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Thread Stand Tutorial

Updated: Apr 2

Hey Folks! Did you know a thread stand can drastically improve your machine embroidery results? I wish I knew this 15 years ago when I was struggling with an embroidery machine that always had tangled or broken threads because thread stand fixed those problems.

You can watch the YouTube video below or keep reading for a summarized version. I don't go into great detail in the writing because you can easily SEE it in the short video.

Thread stands are super important when it comes to machine embroidery, but a lot of people don't realize that. So, in this guide, we're going to take a deep dive into thread stands and talk about why they're so special. I'll also cover some common mistakes to avoid and give you some tips on how to use them the right way to get perfect embroidery every time!

Choosing the Right Thread Stand

You can get stands that hold a single cone or spool, or find ones that hold twenty cones. They come in metal or plastic and have different features. The ones that hold lots of spools or cones can help you lineup thread colors for those multi-colored embroidery projects. They all do the same thing and they all have weighted bases to keep them from getting knocked over. Here are a few on Amazon so you can see what I'm talking about.

Thread Stand

Amazon link

cost (as of 3/23/24)

Embroidex white plastic 20 cone thread stand

around $35

Honeysew pink plastic 3 cone thread stand


Sew Tech metal Single Cone Thread Stand


these are Amazon affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase from Amazon after clicking. (●'◡'●)

Embroidex thread stand loaded with my favorite cones and spools

This is the stand I've used for several years. It's the Embroidex one listed above.

This one holds 20 cones, has a built-in thread cutter (that little spring looking thing in the top center) and it comes with extra clips, horizontal spool pins and thread holders for special spools like metallics or finicky acrylic threads.

This stand can tame ANY type of thread for machine embroidery, but only IF you know how to use it properly.

Thread Stand Placement

Where you place your thread stand is VERY important. Because you don't want the thread to get caught or tangled with your machine or other nearby objects.

It's best to place it behind and a bit to the right of your embroidery machine.

And be sure the thread doesn't get caught in the machine's hand wheel or other moving parts.

thread stand positioned behind and to the right of embroidery machine

Understanding Thread Winding Types

Different thread winding styles require specific handling. Cross-wound spools need to have their threads pulled off the top of the cone, while stack-wound spools should come off sideways like a roll of toilet paper. The Embroidex stand has special spool pins to lay a spool horizontally. This is super handy for metallic threads which are typically stack-wound.

arrows show top and side thread unwinding

Use Sticky Clips

You can find sticky clips or command clips at most stores. Dollar Tree even sells a knock-off version that works for this. Stick a few clips on your machine to keep the thread where you want it. You DON'T want thread getting caught and wrapped around the handwheel when the machine is sticking!

sticky clips on my embroidery machine to guide threads

Do's and Don'ts

A few more important tips mentioned in the video about how to use thread stands:

DO extend the telescoping arm as high as you can when stitching

DON'T stand stack-wound spools, they must lay sideways

DO Rotate the top arm so the thread goes through the top guide directly over the top of the cone or spool.

DON'T let thread drag on the cone or anything else in the thread path

DO Use clips on your machine to guide the thread

DON'T let thread get caught in your machine hand wheel

DO completely your machine like you normally would

DON'T skip ANY paths of threading on your machine

DO use the special clips for slippery threads that might jump out of open guides on the top of the stand.

DO use spool caps IF the thread is getting caught on the spool, even when the top arm is directly over the spool.

The Game-Changing Impact

Thread stands may seem like a simple accessory, but their impact on machine embroidery is profound. By allowing the thread to relax and unwind over a longer distance, thread stands prevent kinks and twists, leading to improved stitch quality and overall embroidery performance.


Like I said, thread stands are a game-changer in the world of machine embroidery. They smooth out the flow of thread, prevent tangles, and improve stitch quality. If your embroidery machine doesn't have a built-in thread stand, you should get one and learn to use it.


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