Embroidery World

3D Puff Digitizing – Guide To Puff Embroidery Digitizing


Thanks to 3D puff digitizing, people can really enjoy those thick and sturdy designs that you see on a lot of baseball caps and other products. The designs are really cool, aren’t they? In this guide, we will explain the creation process for these impressive puff embroidery designs.

The 3D effect that you see on the caps is due to the use of 3D embroidery foam. Puff embroidery allows greater height and depth of design producing the final 3D effect. Is it possible for you to create these puff designs yourself? Yes, it is, but you will need to practice often to get the best results as it is not the easiest thing to do.

What is 3D Puff Digitizing?

It is a technique used to create prominent 3D designs on clothing items such as caps. The practice of 3D puff digitizing has been around for quite a while but over the last 2 – 3 years interest in the art has heightened.

The secret behind all of the best 3D puff designs is the special foam used behind the embroidery. This is a 3D foam made from EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) and the aim of the foam is to provide dimension to the embroidery.

You can machine wash the 3D foam and it is non-toxic and water-resistant. The foam is available in a variety of colors including: Black, Blue (different shades available), Gray, Pastel pink, Red, Violet, White, Yellow.

To create the best designs you will need to use 3D puff embroidery digitizing software such as the Wilcom embroidery software. There will be a learning curve with this and there are plenty of tutorials available. Take your time to learn how to use all of the different features so that you can create amazing results.

When you have finished creating your 3D puff embroidery artwork you will use the software application to create machine ready files. It takes a high degree of skill to create the perfect design so be prepared to spend several hours working on this and learning to use the digitizing software properly.

Tips for 3D Puff Digitizing

1. Determine your Design Dimensions

Before you start to use your software for the 3D embroidery digitizing, you will need to determine the dimensions for your design. Maybe you want to go for a 2 inch or 2.5-inch height design? This is important because the art file in the software needs sizing to accommodate your design dimensions.

2. Tie-In and Tie-Off Stitching

Next, you have to set the right values for the tie stitching. Usually, there is a menu where you can find the properties option so that you can make the necessary adjustments. You should see an option for “tie-in and tie-off” and we recommend that you set this to 5. This means there will be 5 stitches for tie-in and 5 stitches for tie-off.

The reason that you want to go for 5 is that it is the best setting we have found to work perfectly with the thickness of the 3D foam. The thread must be totally secure for the embroidery stage.

3. Begin the Puff Digitizing

Now it is time to commence with the puff digitizing of your design. We recommend that you start your digitizing with a “walk stitch” set for 20 points. This will assist with securing the position of the foam on to the fabric of the garment.

For the best possible results, you want to keep the walk stitch consistent with the edge of your puff design. At this point, you must digitize 2 layers of walk stitching on the inside of your design.

4. Satin Stitching

You have to use satin stitching with your puff embroidery designs because it will produce the raised 3D effect that you are looking for. The satin stitching will cover the 3D foam and you will have to close the ends off in a secure manner.

A 3D puff embroidery machine uses the penetrations of the needle to eliminate any excess 3D foam. So you must add satin stitching to the top and bottom of your design as well. If you don’t then it is very likely that the foam will come away from the garment very easily. You can use either the “capping” or “pinching” method to close off the satin stitching.

With the capping method, you will digitize a smaller point satin stitch which is vertical to the ends below the top final satin stitch. The pinching method is where you make a change in direction for the last top satin stitch making the needle penetrate all around your design.

For this example, we will choose capping. Go to the menu and select the capping option. Set this to close both ends by connecting a walk stitch that routes in the middle of the thread path. Choose a 3 point density here.

5. The Top Satin Stitch

You need to aim for a puff design that provides an even density throughout here. We recommend that you go for a 1.8 point and then choose a 200 point fill which will enable you to “stitch lines greater”.

There will be options in your software to do this so don’t worry if it doesn’t make a lot of sense at the moment. We recommend that you disable “short stitches” and then finally center your design so that you can save it in the correct format.

Important Considerations for 3D Puff Digitizing

Do not try to sew the puff portion of your design first. This is the last thing that you need to sew. To start the process lay the 3D foam on the garment first. Then sew all of the flat sections to ensure it is secure on the garment.

As the needle penetrates the 3D foam holes it makes holes. On completion of the sewing, you will find that any excess will be pulled away. The raised appearance of your design needs to be bulky in appearance so that the 3D foam gives you the look that you desire.

You need to choose a satin stitch design with a width from 3 mm to 11 mm. Your design will dictate the right width to go for. If you are going to use letters in your 3D puff embroidery designs then we recommend that you use alphabet text. You will need to modify these to work properly with the foam and prevent any open ends.

It is not a good idea to attempt 3D puff embroidery with slippery or delicate fabrics. The first reason for this is that these kinds of fabrics are more susceptible to what is known as the “in-hoop” movement when using 3D foam. The second reason is these materials cannot usually deal with the density of stitch used in puff embroidery designs.

As a result, it is far better to use 3D puff embroidery on more stable and thicker fabrics such as those used for the creation of baseball caps for example. We recommend that you do not attempt puff embroidery on towels either because the 3D effects tend to fade quickly.

Read more on 3d Puff embroidery digitizing 


As you can see there is a lot involved to master 3D puff digitizing. Rather than trying to do this yourself you can let us handle it for you. We have a great deal of experience and our professional digitizers are the best around. Our rates are very competitive only $15 and we would be delighted to help you with any questions. Currently, we are running promotion offer so it will cost you $12 only.
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