Do I have to tuft on tufting cloth, or can I use something else?

The specific size and sharpness of a tufting machine needle requires tufting into specifically designed fabrics, like the Primary Tufting Cloths we sell. Monk’s cloth, which is generally used for punch-needle rug making, and Burlap or Hessian are also a possibility, though we’ve used both with mixed results (high-quality varieties often work well, but lower-quality options can shred easily, especially when attempting to make curves). 

What is most important is finding a cloth that is primarily polyester and has a weft count of 14 or more. The weave of the fabric needs to be loose enough to accommodate the tufting machine needle without tearing. 

Canvas, muslin, and other woven fabrics cannot be tufted into. The weave on these fabrics is often too dense for the tufting needle, or the fabric is too lightweight, tears, or can’t hold fibers. 

Fabric Types

Straight Lines

Curved Lines

Diagonal Lines

Tears Easily

Primary Tufting Cloth

yes

yes

yes

No

Monk's Cloth

yes

risky

risky

yes

Burlap (or Hessian)

yes

risky

risky

yes

Plastic Tarp

yes

risky

risky

yes

Shade Cloth

not compatible

Primitive Linen

not compatible

Canvas

not compatible

Muslin

not compatible

Denim

not compatible

To determine what size fabric you’ll need depends on the size of the tufted piece you have in mind, and the dimensions of your tufting frame. This chart might help you decide what size fabric to purchase based on the number of tufted pieces you might get out of it. 

We recommend building your frame based on the size of tufting cloth you plan to use most often. This will allow you to maximize your fabric and prevent waste. 

This chart is based on the measurements of our Primary Tufting Cloth

Cloth size

Example frame sizes

Number of tufted pieces from the cloth based on the frame size

1 yard 

36” x 157” (91cm x 4 m)

30” x 30” (76cm x 76cm)

4

48” x 30” (122cm x 76cm)

3

2 yards 

72” x 157” (182cm x 4m)

66” x 30” (167cm x 76cm)

4

66” x 44” (167cm x 111cm)

3

3 yards 

108” x 157” (274cm x 4m)

96” x 44” (244cm x 111cm)

3

96” x 72” (244cm x 183cm)

2


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