Forget run-of-the-mill pet beds — your furry friend deserves a custom design. Whether you're making one for Ollie or Spot or Freckles, this needle punched bed is so comfy and cozy it's sure to be put to good use.
Personalized Punch Needle Bed
What You Need
- Letter stencils
- Wool fabric (pieces to punch and quilt the top of the pet bed, plus 2 pieces that will overlap to create the envelope-style back)
- #14 fine Oxford punch needle (will make a ⅛” high loop)
- 2-ply rug yarn
- No-slip hoop
- Embroidery scissors
- Rotary cutter
- Cutting mat
- Quilting ruler
- Sharpie or tailor’s chalk pen
- Pillow insert
- Interfacing fabric
Good to Know
When using a punch needle, you’ll need a no-slip hoop. A regular embroidery hoop won’t keep the fabric tight enough for the loops to stay in place.
1. Get Ready to Punch
Place your letter stencils so they face backward on the wrong side of the pieces of wool fabric you’ll use for the top of your pet bed. Each piece should be about the same size and should coordinate in color and style.
Good to Know
We spelled out the name “Ollie,” placing a different letter on different pieces of scrap wool. If you have a large enough piece, you could also place all the letters on the same cut of wool. If you do, skip step 9.
Using a Sharpie or tailor’s chalk, trace the letters.
Once the letters are transferred onto the wool, hoop up one letter. Then, hold the punch needle with the groove facing up and thread the yarn through the screw eye (aiming the yarn toward the slot). Pull the working yarn back until you feel it slide into the groove. (It should move freely through the needle.)
2. Punch the First Letter Outline
Flip your hoop so the wrong side of the wool faces up. Begin punching the outline of your letter. To do this, you want to punch your needle through the fabric, pushing it all the way down so the handle hits the fabric. Bring the needle back up, drag the tip across the fabric and insert right next to the previous stitch.
As you punch, keep the needle with the groove facing up and punch away from you. Turn your work over regularly to make sure your loops are all the same height on the right side. If they’re uneven, you’re either lifting the needle too high or not punching down all the way.
3. Fill It In
Once the outline of the letter is done, fill in the inside of your letter.
When using a #14 fine “mini” Oxford punch needle, your punches should be right next to each other, leaving a row in between your stitches to prevent overpacking, which makes your letter lumpy.
4. Clean Up the Front
After you’re done punching, the front side of your letter will look messy with long ends (aka tails) sticking out and some uneven loops. There may even be loops in the wrong place. Don’t freak out — everyone’s work looks a little funky at this stage.
There are two techniques to help clean things up:
Snipping: Before you move your hoop to the next letter, flip it over so the front faces up. Use embroidery scissors to cut off all the tails that are longer than the loops. If you have some too-tall loops, cut them to the same height as the others.
Poking: For loops in the wrong place, use the point of your embroidery scissors to reposition them, playing around until your loops are where you want them. When you’re done, remove your letter from the hoop.
When you’ve finished your first letter, hoop up the second letter and repeat steps 2-4. Keep repeating until all of your punch needle letters are complete.
6. Steam Press
Steam pressing your letters will make them uncurl and lie flat. Run a towel under cold water, then wring it out. With the front facing up, lay the towel on top of your first letter.
With your iron on the highest setting, hold it down in one spot for about 15 seconds. Pick up your iron, move it to a different spot and repeat until you’ve steam pressed the entire area. Continue until you’ve steam pressed all your letters.
Turn over the letters so the wrong sides face up to show the loops. Trim the sides of the wool fabric, allowing room for a ¼” seam allowance.
8. Interface the Letters
Cut out a rectangle piece of iron-on fabric interfacing that is slightly larger than each punched letter. On the back side of the panel, iron a patch of interfacing to the embroidered area of each letter to make sure the punched letter won’t loosen over time.
9. Sew the Top of the Pet Bed
Place two of your letter panels right sides together, with the edges aligned, and pin in place. Stitch using a ¼” seam allowance. Press the seam open.
Repeat with each letter until the top panel of your pet bed is complete.
9. Make the Back of the Pet Bed
Cut two overlapping pieces of backing fabric that together equal the same size as the top of the pet bed, including a ¼” seam allowance.
Place the overlapping backing fabric and the top panel right sides together, with outer edges aligned. Pin in place. Stitch around all four sides.
Good to Know
While many pillowcases require you to leave an opening on the edge to flip the case right side out, you don’t need to do that here. The overlapping backing fabric creates an envelope-style pillowcase, so there will always be an opening in the middle of your pet bed.
10. Flip It Out
Turn your pet bed right side out. Gently poke out the corners. Insert the pillow sham and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous punch needle pet bed!
Good to Know
Because we used a pillow insert over stuffing, it’s easy to remove the pillow and hand wash the case whenever the pet bed gets dirty. Just be sure to let it hang dry.
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