What do you wrap embroidery floss around?

Quick Answers

Embroidery floss is most commonly wrapped around embroidery hoops or quilt frames to keep the fabric taut while embroidering. It can also be wrapped around cardboard or plastic bobbins for storage, or wrapped tightly around itself to make twisted cords for embellishing crafts.

Embroidery floss is a lightweight, versatile thread that comes in a variety of colors and is used for many embroidery and craft projects. It is composed of six loosely twisted strands that can be separated and used individually or together for different effects. When working on embroidery projects, the floss needs to be kept organized and tangle-free. Knowing what to wrap embroidery floss around is an important technique for managing and storing your thread.

The most common items to wrap embroidery floss around are:

  • Embroidery hoops
  • Quilt frames
  • Bobbins or floss cards
  • Itself, to make twisted cord

Choosing the right wrap keeps your floss neat, minimizes tangling, and makes it easily accessible when you need it. The material you wrap around also serves a functional purpose in your stitch work. This article will examine the different wrapping options for embroidery floss and when each is most useful.

Embroidery Hoops

The most frequent use of wrapping floss is to secure fabric in an embroidery hoop. Hoops consist of two rings (typically wood or plastic) fitted together to create tension around the fabric. This keeps the material taut and prevents puckering or distortion of the design as you stitch. To get an evenly tight grip, the floss is wrapped around the hoop and fabric then knotted or fastened with a locking stitch.

How to Wrap Embroidery Floss on a Hoop

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Separate the strands of floss you need for your design. Using all six strands will make very thick, ropelike stitches. For most embroidery projects you’ll want to use two or three strands.
  2. Cut a length of floss about 18 inches long.
  3. Place the inner hoop down on your work surface. Lay the fabric over it, centered on the design area.
  4. Place the outer hoop on top and press down until the fabric is taut and smooth.
  5. Holding the outer hoop steady, wrap the floss around the entire hoop several times. Wrap over the inner and outer hoop rings, cinching them together.
  6. Tie the floss ends together with a square knot, or take a few stitches into the fabric to anchor it.

Your fabric should now be securely fastened. Check that it’s drum-tight across the frame. If there are any puckers, gently pull and stretch the floss wraps until the fabric is perfectly taut. Your hoop is now ready for embroidering!

Tips for Wrapping Embroidery Hoops

  • Wrap the floss in the direction that feels most comfortable to you. Some embroiderers prefer wrapping clockwise, others counterclockwise.
  • Wrap the floss around the widest part of the hoop for maximum stability.
  • Use a continuous strand of floss so you don’t have knots in the wraps.
  • If the fabric loosens at all, pause and re-tighten the floss wraps as needed.
  • Avoid distorting delicate fabrics by not pulling the floss too tight.

Quilt Frames

Quilters also rely on the wrap method to keep fabric taut. But rather than small hoops, quilts require large wooden or metal frames to manage the entire quilt sandwich of front fabric, batting, and backing. Like embroidery hoops, floss is wrapped around the bars of the frame to grip all fabric layers in place.

How to Wrap Quilt Frames

Here are the basics steps:

  1. Assemble the quilt frame according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Frames are adjustable to fit different quilt sizes.
  2. Lay the backing fabric over the frame and smooth any wrinkles. This is the bottom layer.
  3. Place the batting over the backing, smoothing it evenly.
  4. Finally, position your quilt top fabric over the batting, keeping it centered and smooth.
  5. Use embroidery floss or quilting thread to wrap the layers around the top and bottom bars of the frame, cinching the fabric sandwich snugly in place.
  6. Use a locking stitch or knot to secure the wrapped floss.

Your quilt is now ready to be hand quilted or attached to a quilting machine frame. Keeping even tension across the entire surface is crucial for professional results, so check periodically for any loose spots and re-tighten as needed.

Tips for Wrapping Quilt Frames

  • Only wrap as much fabric as you can comfortably quilt at one time. For large quilts, roll up excess fabric and wrap it around the bars.
  • Use pieces of scrap fabric at the floss wrapping points to prevent indentations in the quilt layers.
  • Adding a layer of quilt batting around the bars cushions and pads the fabric.
  • Wrap the floss using a criss-cross pattern for most secure tension.

