What You Need to Know About Using Metallic Thread for Hand Embroidery

Are you daring to add a little shine to your next hand embroidery project? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Metallic hand embroidery thread is becoming increasingly popular for adding glitz, glamor and sparkle to your hand-stitched creations. To use metallic thread effectively, however, it’s important to know a few things.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using metallic thread for hand embroidery. We’ll discuss which brands are available and how they compare in terms of quality, durability, and cost. We’ll also cover topics such as tension, using the right needle size, and finishing techniques so you can get the most out of your metallic thread. Ready to shine? Then let’s get started!

What Is Metallic Hand Embroidery?

Using metallic thread is an exciting way to take your hand embroidery to the next level. Not only does it add some sparkle and shimmer to your projects, but it also adds a level of texture and depth that you just can’t get with regular cotton floss.

So what is metallic hand embroidery? At its most basic, it’s a form of hand embroidery in which you use a special type of thread that has a metallic finish. It’s usually made from polyester or nylon and comes in different colors and sizes. It can be purchased in both the familiar six-strand floss or as a thicker strands.

When you use metallic thread, you create fascinating effects that are full of movement and character—perfect for adding pizzazz to any project. You can get creative with it, using it alone or combining it with regular threads for unique results.

Different Types of Metallic Thread

Metallic thread is a great way to add shimmer, glitz, and application to your hand embroidery projects. But there are a few things you should know before you start.

Different Types of Metallic Threads

There are several different types of metallic threads used for hand embroidery, including:

  • Coated Metallic Thread – This thread is made up of one or more plies of metallized polyester film that is covered in plastic or wax which gives it stability and color. Coated metallic threads are best for linen and fine fabrics as they have a smooth surface that can easily slip through the fabric’s weave.
  • Uncoated Metallic Thread – This thread is made up of one ply with no coating, making it difficult to pass through fabrics as it has an uneven surface which can snag on the fabric weave. Uncoated metallic threads can also be quite stiff so they’re best used on thicker fabric such as canvas.
  • Chainette Metallic Thread – This type of thread is a combination of one or more plies of coated metallic thread covered in nylon or rayon which gives it flexibility and strength. Chainette metallic threads are best used on denser fabrics or fabrics with heavier weaves such as velvet and tapestry, as they have the strength to withstand the tension required for these types of fabrics.

There are many other brands of metallic thread, including Anchor and Kreinik, that you can use in your hand embroidery projects. Try experimenting with different types to find the one that suits your needs best!

What Embroidery Needle Do You Use for Metallic Thread?

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of metallic thread, let’s talk about the ideal needle to use for them. Since metallic thread is a bit thicker and more rigid than traditional embroidery floss, it requires a larger needle. This is often referred to as a tapestry needle; these needles are longer, duller, and with larger eyes than their counterparts.

The size of your needle should correspond with the type of floss you’re using—generally the smaller the thread number, the bigger the needle size should be. Make sure to double check your packaging or labels for any recommended needle sizing!

Another factor to consider when it comes to needles is whether you’re using cotton, silk, or rayon backings on your project. If so, you’ll need a slightly sharper needle than usual in order to pierce through the material easily. No matter what type of material or thread you’re working with, be sure to take into account any additional factors that could impact your choice in needle size.

Tips for Embroidering With Metallic Thread:

Using metallic thread for hand embroidery is a lot of fun, but it can be tricky. Here are some tips to help you get it right:

Separate the plies

Metallic thread is actually made up of several very thin strands. To get the best results, divide each thread into its individual plies prior to stitching. This will keep your stitches more even and easier to manage.

Use a smaller needle

Metallic thread can be very thick and stiff, so you’ll need a smaller needle to pass through the fabric without too much hassle. A size 8 crewel needle should do the trick!

Stitch away from yourself

When using metallic thread on your hand embroidery projects, make sure you always stitch away from yourself. This will help you avoid tangles or knots that can occur when using this type of thread.

Don’t pull too hard

If you’re pulling the metallic thread too hard when stitching, it can start to break apart. Go slow and gentle instead so the thread slides through smoothly and doesn’t fray or snap.

Precautions When Working With Metallic Thread

When working with metallic thread, there are a few precautions to keep in mind. Metallic thread is fragile and can easily break, so you want to make sure you use the right kind of needle and that your tension isn’t too tight.

Here are a few more tips for using metallic thread:

Anchoring the Thread

Before starting any design, it’s important to anchor your metallic thread so it stays in place while you work. Consider using a French knot or a small stitch to create an anchor point or tie off the end of the thread if necessary.

Needle Selection

It’s essential to choose the right needle for your project when you’re working with metallic thread. Using a needle that’s too small can cause scratches or missed stitches, while a needle that’s too large can break your thread. An embroidery needle size 10/12 is usually recommended for metallic hand embroidery threads.


If your tension is too tight while working with metallic thread, it could break due to the pressure from the fabric and hoop. To make sure this doesn’t happen, loosen up your tension settings just a bit when using this type of material for embroidery.

In addition to following these guidelines, be sure to take regular breaks when working with metallic threads so that your hands don’t get tired and you don’t overwork them. With careful preparation and mindful stitching techniques, you can achieve beautiful results when working with this precious material!

You don’t have to be an experienced hand embroiderer to master using metallic thread for your projects. With a few tips and tricks under your belt, you can create stunning, shimmering designs with ease. To get started, think about what type of metallic thread you want to use and how you want to use it. Research which brands and weights of thread will work best for your project. Then gather the necessary supplies, such as embroidery needles, and the perfect stabilizer to get the job done. Finally, practice stitching with the metallic thread using different combinations of stitches for the desired texture and effects. With some preparation and skill, you’ll be happily stitching your creations with delicate metallic thread in no time.

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