Waxed Thread

Waxed Thread - The Thread Exchange

Waxing makes regular thread stiffer, more water and mildew resistant, and less stretchy. This Waxed Thread Thread Buying Guide helps customers get the right thread for their needs. Our approach is to discuss waxed thread uses, sizes, package sizes, and color. Specialty threads like embalmers thread, polyester linen, hand sewing waxed cord, and beeswax are also described.
Waxed Thread Uses - Waxed thread is regular thread with a light coat of wax. Waxing makes the thread stiffer, more water and mildew resistant, and less stretchy. Its downsides are that it leaves a waxy residue on sewing machines and the wax melts when exposed to heat. It is typically hand sewing and used for these kinds of projects:

Basket weaving, Binding outdoor trellises, Bookbinding, Braided rugs, Braiding horses' tails and manes, Braiding Kumhimo, Braiding lashes and bullwhips

Convertible tops, Couching in hand embroidery, Custom boots, Decorating scabbards, Decorative gourds, Designer designer earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.

Dollhouse furniture, Dream catchers, Fabric straps on kayaks, Friendship bracelets, Furniture wrapping and upholstery, Hand sewing belts, knife sheaths, and moccasins

Handmade greeting cards, Hanging suspended ceilings, household decorations, and ornaments, Horse hair jewelry, Lacing pipe organ cables, Lashing rims on baskets and gourds

Leather key chains, Leatherwork on paddles, Macrame, Measuring, Motorcycle saddles, Ojo de Dios, Outdoor survival kits, Pine needle baskets and bracelets, Pocketbook straps

Replica sailing ships, Rosaries, Saddlery and tack, Sails, Sew a lei of flowers, Steering wheel covers, Stick art, Stringing beads, Sweet grass baskets, Taxidermy, Tents

Umbrellas, Watch straps, Weaving necklaces, pouches, and wheat, Whipping rope ends and golf clubs, Wicker furniture, Wrapping bag pipe reeds, flute tenons, and party favors, Wreaths

Waxed Thread Sizes - In most cases, customers buy waxed thread because they want the stitches to stand out or become a focal point. Using a heavier thread size achieves this goal because stitch visibility increases with thread size. But, there are trade offs:
  • The material sewing costs far more than the thread. If the thread is too thick, the material will tear while the stitches remain in tact.
  • Heavier sizes require larger needles that make larger holes in fabric or leather. Also, pushing the needle through the material is harder.
  • Both good stitches and bad stitches stand out. The margin for error increases as thread size increases.

Thread strength is rarely a factor in size decisions. All sizes have more than enough strength for the uses discussed earlier

Size Guide
Size Inches Millimeters Roughly Pounds Kilos
207 20/1000 0.5 Half the thickness of a U.S. Dime 31 14
277 25/1000 0.6 2/3 the thickness of a U.S. Dime 45 20
415 30/1000 0.8 The thickness of a U.S. Dime 72 33
554 50/1000 1.3 The thickness of a U.S. Nickel 83 38
Packaging Guide


Waxed Thread Tubes - Size 415 - The Thread Exchange

  • Most popular. Available in 25 colors
  • Hand and machine sewing
  • Tubes have 70 yards


Waxed Thread Coils - Size 277 - The Thread Exchange

  • Quarter-size bobbins in about 20 colors
  • Hand sewing
  • Size 277 has 24 yards; Size 415 has 12 yards.


Waxed Thread Rolls - The Thread Exchange

  • Most economical. Available in black and white.
  • Hand and machine sewing
  • Rolls have 200 to 800 yards
Color - Waxing makes a thread look darker. Over time the wax wears off and the stitching will look lighter. Consider using a shade that is darker than the final shade.

Embalmers Thread - The Thread Exchange

Embalmer's Thread - This thread is more tightly twisted than regular waxed thread. This makes it ideal for straight, fine, hand-sewn stitches. It is used for taxidermy, leatherwork, shoe repair, and yes, preparing the deceased. The thread has a sticky, waxy coating that makes it stiffer and more water repellant that other waxed thread. This works well for hand sewing. But, it leaves a waxy residue when used for machine sewing.

The thread comes in two thicknesses

  2-Ply 3-Ply




U.S. Thread Size



Tex Thread Size



Estimated Tensile Strength

30 Lbs.

50 Lbs




2 Ounce Tube



1 Pound Tube



Waxed Polyester-Linen Thread - The Thread Exchange

Waxed Polyester-Linen Blend - This thread is our Henry Campbell Irish polyester-linen thread with a wax coating applied here in the U.S. This makes it stronger and stiffer than the unwaxed thread while retaining most of the thread's smoothness and  vibrant color. Use this thread to sew anything that can be sewn with waxed nylon or polyester. Leatherwork, awnings, sails, shoes, saddles, bags, brief cases, gun cases, and luggage are some of the possibilities. It is about 25/1000" thick and comes in 1, 2, and 4 ounce spools.

Ludlow - Tapered Waxed Cord - The Thread Exchange

Ludlow Hand Sewing Thread/ Cord - This polyester thread  comes in bundles of 24 cords in lengths ranging from three feet to six feet. It has tapered ends for easier threading. Use it hand sewing footwear, crafts projects, binding, and wrapping. This is a hand sewing thread that is ideal for tasks that call for a small amount of inexpensive, strong, waxed thread.

Beeswax - The Thread Exchange

Beeswax - Make any thread a waxed thread by gently running it over a beeswax cube or bar. This leaves a waxed coating just like commercial thread. If you are having trouble threading a needle, wax the thread to make it stiffer.

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