Best Glow in the Dark Thread for Machine Embroidery

By on October 22nd, 2019
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It’s almost Halloween! So, you know what that means?? It’s the perfect time of year to try out stitching out embroidery designs with some glow-in-the-dark thread. Sound tricky?  It’s actually not too bad. Plus – there are SO MANY fun thinks you can do with it! But before you go too crazy stitching up some glow-ey designs – there are some facts about glow in the dark thread for machine embroidery you should know.

What is glow in the dark machine embroidery thread?

Glow in the dark embroidery thread is a polyester thread that has been treated with a brightly glowing pigment which absorbs light and glows for several hours after being charged.

Why would you want to use glow-in-the-dark thread?

Well, it’s fun! I mean, who doesn’t like to stitch out stuff with glow-in-the dark thread?? It makes everything look like it came straight off the screen of your favorite video game.  Plus, it’s especially fun for kids (and big kids) to wear glow in the dark designs like t-shirts and sweatshirts. It’s also great if you want to do some kinds of lighting effects on your costumes or use it as an accent color for decorations. And – even though it might not be the best idea to make an entire outfit or wall of fabric out of it – there are some fun home decorating ideas where glow-in-the-dark thread could be the main focus.

What do you need to know about glow-in-the-dark embroidery thread before you start stitching?

Glow in the dark embroidery thread actually works!

Yes, indeed! Everything you stitch with glow in the dark thread will glow.  It’s pretty fun.  It lends itself to stitching on Halloween costumes and other garments for kids when they are running around in the dark.  You could add a glowing name to a Halloween trick-or-treat bag.  You may also think about how you can integrate glow in the dark stitching on costume elements to add some nighttime pizazz (and some extra visibility). There are a lot of cute in-the-hoop masks, wands and bracelets that would look awesome stitched with some glow in the dark thread.

Glow in the dark thread is also great for seasonal Halloween decor. You can stitch out a cute Halloween design on some stiff felt, frame it then hang it in a dark corner of your house.  It’s festive, fun and adds a bright light to an otherwise dark spot.

Keep calm and give me some candy
This cute design AVAILABLE FOR FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME COURTESY OF EMBROIDERIC was stitched out with glow in the dark thread and hung up as seasonal wall decor. Image courtesy of designer Jannice Arborgast of Embroideric 

Glow in the dark embroidery thread must be charged

With any of these projects, though, it’s important to “charge” the thread by keeping the embroidered item in the light. Don’t expect to see superior glowing if the item has been kept in the dark.

Glow in the dark thread comes in many different colors and varies tremendously in price

glow in the dark thread
Nitelite Extraglow by Superior Threads

This one was a revelation to me, as I was under the impression that glow in the dark thread was only available in a neon green.  But guess what? There are a range of colors available. While they all tend to have a neon glow to them, you can get glow in the dark embroidery thread in blue, pink. lavender, yellow, white, neon green, as well as other possible colors.

Shop around before you invest in glow in the dark embroidery thread. I just paid $8 for a small spool of glow in the dark thread at my local sewing shop. Gulp! Next time I’ll order in bulk online, probably from Amazon.

Best brands of glow in the dark machine embroidery thread

Some of the brands and different sites where you can buy glow in the dark thread include:

  • Amazon – this set of five different colored machine embroidery threads is a great deal and gets great reviews. Even my professional embroidery friends recommend it.
  • RedRock threads – carries the Wonderfil brand in several colors
  • Metro Thread  – has five different colors of Glide glow in the dark threads in large spools.
  • All Stitch – also has five different colors of glow in the dark thread, but the brand is Luminary.
  • Sweet n Sassy Blanks also carries the same Luminary brand.
  • Superior Threads has the largest selection of glow in the dark embroidery thread.
  • Joanns carries Coats & Clark embroidery thread but I would not recommend it.  Keep reading to find out why.

Quality varies among the different brands of glow-in-the-dark thread

I learned this fact about glow in the dark thread the hard way.  A few years ago, I had the “brilliant” idea of stitching out girls names on t-shirts using glow-in-the-dark thread to give out as party favors for my daughter’s birthday party. The activity they were going to do was a glow-in-the-dark mini golf course. So I thought it would be fun if all of their shirts glowed.

Because I usually do these crazy projects at the last minute I was up stitching out t-shirts late into the night on a Saturday night prior to her birthday party which was on a Sunday. About halfway through stitching my t-shirts, (actually mid design),  I ran out of glow-in-the-dark embroidery thread.  Ugh! And, the fabric store I purchased it from was closed on Sundays.Ugh!!!

