What’s the best alternative for ThreadHeaven?

By this point, it’s probably no longer news that ThreadHeaven is no more, but as you work through your stash, have you wondered what to use as a replacement?
ThreadHeaven was fantastic as it was both a wax, and a conditioner, and whilst a lot of people think they’re the same, they have two different purposes. Wax makes the thread stick together, and through the fabric easier, whilst the conditioner stops the thread fraying. We’ve looked at all the different options on the market to see which we prefer, based on these two features, using normal and metallic threads, which are MUCH easier to use with thread conditioner. Note that there are other claims, such as protection from UV rays, but we’ve yet to see the science behind that so we’ve not taken it into account.

Our Pick: Thread Magic

Thread Magic (source: threadmagic.com)
Thread Magic (source: threadmagic.com)

I’ll hold my hands up and say I’m not surprised by this. Initially, when TheadHeaven was all the rage I thought Thread Magic was the ugly step-sister; it turns out, I was wrong. So wrong in fact, that I would say Thread Magic works better! Its conditions and waxes like a charm, doesn’t build up over time and has no scent at all (although one can develop if stored for a long time). The packs it comes in with holes for the thread also make it super user-friendly, and whilst it is MUCH more expensive than all the alternatives on the list, it lasts far longer than any of them. A true winner in our eyes.

Close Second: White Bees Wax

beeswax thread conditioner (source: Etsy)
beeswax thread conditioner (source: Etsy)

When it comes to wax, not all are equal. We should note that I’ve said WHITE beeswax here, you can see below for a little bit about why that is. Beeswax is actually a bleeding wax, meaning it penetrates surfaces, such as threads whereas other waxes don’t. Therefore it not only waxes the surface but conditions at the same time. It can get a little waxy after a while of use, but it also smells great, so it’s worth it! It’s worth noting though that beeswax is extremely flammable; so be careful when ironing if you don’t want to wash your work beforehand.

Surprise Third: Candlemaker’s Wax/White Unscented Candles

white candle (source: amazon)
white candle (source: amazon)

We expected the standard candle to be an out and out flop in our tests, but it turns out, it worked quite well. Unlike beeswax, it isn’t conditioning, but it waxes well and doesn’t build up on your fingers over time, which is a big plus. Thanks to the shape of a candle, it’s also super easy to wax up your threads.

In A Pinch: Water

damp sponge (source: google images)
damp sponge (source: google images)

Yeh, you heard that right; water. So to be more accurate, a damp sponge, however, you’re only actually using the water. This idea came from a commenter, and damn is it good. I tried it last night and it worked a treat. However, a few things to remember; don’t use it on specialty threads, they often use metal, which can rust if you’re not careful. And try finding natural or pH neutral sponges to make sure you’re not picking up nasties.

Some success: Silicone Ear Plugs

silicone earplugs (source: amazon)
silicone earplugs (source: amazon)

Before I begin with this one, not all silicone-like earplugs are made from silicone; get the pure silicon ones. However, if you find them, silicone can be a good idea. The one thing to say is silicone cannot be washed out. At all. It stays permanently on the thread. Whilst this can be great (it protects the thread long term), it means any dust caught in there, or sweat from hands can’t be washed out. I would use this with some caution for now. We’ll do more tests.

JUST DON’T BOTHER: ‘Natural’ Bees Wax

DIY beeswax (source: Etsy)
DIY beeswax (source: Etsy)

We mentioned above that white beeswax is fantastic for threads, however, don’t be tempted to get DIY or ‘natural’ beeswax. These aren’t the same. The DIY ones can include some seriously iffy colorants (and could actually be toxic), however, even the natural ones aren’t that good for threads. In natural beeswax, they often don’t filter off the impurities. Whilst most are perfectly fine, you don’t know what chemicals are hidden away, and you don’t want your work ruined.

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Jane

    Is there any vegan alternative for a thread conditioner? I’m allergic to beeswax and unfortunately I’m also allergic to Thread Magic.

    1. LordLibidan

      Now that’s a challenge…
      Obviously, Thread Magic is vegan and is a polymer base. So that probably rules out a lot of other things too. Sadly many thread conditioners include beeswax in some form as well.
      My first stop would be checking out silicon. Uncolored silicon earplugs work best and are vegan. They are polymer-based though, so unsure on your reactions.
      The second option would be pure virgin coconut oil (it’s important that it’s “virgin” as this stays hard at room temperature) (it’s important that it’s “pure” as many include beeswax as well). This is really lubricating, however, you really have to wash it out as it will brown over time.
      My third and final idea would be sunflower wax or candelilla wax. I’ve never tried these, so I’m not sure about long-term discoloration, however, they are both vegan and don’t carry pollens (which is the leading cause of beeswax allergies). You’d have to check your allergies to these obviously, and sunflower wax has a smaller impact on the environment than candelilla wax, but both are vegan. With plant-based waxes, you have to use less of it, as when it “dries” it’ll go stiff. You also won’t be able to wash it out. Finally, you can only get these in pellets, so you’d have to melt them into a block to get any use out of it.
      Hope that helps! And we’d love an update if you find something suitable for you!

  2. Amy

    I use the silicone ear plugs with great success. The texture is just like that of Thread Heaven, and they are cheap.

  3. Brandon

    I’ve tried two different containers of Thread Magic now, and both just seem like they don’t work as well after a while. Almost like they’ve dried out a bit. I tied emailing the company and got no reply.

  4. Anne Cole

    I am using Thread Magic now also. I really haven’t found that it is much different from Thread Heaven.

  5. Vonna Pfeiffer

    Agree completely, Thread Magic is my choice OR my all natural alternative, a damp sponge. Give it a try-water on a sponge. Just slide your thread over it, load your needle and start stitching. Works FANTASTIC the threads lay beautifully!

    1. LordLibidan

      That is such an obvious thing to do; how have I never thought of that!?!