Secrets to Using Metallic Threads in Cross-Stitch Projects

Using metallic threads in cross-stitch projects is a great way to add sheen and sparkle to your projects. It also adds dimension and texture to your finished design.


Santa’s Secret 34866 $10.00

The gold sheen from Santa’s glasses and from the garland on the tree really add texture and sparkle to the completed project.

Metallic threads have a reputation of being tricky to work with, so we’ve put together some tips to make them a lot easier to use.

1.   Cut shorter lengths of thread than you normally do. The friction of drawing metallic thread through fabric can cause it to dull and lose its sheen. Using shorter threads means that you’ll draw it through the fabric fewer times and cause less friction.

2.   Use sharp scissors. Metallic threads fray very easily, so using sharp scissors to cut your lengths off the spool can prevent some fraying. Erica’s has a large selection of scissors, including specialty embroidery scissors such as the ones shown below.

scissors1 4″ Gingher Embroidery Scissors with Sheath 53442 $29.99


Floral Embroidery Scissors 52850 $3.99

3.   Let the needle hang and unwind every few stitches. Metallic thread twists and tangles easily so you’ll want to make sure you let it unwind often.

4.   Stitch slowly. For the same reasons mentioned above, metallic threads can twist and stitching slowly helps keep the twisting and turning under control.

5.   Use a glue such as Fray Stoppa. Helmar Fray Stoppa is a solvent based anti-fray glue. It’s specifically designed to bind the fibers of material to prevent fraying of fabric hems and seams.  It works for metallic threads, too!

fray stoppa 2Fray Stoppa 83625 $5.30

6.   Use a longer tail on the back of your project. Metallic thread is slippery and may work out of your stitches so use a slightly longer tail to ensure that it’s well-secured on the back of your design.

7.   Use a laying tool, such as a trolley needle. For more information on trolley needles, you can read an earlier blog post, “Needles & More Needles.”

trolley-needle-1-newTrolley Needle 14152 $8.99

The trolley needle is a multi-purpose tool that slips over your fingertip and helps to keep thread from twisting as you’re working on cross stitch projects. The needle helps to keep your threads smooth and gives you greater control as you’re stitching. It’s adjustable and is often worn on the index finger but because it’s adjustable, you can wear it on any finger or thumb.

I hope these tips help, and you’ll consider adding metallic thread to your projects more often!

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Happy Stitching!

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