I've made a bag out of thin, very old construction paper. It's about 5 inches tall, and 2 inches wide. I want to hand-sew a design with floss onto it. The floss is the texture of really tight yarn. I want to add beads. I'm only stitching the front. The back is going to be blank. What size needle should I use? I have sharp needles and doll needles. I've tried the doll needles, but they are too blunt and make too big a hole.

  • Hi, welcome to A&C! Doesn't that mostly depend on the diameter of the floss you're using, so isn't that a question only you can answer?
    – Joachim
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 21:06
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    @Joachim, so I'll edit the question with the diameter of the floss, but I think it also depends on the construction paper. I don't know the type, it was a gift from an older relative and I'm pretty sure the construction paper is also old, like from the 50s or something. It tears really easily, so I'm questioning what size needle I should use, and what type. Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 22:50
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    I think it is more about the method you use for sewing: that you do it in a controlled, careful way, and make sure the punctures are not too close together. With needles the disadvantage is that you have to push away the sides of the paper surrounding the hole, and this will make it vulnerable to tearing, so I would suggest a hole puncher (with a tiny diameter). But then threading the holes with floss, and hanging beads from it, will tug at the paper anyway, so some reinforcement might be necessary.
    – Joachim
    Commented Nov 5, 2023 at 0:44
  • New paper would offer little resistance to floss or even regular yarn tearing through it. Not sure how 50 yo construction paper would hold up to much physical manipulation at all, never mind sewing and beads. @Joachim is right that it would need to be reinforced, but even then...
    – rebusB
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 2:05

2 Answers 2


From personal experience I wouldn't try to sew or embroider any paper, especially not old, fragile paper. Any thread or floss is really thin compared to the width of paper, so any force you apply to the thread will rip the paper as if you cut it with a knife.

If you insist on embroidering your bag, I highly recommend strengthening it with iron-on interfacing first. That's a fiber mesh with hot-melt glue on one surface that's intended to give thin fabric more stability. Since it's a mesh it can withstand more force before tearing.

The disadvantage is that it can only be applied to flat material on an ironing board, so you'd have to disassemble your bag again. Or if you have enough paper, consider making a second bag and interface the paper before making a bag out of it.

Once you've done that, the best needle to embroider the bag is the thinnest you can fit your floss through. Some needles have round ears and others have narrow, elongated ears. Test your sharp needles with the elongated ears and find one that fits through the beads, then try if you can fit the floss through. If you only have needles with round ears, they work too, they just have a wider head and might get stuck in beads. Licking the very end of the floss makes it easier to thread it through the needle.

  • Embroidering on paper is absolutely possible, but is most successful with heavy paper, sharp needles, thin thread, well-spaced designs, and a paper backing glued on after embroidering to help add strength (none of which seem to be options with this project): emblibrary.com/learn/how-to/…
    – Allison C
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 14:53

since the construction paper is delicate, using a sharp needle would be more suitable than a blunt one.
choose a needle that matches the thickness of your floss without causing any damages to the thread.
opt for smaller-sized needle to minimize the size of the holes and prevent excessive tearing. a needle size ranging from 7 to 9 would be appropriate.

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