A Tangle Free + Organized Way To Store Embroidery Floss

You’ve probably landed on this page because your thread collection is getting a bit uncontainable. Or maybe you’re trying to untangle and organize a massive pile of loose thread. We’ve all been there, but the good news is that there are some great ways that you can prevent a tangled mess from occurring. Here’s how to store embroidery floss that will make it easy for you to find the color you need AND keep it neat and organized.

embroidery floss organized in a plastic storage container

Disclaimer: This post has some affiliate links in it. I receive a small commission from purchases at no additional cost to the buyer. I only recommend products I would use and love and that are of good quality. All opinions are my own!

How To Store Embroidery Floss

orange embroidery thread wound around a white plastic bobbin

Plastic Bobbins

When you purchase embroidery thread, it comes banded together in a skein. This packaging is great for storing new and unused floss, but it’s not so great once you start using it. (It usually becomes a giant knot and the paper bands slip off once the thread gets low.)

This is where embroidery bobbins are helpful. Whenever I start using a new skein of thread, I like to wrap it around these bobbins and write the thread color number on the top right edge of the bobbin. This way, I can refer to the number for organizing and keeping track of the stock I have in my thread collection.

I prefer to use these plastic bobbins over the paper bobbins because the paper ones eventually get worn out and damaged. (I know plastic doesn’t feel as sustainable, but they stay nice for years so they’re actually less wasteful in the long run!)

I just use a sharpie to mark the number on the bobbins, but you could also try these printed number acrylic bobbins by Pip and Chip or these number sticker labels by Orderly Stitching on Etsy.

How To Put Embroidery Thread On A Bobbin

Here’s a quick tutorial for how to put the floss on a bobbin; there is a special way to get the thread started that will prevent it from getting tangled!

green embroidery floss

Slide the paper bands off of the skein of thread.

unravelled embroidery floss

The skein is actually wound in a circle that’s folded in half. You’ll want to carefully separate the skein down the middle and open it up. You should now have a circle of thread.

hand holding the end of the embroidery floss

Locate the end of the embroidery floss that is closest to you.

hand winding the embroidery floss on a bobbin

Place the end over the center of the bobbin and begin winding the thread around it. I usually do this by hand, but if you’re having to wind a lot of these, a bobbin winder is helpful!

wound bobbin of embroidery floss

Weave the tail of the thread in and out of the notches along the side of the bobbin to secure the thread.

Thread Storage Options

Once your thread is all wound up and labeled, you’ll need a nice place to store all of it.

Plastic Storage Bins

You can purchase small embroidery floss storage bins that have cubbies that are the perfect size for all your thread. These bins store a good amount of thread in them, but if you’re like me and you have almost all of the DMC’s 400+ colors, you’ll want to purchase a larger storage bin. This one has way more storage and opens up on the top and the bottom. I prefer this kind so that I don’t have to keep track of several of the smaller bins.

Cabinets and Drawers

Plastic bins aren’t always the prettiest to look at. If you’re wanting something a little bit nicer, here are some ideas.

handmade wooden drawer by Custom Wood Concepts
image credit: Custom Wood Concepts

This handmade drawer features 4 drawers and fits approximately 100-125 pieces in it.

blue Bisley drawer with thread inserts
image credit: Misfit Isle

To store a larger thread collection, check out the Bisley 3-drawer cabinet. Then add some drawer inserts that fit the thread bobbins.

handmade embroidery thread box by Ju Padilha
image credit: Ju Padilha

I’m always on the lookout for handmade items, and I happened across @jupadilha on Instagram recently. These handmade embroidery boxes are amazing! Sadly, they don’t ship to the U.S. but if you’re in Brazil, I’d recommend checking these out.

Organizing Embroidery Thread

If you thread paint or like to use a lot of different colors in your embroideries, it is super helpful to have the colors organized in a way that you will easily be able to find a particular shade of a color.

The way you organize your thread is of course purely up to preference. I’ve seen people group their embroidery threads by hue while others like to keep their most frequently used color palettes grouped together.

I’ll share a few ways I have organized my thread that I have found most helpful.

Going By A Thread Card

dmc embroidery thread card with a pair of embroidery scissors lying next to it

If you’re using DMC embroidery floss, the colors are for the most part randomly assigned a number. This unfortunately means that sorting the thread in numerical order will not result in the colors being grouped together in a logical way.

When I first started embroidering, I used a DMC color card to sort my thread colors according to the order they were on the card. This will somewhat organize the colors in similar shades and hues of colors.

The one problem I found with this method is that I would have to refer to the card in order to put back all of the thread I was using. It seems like such a simple thing, but for me it felt kind of inconvenient and I would procrastinate putting thread colors back, leaving myself with a huge mess.

Floss Organization Systems

a box of thread organized using the Tidy Stitch system

Last year, I found a floss organization system called Tidy Stitch on Etsy. I tried it out for awhile and have stuck with it ever since! It feels a lot more intuitive and easy to find the colors I need. The cards fit perfectly in a standard thread box so you can refer to groups of colors and their corresponding numbers to organize your thread.

This system is available for purchase as a PDF or you can get the physical printed cards on Etsy.

I purchased the PDF and printed it on heavy card stock. The cards have stayed intact the entire time I’ve been using this system!

What To Do With Extra Thread

a purple plastic storage container with colorful skeins of embroidery floss in it

I keep a few extra skeins of certain colors I use frequently, and I also have some synthetic and variegated thread that I don’t use as often. I take the compartments out of a smaller thread container and keep these extra supplies in it. Whenever I run out of thread or want to use a special kind of thread, I just go into that box.

Find A System That Works For You

It can be a task to wind all the bobbins and get everything organized, but once you find a system that works for you, it’s super easy to maintain.

I hoped this helped to give you some storage and organization ideas. This just my experience; if you’d like even more ideas, Beth Coletti has a wonderful article where she shares a bunch more unique ideas from the stitching community.

And If you’re in an organizing mood, you’ll love these fabric storage ideas.

stack of thread bobbins that has text overlay that says "how to store embroidery floss"

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