How To Make a Punch Needle Threader



One of the stickiest parts of punch needle is threading.  It’s tedious enough for me to have entertained the idea of buying several punch needle tools and threading them by color so that they would not need rethreading often.  This really isn’t a viable option, fiscally or otherwise, but after losing three threaders and wondering if there is a combo sock/threader heaven, I drove the drive we all hate to JoAnns to buy needle threaders just so I could continue with my punching project.Five dollars for two of them!  Are you kidding me… for two pieces of wire attached to two pieces of tin foil.  But what were my choices because you can’t thread the tool without a threader.   Fortunately I had a coupon, but unfortunately when I got home I realized neither threader was long enough for my upgraded punch needle tool. AAARRRGGGHHH!

So I cleaned up my mess, put everything away for a day or so, and when it was convenient I was back at JoAnns returning the threaders (which they did without question even though the packaging was open).  Instead I bought wire;  28 gauge, “tarnish resistant” wire to be exact, for only $2 because I had a coupon AND an idea.

In my constant effort to improve by improvising, I figured out a way to make my own threader, and with 40 yards of wire, I can now make, say, about a hundred of them.  I’m calculating that to 2-cents a piece.  I have added large “charming” accoutrements to the ends making them “loss-resistant” as well.   This was very important to me, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Grab twice the length of wire you want your threader to be, then add an inch or so more for good measure.  Put both ends together and thread BOTH through a needle that is ONLY BIG ENOUGH for both of them to go through – in other words, little or no wiggle room.  (A thin tapestry needle is a good choice because it’s strong and won’t bend.)  Pull hard.  I even used pliers.  This will instantly bring the two wires together at a tip in the middle.  This will be the tip of the threader.  Then attach the open ends to your chosen large charm (which in this case is cut from an old drapery tie-back I found at a yardsale…I knew I’d find a use for it someday!!!)  It was all one piece, ribbon included, and I simply put those end wires through two of the beads, made a knot, and then pulled back to hide the ends and knot in the middle of the charm.  Voila!  An alternative is to simply put the loose ends between tape or adhere them permanently by gluing them between two pennies (use Liquid Nails LN601).

The gauge of wire is strong enough to be handled like any other threader, but as with any other threader my suggestion would be to hold it near the tip while threading the punch needle tool. Grabbing it from the middle might put a kink in it that could make subsequent threading more difficult.

The store-bought threaders were straight only when they were brand new.  After a few uses they became curved, so I am not concerned my handmades start out curved.   Just like punch needle, there’s not a lot of intellect required but rather dexterity and patience.  If I can do this, you can too.

So naturally at the very moment I complete my own better mousetrap (the threader), my husband comes out of the bathroom holding a funny looking wire thing that he found on the white rug asking:  “What is this?”   AAARRRGGGHHH!

About Patsye

I am an older woman and artist. I love to craft. I love to sew and knit and crochet and needlepoint. I love to paint and draw and make art with my hands. Being creative is what gets me up in the morning. Art is my tea, my fresh air, my good book, and my cats all rolled into one. I have much to share and hope you'll visit often.
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39 Responses to How To Make a Punch Needle Threader

  1. Susan says:

    I love your lovely patterns! Also, thank you for your instructions about making needle threaders. However, I bought 28 gauge wire and it is much too large for my needles. I punch with 1-3 threads of DMC cotton. It has been suggested that the original threader wire size is actually 34 or 36 gauge. I’m going to buy that size and hope it fits. Has anyone else had this problem? Would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks so much!

  2. Pingback: Punch Needle Project: 27 Days to Go | whimseytopia

  3. helen says:

    I have been trying to use a punch needle for many years, since I bought one in India 45 years ago. I now have a collection of them, but none came with a needle threader and no one I know has ever suggested a NEEDLE THREADER!! I have two or three from India, two from Morocco, and one from Turkey. We didnt have Google n those days. All I need to do now is find out how to thread the needle and to use it properly. Any suggestions?. A video would be good.
    Helen from australia

    • maureenc says:

      Helen! Do check with Pamela Gurney( and ) email: Her postal addie is P.O. Box 302, Kangaroo GroundVictoria3097. She has released several books as well as videos and has been working with punch needles since about 1990. From memory I bought my Cameo brand needle from her about 2004/5. Like you I have various tools from Malaysia (1984) AND Germany about 1990.I won’t list all other :things” I have never worked out how to use, but Pamela is worth a contact. Good luck from Maureen in Qld

    • Anonymous says:

      Good Morning Helen: I could send you off to Youtube or any craft store or book shop for instructions on punching, but you were kind enough to write so I’ll give this a try.

