How to stitch with metallic threads and make it super easy!

Let’s face it, you’ve used metallics at some point, but you’ve not touched it in a LONG time, right? Simply put, specialty threads are hard to use.
But they don’t have to be. With a few simple changes to the way you work, metallics suddenly become super easy and a fantastic way to make your projects more interesting. We spoke to a few major players using metallic threads, including kreinik threads to see what they suggest.

Pick the right thread

If you’ve picked up a metallic thread from the shelf, you’ve either picked up a thick thread (like DMCs metallics) or a super-thin blending thread. Neither is useful. In face DMCs metallics are so thick they can only be used on 10/12 count and not 14. Instead look to get a thin braid specifically designed for set count aida.

Different thread weights. Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid, Fine #8 Braid, Blending Filament combined with floss, just floss. (Source: Kreinik Threads)


Remove the curls

Metallics knot. A lot. So so much… But there is a good reason! As they’re held on the spool the metal parts stiffen into the shape, meaning when you pull it off, there are curls. We tend to want to straighten the thread with twists of the needle, which leads to more knots. BUT if you dampen a small sponge (makeup sponges work well) and pull the thread you’ll find it straights right out. No more knots!

Kreinik threads off spool with a curl (source: Kreinik Threads)

Don’t separate the threads

This is SUPER important with other specialty threads such as glow in the dark threads, where the threads are actually made up differently, meaning you might strip the threads apart. If you’ve picked the right thread, as per the above, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Don’t stitch 2 over 2

OK, so I know I keep going on about picking the right thread, but if you’ve picked the right thread; stick with it. That means you shouldn’t split the thread apart, and you shouldn’t combine the threads together to make a ‘double thread’. Metallics are made to be used as one thread only.

Make the thread ‘slide’

There are parts of the cross stitch world that simply haven’t come to terms with the closure of thread heaven. Simply put, the stuff that makes working with metallics a breeze in itself, however, they are no more. But that doesn’t mean other alternatives don’t work. I personally wouldn’t use the likes of beeswax for cotton threads as it clumps up, but metallics slide so easy its crazy. The even better news? Beeswax is super easy to get hold of.

Slow down (and calm down)

Finally, with one simple thing you can improve any metallic stitching session; remember metallics aren’t like cotton threads. They’re different in pretty much every way, and whilst they kinda look the same, so long as you take your time, any problems are easily fixed.

Double Eye Needles

If you’ve tried all of the above and it just isn’t working for you, you could try double eye tapestry needles. These little things have two eyes allowing you to get perfect results, every time.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Sharon

    Had my first try with DMC metallic floss – it did not go well. I was working on 14c. waste canvess. Not only did I have trouble keeping the stitches flat and even but had an awful time keeping the floss on the needle. Any tips would really help.

    1. LordLibidan

      Hey Sharon,
      Metallics aren’t the easiest to use, but working on waste canvas would make them harder, no doubt! When stitching onto other materials, I would suggest using a larger needle (or a needle with a larger eye), and use much shorter lengths of thread. The issue is likely to be that the thread is being heavily bent as you place the stitches through the material. Using shorter lengths will help with, and will make them sit flatter (although metallics don’t sit as flat as normal threads).
      Metallics aren’t as kind to us as normal threads, if stitching on something thick, I would suggest using threads from Kreinik. They are much smoother, softer, you can get them in a whole variety of widths, and they’re likely to work much better for that application!

  2. CK

    My go-to trick for stitching with metallics – Use a larger sized needle. It opens up the holes in the aida/linen, therefore reducing friction and shredding of the metallic thread.

  3. Editor@CraftyLikeGranny

    Thanks for sharing your tips for using metallic threads. I especially liked the one about using bees wax for increasing slide. I’ve included your helpful hints in our latest craft inspiration roundup. Cheers Jodie 🙂

  4. Sarah

    This is great! Metallics can be such a PITA.

    I’ve found that running them through Thread Magic, instead of beeswax, also helps to smooth them out. I haven’t tried beeswax, but my parents keep honey bees so I will have to!

    Metallic threads are created using a metallic filament wrapped around a cotton thread. I’ve found that these tend to separate at the ends (esp DMC metallics) and they end up different lengths as the filament unwinds

    To help, I tend to use much shorter lengths of thread when working with metallics. It does mean more stops and starts, but it is SO worth it to prevent the tangles and unraveling.

  5. cindy sanchez

    I love this article. Thank you. I have used kreinik threads before (before the internet and u tube videos) so by trial and error had a successful finish. But haven’t tried again. I feel inspired to give it another go. Thanks!