Tips for Cutting & Using An Aurifil Color Card

Is there anything better than having access to every single one of Aurifil’s luscious cotton colors at your fingertips? Aurifil’s color card is truly a work of art.

When Creative Director Erin Sampson first started working at Aurifil, her daughter was 2 years old. She received an introductory package filled with goodies and she and her daughter were equally excited to open it up. When they pulled out the color card, Erin’s daughter let out an audible sigh. She immediately moved to open it. Her eyes grew a little bit wider with every column unveiled and after that, she had to touch each and every available color. Our wish for all of you is that you have a similarly magical experience every time you reference your very own color card. Grab one via Shop Aurifil by clicking the link below!

Some of our best tips come from our trusted Aurifil Designers, Artisans, and Aurifilosophers and we absolutely love that Aurifilosopher Yvonne Fuchs (@quiltingjetgirl) and Aurifil Designer Kitty Wilkin (@nightquilter) were kind enough to share their color card best practices. Save this email so that once you have yours in hand, you’ll know exactly what to do with it!

We’re handing things over to Kitty & Yvonne and hope you find inspiration in their words!


Many thanks to Aurifil for providing us with thread color cards and welcoming us here to Auribuzz! We are excited to share our explorations into how to best cut and store your thread color card to make color matching fast and fun!

While the benefit of having easy access to color swatches for color matching might be obvious, finding the bravery to make the first cut can be difficult. To inspire confidence, we are sharing tips for cutting your color card along with several storage ideas to get your creative juices going. If you have another great storage idea that we do not feature here, be sure to let us know in the comments!

Tips for Cutting Your Color Card

In a color card, the Aurifil thread is wrapped around a raised board and securely glued to a backing. We do not suggest that you work to remove the thread board from the backing as it might break the strands of thread. Also, keeping the handy reference of the color number beside the thread bundles will be really helpful when it is time to place your thread order. Note that the numbers are to the left of the coinciding thread sample.

We explored two options for cutting the thread board into strips: doing the heavy cutting with scissors and then cleaning up the edges with a rotary cutter (this allows you to get closer to the thread, but with a less smooth edge), and using a rotary cutter to do all of your cutting.

Using Scissors and Rotary Cutter

The first step is to roughly cut apart the thread boards using industrial (i.e. non-fabric) scissors. The cardstock is thick and sturdy, so take your time and leave some space to the left of the thread color numbers so that you can trim it square later.

Next, carefully trim the right hand side of the backing board away so that the edge of the thread on the thread board is exposed and easy to place on top of fabric swatches. Note that the cuts that were made to trim away the backing board are not perfect. Be sure to take your time to avoid clipping any threads as you cut away this edge.

Finally, using a dull rotary blade (or your paper piecing trimming rotary cutter), use a ruler to square up the remaining three edges of the base board.

Using Only a Rotary Cutter

If you try cutting the board with scissors and it is not going well, or if you prefer to stick to just one tool, you can also trim your thread boards using only a rotary cutter and quilting ruler. Be sure to use an old rotary cutter or blade specifically designated for cutting paper!!

I found that it was easier to accurately trim my thread boards while holding the thread card upside down, so that I could firmly hold the ruler securely against the thread while cutting. Note that this way, the numbers that coincide with each thread strip will be to the right of the thread strip. Always double check that you are matching the proper numbers with the colored threads before cutting them apart!

Position your ruler so that the ⅜” mark is aligned with the right edge of the thread strip. Carefully hold the ruler, firmly pressing it down onto the thread card, and rotary cut along the edge of your ruler, keeping the rotary cutter in a perpendicular position (aka don’t angle your cut). Depending on your arm strength and the sharpness of your old blade, you may need to make two passes with the rotary cutter to get through the thread board.

This will result in smooth, neat edges, with the numbers clearly showing and a very narrow strip of board along the non-numbered side of the thread strip. Note the positioning of the ⅜” measure on the ruler in the photo above, and don’t mind the upside-down numbers since it facilitates much smoother cutting!

Repeat for all of the thread strips, rotating your thread card as needed to trim near the folds as well.

Once each strip is turned right-side up, it will make matching and comparing thread and fabric colors so much easier than when they were all connected! Feel free to trim the tops and bottoms of the thread strips if you want; I opted to keep mine intact to give them a bit of extra height so that they stick up out of the fabric bin a bit, and since that way I can handle the cards using the extra tab at the top. Your choice!

Once you have all 15 of the thread boards prepared, we have several mounting and storage ideas that you can explore.

Fabric Bin

What better display and storage for gorgeous thread strips than a beautiful fabric bin sewn with said thread!?

Hi, I’m Kitty Wilkin, and a month or so ago as I was looking to create something to help sort my tiny but too-big-to-toss fabric scraps, I happened upon a perfect size and shaped bin for storing my cut up Aurifil thread card strips, too! Bonus!

Fabric bins are all the rage, both because of the versatility of the outer panel design, and because they are such a quick sew. This tall skinny bin is no exception–a solid fabric panel version takes less than an hour to sew (it takes a bit longer if you decide to piece your outer panel, and if you go wild and EPP the outer panel it takes even longer–ask me how I know!) Regardless of your aesthetic of choice, the beauty of the bin makes it a project worth sewing again and again.

Once your Aurifil thread card is cut into strips, the strips fit right inside the bin with a tiny bit sticking out so that you easily flip through the color cards to find the one you want. Feel free to prop a few up and arrange them as you would a bouquet of flowers–let it be a design feature in your sewing room!