      First threading the needle. 1. Insert the threader down the lumen of the needle, from tip to bottom. Insert the yarn through the opening in the threader and pull it up the needle punch until it reaches the tip. 2. Remove the yarn from threader and insert threader through the small hole in the needle tip. Again insert yarn and pull it through that hole in the tip of the needle until you have a continuous strand of yarn that starts at the ball of yarn, up through the lumen of the punch needle, through the hole in the needle tip with a tail of yarn dangling from the tip. (I keep going over this in my mind to make sure I’m saying this properly.)

      Punching is a book in itself. While it’s very simple once you get started, there are some nuances that only practice can address. I learned by doing. That was such a slow process I bought a book. More doing, and now I can punch in my sleep. I suggest Youtube or a book. I also suggest doing something small like a pillow with a three-strand yarn. Once you get the muscle memory going, then head out and do a rug, or something quite small with a very fine needle.

      Warning: Punch needle is quite addictive. No matter what other craft I am doing at any given time, I wind up gravitating back to punch needle, especially while watching TV. The two go together quite well, mostly because I watch a lot of sports that by their very nature have an enormous amount of downtime.

      Good luck, and thanks again for writing. Patsye

      p.s. There is a new magazine: Punch Needle & Primitive Stitcher. Google that and sign up. There are comprehensive instructions and lots of patterns. I’m a subscriber!

  4. Suzie Severson says:

    Oops, I meant to check add me to future posts 😃

  5. Suzie Severson says:

    Hello Patsye,
    Love your idea for a dyi threader! I very much enjoy sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet, paper crafts, many home diy adventures, out doors, & all things natural organic – as we say in my family: a crunchy life style lol!
    But i just learned of how very do-able punch needle is. I’ve admired the finished work of others for many years but i thought it looked to be terrible hard & might take months to complete a small project based on several other needle work arts I’ve tried! What a fabulous surprise to learn how simple & quick this lovely art is! I’m brand new to punch needle. My ultra punch came with only one threader! 😱
    Gosh, for how expensive the punch needles are & how cheap the threaders are to make they could be gracious to include at least two threaders as I quickly learned that you’re all done punching if your threader breaks or goes missing!! That one and only threader I had slipped next to a fold of fabric UGHhh! ** When I found it a day later I was so thankful & I quickly attached a little bell to it- that will be routine from here on! 😉 However, that one soon broke so I made one from jewelry wire I had on hand so that I would not be threader-less again 🙂
    PS, I made short regular needle threaders from the broken one for extras since those small threaders are prone to easily break as well.
    I love your cute charm additions & I’ll add those to my bell from now on too as I will be making more of these little works of art.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas!

    • whimseytopia says:

      Thank you for such a lovely note. Once you’re completely smitten with punch needle on a small scale, you’ll probably gravitate toward punching some rugs with yarn or strips of wool. Google Amy Oxford and see her site about rug “hooking.” You’ll be amazed.

      I love getting notes like yours. I’m so glad my little money-saving DIY project has helped others. Have a great day. Patsye

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh Miss Patsye, you read my mind (no worries, it’s a short read this mind of mine 😉) yes yes, making a rug is on my list! The kind I’ve done in the past were much to labor intensive for this girl ( wool rug hand laced, love the look but ugh) 😄
        I will be checking out how to needle punch a rug as soon as possible! 😀

  6. Norma says:

    Love your idea! Definitely need ones that fit my “collection” of needles! Can you tell me where you sell your rug kits?

    • whimseytopia says:

      Good Morning Norma: When I wrote this post 4 1/2 years ago I had no idea it would be so useful to so many. That makes me very happy. However, I have no punch needle kits to sell now, though I’m still punching away at both large and small projects. I recently finished a hall rug ( ) that turned out great. I used Amy Oxford needles for this, so there was no threader involved. Would love to see some of your projects…do you blog?

