Hand embroidery is a fun and accessible hobby because there are only a few basic tools and materials you need to start. Everything is relatively easy to find, and the materials are inexpensive compared to other art mediums.
Choosing supplies that are good quality and suitable for hand embroidery will make it much easier to learn. Using the wrong materials will only hinder your learning process. This page is full of hand supplies I recommend to make the learning process smoother.
This article goes over the basic embroidery supplies you’ll need. However, there are links to other articles that go into greater detail about each supply or material.
This post contains affiliate links in it. I only recommend products that I trust and use.
What Tools And Materials Do You Need For Embroidery?
Embroidery hoops are a must-have because they help to keep the fabric tight while you stitch on it. This helps to prevent the fabric from puckering, improves the quality and look of the finished embroidery, and aids in preventing hand fatigue.
Hoops come in a variety of different materials including metal, plastic, bamboo, and wood. There are a wide variety of types and sizes available online and at most craft stores.
While there are many types of embroidery hoops, they all perform the same function for the most part. The type you end up using depends mostly on your personal preference.
When choosing what size hoop to use, keep in mind the size of the embroidery design you want to stitch.
Here’s an in-depth look at all of the different types of embroidery hoops and how to use them.
It can be overwhelming picking out the correct needle to use for embroidery. In fact, there have been countless times that I have gotten home from the craft store only to find that I purchased the wrong kind.
There are a ton of different types of needles in the sewing section of any craft store. Each type of needle is made for specific types of needlecrafts. The eye, degree of sharpness, length, and thickness are all unique to each different type of needle.
The most common needles you can use for hand embroidery are embroidery needles and chenille needles, which are linked below.
Read more about types of embroidery needles and their uses.
Embroidery Stabilizers and Fabric Markers
When you start a new embroidery project, you’ll want some way to transfer embroidery designs to the fabric. You can do this with fabric markers, heat erasable pens, transfer paper, or even with certain embroidery stabilizers.
Stabilizers for hand embroidery aren’t a requirement, but they will most definitely help you. Stabilizers help to support the fabric if you’re working on fragile or stretchy material.
Here’s the best stabilizer for hand embroidery (in my opinion) that serves the dual purpose of transferring designs and stabilizing the fabric.
Learn about all of the different types of embroidery stabilizers and how to use them.
There are many different types of embroidery threads to choose from including perle (braided) cotton, stranded cotton, variegated thread, etc. Floss is made of various different fibers including, but not limited to cotton, wool, rayon, and acrylic.
6-strand cotton floss and perle cotton floss are both great choices for beginners. This is because natural fibers are easier to use and work with than their synthetic counterparts.
I recommend DMC brand embroidery floss over all other embroidery threads because it seems to be the best quality. It also has the widest variety of color choices available in the US.
Unfortunately, DMC is a bit more expensive than other craft store brands of thread. Learn about more affordable options in this embroidery thread comparison review.
A good pair of sharp embroidery scissors and some fabric scissors is a must.
It may seem a little overboard, but I like to have two different pairs of scissors available. (i.e. not all-purpose, junk drawer scissors!) I exclusively use my fabric scissors for cutting fabric and my embroidery scissors for cutting thread. Using them for other purposes tends to wear them out and make them dull faster.
Take a look at this roundup post of 9 aesthetically pleasing embroidery scissors available on Etsy.
The easiest fabrics to work with for hand embroidery are natural fabrics such as linen and cotton. This is because they are relatively durable, don’t have any stretch, and the weave of the fabric is even. Embroidering with these fabrics will make it easier to pull a needle and thread through and you won’t have the headache of puckering or torn fabric when you’re finished.
There are, of course, other options for fabric. Learn more about how to find the best fabric for embroidery.
These accessories are not necessary, but it is extremely beneficial to have good lighting when you’re embroidering. It’s also ideal to have a stand to hold the hoop. Your hands and eyes will thank you later!
Check out this embroidery hoop stand comparison and review. to see some of the different options out there.
A lot of the tools and materials linked above are from Amazon or larger chain companies. Whenever I can, I love to support small businesses. Check out this post that has a bunch of hand embroidery tools and materials you can buy on Etsy.
This list of tools and materials are really mostly essentials, but there are even more supplies you could purchase that will make embroidery easier and more enjoyable as well.
Brwnpaperbag.com has a great post featuring some hand embroidery tools and materials that are nice-to-haves.