10 Essential Tools For Beginners To Start Tufting

In this article you’ll learn what to buy in order to start this popular hobby that has knocked out social media. First we will talk about the most essential ones and then we will name the ones that will give a plus to your projects.


What do I need to start tufting?

First of all I have to say that tufting is not a cheap activity to do. You’ll have to invest approximately $300 or more to start, it will depend on the suppliers and quality of the products.

Essential Tools

  • Tufting Gun (loop pile, cut pile or 2 on 1)
  • Primary Tufting Fabric
  • Secondary Backing Fabric
  • Yarn
  • Frame (we recommend a minimum of 27.5 inch x 27.5 inch)
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Tools That Will Make Your Work Easier

  • Projector
  • Yarn Winder
  • Clippers

Nowadays, with all the advances in this embroidery technique, more tools have been added to complement your work, but we will name them later. Besides, they are not essential to start nor everyone has them.

Tufting Gun

The most important tool is of course the tufting gun and the main reason why it is an expensive hobby, but fortunately is one investment only. It costs between $130 – $250, depending on the suppliers. Remember tufting guns are made in China.

There are three types of tufting guns in the market:

  • Cut Pile Gun (AK-1)
  • Loop Pile Gun (AK-2)
  • Cut & Loop on one

It is common to start with AK – 1 as it is easier to use than the others.

Something I’d like to say is that companies will always want you to buy more products (DUH), but me as a friend and tufting colleague feel obliged to say to all of you that you have the option to change your cut pile to loop pile only making some adjustments, but we will see that in another article 👀

Where can I buy a tufting gun?

Tufting is a new trend so it is almost impossible to find guns in stores. For that reason most people get theirs online from different sites like AliExpress, Amazon, Etsy, Tuft The World, Tufting Shop, Tufting Love. The shipping from platforms like AliExpress can take more time but you will get your machine for less money. If you want to get support in case your machine presents malfunctions I’d recommend you to purchase on platforms like Tuft The World, Tufting Shop or Tufting Love.

Primary Tufting Fabric

Another essential on the list is the fabric, which is the canvas on which we tuft. The fabric has to fulfill certain requirements in order to be used for this art. The requirements are:

  • Being flexible enough to stretch on the frame
  • Having holes so the needle of the gun can be placed
  • Composition is mostly polyester
  • The weft count of 14 or more

All of this will allow the machine to move so that it does not rip and tear during tufting.

There are different types of tufting fabrics being the most famous and widely used the primary tufting cloth which you can find on the websites I listed above. Other ones you can use are monks cloth and burlap. It’s up to you which one to use, but if you’re starting I would recommend using burlap, only because it is the cheapest.

Secondary Backing Fabric

To protect the back side where the sealed yarn is located, we use the secondary fabric. It can be used any flexible fabric but the popular ones are:

  • Felt Backing
  • Non-slip Rug Pad
  • Action Bac
  • Other Flexible Fabric made of cotton, polyester, etc.

The choice of the backing fabric will depend on what project is being done, as the finishing of a rug is different from that of a wall hanging or a coaster.


In a rug, the yarn is the most important material, as it will determine the durability and quality of the product. Depending on how the rug will be used, you can choose the quality of the yarn. There are a lot of types of yarns: acrylic yarn, wool yarn, cotton yarn, silk yarn, banana yarn, bamboo yarn, etc. but the most popular are acrylic, wool and cotton. See our yarn recommendations!

If you are a beginner, it is best to start with acrylic yarn because it is the cheapest and you can find it easily on local stores. It has a very wide range of colors, so you can make any project you can imagine . On the other hand, wool yarn is durable, has better quality and sheds less than synthetic made yarns like acrylic, but is more expensive and lacks colors.

What about thickness?

Yarns, of any material, have different thicknesses and the recommended size for tufting is 2.5 mm – 5 mm. You can make different tests and choose the one that best suits the project you are doing. If the yarn is very thin, it is best to use more than one at a time. There can even be four or five at the same time.

Tufting Frame

 Without a tufting frame you can’t work at all. It’s essential to hold the primary fabric taut while you work with the gun. There are many ways and materials with which to build your frame. In case you don’t have experience with DIY ideas, you can buy a frame kit at websites like Tuft The World, Tuft Love, Tufting Shop, Amazon or Etsy.

In case you want to do it alone, you can get everything at the nearest hardware store. The items to use are

  • Pieces of lumbers
  • Screws
  • Saw
  • Power Drill
  • Steel Corner Braces
  • Carpet Tack Strip

The best option is to have a 39.3 inch x 39.3 inch (100cm x 100cm) frame as a beginner so you can practise and don’t waste tufting fabric meanwhile. A frame larger than this could be difficult to work at.


The glue works like a yarn fixative. You should spread the glue all over the back of the rug, distribute it evenly without leaving spaces and wait for it to dry. This is a very important step in the process, as it will prevent the fibers from coming out.

The most common one is carpet adhesive, but you can try other types of adhesives like PVA Glue, PVC Glue or Latex. If you want to know more about all the glues you can use, check our article about it.


It is an important tool in the trimming process that makes the rug look better and clean. This step makes a huge difference in your projects and as a beginner you can start it with a couple of scissors by cutting the piles that stand out. For trimming all piles equally and having a flat surface you can purchase a duckbill scissors that as their name says it has like a duck blade. Using scissors for trimming is also a way to save money, since you don’t spend money on a clipper that costs 3 times as much.


If you will be practicing with complex illustrations and you are not good at freehand drawing, the ideal is to buy a projector. In case you don’t want to spend on it, there are different ways to replicate what this tool does such as print the image and trace the lines on the fabric or draw on a transparent surface and reflect it with a flashlight on the canvas. Read about our recommendations here.

Yarn Winder

 It is quite a useful tool, as it makes the process easier and faster. It is used to thread the yarn into a ball that will allow the fiber to pass more easily through the needle of the tufting gun. It costs around 30$ but it really depends on what kind you purchase, you can get it on Amazon. We have an special article for this tool!


Last but not least. They are a great tool that you can’t miss if you are doing various projects, as they make the rug neater, cleaner and prettier. It works to make the yarn level and in some cases it even serves to highlight some areas depending on the design (and the artist). I recommend practicing first because you can easily ruin a rug with the blades. You can find these products on Amazon or AliExpress. Get to know more about tufting shavers here.

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