Bobbins or Floss Cards

In addition to fabric, embroidery floss is commonly wrapped around bobbins or floss cards for storage. These provide a way to organize separated strands and prevent tangling when not in use.


Bobbins for holding embroidery floss come in plastic and cardboard styles. Plastic bobbins have two tapered sides allowing the thread to be quickly wound on. Cardboard bobbins have a cut-out center and split sides. To wind floss on a bobbin:

  1. Separate out the number of strands needed for your project.
  2. Insert the end of the floss through the center hole or slit in the bobbin.
  3. Neatly wind the floss around the bobbin by turning continuously in one direction.
  4. When done, pass the end through the floss starting tail to secure it.

Store bobbins upright in jars, boxes, or plastic cases. Label them by color name or number for easy identification. Plastic bobbins can snap together for compact storage.

Floss Cards

These flat cards have one or more slits to wrap floss around. Some cards are simple cardboard rectangles. Others have holes for hanging or snaps to combine. To wrap on a floss card:

  1. Cut a length of floss about 18 inches long.
  2. Insert through slit(s) from back to front of card.
  3. Evenly wind floss around card, passing through slits each time.
  4. Finish by passing end under floss to anchor it.

Floss cards are often pre-packaged with corresponding thread colors. They can be hole-punched and stored in binders. Choose the style that’s most organized for your projects.

Tips for Using Bobbins and Cards

  • Wind each color on its own bobbin or card to prevent tangling.
  • Use wrapping techniques that work for your personal preference.
  • Test different bobbin and card options to find the best storage method for your floss inventory.

Twisted Cord

You can also wrap embroidery floss around itself to create a tightly twisted cord. With its texture and colors, twisted cord makes fun trim for embellishing crafts. Cords can accent scrapbooks, wreaths, clothing, or home decor items like throw pillows.

How to Wrap Floss for Twisted Cord

Follow these steps:

  1. Cut several strands of floss in 24″ to 36″ lengths. More strands will make a thicker cord.
  2. Attach the ends to a fixed point like a doorknob, drawer handle or heavy furniture leg.
  3. Hold the floss at the halfway point and insert a pencil there. Keeping the floss taut, twist continuously so it winds around itself.
  4. When fully twisted, gently release the pencil and allow the cord to twist back on itself. Move hands back to keep cord from unwinding.
  5. Knot both ends together and shape the cord as desired. Trim ends.

For variated color patterns, try twisting together different shades of floss before winding the cord. Let your creativity guide you!

Tips for Making Twisted Cord

  • Use 6 to 8 strands of floss for medium weight cord. For jumbo cord, try 10-12 strands. For dainty cord, 2 to 4 strands.
  • Keep even tension while twisting for uniform twisting.
  • Wrap tightly around the pencil midpoint to get the tightest twist possible.
  • If the cord tries to untwist, run your hand down the length to reset the twist.

Choosing Your Wrapping Method

As you can see, there are many options for wrapping embroidery floss. The technique you choose will depend on your particular project needs:

Wrapping Method Best Used For
Embroidery Hoops Keeping fabric taut in the hoop while embroidering
Quilt Frames Securing the quilt sandwich layers on large frames
Bobbins Storing floss neatly for access during projects
Floss Cards Organizing separated strands in binders
Twisted Cord Making decorative embellishments for crafts

Getting to know the various options for managing floss will make your stitching endeavors more organized and successful. With some experimenting, you’ll discover your own preferred wrapping styles.


Whether you’re an avid embroiderer or occasional crafter, keeping your embroidery floss organized is key. Wrapping it properly around hoops, frames, bobbins, and itself serves many important functions. The right wrap method keeps floss tangle-free and accessible for stitching. It also secures fabric and adds creative embellishments to projects. By understanding the different options for wrapping floss, you can wrangle this essential thread with ease and spend your time creating beautiful hand-stitched work. What will you wrap your floss around for your next masterpiece? Let your imagination run free!

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