How to keep embroidery floss from tangling

How To Keep Embroidery Floss From Tangling?

Embroidery floss, also known as stranded cotton. It is a versatile and essential material for the embroidery. It plays a great role in crafting the decorative arts of embroidery. And all the embroidery enthusiasts around the world faces one problem that feels like never seem to go away is the tangling floss. Not only when they work but also while storing. It is a frustrating and irritating problem for all. How to Keep Embroidery Floss from Tangling?

Only a great storing option would not help you to solve this situation since the tangling issue depends on various factors and in each situation it acts different even though the problem sounds the same but in real it is not. So, to solve this out you must know the basic causes, then take note of mostly when this situation appears, and then you’ll figure out in this article how to solve it effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Figure out and note down the reasons why they get tangled in two situation.
  • Once you know the reasons, it’s time to prevent the tangle up situation while storing them up.
  • While stitching you might face the same problem as well.

12 Common Reasons Why Embroidery Floss Tangles?

Embroidery floss tangles every now and then, right? There are lots of reasons behind this mess happens. The most common ones are:

  1. When embroidery floss is not tightly wound around a storage material, such as bobbins or cards, it can easily become tangled. Loose floss tends to unwind and loop around itself, leading to frustrating knots and tangles. Proper winding technique and using tools like floss bobbins or floss winders can help prevent this issue. tightly wound floss reduces the likelihood of tangling by a great amount compared to loosely wound floss.
  2. Using excessively long lengths of embroidery floss increases the chances of tangling. The longer the thread, the more it has the opportunity to twist, knot, or catch on itself during stitching. It’s recommended to work with shorter thread lengths, typically around 18-24 inches (45-60 cm), depending on the project and stitch density.
  3. Storing embroidery floss haphazardly can contribute to tangling issues. When floss is jumbled together in a box or container, the strands can intertwine and create a tangled mess. Proper organization is key. Consider using storage solutions like plastic floss organizers or tackle boxes with individual compartments for each color. Experts say that proper storage can save up to 80% tangling problem.
  4. Continuous rubbing or friction between floss strands can cause them to tangle. This can happen when the floss is transported, handled roughly, or stored in a way that allows excessive movement and contact between the threads. To minimize friction, avoid storing floss in bags or containers without dividers. Opt for smooth, non-abrasive materials like plastic or cardboard bobbins instead of rough surfaces.
  5. Failing to separate and organize different colors of floss can result in tangling. When strands of different colors are stored or used together without proper separation, they can become entangled and difficult to work with. Utilize color-coded labels, separate compartments, or individual bags for each color to prevent mixing and tangling.
  6. Allowing embroidery floss strands to overlap when winding them onto a storage material can create tangles as the threads interweave. Take care to wind each strand separately, ensuring they don’t cross over or entwine with one another.
  7. Floss that has frayed or damaged ends is more likely to tangle. When the threads are weak or uneven, they can easily catch on each other and form knots. Regularly inspect your floss for any signs of damage, such as frayed ends or snags, and discard any compromised threads.
  8. Floss that moves excessively within its storage container or during transportation can become entangled. Minimize movement by using secure storage solutions, such as plastic floss organizers with tight-fitting lids or dedicated storage boxes with dividers. Additionally, avoid shaking or jostling the floss excessively during transport.
  9. Lacking a systematic approach to organizing floss can lead to confusion and tangling. When you struggle to locate or identify the desired color, it increases the chances of floss getting tangled. Implement a clear organization system by labeling or numbering each color and storing them in a consistent manner.
  10. Humidity, static electricity, and other environmental conditions can contribute to floss tangling. Avoid storing floss in areas prone to moisture or excessive dryness, as humidity can cause threads to stick together. Similarly, static electricity can attract and tangle threads. To mitigate these effects, consider storing floss in a climate-controlled environment or using anti-static sprays or sheets in your storage containers.
  11. Incorrectly untwisting the floss strands or failing to keep them untwisted while stitching can result in tangles. Embroidery floss is typically composed of multiple strands twisted together. Before stitching, ensure that the strands are untwisted and lie flat. Maintain the untwisted state while stitching to minimize tangling.
  12. Pulling the floss too tightly or unevenly while stitching can cause it to tangle. Find the right balance of tension that allows smooth movement of the needle through the fabric without excessive strain on the floss.

5 ways for Preventing Tangles During Storage

5 Ways for preventing tangles during storage
5 Ways for preventing tangles during storage

There are two times when you’ll notice that you are facing the most tangles of your embroidery threads and one of them is while storing them, so to prevent this situation you try on these tips:

1. Use Floss Organizers

Invest in floss organizers or bobbins to keep your embroidery floss neatly wound and separated. These tools provide individual compartments or slots for each color, preventing them from intertwining and tangling. Wind the floss tightly around the organizer or bobbin, securing the loose end to keep it in place. This organized approach will help you easily access the desired color without disturbing the others.

