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The Versatility of Waxed Thread in Hand Stitching

Waxed thread is a versatile crafting essential that has been used for centuries in various crafts and projects. From bookbinding to leatherworking, this durable and strong thread adds a touch of elegance and functionality to any project. We will now explore the many uses and benefits of waxed linen thread, as well as provide tips and techniques for working with this versatile material.

The History of Waxed Thread

Ancient Origins

Waxed thread has been used since the necessity for waterproofing materials that needed to be stitched together. Egyptians used it for mummification and bookbinding. Romans used it for sewing leather and making sails due to it's resistance to water, mold, and mildew. This gives your project durability and longevity in environments prone to causing moisture damage.
Medieval and Renaissance Period
Waxed thread became popular for bookbinding and embroidery due to the thread being stiffer and easier to work with, along with the protection from moisture damage and mold/mildew. It was also used in the production of illuminated manuscripts and tapestries.
Modern Applications
Waxed thread is still widely used in bookbinding and leatherwork. I believe it is a necessity for leather due to the exposure of the inside of the leather from being pierced for stitching. It is also popular in jewelry making and beadwork due to the ease of use attributed to its stiffness and resistance to damage from sweat and water. I use it exclusively in the production of my handbags and accessories for the high-quality it adds.

The Benefits of Waxed Thread Hand Stitching

Strength and Durability

Waxed thread is incredibly strong and can withstand heavy use. It is resistant to fraying and breaking, making it ideal for projects that require durability, which is why it is my choice for the goods I produce, to ensure they last for years and maintain the beauty of the project.

Aesthetic Appeal

Waxed thread has a natural and rustic look that adds character to any project. It comes in a wide range of colors, allowing for creative expression and customization. The sky is the limit on the variations you can use. There are also a number of thread sizes you can use, allowing you to produce a hearty and rugged look, to a dainty and refined look. Try different sizes to find your niche.


Waxed linen thread can be used for a variety of crafts, including sewing, weaving, and wrapping. It can be used with different materials such as leather, fabric, beads and books.

Tips for Working with Waxed Linen Thread

Preparing the Thread

Take a measured length of thread and a block of beeswax. Lay the thread across the beeswax and hold it to the wax with your thumb. Draw the thread across the wax using your thumb to keep pressure into the wax. Do this at least three times to ensure sufficient coverage. This helps to strengthen the thread and prevent tangling, along with keeping your leather protected from moisture when you stitch it.

Choosing the Right Needle

Select a needle that is appropriate for the thickness of the waxed thread. There are many resources available online for thread and needle sizes. Try different combinations to find the result you are trying to achieve. A sharp needle is recommended for sewing through tough materials like leather, dull needles tend to get caught on the fibers and unable to cut through. It is a pain in the fingers trying to use the wrong needle.

Techniques for Sewing

Learn different sewing techniques such as saddle stitch and running stitch. The quickest one of the two is the running stitch, however the more secure saddle stitch is the one I prefer. It is worth the time to learn and master due to the fact it is a higher quality stitch, in my opinion. Master the art of knotting to secure the thread and prevent unraveling when using the running stitch, and any other stitch that does not utilize a knot in each stitch. With the saddle stitch, you will backstitch a couple of stitches, cut off, and either burn or glue the ends.


Waxed thread is a versatile and beautiful material that can enhance any craft project. Whether you are a bookbinder, jewelry maker, or leatherworker, this thread offers strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this blog post, you can make the most of waxed thread and create stunning pieces that will stand the test of time.

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