What is 3-D or Puff Embroidery?

January 31, 2020 2 min read

Every now and then we get asked about doing a logo in what is call “puff embroidery”.  Puff or 3-D embroidery is another method of embroidery that “puffs-up” or makes the design even more three dimensional.

Puff embroidery is done mostly on baseball style caps.  The material in polo shirts or jackets is not strong enough to support that kind of embroidery effect.

3-D Puff Logo Embroidery Example

Here is a picture of a design that is done on an embroidered baseball cap using a puff embroidery method.

3D Puff Embroidery Cap

The additional height used to create the “puff” effect is achieved by using a piece of foam that is placed on top of the item being embroidered.  Then the embroidery is done over the top of the piece of foam giving it the “puff” effect.

Puff embroidery is a cool effect.  It can make a design really stand off on a cap.  But as with most things that are cool and unique, it does have its limitations.

Most Types of Apparel and Logos Don't Work Well With 3-D Embroidery

Very few logo designs can be embroidered using this method.  The best designs for using puff embroidery are very simple ones.  For example, Major League Baseball teams use puff embroidery on their caps.  That works well because many of those caps have just an initial on them like a “B” or a “C” or a “P”.

Simple company logos can work as well, but those images have to be very simple.  For example, in this example you can see the letters are large and bold capital letters.  These would not work as well if they were lower case letters.

Most company logos will not transfer well to puff embroidery.  That is because most of the elements that make up company logos are too small to be able to get the foam underneath them during the embroidery process.  Logos with small text, thin lines or other small details do not work well in puff embroidery.

Puff embroidery is not something we do at  Embroidery Time.  It is very time consuming to create and therefore can be expensive.  It is the most cost effective to do in larger quantities.

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