I was at a loss. I started calling my friends who do embroidery to see if anyone had any on hand. No luck. So Sunday morning as soon as Joann’s opened I was at their front door wishing and praying that they would stock glow in the dark  embroidery thread. Fortunately they did and I was super relieved.

Once I got it home and continued stitching out the design. Everything looked great.  And I was able to finish the one shirt where I had left off and then complete the last few t-shirts.

But as soon as we got to the glow-in-the-dark glow-in-the-dark golf course, we all noticed that some of the shirts glowed better than others. The one shirt where I used two different types of thread glow-in-the-dark thread was glowing brightly on one side, but not on the other.

Lesson learned, I will not be buying glow-in-the-dark thread from Joanns again. The brand that I actually used, was Mettler, I believe. After this incident I researched what my friends were saying about different brands. No one really complained about any specific brands, but trying to combine two different brands (as I did) in one design, is probably not a good idea. Every brand is going to glow a little bit differently.

t-shirts stitched with glow in the dark thread
While these t-shirts all look the same in the light, different brands of glow in the dark thread glow differently.

Glow in the dark thread can be tricky to sew with

Glow in the dark embroidery thread can create some of the same challenges that you encounter when you stitch with other novelty embroidery threads (like metallics). Some people complain about glow in the dark thread shredding and causing needles to break.

One piece of advice that has helped me when stitching with novelty thread is to move it far away from the machine and put it on a thread stand. Some people swear by threading it through a foam packing peanut between the thread stand and the embroidery machine.

If your embroidery machine is shredding the thread, you may also consider using some Sewer’s Aid. Sewer’s Aid is a lubricant that you put on the spool and your bobbin to make the thread feed more smoothly.

I personally have not found glow in the dark that hard to work with.  I did experience a bit of shredding as I was trying to embroider with the Glowlite but not with the Mettler or the Joanns brand I used in the past.  But, it was nowhere near as painful as embroidering with metallic thread.  That’s another story.

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Glow in the dark thread should not be ironed or dried on very high heat

Once you stitch out your design with embroidery thread, do not iron the design! Glow in the dark thread can melt. So anything you stitch with glow in the dark thread should not be ironed or dried at a high heat setting.  You run the risk of making a mess and destroying the integrity of the stitching.

Glow in the dark thread can add a little surprise to an ordinary design

Boys are tricky when as recipients of appliquéd and embroidered items, so I was especially excited about this personalized sweatshirt I made for my nephew. I stitched out my simple single letter raw edge appliqué design on a sweatshirt. But instead of sticking with standard embroidery thread, I stitched it out with glow-in-the-dark embroidery thread. BAM!  He will be in for a surprise when he wears this sweatshirt in the dark.

letter A appliqué with glow-in-the-dark embroidery thread
A simple monogrammed sweatshirt, but I did the stitching around the letter with a glow-in-the-dark embroidery thread. SURPRISE!

So are you ready to start glowing?

Better hurry!  Only a few days left until Halloween!

Happy stitching!


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6 thoughts on “Best Glow in the Dark Thread for Machine Embroidery

  1. Now I want to try this!

    1. Ha ha! Always a reason besides Halloween to try glow in the dark thread.

  2. I really appreciate the insights you provide. Grandson is really into the glow in the dark and fluorescent shirts.

    1. Thank you. I’m so glad this was helpful.

  3. I’ve done a number of projects with different brands. I found the Superior brand really hard to use and shreddy. most recently I did 3 projects using Coats and clark brand, that I did buy at Joanne. It worked flawlessly. 2 of the designs were very high stitch counts, and I actually ran out part way through on a Sunday.

    The JoAnne is pretty far from my house, but less than a mile is the sewing machine shop where I got my machine. I called and they had some. The brand they carried was Robinson Anton Moonglow and I used that. It was a perfect match to the coats and clark, and it also worked beautifully in my machine. Even when glowing, I can’t tell where one thread starts and the new one begins. I opted for white since I was doing skeletal designs. The coats and clark is a smaller size spool, so less money and if someone just had a very small project I’d recommend it. The Robinson Anton had 500 yards, so more money (but less per yard). If one were doing a large stitch count, I’d recommend it.

    1. You are so lucky that you got the thread to match. I was not! But it was definitely a learning experience. Good to know re: Superior thread.

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