Metallic Threads

Metallic thread is a large group of threads which can be made of just metal or blended with a fiber of some kind. The threads may be of any color. DMC creates a large range of colors in their metallic embroidery floss line. (See DMC Metallic Embroidery Floss) The thread may be braided (Kreinik Braid), twisted (Tiara) or a flat sheet (Blending Filament).   Each thread has its benefits and limitations. Remember, too much of a good thing may become bad.


Stitching with metallic threads is easy once you know a few rules. First, work with shorter lengths of thread. Most metallics will fray when worked. To prevent the thread from fraying at the needle’s eye, use a slightly larger needle than what the canvas requires. If the ends will fray, place a dab of Fray Check by Dritz or clear fingernail polish on the ends, let dry and then stitch. If the thread isn’t slippery, use away knots, waste knots or just pass the end through neighboring stitches and start to sew. Some threads, such as filament or blending thread, may require a little creative anchoring. Never start a metal thread with a large, permanent knot at the end. Always remove the knot after stitching. The large ball on the underside will make a bulge on the topside of the canvas. Use up and down stabbing movements with metals. This will also prevent fraying.    


Sometimes, the metal will tarnish. If this happens, think of it as patina. If the tarnish is undesired, try using another thread.        


When cleaning, do so with caution. The threads may wear. Do not use chlorine or other bleaching agents. Block if needed. To prevent dirt, protect your work as you are stitching. Use stretcher bars.

The Threads

Blending Filament: A very fine thread which can be used to over stitch or blend with other threads. Use as accents, shading or “bringing an object to life” such as water, snowmen, wet things or clothing.  You can use Blending Filament with or without other threads in your needle.

     Uses:  Over stitching, accents, shading

Braid (Kreinik): The Kreinik Company manufactures 6 sizes of braid. They are #4, #8, #12, #16, #24 and #32. Each number will fit different canvas sizes.   If you have never worked with braid, think of this as a beginner’s thread. Cut the length you wish to work with and thread into a slightly larger needle than required for your size canvas. (This will allow the thread to pass through easily.) The braid has an oval shape on the cross section. For you, this means the braid should be laid flat on the canvas for lovely work. You may wish to use a laying tool when working. Please see starting and ending your thread. Never use a permanent knot when working with braid. The front side will have a large bulge appearance.

     Uses: Accent areas, jewels, bugs and sparkly projects

Carat: This is a heavy metallic ribbon by Madeira Company. Use this thread for either large size canvases or couched. The bright shine lends it mostly for decorations or jewel type areas. Long stitches are best. Try adding this thread when working a bargello or decorative stitch. Carat is a braid which will fray. Secure the ends with Fray Check or clear fingernail polish.  

     Uses: Jewels, clothes, decorative stitches, borders and samplers

Coronet Braid: Coronet Braid, by Rainbow Gallery, comes in sizes #4, #8 and #16. Number 4 Cornet Braid has replaced La Lame size 1 ½ and Christopher size 2B. (Both discontinued) Size #16 has replaced La Lame 1 and Christopher 1. (Discontinued) The thread is sturdy, looks like real metal and can make stitching fun! When you work with Coronet Braid, use a shorter length of thread and use up and down stabbing stitches.

     Uses: Metal, outlining, clothes, jewelry and bugs

DMC Metallic Embroidery Thread: This is a 3-ply, divisible thread which can be used for over stitching, blending or stitching on very fine canvas. The thread is a good all-purpose fine thread which is washable and resistant to tarnish.

     Uses: Details, over stitching, petit point 

DMC Metallic Pearl Cotton:  This is a non-divisible thread, size 5 pearl. Metallic pearl is excellent for accents or glittery items on the canvas. You may want to stitch this as is or blend it with other threads. The thread comes on only gold or silver. Like other metal threads, use a shorter length in the needle to prevent wear spots before you have finished stitching.

     Uses: Accents, jewels, clothes, bugs and glittery areas

Fyre Werks (pronounced Fire Works): This soft sheen metallic ribbon will add glitter and glam to your project. The ribbon is very easy to work with. Because the ends will fray, use Fray Check by Dritz or clear fingernail polish. After the product is dry, stitch as usual. Use a laying tool to ensure the thread lays flat on the canvas. Fyre Werks is manufactured by Rainbow Gallery.

     Uses: Jewels, clothes, metal things and glitz

Kreinik Hot-Wire: The size of Hot-Wire is the same as Kreinik Medium #16 Braid. The braid has a wire running through it to make the thread bendable into any position you may choose. This is great for that 3D, silly or unique project you are working on. Use Hot-Wire for trimming the edge of a butterfly, flower or bird wing. Kreinik has 18 interesting colors to work with.  

     Uses: 3D, butterfly antennas, silly hair, flower stamens, edges of bird wings, flowers, butterfly wings and boat sails

Light Effects: DMC has created a series of metallic embroidery threads under the categories of Jewel Effects (14 colors), Precious Metal Effects (6 colors) Antique Effects (5 colors) Pearlescent Effects (8 colors) Fluorescent Effects (2 colors) and Glow-in-the-dark (1 color). Each thread has a lovely metallic shine which adds interest. The Pearlescent Effects will add sparkle to snowmen. Jewel Effects make instant jewelry and gems. Metals include gold, silver, copper and blue. Antique Effects will give a metal a tarnished, aged look. Glow-in-the-dark is white and can add a spooky feel.

     Uses: Endless!

Tiara:   Tiara is a brassy metal thread which has a soft twist. Because it is twisted, it is softer and easier to stitch on canvas. The ends will fray. Use Fray Check or clear fingernail polish on the ends to alleviate this problem. Also, use shorter lengths when working.   Stitch with up and down stabbing movements like a sewing machine. This will prevent fraying before you have finished stitching Tiara. Tiara is manufactured by Rainbow Gallery.  

     Uses:   Brassy metal objects, ornaments, instruments such as horns and symbols

Treasure Braid: Treasure Braid is similar to Kreinik. You will use this just like any other braid. Treasure Braid is made by Rainbow Gallery and comes in sizes petit, 4 strand, 8 strand, 12 strand and 16 strand.   Please see Braid (Kreinik).

Kreinik Filament:  Filament is a very fine thread which should be used for over stitching or combined with another thread. Because the thread is so light, adding one or two strands to your thread will not make a difference when stitching.   Over stitching will add sparkle, pizazz and interest. Use a thread length of 18” when working filament. Also, stitch like a sewing machine, up and down movements. Kreinik recommends hand, machine or dry cleaning Blending Filament. For those who needlepoint, think of the other threads involved and go from there. (Never throw your needlepoint in the washing machine unless you want fancy dust rags! The spool has 55 yards of thread.

     Uses: Accents, water, sparkle, jewels, clothes and wet areas

Tags:  Hotwire, Hot Wire