Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Floss Organization: Comb Binding Hack


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A quick start to the week here, with a little “hack” for embroidery floss organization!

This is a terrific idea from Brenda, a reader who sent along some photos of how she’s been keeping her collection of DMC floss organized for some 30 years.

If you have a large collection of floss – say, a complete set of DMC – this would work great!

Floss Organization with Comb Binding

What we have here are plastic comb binding strips, with a tiny dowel cut to the width of a hanging file folder inserted in them. The skeins are hung on the comb ring (the rings retract to open). And the dowel is placed in a file folder box.

Brenda used pre-printed number labels that used to be sold for DMC, but you can always make your own labels on your computer or even hand-write them and cut them out of label paper.

You could also use a plastic file folder box (like the one that I used for the Annie’s Keepers floss organization system), to hang the combs, too. This would give you a handy carrying case.

Floss Organization with Comb Binding

For those who might have a plethora of hanging file folders lying about, I thought about the option of removing the metal slide hangers that are inside each side of a hanging file sleeve, to use in place of dowels to hold the combs. I’m not sure how great an idea that would be, as the metal slides are often sharp, and they might cut into the floss. It’s something worth checking if you have extra hanging file folders about.

Binding combs are sold at any office supply stores. You can generally find them in packages of 100 for around $8.00 – $10.00, which gives you lots of comb binders for hanging lots of floss!

Incidentally, you can hang more than one skein on each comb tooth, too, so when you have multiple skeins of the same color, you can put more than one (how many depends on the size of the binding comb) on each tooth.

I think this is a brilliant idea! It’s a compact way to store a hole collection of floss skeins neatly, so that they hang. Using a box that can close keeps the dust out. I’d probably opt for plastic over cardboard, depending on how long the floss would be stored and the climate conditions.

Other Articles on Floss Organization

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to organize and store floss, you might enjoy these articles:

Floss organization in cabinets

Organizing embroidery threads for large projects

Organizing thread using Annie’s Keepers

Thread Drops on Rings

Organizing a Whole Set of Silk in Binders


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(34) Comments

  1. That is a really neat storage solution and a very inventive idea! Thanks for sharing it, Brenda and Mary. 🙂

  2. Nothing makes my eyes all sparkly like a wonderful idea for organizing anything. Brilliant, Brenda!

  3. Hi Mary, I too love Annie’s Keepers and as I have a complete set of both DMC and Anchor threads, use the Annie’s for Anchor and the Annie’s bobbins for the DMC. By the way, have you seen the Annie’s bobbins? They are really terrific.
    This “hack” looks terrific. Well done to Brenda.

    Unfortunately for us in Australia, the keepers come in your US Letter size only, and as we only use A4 size here, we cannot buy Leeter size hanging file boxes. So I too had to “hack” a system. I bought an A4 hanging file box and then used a piece of dowel the size of the Annie’s Keepers Storage slides and inserted it into the A4 box so that the threads hang perfectly.

    Sometimes I look with envy at all the fantastic things you can buy in the States that we can’t get here in Oz. For example your Staples store is amazing and the little task lights you review look fantastic. But we can’t buy any US electrical goods because the power source and amplitudes are different. Some of the products you review are available here, but the price is often 3 times what you pay in the States and so for me, at least they are not affordable.

    Wishing you well, Mary and thank you for the inspiration that you give me every day. I LOVE your newsy and helpful emails and am so very grateful for Needle ‘n Thread. I have learnt so much from you.

    1. When I travel to Europe I take a current adapter. They are inexpensive and available in travel stores, airplane magazines, etc. Just a thought.

  4. This is a great idea! You could make up strips for in-progress projects also. I’d heard about using these binding strips for sewing machine bobbins, I wonder what else they could be used for…

  5. Dear Mary

    What a great idea and really useful if you have a lot of threads. I like the idea of the threads hanging in a storage box and a great idea for those long projects everything in one place and a dust free solution and really affordable so cheap. It’s good to know that you can store more then one skein on each comb tooth. Thanks Brenda for this useful accessory and thanks Mary for sharing Brenda’s thread organiser, really useful.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  6. Okay, this is what I’ve been looking for. Thank you Brenda and Mary. I have lots of hanging file folders and I think just cutting the file folder leaving paper over the metal would work.


  7. HOLY COW……………………..light bulb moment or what? LOL
    EXCELLENT idea. Thanks so much for sharing; I’m off to the stationery store.
    Hugs, Mary.

