How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for Perfectionists

From following color combos to using everyday clothespins - we've picked the most resourceful and creative ways to organize embroidery floss
Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
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Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
Expert Consultant
A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: August 25, 2023
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If you’re going to try your hand at embroidery, you’re going to need a few accessories for this style of artwork. These items include fabric, a needle, an embroidery hoop, and of course, thread or floss to create those amazing designs. There are a wide variety of brands, materials, colors, and thicknesses to choose from when it comes to embroidery floss.

All of those thread options also need to be cared for when you bring them home, so learning how to organize embroidery floss is a must. Sorting your thread makes it easier to work on those projects, plus it keeps your thread safe and clean between uses, so it’s ready to go when you are. If you’re unsure how to organize your embroidery thread, the following options are a good place to start.

How to organize embroidery thread

Before choosing your storage method for your embroidery thread, it is a good idea to decide how you want it sorted. This will help you figure out what type and size of storage area you need for all of the floss you have on hand.

By brands

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsThere are several different brands of embroidery floss to choose from, so you can stick with one if you like. Many people prefer to keep a few different brands on hand, depending on the type of thread they are buying. One way to sort your thread is by first separating it into specific brands. Then you can sort each brand by color codes to make it easier to keep track of them all.

By material

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsEmbroidery thread is made of a few different materials, including standard cotton, pearl cotton, rayon floss, crewel yarn, silk threads, or even metallic hand embroidery thread. Each type is usually used for a specific type of project, so you may want to sort your embroidery thread into different materials. This ensures that you’ll have no trouble finding the one you need for the projects you have in mind.

By color

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsNo matter what brand or material the embroidery floss you choose is, each one will include a color code number that determines the exact shade of that particular thread. This allows you to organize your threads by color. This is especially easy to do if you favor one brand of thread over the others since you won’t have to worry about mixing up the brands as you store them away. You can also just sort them by visible color for a looser system.

By project

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsYou can sort your embroidery thread by the type of project you plan to use them for. For instance, cross stitchers may choose to sort their embroidery floss by the color code number to quickly find the ones they need as they work. Those who prefer to do a bit of freestyle artwork may prefer to sort by visible color instead, while anyone trying their hand at hardanger embroidery may want to sort their threads by thickness.

By thickness

The different materials used to make the embroidery floss that you use also alters the thickness of that floss, so you may want to sort it this way. This ensures that you won’t mix up the different threads and accidentally grab one that is too thick or thin for the project that you’re working on.

How to store embroidery floss

Once you have your thread sorted as you see fit, you can decide on the best way to store your embroidery floss. There are many different options available that you can purchase or create in your home to suit the amount of thread you have on hand.

1.      Ziploc bags

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsZiploc bags are a great option for embroidery floss storage for a few reasons. First, these bags are cheap, so you can buy a box of 100 bags for a few dollars. They are also reusable, so you can remove and add thread as needed whenever you like, plus you can use old bags for new colors.

To organize embroidery thread in Ziploc bags, just put each color into one bag. You can add new or partially used skeins, plus store any leftover strands in there for later use. Then you can sort the colors into baskets or boxes as you see fit to keep them organized at all times.

2.      Bobbin boxes

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsBobbin boxes are another way to store embroidery floss. These allow you to wrap your floss onto special numbered floss bobbins. These bobbins can then be placed into a plastic organizer box, like the Creative Options 5315 Thread Organizer, which offers dual-sided storage areas with hinged doors for easy access. These boxes are also transparent, so you can see the colors of the floss without even opening them up.

3.      Drawers and cabinets

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsDrawers or cabinets are also good options for storing your embroidery thread. They come in varying sizes, so you can get as many drawers as needed for the thread you have. Be sure to check the depth of the drawers or storage compartments to be sure you have the space you need for the bobbins or skeins you’re storing. The Akro-Mils 10164 Drawer has 64 drawers and is extremely durable for long-lasting use.

4.      Project cards

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsProject cards are stiff cards with evenly-spaced holes along the sides that each hold a skein of thread. This allows you to keep only the threads you need for a specific project on hand, plus you can swap them out whenever you finish a project and start on a new one.

5.      Key rings

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsAnother storage option is using thread drops to hold your skeins of floss. These stiff pieces of cardstock include a small hole that can be hung from a key ring. You can then use another keyring to hold all the individual colors together. You can also use a binder or acrylic organizer bars to keep them all organized.

6.      Clothespins

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsWrapping each thread color around a clothespin is another good option. Not only does this keep each color separate, but you can also attach the full clothespins to a pegboard, spool rack, or even a length of string hanging in your craft room.

7.      Dolly pegs

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsDolly pegs are similar to clothespins, though they have a round head and bottom legs that secure the clothing when hung. They can also be used to store your thread in a similar way, with the thread wrapped around the peg and then the peg pushed onto a pegboard or rack.

8.      Thread braids

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsThread braids are great for keeping your threads organized. Simply braid an entire floss skein, then hang them onto a hook or keyring. You can also tuck them into a Ziploc bag this way without worrying about tangled threads.

9.      Glass jars

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsTucking different colors or types of thread into small glass jars is another great organizational method. Then you can place them on a shelf or in a drawer. This also keeps the threads clean between uses.

10. Organizers

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsOrganizers are easy to make, using a board and some hooks to hang spools, bags, rings, or even clothespins from. If you prefer to buy an organizer, the Pako Floss Organizer has foam notches that hold the threads tight to keep them from knotting, plus it is compact and portable.

11. Tongue depressors or ice cream sticks

How To Organize Embroidery Floss: 16 Easy Methods for PerfectionistsTongue depressors or ice cream/popsicle sticks are cheap for a lot of them, so you can get as many as you need to wrap your embroidery thread around. You can also write the color number on one end to keep them organized.

Final thoughts

Embroidery is a fun hobby that can be turned into something more if you’re interested in taking your skills in that direction. Of course, with all those projects you have in mind, you need a lot of different types and colors of thread to complete them.

Tossing them in a drawer will create a tangled mess that needs to be dealt with whenever you need a single bit of thread. That’s why learning how to organize embroidery floss is so important. This keeps all of those threads sorted and ready to use for any piece you plan to work on.

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