Whether you have a handful of spools or hundreds, you know that finding the best thread storage ideas is critical for an organized sewing kit and sewing room. When all your thread is organized you can easily find what you need and spend more time on creating and sewing and less time on rummaging and searching.
Whether you’re looking for tips to organize the thread, the best organization products or ingenious thread organization hacks, you’ll find them all right here.
I am a casual seamstress. I started with about 10 mini spools of thread that came in a dollar store kit. As my sewing skills improved, I purchased spools of thread and built a collection of 20-something thread spools.
Both my grandmother and my mother were skilled and prolific seamstresses. I inherited hundreds of spools of thread from them over the years. And if you’re as sentimental and practical as I am, you know that I have to keep each of those spools. (It even worked out well when crafters in our neighborhood were requesting thread to sew masks to donate to our hospital. I was able to donate a bunch of thread for the cause.)
But as my thread stash grew, I needed to find better ways to store it. At first I didn’t have a sewing room, so I stored thread in several different sewing boxes. When we moved and I joyfully got to set up a craft and sewing room, I began to research more thread storage ideas.
I chose to keep some thread displayed in glass jars. It’s a beautiful design element that makes me happy every day.
The thread that I needed to figure out how to store fell into several different categories, each with different storage needs. That started me on my hunt to explore all the best thread storage ideas and find what works best for me.
What is the best way to store thread?
To determine the best way to store and organize thread, you have to determine your needs and limitations. Once you assess your requirements and preferences, then you can choose the thread storage products and hacks that will work best for you.
- Do you have a sewing room with space to hang a thread rack near the sewing machine or do you pull your sewing machine and threads out from storage to use them?
- Do you have a sewing table set up that has room for a tabletop thread holder?
- How much thread do you have? Do you have just a few spools of thread or hundreds in all different sizes?
- What types of thread do you have?
- Sewing thread
- Serger thread
- Embroidery thread
- Spools, both small spools and large spools
- Would you like to have threads out for easy access or stored away out of sight?
- What budget do you have? Are you looking for cheap ways to store thread? (Don’t worry, there are many brilliant budget-friendly hacks here!)
Thread Storage Ideas
If you have more than a handful of thread spools, you should start by sorting and organizing them by categories of thread. This will allow you to accurately assess what your storage needs are. For example, if you embroider all the time, you may want to have your embroidery thread out visible and easy to access. But if you rarely use your serger, you can store the serger thread away.
Sorting and Organizing Thread
There are several different categories you can use to sort your spools of thread. Consider how you think about and use your thread to find the best organizing categories to choose.
For example, do you think, “I need orange thread” and then go look for the proper type of thread. Or do you think, “I need cotton thread” and then go look for the orange cotton thread.
You will most likely find that you first organize your thread by a main category and then organize them into one or more categories. How many categories you choose to use will depend on:
- How you think of and use your thread.
- How much thread you have.
- How many different kinds and colors of thread you have.
- How much thread storage space you have.
The main categories to consider in organizing your thread spools are:
- Use and type of thread
- Sewing thead
- Serger thread
- Embroidery thread
- Fiber type
- By specific thread color numbers
- By broad color categories
- Size of spool and how the thread is wound
- Small spools
- Large spools
- Skeins of thread or other
In a Drawer
Many of us store our thread spools in the drawers of a sewing cabinet. But you can also use a thrifted dresser or a craft or office drawer unit to store threads.
Containing the thread within drawers is the key to keeping them neat and organized. Storing thread spools in a drawer works best by using shallow drawer organizers. These trays and compartments hold the threads in the categories you’ve identified and keep them from tumbling around when you open and close the drawers.
If you have extra thread trays from a sewing basket or sewing box, you can place those trays in drawers for neat thread storage.
Thread Organization on the Wall
If you’d like to keep your threads visible, you can use wall shelves with a lip or wall-mounted baskets to store your thread. These shelves are designed as book shelves, picture frame ledges and display shelves.
This keeps thread visible and easily within reach whether it’s near your sewing machine or sewing table.
A thread rack takes your thread storage and makes it a piece of art decorating your sewing room. Many thread racks can be set up on a table or hung on a wall. They come in a wide range of sizes so you can find a combination to store all your thread spools.