  8. Thanks for all the wonderful floss organizing ideas, Mary. I like the idea of the floss drops, as a person could actually design their own and create what works for them. Of course, the cabinets are fabulous but a bit out of the budget for now. I’ll be mulling over the possibilities and sketching out some drop designs in the ol’ sketchbook. My challenge to myself this summer is “use what you have.” Of course, this came out of a revamp of organizing my craft room and realizing that it’s time to get stitching and to quit buying more books, floss, beads, etc. until I actually have a finished project in hand. Thanks again for your always helpful ideas (and a big thank-you to your reader contributors too!).

  9. OMG–What a totally awesome idea! Worth the price of admission, right there.

    Now I’m regretting throwing away all those plastic bindings over the years. But at least now I know what they are called so I can buy some more!

  10. Great Idea, I’m ready to start! I looked all over for the box this morning (Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples) with no luck. Does anyone know where it can be found?

    1. Mary, Thanks for your quick response! I’ll begin looking for another storage method. (I love your web site!)

  11. Hi Mary,
    Hope you can help me with this question. It’s a count and cross stitch question.
    Is that technically embroidery? Anyway I’m trying to transition from count and cross stitch to the beautiful stem stitch, French knots, chain stitchs etc that you show us here. I love your stuff.
    But soon I need a piece for ‘Congradulations on Your Graduation’ sampler. I have the threads, the instructions, needles and fabric. But… (yes there is a question in the future) But the 28 count for the sampler is very see through. What to do? Should I back it with muslin fabric or do your hot water, cold water, boiling water to shrink the linen? But then will it still be 28 count. Any ideas? Thanks for any attention you can give this question. And oh, your project to are gorgeous. Thanks for your website.

    1. Hi, Peggy – I’ve never personally backed linen for counted work, but I suppose you could. I don’t know why you wouldn’t be able to, anyway. I would use a light cotton or linen, though. Nothing too heavy. If you didn’t want to go to that trouble, you could switch to a heavier 28-count. As for the count changing with shrinkage and washing, this really wouldn’t affect the stitching of the pattern. It would just come out looking slightly finer. If you think you might have to wash the piece upon completion, I’d probably go ahead and at least hand wash the linen first and dry it flat, then iron it.

  12. I have a hate/hate relationship with bobbins whether in knitting or as embroidery storage so I’ve been on the lookout for a different kind of system. I tried the Siesta Frames floss storage boxes which are OK, but not great especially if you’re constantly adding different colors and want to keep them in order, plus, as with all the commercial products, the cost starts adding up pretty fast if you have a large collection. This comb system is the perfect hack and it was cheap to put together. I used cafe curtain rods at €1.10 a pair, wooden dowels being oddly difficult to source in Italy, a box of 100 plastic combs for €12 and a large gift box for €3 that I cut out to hold the rods, plus the DMC labels I had on hand. Altogether I think I spent around €25 for the most efficient system I’ve found.

  13. Great idea, that I think I’m going to try. I’d love your thoughts on the best container to use long term as I’ve just managed to pick up a large supply. I do live in humid climate – well especially at times – but more towards the temperate end of the humidity range. Is plastic better do you think, even if it doesn’t breathe? Would I be better to use one of those bags that allows you to suck all the air out? Thank you, I look forward to your ideas.

  14. LOL, this is brilliant! I’m not an embroiderer; I found your site while Googling things to do regarding comb bindings 😀 You’ve taken my mind into a new direction with using these to organize other items (jewelry or hair ties, for example)

    B R I L L I A N T ! ! !

  15. Me parece una gran idea yo los tengo por flores en una bolsa de plástico y dentro de una caja Pero esto me parece una idea genial
    Muchas gracias por compartir

  16. Bonjour de France,
    Je souhaiterais adopter ce système de rangement de fils mais pourriez-vous me dire où on peut trouver ce genre de boîtes avec encoches pour maintenir la bande de reliure ?
    J’ai beaucoup de fils et j’ai essayé plusieurs systèmes mais aucun ne m’a satisfait jusqu’aujourd’hui.
    Je vous remercie de votre réponse.
    Bien à vous.

  17. Bellissima idea trovata la soluzione per tenere ordinate le matassine e per trovare piu’ facilmente i colori

  18. Great idea! I’ve been searching for something that is not expensive and doesn’t take up a lot of space. One question — what kind of box is used?


  19. I didn’t have any ideas on how to store skeins (I had them in a binder and it was a mess to find what I wanted). I set up my extras just like this and it’s a,azing!

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