24 Eco-Friendly Ways to Organize Embroidery Floss

embroidery floss heart

Eighties kid here. When I was a kid WAAAY back in the eighties, I was beset with longing for a Caboodle. Never mind that I was deeply uninterested in makeup, which was what you were SUPPOSED to use the Caboodle to store in your teenage fantasies; it had awesome colors, I was sure I could put *something* cool in it, and I WANTED IT.

If I was still slogging my way through grad school, I’d probably be burning right now with the desire to write a paper theorizing that the Caboodle, and an entire generation of eighties kids’ longing for it, represents the birth of our obsession with plastic storage, particularly the kind that has lots of little compartments and dividers. I’m still not immune to it, considering that my kids’ Perler bead stash (also plastic, ugh) currently resides in a giant Caboodle-like carrier with lots of little plastic dividers, and their polymer clay stash (yet more plastic, grr) resides in something similar.

So. Much. PLASTIC!

It’s possible to do much, much, much better than that, and when I finally settled down to organize my giant stash of embroidery floss (anyone else anxiety-organizing during the pandemic?), I did do better. Of COURSE eco-friendly storage and organization solutions exist for every type of thing that one needs to organize, and just because plastic embroidery floss spools and plastic embroidery floss storage containers and plastic embroidery floss organizers exist, it doesn’t mean that we have to use them.

Check out my list, below, of my favorite eco-friendly ways to store embroidery floss, including the awesome storage option that I finally settled on and that I LOVE (I’ll give you a hint: card catalog!):

Binder

Scroll down through the discussion to this post and you’ll find the creator’s instructions for this unusual organization method that allows you to store your embroidery floss on any bookshelf.

Binding Combs

This is a bit of a specialty material, and since it’s plastic it’s not worth seeking out new, but have you ever gotten an employee handbook or something similar that has a plastic comb binding? When you’re done with it, pull out all the paper and recycle it, and upcycle that binding comb into embroidery floss storage!

Book Rings and Braids

This method is perfect if you, you know, EMBROIDER with your embroidery floss, rather than using it for friendship bracelets or macrame, because it involves pre-cutting the strands. For those who only embroider, though, it’s a huge time-saving convenience!

Braids

Braid an entire skein of floss at one time, and then you’ve got a whole new world of easy storage solutions open to you.

Candle Stand and Ornament Hangers

Sometimes the aesthetic of your crafting space is as important as your storage. This solution has both a handy organization method AND an aesthetic that fits perfectly into the creator’s crafting space.

Clothespins

The beauty of this embroidery floss organization method is that you can pin the clothespins to any pegboard or spool rack, or display them in a glass jar, OR tumble them all into a storage container.

Corks

Some people don’t like bobbins because they can sometimes kink the embroidery floss. To solve that problem, check out this embroidery floss organization method that uses upcycled foam corks as DIY spools.

Embroider-To-Go Bag

When you travel with your embroidery, you want to keep it all organized–and all in the same place! Here’s a bag pattern that will keep all of your traveling embroidery supplies tidy and organized.

Fabric Book Organizer

Here’s a tutorial to sew your own fabric book with pockets to organize all of your floss.

DIY Folder

This folder is similar to the book organizer, above, but has a slimmer profile.

DIY Bunny Bobbin

Half the fun of DIYing your own bobbins is making them ADORABLE.

Dressform Bobbin

If you want an adorable bobbin but don’t want to hand-draw a template and embellish each one, then check out this awesome free template for a dressform bobbin.

Embellished Bobbins

Nobody is going to take the time to highly embellish a ton of bobbins for themselves–which is why these would make such excellent gifts!

Photo Album

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Remember when I tried this method of thread organization? (Scroll through to see more photos.) Well, it worked for a while, with some drawbacks…read a bit further on for those. This method used clear binder sheets that were intended for trading cards, so there are multiple little pockets on each sheet. I loved having the pretty binders and storing my threads on a shelf, as well as being able to flip through and see each variation/color separately. The biggest problem with this method was that the pockets were slippery, so when you turned the pages skeins would slip out. And frankly, I just ended up with too many skeins for this method to be practical for me. So now I use several small plastic 3-drawer cabinets from Walmart. The small version (shown in the last two photos…scroll further if you haven’t seen those yet) has drawers that are the perfect size for skeins, and you can have a different drawer for every color family. You can also get a slightly larger cabinet (also with 3 drawers, but each drawer is wider and deeper from front to back). I use that size for holding kit components (including lots of skeins for each kit). These cabinets keep all my skeins dust-free, and I can easily pull out individual drawers and carry them to my table when I need to choose colors for a new design. This works great for me…what works for you? Is there an organizational system that you really like for your threads? • • • • #tangledupinfloss #embroiderylover #embroiderylovers #loveembroidery #iloveembroidery #instaembroidery #craftingideas #gettingcrafty #getcrafty #xstitching #crossstitchlove #crossstitchaddict #needleandthread #threadincommon #dmccrafts #dmcthreads #embroiderythread #embroideryfloss #ihavethisthingwiththread #stitchersgonnastitch #embroiderersofinstagram #embroideredart #handembroidered #embroiderythread #instaembroidery #embroideryfloss #stitchersofinstagram #embroiderer #modernembroidery #lolliandgrace

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Remember those old photo albums with the plastic pockets sized for your prints? I’ll never love plastic, but I DO love upcycling old stuff, and those plastic pockets will keep your floss visible, organized, out of the way, and dust-free.

Safety Pins

The creator uses metal loop holders that thread onto the safety pins, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t use ONLY safety pins for this embroidery floss organization method.

Travel Box

Keep your embroidery floss organized and safely stored even while you travel!

Upcycled Cardboard Embroidery Floss Spools

embroidery floss

Forget those plastic and Styrofoam embroidery floss spools–upcycled cardboard is easily obtainable, super sturdy, easily written upon, and if you decide to toss it, you can toss it into the recycling bin instead of the garbage can!

Card Catalog Storage

Card catalogs are not the easiest things to find these days, but they are definitely still obtainable now and then from secondhand stores, and if you ever DO score one, it will be endlessly useful in organizing and storing all kinds of little craft supplies, including embroidery floss, as I did here. A card catalog is the world’s best Caboodle!

Glass Jars

I LOVE the picture (scroll down through the studio tour to find it) of the embroidery floss stored in little glass jars on an apothecary shelf. This would work best for embroidery floss that’s kept in its package, but especially if you don’t use your floss often, this storage solution keeps it on colorful display and completely dust-free!

Popsicle Sticks

If you’ve got kids, you’ve likely got a half-empty box of popsicle sticks somewhere. If you don’t, check out your local yard sales, because anyone with kids who’s owned a box of popsicle sticks for more than a minute is probably dying to get rid of them!

Spool Rack

This isn’t the *most* organized organizational method that I’ve ever seen, but it does keep the floss separated and tangle-free.

Swatches

I LOVE this clever method for playing with embroidery floss colors without having to drag out your entire floss collection. Although the creator uses plastic canvas to create these swatches, you could also use felt, or even starched cotton canvas.

Upcycled Picture Frame

This isn’t my favorite embroidery floss storage method, because it loses the package information and I have a horror of my craft supplies collecting dust (or, more likely, cat and dog hair), but if you use your floss often and don’t mind not having the package information, this is a great way to keep your collection both in front of you AND out of the way.

Frame and Eyelets

Here’s a more elaborate version of the upcycled picture frame storage method. This one uses clothespins that attach via eyelets to wire lines strung across your frame.

Take that, plastic bobbins!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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