Table Thread Storage
Often thread storage that works on a desktop or sewing table makes the most sense for your needs. There are even rotating thread storage racks. And many of these storage units would also fit into a drawer.
Thread Storage Case
We’re all familiar with mom’s or grandma’s sewing box. It’s been a staple of thread organization for centuries. I currently have thread stored both in my own sewing box and the one inherited from my mom, so the old-fashioned sewing box is still a great idea.
In addition to the tried and true sewing basket, there are new takes on thread holders in all different types of thread cases.
If you sew and have thread on bobbins, you know what a hassle it can be storing those little round bobbins. They roll around and off the table. The thread can start unwinding and get tangled. Finding good bobbin storage ideas makes sewing so much more enjoyable.
First off, thread unwinds and gets all tangled. Luckily, there are all kinds of bobbin keeper gadgets to keep the thread neat and secure on the wound bobbin. There’s even a clever gadget to keep the matching wound bobbins with the spool of thread. And I’ve shared a couple of great hacks below for keeping bobbin thread organized.
Organize the thread bobbins in a way that makes sense for your bobbin storage. You can organize them in boxes by fiber type, by use or by color.
In addition to storage designed specifically for bobbins, there are many plastic containers designed for crafting, beading and fishing that will work just as well.
You may even be able to find plastic containers that are packaging for products you purchase that you can repurpose for bobbin storage. There are many cheap ways and options available to organize bobbins.
Thread Storage Hacks
I don’t know what makes me happier about storage hacks, that they’re a cheap way to store thread and bobbins or that they’re just so creative and brilliant!
You can often find some of the items much cheaper in a thrift store or in an online yard sale group.
Thread spools are similar in size to bottles of nail polish. Racks designed for nail polish storage also work well for storing thread spools.
A plastic ice cube tray is a great way to store bobbins. Each compartment can hold 2-4 bobbins and the trays can be stacked. Ice cube trays are also a great alternative for drawer thread storage trays.
You can go old school and use repurposed tin cases and cookie cans like grandma did. Use smaller metal cans for smaller spools and larger containers for larger spools or thread cones. I actually use a large plastic ice cream tub with a handle to store my buttons and it would work equally well for thread storage, particularly for large thread spools or cones.
You can use a coffee stirrer or thin straw to attach the thread bobbin to the matching spool. Simply thread the straw through the middle of the spool and bobbin and then stand them up together on your shelf in a drawer.
Peg board hung on the wall or set in a drawer can be a clever way to store spools of thread. You can purchase hooks designed for peg boards or glue dowel rods into the board at different intervals for the different sizes of thread spools you have. Add a frame to your peg board and it becomes a functional work of art in your sewing room.
You can purchase peg board at your local hardware or home improvement store and often they will cut it to size for you for free. Or you can purchase peg board kits and display boards.
Golf tees attached to a board makes a brilliant spool holder. You can also press the golf tees through foam core board and place it in a drawer to create a thread holder.
You can use a rubber band to keep the thread neatly wound on the bobbin. In addition to rubber bands, you can use a small hairband or tiny scrunchie. You can often find these at the dollar store.
Keep the thread wound neatly on the spool or bobbin with a toe separator used for painting toe nails. Simply insert the thread spool or bobbin into the opening and it will hold the thread in place. You can cut the longer ones into individual thread holders if you want.
It’s often difficult keeping embroidery thread neat and keeping track of the color numbers once you’ve opened the package. A key ring with tag from the office supply store is a great solution. Simply loop the embroidery thread through the ring and tie it loosely. Write the thread color number on the tag and you’ll always know the exact color. You can store the embroidery floss on a key rack or laying in a drawer or container.
More Thread and Craft Organizing
- Organizing Embroidery Floss – This is an oldie but a goodie from my first year of blogging.
- How to Fold Fabric
- How to Organize and Store Fabric
- Design Your Own Sewing Box
- Declutter Your Craft Stash
- Craft Room Storage Ideas
- Color Coordinated Organizing
Be sure to pin these thread storage ideas so you can find them again as your sewing and storage needs change and grow.