The bins can sit on a shelf or table, or you can add a little loop so that they can be mounted on a hook or wall. A color coordinated binder clip works well for hanging, too! I wrote up a photo tutorial over on my blog so that you can make your own gorgeous Skinny Bins in which to store your Aurifil thread card strips. Head on over, whip up a tall and skinny bin or two, and have your Aurifil thread cards ever at the ready for finding that perfect match to your current fabric obsession.

Magnets

Hi! I am Yvonne Fuchs, and I am excited to share how I magnetized my Aurifil Color Card.

Although I love my kitchen, we had a plain, boring white refrigerator. I was thrilled to add some color to my kitchen with the Aurifil thread boards (and add another reminder that a quilter lives here!), so let’s dive in to see how easy it is to do.

After cutting, trimming, and squaring the color card, I cut 45 small squares out of Adhesive Magnetic sheet. The size of my squares was determined by the amount of magnetic sheet I happened to have on hand, and each side ranged from 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch.

One at a time, I peeled the backing off the adhesive on the magnetic squares and placed a square at the top, middle, and bottom of each thread board. I purposefully offset the magnets at the top and bottom to be placed behind the thread and not at the very edge of the backing board.

I have found that the adhesive backed magnetic sheet squares hold the weight of the thread boards very well. If you have any difficulty with the adhesive sticking, a bit of hot glue or super glue should more than fix your adhesion problems!

If your refrigerator is not as sparse as mine and already colorfully decorated with beautiful art or other necessities of life, magnetic boards are easy to find at your local craft store or favorite online distributor. The board shown here is a 14 x 30-inch magnetic board I ordered from Amazon

I found a board that fits perfectly behind my sewing machine and is large enough for me to display my magnetized color card boards with room to evaluate fabric swatches! In this example, 2134 (Spun Gold) and 2132 (Tarnished Gold) are very close matches, but I think I would purchase 2132.

Book Ring

The reason I placed the magnets offset from the top and bottom of the thread boards was to leave enough room to hole punch the boards at the top. Once hole punched, the boards are easy to collect together onto book rings. I used a leather punch to punch the holes through both layers of thick card stock at once and the boards fit beautifully on a 3-inch diameter book ring

Other Ideas Worth Exploring

  • Fabric Roll-Up
    • Fabric roll-ups are handy for toting make-up, colored pencils, cutlery, and all sorts of things, so why not use one to tote and store your Aurifil thread cards?
  • Velcro
    • An alternative to backing your color card boards in magnets is to use velcro instead.
  • Box Storage Solutions
  • Store-bought Tall Skinny Bin or Bucket
    • I found this tall galvanized bucket in the dollar section at my local Target and the Aurifil thread strips fit perfectly!

Inspiration for Life

Now that you have your Aurifil color card, know how to store it, show it off, and use it to the max, you can officially begin your Aurifil Life List.

Just like the birders who dedicate their lives to collecting bird identifications, you can use your cards to mark which colors of thread you have used…. and which colors you *really* want to add to your life list.

Simply add a dot before each color you’ve used and create a simple key to keep track of the weight. Let the fun begin! Happy hunting, and of course, happy sewing!

**All images via Kitty Wilkin & Yvonne Fuchs

Huge thanks to Yvonne & Kitty for sharing their insights and expertise! 
Follow along with them online:
Kitty Wilkin || @nightquilter — BLOG
Yvonne Fuchs || @quiltingjetgirl — BLOG

30 comments

  1. I have had a color chart for a while now, and I’m not sure why I’ve never thought to cut it into strips. Guess what I’m doing as soon as I get home? 🙂

  2. Great ideas! I’m waiting for the day when there is a color card app, so I can keep track of my thread on my phone. When I go to the shops out of town to buy new thread, I’ll have a quick app to know if I have it at home or need to buy it.

    1. Wow, that is a lovely idea, Moneik! I don’t know if Aurifil or someone will develop that app, but I’m already pondering how to just create a shareable document to do just that for myself that I can access from my smart phone and my tablet and my desktop PC. Something like Google Docs could work. I’ll keep pondering the idea.

  3. I’ve cut apart my Kona card and it’s so helpful to have the chips separated. I have the Aurifil color card and it’s just beautiful so I have often thought of hanging it in my sewing room just for the decorative aspect. Great post.

  4. Very beautiful and functional too! I do have a question about the magnet board near the sewing machine….I’ve always heard you shouldn’t use magnets near computers, computerized sewing machines, etc. Does anyone know what distance they need to be? I’ve always steered clear of magnet pin holders, lights, etc near my sewing machine. Thanks for any info you can offer me.

    1. Hi Sandra, that’s a great question. My particular machine does have electronic components but is less electronically complicated than my previous Bernina. I never worried about having a small magnet pin holder near my Bernina. I just did a search online and found that in general, magnets are safe near computers, computer screens, and electronics. The biggest issue is around floppy drives (remember those?). I hope that helps!

  5. I almost sat here with my mouth agape while reading this post. I wish I had an extra chart to cut up. I adore Aurifil threads but I have to buy them on line as we don’t have any local stores that carry them (well there is one but they only have a small collection of solids) I have to rely on computer images to pick my threads and we all know that computers are not all alike. I asked for a color chart at the Houston International Quilt show and first was told they would bring them the following day and then the following day I was told to purchase the chart elsewhere. Maybe if the chart had a more reasonable price it wouldn’t be so bad. I purchased the King Tut thread chart as it was reasonable so I limit what I buy from Aurifil now.

  6. It would be great if paper color cards were available and given when you buy Aurifil thread, or to purchase on line. I say this only because the actual thread cards are expensive (I could buy a few spools instead) and then there, also, is the price of shipping.

  7. Thanks for the ideas and instructions. I just cut up my card, put the strips on a ring, and hung the ring on my thread rack. I used a pretty silver Christmas ornament hook to attach the ring.

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