How to Create Bunka Embroidery Artwork

Written by ehow hobbies, games & toys editor
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Bunka embroidery is also called Japanese Punch Needle Embroidery and Threadpainting. It's both an art and a craft that originated about 100 years ago in Japan. A punch needle is used to apply silky hand-dyed rayon yarns to fabric using a variety of techniques. Bunka embroidery creates the appearance of delicately shaded painting and the thread is never knotted.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Explore bunka embroidery with a beginner's kit that contains all the materials, instructions for the craft and a color photograph of the finished image. Fill in the outlined areas on the fabric, using colored thread in the numbered areas as in paint-by-numbers kits.

  2. 2

    Advance to the more freeform kits with unnumbered designs. Refer to the color image of the finished work to place the yarns with the punch needle.

  3. 3

    Use the punch needle like a paint brush, applying the colored yarns in small, fine stitches. Use the hand-dyed yarns to create subtle shading and depth in the image.

  4. 4

    Stretch the fabric tightly over a wooden framework. Pay attention to arrows and shading lines on prepared fabric. Use different lengths and directions of stitches to create various textures.

  5. 5

    Create designs and work them into clothing and personal accessories, like purses, totes, eyeglass cases and book covers. Transfer the design fabrics with a suitable weave or appliqué the finished design to clothing or accessories.

  6. 6

    Share the art of bunka embroidery with adults and children. Purchase kits in all levels of complexity and sizes.

  7. 7

    Join the American Bunka Embroidery Association to connect with a local chapter. Share techniques and designs and promote the art form in the United States. (See Resources)

Tips and warnings

  • It's easy to correct mistakes, simply take the thread and gently pull it. There isn't a knot in the thread so it should come out of the fabric where the mistake was made.

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