How to Keep Yarn From Fraying

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Prevent yarn fraying with a method that suits your project.
Prevent yarn fraying with a method that suits your project. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Fraying yarn at the ends of your handmade items can be frustrating. For those changing colored yarn during the middle of a project, fraying yarn can possibly result in redoing that specific section. Save your projects and create clean, neat-looking knitted, crocheted or yarn-accented craft projects by using one of many methods to prevent fraying. Some tactics involve the use of purchased products while others can be performed with simple household items.

Things You'll Need

  • Yarn or fabric sealant
  • Clear tape
  • Candle wax
  • Lighter

Cover the tip of the yarn in a sealant that is specifically designed for the prevention of fraying such as Fray Check, Fray Block, or Aleene's Stop Fraying. These items can be found in your craft store and in some supercenter craft aisles. Allow the solution to dry over a scrap piece of fabric or paper towel. These solutions are washable.

Wrap the tip of the yarn in a piece of transparent tape as a second option. The tape is not a permanent fix but is appropriate for craft items that are not washed and dried.

Dip the end of the yarn in clear melted candle wax or a colored wax that blends in with the color of the yarn. Allow the wax to dry completely and cool before handling it to avoid potential burns. This third option is also inappropriate for items being washed and dried.

Tie a knot, or loop the fabric and tie the loop in a knot to avoid fraying as the fourth option. When changing yarn colors half-way through knitting a scarf or crocheting an afghan, knot the yarn end and weave the knot within the remaining craft project to hide it.

Wave the end of the yarn over the open flame of a lighter to slightly burn and melt the fibers together. This technique, however, only works with synthetic yarns. It will keep the yarn from fraying, but can leave a hard nub on the end, which may not be suitable for wearable yarn projects.

Felt 100 percent wool yarns by rubbing the ends vigorously with your fingers while using warm water and a tiny dab of soap. This will cause the frayed yarn to shrink and tighten. This technique will not work with synthetic yarns.

Tips & Warnings

  • Temporary fixes such as tape and wax are best for seasonal or one-time items, like costumes for a Halloween party or stage play.
  • Try working with different brands of yarn to see which one has the greatest resistance to fraying. Some brands claim to be stronger than others.
  • Only use synthetic yarn around a flame, as most other types of yarn are dangerously flammable.

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