How to Make Waxed Thread

How to Wax Thread

Whether you’re a bookbinder or a leather worker, want to sew outdoor-friendly projects, or are interested in macrame or jewelry making, you have a use for waxed thread.

Why spend more on a store-bought waxed thread from a big-box craft store when it’s so easy to make?

If you do any other kinds of crafting with natural materials, you likely have the beeswax on hand already, meaning that your DIY waxed thread will be absolutely free, with no surplus packaging. Another bonus to making your own waxed thread is that you’re not bound by whatever is commercially available; you can wax a rainbow of embroidery flosses (as I’m doing in this tute), your favorite linen thread, or strands of yarn that you’ve spun yourself.

In case you’re still not sold, I should mention that it takes seconds–seriously, seconds!–to make waxed thread. It takes longer than that to find what you want on Amazon and click on it, or to drive across town to the store and back.

Here’s how to make it!

You will need:

Solid beeswax. If you have crumbles of beeswax or one large block, here’s how I remold beeswax into smaller, known quantities that are far easier to handle–and they’re cute!

Thread or floss of your choice. I’m using your bog standard embroidery floss from my stash for this project. Other great choices are linen threads, hemp twines, or heavyweight sewing thread. Just remember that waxed thread is for hand-sewing only–do NOT put this in your sewing machine!

1. Cut off a length of your selected thread. Since I use my waxed thread for bookbinding, I cut it to the appropriate lengths for the books that my kids and I want to make. If you’re hand-sewing, arms-length works, and for jewelry making, let your project guide you.

thread with beeswax

2. Draw the thread across the solid beeswax. Draw the thread completely across the block of beeswax six or seven times, then pick up the other end of the thread and do the same in reverse. You will be able to feel the thread taking up the wax as you go.

Several times in each direction should be plenty, but you can make the thread as heavy with wax as you’d like.

See? Waxed thread is too easy NOT to DIY!

Need some inspiration for what to actually DO with your waxed thread? Never fear! Check out the following ideas:

1. Bookbinding. Lightly-waxed embroidery floss is absolutely perfect for the five-hole, stab-bound book that my kids and I love to make. For an even more eco-friendly project, upcycle an old greeting card as the book’s cover.

2. Button bracelet. You can use regular embroidery floss for this project, but waxed floss will hold the buttons in place better.

3. Cranberry or popcorn garland. You don’t have to use dental floss, but using a waxed thread will keep the cranberries, especially, from soaking through and rotting the thread.

4. Dreamcatcher. These are easy to make in any size, with any embellishments that you like.

5. Seed bead and waxed linen thread bracelet. This is a great tutorial, and the close-up views of the waxed linen thread let you see exactly what YOUR waxed thread should look like.

6. Sewing leather. Here’s a handy stitch to use when sewing leather, and some good advice on choosing thread length when hand-sewing leather.

P.S. Did you know that you can also wax yarn? The result is not something that you would sew with, but instead, a bendy, sticky, keeps-its-shape toy that kids LOOOOOOOVE!

2 thoughts on “How to Make Waxed Thread”

  1. Don’t know why I thought this would make the threads burnable (it definitely didn’t!) I was trying to use this as an eco-friendly alternative to burning polyester waxed chord! Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Nevertheless, I’ll keep trying!

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