cut Out the Bird

Turn back to the wrong side of the project, and leave a glue outline around your bird, about an inch away from edge. This will help keep the monk’s cloth from fraying too much. Let the glue fully dry.

Next, take the project out of your hoop, and take your scissors and cut around the seam allowance outside edge of your glue outline.

Step 8: Iron

Now, you will need to iron the project so that it lays flat. Turn on iron to hottest setting. Get a wet washcloth and lay it on top of the “right” side of the project, with yarn loops facing up. Set hot iron on the washcloth and let steam for 30 seconds. Move iron and steam until it's been completely covered. The project should be flat for the most part.

Step 9: Seam Allowance Work

After project is fully cooled, take scissors and carefully cut into the “seam allowance” of monk’s cloth around the bird. Be careful not to cut directly into corners (As you can see in the second pic, I cut a piece of cloth and added it to the corner between the tail and the back since this area of the bird is tricky. It's difficult to fold over the cloth in that space. So, I cut into the corner and then added cloth, and this helps it with fraying.)

Next, take glue and on the “wrong side” of the project, fold the monk’s cloth towards the center and glue. The yarn loops should be on the outer edge so that from the front side, you can’t see the monk’s cloth. I use clips to keep the cloth in place as it dries, but this is optional. You can also try pinning with straight needles.

Step 10: Beads

You can either buy beads or make your own beads out of air dry clay.

I used terra cotta Das Air Dry Clay. Side note: I wanted my beads for my red bird to have more of a red color, so I added red acrylic paint, kneading it together with the clay. If you use white clay, you can mix any sort of color. You can also paint your beads after they dry.

For the larger bead, roll air dry clay into an approximately ¾ inch ball.

Use a tool, such as a pencil, to pierce a hole in middle that is large enough to let two strands of twine pass.

For two smaller beads, roll air dry clay into two approximately ¼ inch balls. Again, pierce hole large enough for two strands of twine to pass in both beads. Let clay fully dry according to instructions.

Step 11: Felt Preparation

Cut out template for felt piece. You will notice that the felt piece is slightly bigger than the original bird template. This is so that there is a slight give in the project in order to add stuffing.

Secure the felt with clips or straight pins and cut the piece out.

Attach to wrong or back side of bird project so that the yarn loops are on the outside. Again, the felt is slightly bigger, so clip or pin in place as best you can.

Step 12: Securing Felt

You will whip stitch the felt to the back of the project. For whip stitching use a double thread (same color as your felt) and make a knot at the end. Push needle through the underside of the felt so you can hide knot there.

Then, use a whip stitch by sewing the end edge of the monks cloth to the edge of the felt. Move the felt along as you go, putting edges together to make up for the size difference between the felt and the project. If you run out of thread, simply knot by stitching into the monk’s cloth and leave a loop. Pull the needle with thread through the loop and knot. Do this twice. Then, start again with new thread, leaving the knot under the felt.

Here is a tutorial on this type of stitch in more detail:

Whip stitch around the bird, but leave a two-inch space at the top between the bird’s head and the tail.

Step 13: Stuffing

Put stuffing into the bird, and make sure to add enough to give the bird a puffed look. Make sure to not overstuff.

Step 14: Twine and Beads

Next, cut a 36-inch piece of twine. Fold twine in half, and then place a small bead 4 inches from the loop. Tie a knot on top and under that bead. Then, place another small bead directly under the knot and tie another knot under that bead. Finally, place the large bead directly under the last knot and tie another knot under the big bead.

Step 15: Attaching the Twine

Tuck the bottom pieces of twin inside the bird with the stuffing. Place it in the middle of the bird’s back.

Use a glue gun to glue the twine to the back of the punch needling cloth. Set until cool.

Whip stitch the rest of the bird closed, and secure the twine with the stitches on either side.

Step 16: Finished!

You are finished! Hang your beautiful bird and display it proudly! Great job!

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