How many strands of thread for cross stitch?

If you're new to cross stitching, or experimenting with new fabric types, you'll need to know how many strands of embroidery floss to use. We're here for you! Read our handy guide to how man stands of thread for cross stitch...

Stranded cottons thread guide

Embroidery threads come in skeins and are made up of 6 separate strands. Before you start to cross stitch, you’ll need to separate out a number of these strands to thread your needle with. The number of strands you pick affects the finished effect of your stitches, so on a basic level, the more threads you use, the more solid the colour blocks that you’ll create.


When you’re embarking on a new cross stitch project, the type of fabric that you’re stitching on to also effects how many strands you use, as the closer together the holes are, the denser the effect of your stitches.

For the best results, select the number of threads that best suits the fabric you’re stitching on to.

Find out more about cross stitch basics in our beginners guide to cross stitch

How many strands of thread to use for cross stitch

Bookmark this page and use it to double check how many stands you need to use for different fabrics…

  • 11-count aida – 3 strands of thread
  • 14-count aida – 2 or 3 strands of thread
  • 16-count aida – 2 strands of thread
  • 18-count aida – 1 or 2 strands of thread
  • 25-count evenweave over 2 threads of the fabric – 3 strands of thread
  • 28-count evenweave over 2 threads of the fabric – 2 strands of thread
  • 22-count hardanger – 1 strand of thread

Always refer to your pattern key for the number of backstitch strands to use, as this will vary to create different effects on your stitching.

How many strands of thread cross stitch