      Thanks for writing. Patsye

  7. maureenc says:

    So lovely to learn that that people are “googling” punch needles and finding your delightful blog from nearly four years ago! I haven’t been active either needle wise or blog wise for “a while” because I succumbed to what I used to call old ladies’ disease when I was nursing a long time back! Yes Bronchitis laid me low, drat it, and I’m just easing back into “doing ” things. How goes the water colours? I started,thanks to you, but it went by the wayside as I kept coughing so much. I hope all is well with you? 🙂

    • whimseytopia says:

      Hi Maureen: Sorry about your bronchitis, but guess what? I’m down with the same thing. At first I thought it was pollen, but I spent the last three nights coughing (and not sleeping), and I’m whipped.

      I’ve been too busy with this house renovation to post (working on two 8′ X 6.5′ closets), and too tired to craft much. I’m sure I’ll be back soon. I don’t plan to work through the summer on this house. I need the break and I’m anxious to pull out my art supplies now that the studio is cleaned up and ready.

      Hope you feel better soon. Hope we BOTH feel better soon. Patsye

  8. Fabiola says:

    First of all THANK YOU for your guidance on making an inexpensive needle threader. I consider myself resourceful but the long threader and the unavailability of it had me stumped. My daughter is completing her High School Senior Project that involves cross stitch, embroidery and punch needle. We went to Joann’s and Michael’s and had no success finding the longer threaders for the punch needles, much less someone who works there that even knew what punch needle embroidery was! We ended up going to the floral section to see if we found wire thin enough and the 30 gauge seemed to be it. When we arrived home, I started researching on how to make a threader and came across your site, what a blessing! I have already made 6 of them for her, not fancy yet like yours but just stuck to a piece of paper. The wire was only $1.99 regular price and we had a 50% off coupon at Joann’s so total was $1.09! The punch needle also served to pull the wire through and needlenose pliers to pinch the end to a point. We will be embellishing some new threaders soon. Thank you once again for the idea!

    • whimseytopia says:

      It is I who should be thanking you for taking the time to write. While I certainly understand and accept the fact that manufacturers of punch needle tools need to make a living, the idea that they charge $5 for an item(s) worth a few cents is preposterous, and it was only a matter of time when someone would figure it out and make their own. I don’t have much money, and I had even less back then, so really beyond the necessity of the invention, the only ingenuity involved was getting a good point on the tip of the folded wire; the rest was easy.

      Good luck to your daughter and her project, and thank you very much for making my day. Patsye

  9. Dear whimseytoopia, I use 8 lb. monofilament fishing line for my threading of embroidery DMC thread, just pinch the end and pass it up through needle.

  10. Dee VanRuskenveld says:

    I have used speaker wire for a threader using the method posted. One side of the wire is copper and the other side is steel wire. Simply strip the steel wire about 2 feet long, there will be about 6 individual wires inside. Slide out just one and save the other 5 for next time. I used white glue to seal the ends between 2 dimes for a handle. Works like a charm! Thanks for your advice!!

    • whimseytopia says:

      Extraordinary idea! Who doesn’t have old speaker wire in a box in the basement??? I do!! In fact, I’m going to go and find it before my husband throws it away. Good recycling idea. Thanks for sharing. Patsye

  11. Susan Denton says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful idea! I too, tried the 28 gauge and found it too bulky. I am now going to try 32 gauge. I have lots of little charms I can attach to the ends mostly earrings that I have pnly one of.

    • whimseytopia says:

      I’m so glad you found my site and can save all this money. You know, I was just reviewing this post from December 2011 and realize that I’ve had more comments on this than any other. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction that my little idea has helped others. Thanks for commenting. Patsye

  12. Cynthia Bell says:

    Putting you on my AWESOME list! Thank you a million times!

    • Anonymous says:

      Cynthia, I’m sorry If this goes to you instead of the lady who owns the site. I wanted to leave a comment to her wimseytopia but couldn’t find where so I chose you. Hope this will reach her.

      First off you are a real charmer. I’m and older lady myself near 80. Your comments read like my own. I do all kinds of things and always enjoy new. On making the needle reader it was terrific. I used two plyers. Bend your wire the length you need and bend it with your fingers just so you’ll know where the middle is. Then take the plyer and slide it along and when it’s near the tip grip it hard and take the other plyer and tweak the tip to a pinched point, nearly closed. At the other end, the two open wires, give the a turn or two around a pencil or something small. Then squeeze them flat and they won’t poke anything, or put a bead on each end. Thanks so much for your advice and you sure brought a chuckle to me, and thank you Cynthia for helping me along.

