Organize Your Embroidery Floss

comments (11) September 10th, 2008     

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erika_kern Erika Kern, contributor
Love it! 23 users recommend
Order never looked so pretty.
Several stores in my area had four-for-a-dollar embroidery floss sales for Memorial Day. I went a bit crazy. . .
Cut foamcore board to act as separators. Glue them into place and allow to dry.
Order never looked so pretty.

Order never looked so pretty.

Photo: Erika Kern

Embroidery floss is a beautiful thing. . . so many colors. . . so much possibility! And as far as craft supplies go, these days it's cheap, usually 39 cents a skein and often on sale four or five for a dollar. When it is on sale, I stock up like mad. Which means I have a LOT of floss. It builds up in shopping bags and boxes floating all around my house. I go to my desk. . . floss. Junk drawer. . . floss. Bedside table. . . floss.

It gets out of hand and I need to organize. Here's my tried-and-true method of keeping my floss in line.

You'll need:

  • A box
  • Foamcore board
  • Cutting tool
  • Ruler
  • Self-healing mat
  • Glue
  • Small jewelery-sized zipper bags (I used 3 x 4-inch-sized bags)
  • Permanent marker

Now! Get to organizing!

Find a box. I found the box I used at the Container Store, but you can use any sort of box you have on hand. I've found that a somewhat shallow box works best. The box I used is a document box measuring 12-1/4 x 17-1/4 x 3-3/8 inches.

If you don't know the measurements of your box, measure it and decide if you want your dividers to go lengthwise or widthwise. I went with widthwise.

Using your ruler, cutting tool, and self-healing mat, cut your foamcore board to fit your box. I cut mine 11-3/4 inches long and 3 inches high.

Cut foamcore board to act as separators. Glue them into place and allow to dry.

Set the box on its side, and put a few books on top of it to ensure that the dividers stick to all sides of the box.

Let the glue dry, then move on to the floss!

Organize the floss


Section your floss by color group.


Separate the floss using the color number on the skein.

Most floss companies have numbers that correspond with their colors. DMC is the brand you'll find in most craft stores. Since the brand is so common, their numbers are the ones you'll find in most projects when suggesting colors.

Write the color number on the storage bag using a permanent marker.

Once your skeins of floss are in their numbered bags, you can put everything in place. I put everything in the box by color, then by number. It makes it easy to find the colors that are near each other when planning a project.


Several stores in my area had four-for-a-dollar embroidery floss sales for Memorial Day. I went a bit crazy.


Order never looked so pretty.


posted in: embroidery, organization

Comments (11)

brandymarshall writes: Omg. Great idea!!!!!!! I just found a thrift store selling 200 colors of floss for $2 each bag. I bought the whole grocery store hand held basket full. Which cost me about $18 bucks.... cant beat that.... so now im having trouble organizing sooo darn much.... so thank you for such an easy & brilliant way to organize all these colors.. keep up the great ideas.....
Posted: 12:15 pm on June 12th
brista writes: This is a great idea! I just picked up cross-stitching again after doing it as a kid. I bought one of the plastic organizing boxes with the plastic thread card things and I realized I was going to need to buy a couple more boxes since I have multiples of some colors. Plus why make extra work with the winding around? I'm going to try this idea instead. :)
Posted: 9:55 am on January 7th
ifrogcrafts writes: This is exactly what i've been looking for. I'm so excited! I started using Floss-A-Way bags more years ago than i want to admit. However, the cardboard tote they had at that time is open & i have to keep in in inconvenient places because my kitties like the chew on the corner of the bags. I have been wanting something like this with a lid. Also, since i have probably 99% of the DMC line, my floss has outgrown the tote. It will be so nice to put them in covered boxes & not have to climb up in the closet, Thank you so much for sharing. (Found this through Etsy forum.) <
Posted: 6:32 pm on November 13th
OregonDuck16 writes: This is a great idea. I have thread that has been wrapped on the little cardboard bobbins for years and now it is kinked and stretched. So I'm going to a plastic bag or pouch storage system.
Posted: 1:09 pm on June 2nd
312rose writes: This is a fantastic idea to organize embroidery thread.
I have a large basket full of floss that is a mess I
know what to do with now. Thank you for your idea.
Posted: 1:35 am on December 16th
iHanna writes: Smart, easy and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
Posted: 7:05 am on October 6th
Jen1964 writes: My mom used the 3x5's to wrap hers around. Just a slit or 2 somewhere, and you have a place to tuck in the ends. Decades ago, I got a "sorter" from a craft company. It's plastic with 1/2 or 3/4 inch holes, all around the perimeter. For individual projects, that's the best. But for long term storage of bulk or leftovers, I like your idea rather well.
Posted: 11:44 am on October 1st
susanstars writes: that's a great idea! I like having mine wrapped on the cardboard thingys, but if I hadn't already done a ton of them I would be all about this easy, lovely method!
Posted: 9:10 pm on September 12th
creativemonica writes: Genius! Love this idea. Just starting purchasing floss for projects and its quickly getting out of control! I'm also going to use this idea for other materials like small bags of felt cutouts in various colors and embellishments! Thanks for the amazing idea.
Posted: 2:13 pm on September 10th
erika_kern writes: Exactly! Plus, I've found my floss always gets more tangled when I store it on the cardboard. Yeah. . . I ALWAYS loose the bands, I have a few bags with ? on them because I didn't make a bag in time. Those are my mystery floss!
Posted: 2:00 pm on September 10th
LindaPermann writes: This is a great idea, because I am so not about wrapping my floss around little cardboard thingies. And also because then you can remember what the color number is if you happen to need more (the first thing to get lost for me is that little band with the number).
Posted: 12:19 pm on September 10th
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