Some of you may know, as I do, what happens to yarn or embroidery floss that is not properly stored. Nobody wants to try to sort that mess twice.
I’ve been a little spoiled when it comes to regular DMC embroidery thread. I inherited a large tote filled with nicely sorted and numbered colors on traditional floss bobbins in those neat plastic storage boxes.
But not all embroidery floss lends itself to this type of storage. Modern floss or thread may come in long, dangling loops or wound-up balls or spools.
There are many creative ways to store your choice of flosses. It’s a bit difficult to state unequivocally which is best, as it depends on the type of floss and the available space.
How To Store Embroidery Floss and Supplies
First, what kind of space do you have? A cabinet? Drawers? A closet? Some empty wall space? Or maybe some under-the-bed storage space? It may take a bit of rearranging, but with some imagination, I’m sure you’ll be able to create space for your craftsy pastime.
I’m fond of my traditional storage and have found it works well for me. I keep one floss box to put all the floss for my current project and store away the rest. But I’ve found I have had to make room for different types of thread, as well as hoops or other paraphernalia.
Here is a list of suggestions for storing your own floss. Maybe it will help you choose the storage best for you.
Floss Bobbins and Boxes
As I mentioned, this is the storage method that I learned early on, and I have stuck with it simply because I have so much of it that it would be hard to change now. But really, Floss bobbins/boxes is probably the most common of the choices for hand embroidery. It’s easy to use and keep up over time. If you’re new to embroidery, it’s a good place to start.
I will suggest that you label your thread for easy replacement and if you have a large supply of floss, mark where each bobbin was taken from for easy replacement after a project. You may also want to add which project a bobbin has gone to if you’re working on more than one at a time.
There are also storage boxes for machine embroidery spools if you want to store them that way. If you only embroidery periodically. These can be on the expensive side, but repurposing old shoe boxes might work just as well.
Boxes are preferable storage as they will keep your floss or thread clean and organized between projects. A closed drawer or cabinet will work just as well. For the extreme, if you can find an old card catalog cabinet, you’ll have enough room to store a lifetime of embroidery floss on your choice of creative bobbins, plus most sizes or spools.
I must mention here that there are some more creative floss bobbin ideas out there for the budget-conscious or creative individual. Any thin cardboard can be repurposed into floss bobbins, either square or imaginatively shaped. I’ve seen websites for bunny, house, and dress form-shaped bobbins, but I’m sure that’s not all there is. And craft storage boxes come in enough sizes to accommodate almost any design.
Single Project Storage
Instead of using a box for a current project, you could use a project card with pre-cut lengths of thread. These smaller cards are easier to transport either from room to room at home or in a bag for a trip.
Sewing machine bobbins
If you’re like me and have gone through more than one type of machine in your sewing career, you wonder what to do with bobbins from past models that no longer work for you. Try repurposing them as embroidery floss holders for individual projects. Transparent bobbin cases are small enough to travel about anywhere. You’ll need to put a rubber band or elastic around the case to secure it for carrying in a project bag or basket.
Instead of wrapping floss around a bobbin, try braiding an entire skein and hanging it on a dowel or hook. By loosely holding the braid, you can pull out one or two strands at a time for individual projects. Online tutorials will provide plenty of instructions and storage options.
Longer braided floss can be hung in a closet on dowels or on wall pegs. Like colors can be hung together on rings for even more accurate organization. Don’t forget to keep the original label or add one of your own.
Peg Cards or Rings
Floss can be looped on a punched card or ring and stored in a variety of ways. Regular file boxes and comb bookbinding makes unique storage. A piece of pegboard mounted on the wall makes easy access. Again, don’t forget to label all your floss so you pick the right colors for your next project. Large rings of floss can also be hung on decorative ladders or a repurposed baby crib side.
Floss can also be stored in its original form in notebooks. There are several ways to do this. Use clear ring binder pouches or make up your own means of securing the thread in the binder. You could also hang rings of floss directly on the rings of the notebook, but you’ll need to store the binders sideways so that the floss hangs down. File drawers or boxes will be good for this.
The Rest of It
Another reason I like my bobbins and box method is that there is a larger space on one side where I can store small scissors and a pincushion. Embroidery projects generally require several needles with different colors so that you can change colors as you move along with the design. I like to use a wrist pin cushion for this while I’m working and store it with the floss for the project.
A pretty basket is my favorite way to contain each project. But I’ve also used decorative carry bags if I don’t have enough baskets for all my projects (I’m telling on myself). Pockets in the bags are nice but not necessary.
I have stored my extra embroidery hoops in several different ways. A unique wall hook or knob with round rings hung together from large to small is pleasant to the eye. Oval or square machine hoops would be hung on a separate wall hook. Hoops can also be hung in the closet on descending hooks. And Amazon offers specially-designed storage bags for either hand or machine embroidery hoops.
In places where I’ve had less room for crafts to be out in the open, I’ve used a large, zippered storage bag to hold all my special embroidery tools. I like a bag that’s a nice bright color (my last one was red) so that it’s easy to find among other craft storage.