2. Utilize Plastic Zip Bags

For smaller quantities of embroidery floss or projects on the go, consider using plastic zip bags or sealable pouches. Place each color in a separate bag and seal it securely. This method keeps the threads contained and prevents them from mingling with one another. It’s particularly useful when transporting your embroidery supplies or storing floss for specific projects.

3. Implement Dividers

If you prefer storing your floss in boxes or containers, utilize dividers or compartments within them. These dividers can be made of plastic, cardboard, or foam and should create individual sections for each color. By separating the floss strands, you minimize the chances of them tangling together. Ensure that the dividers fit snugly and provide sufficient space for each color.

4. Label According to the Colors

To maintain an organized system, label and categorize your embroidery floss colors. Use color-coded labels or stickers on floss bobbins, organizers, or storage containers. Sorting the colors by shades or numerical order can also make it easier to locate specific colors without disturbing the adjacent ones. By clearly identifying and categorizing the colors, you reduce the risk of accidental tangling during storage.

5. Avoid Overstuffing

When storing embroidery floss, avoid overcrowding the containers or boxes. Overstuffing can cause friction and entanglement among the threads. Instead, provide ample space for each color to prevent them from getting caught on one another. Additionally, handle your floss with care during storage. Avoid tossing or jostling the containers, as rough handling can lead to floss movement and tangling.

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8 ways for Preventing Tangles During Stitching

8 Ways for preventing tangles during stitching
8 Ways for preventing tangles during stitching

Here comes the another phase where you face the tangled up situation and to get off this situation you can try on these points to prevent:

1. Thread Needle Correctly

Properly threading your needle can make a significant difference in preventing tangles. Ensure that the floss passes through the eye of the needle smoothly without any twists or loops. Straightening the floss before threading can help eliminate any potential tangles right from the start.

2.Use Shorter Thread Lengths

Working with shorter thread lengths can reduce the chances of tangling. Cut your embroidery floss into manageable lengths, typically around 18-24 inches (45-60 cm), depending on the project and stitch density. Shorter lengths are less prone to twisting, knotting, or catching on themselves during stitching.

3. Maintain Proper Thread Tension

Maintain consistent and moderate tension while stitching. Avoid pulling the floss too tightly, as it can increase the risk of tangling. Similarly, loose tension can lead to loops and knots. Find a comfortable tension that allows the needle to move smoothly through the fabric without straining the floss.

4. Separate Colors

When working with multiple colors of embroidery floss, separate and organize them. Keep the unused strands separate from the working strand to prevent them from tangling. One effective method is to use a floss organizer with individual compartments or separate them with clips or clothespins.

5. Stitch in One Direction

Consistently stitching in one direction can help minimize tangling. When you change stitching directions frequently, the floss is more likely to twist and tangle. Choose a stitching pattern that allows for continuous stitching in one direction, reducing the risk of thread entanglement.

6. Secure Loose Ends

Secure loose ends of the floss while stitching to prevent them from tangling or catching on other threads. This can be done by taking a few small backstitches or using a small piece of tape to temporarily hold the loose end in place. By keeping the ends secure, you maintain better control and reduce the likelihood of tangling.

7. Avoid Excessive Thread Handling

Minimize unnecessary handling of the floss during stitching. Excessive movement and handling can lead to twisting and tangling. Hold the floss loosely and allow it to flow smoothly through your fingers while maintaining control. Avoid unnecessary tugs, pulls, or dragging the thread across the fabric.

8. Regularly Untwist the Floss

As you stitch, the floss may start to twist. Regularly untwist the floss by gently holding the needle and allowing the floss to spin freely. This helps to release any accumulated twists and prevents tangling. Taking a moment to untwist the floss every few stitches or as needed can make a significant difference in preventing tangles.


How long does embroidery floss lasts?

According to the research, it lasts around 50 years which means you can use it over a longer period of time.

Why does my thread keep curling?

Most of the time it happens because of the improper thread tension as it gets too tight the thread starts to curl.

What is the best way to store embroidery floss?

Among all the ideas you’d get or apply to store the embroidery floss but storing them in a bag is always the top one to choose.

Final Thoughts

So, throughout this article we’ve shared the fundamental idea from why the embroidery floss get tangled to how to prevent them from it. The whole secret to keep embroidery floss tangle-free hides in the proper storage and some other tips and tricks to apply carefully since it is the common nature of the floss to get tangled mostly. From smart storage solutions to simple techniques for handling floss, we’ve explore tried-and-true methods that will ensure smooth, hassle-free stitching sessions. There are no more tiring hours to get frustrated for fixing this issue.

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Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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