      Nanna in California

    • whimseytopia says:

      Glad I could help. You’re welcome. Patsye

  13. Susan says:

    My fun-time budget and I thank you for sharing your great money saving creation. If I had a dollar for every threader that I’ve lost, I would have enough $$$ to take my family out to dinner.

  14. Barb says:

    Do you know what size needle you used? I found the wire and purchased small tapestry needles, but when I pull the wire through, it doesn’t pinch it together. Do you have photos of what you did?

    • Hi Barb! Sorry you’re having trouble. But no, I don’t know what size needle I used. But here’s a tip: As you are pulling the wires through, pull at an angle toward the tip of the needle. That will “squeeze” it even tighter. I might also suggest you buy a package of needles that have various sizes. Try each one and see what works best. Check to see that your wire is not the kind of wire that won’t “kink”. Some are made not to.

      An alternative to this is to simply take a pair of needlenose pliers and pinch a wire in half. Someone once told me that she bit her wire with her teeth (though NOT recommended), and that worked well for her.

      Threading the wires through the needle, once you find the right size needle, is the quickest and best way. And when you do find the right size, make dozens of them. If you don’t have the time to make them fancy, simply tape them together at the end, or use a round sticker folded in half.

      And keep me posted as to your success or failure, but I’m sure you’ll get it right. Good luck, and thanks for writing. Patsye

  15. Barb says:

    I can’t wait to try this! I have a 1/2 ” section to finish my punch needle project and can NOT find the threader anywhere! I have been looking on line and it is amazing how much a small piece of wire costs! Thank you for sharing!!!

  16. Sally says:

    I just bought 2 from Joann fabrics and they are too short! I am in the start of a project. I just started punch needle and am sitting here with my cat wondering if there is a 24 hour delivery sewing service. Sigh. I will be following your pattern to make my own. Thanks for posting!

  17. abc says:

    This website is great. I like it.( 557697cbc43deb8fbe920e52b5c6e94e

  18. Erin Raatjes says:

    Love this idea!! So excited to see it. I also use a Cameo Needle and often worry about my threaders breaking, now I don’t have to worry.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I Just broke my threader tonight. It has seen me through six projects. I have an extra, but am working on a very large project, so I am going to JoAnn’s tomorrow and get some wire to try your idea before I am stuck.
    Thanks for the great ideal

  20. Claudette Burke King says:

    I’ve thought of your idea because after the two threaders that came with the punch needle broke I couldn’t find the threaders alone. I have tried the 32 gauge and find it to flexible so I am going to try the 30 gauge. This is for the small needle.

  21. Sharon says:

    I purchased some wire to try this ..mine was 28 gauge and it still didn’t fit my Cameo needlepuncher. Can you share the name and make of the wire from Joann’s? The only one I could get was the 28 and that was in the jewelry section. Thanks

    • Well hello Sharon: I’m sorry you’re having trouble with the fit. I don’t have the manufacturer’s name, but I too bought it in the jewelry section of JoAnns. And I have a Cameo, but I was using the middle sized needle – not the smallest. That might be the problem. However, not to worry. There is wire even smaller: the 30 gauge and 32 gauge, that is available in most bead stores. If you have such a store nearby you might try there. It’s important to form that bend correctly to get it through the tip of the needle hole, and I might note that I never used more than 3 strands of DMC regular, or one strand of the Perl Cotton. I imagine if there is too much thread it would also be difficult to thread properly.

      Have you tried punching with larger punches (like Amy Oxford Punch Needles)? I’ve just finished my first rug and have started on my second, this time using wool strips instead of wool yarn. See: Good luck, and thank you for reading my blog. Patsye

  22. Anonymous says:

    Oh my! I too fell prey to the craft store threader! After a few uses, they usually fell apart. I am so grateful for your article, and can’t believe that I didn’t think of something along the same lines sooner, as I am a jewelry, craft, needlework person! Kudos!

  23. Lelia says:

    your threader is beautiful!!! Mine is very plain. I keep it on a magnetic strip so I don’t lose it!

  24. Cubbyholes says:

    lol what a great idea! Don’t you love thoses flashes of brilliance you get sometimes that also save you money? Really pretty too!

  25. Ruth says:

    It is very beautiful as well as functional 🙂 we are such a smart cookie

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