How Do You Know If Needle Is Magnetic?

    If you’ve lost some sewing needles or you are simply curious, you might be wondering if sewing needles are magnetic?

    Sewing needles are a type of ferromagnetic material, meaning they are magnetic once rubbed with another magnet, magnetism also changes according to the type of material in your needle.

    We’ve composed a short informational guide below which will discuss what material needles are made of, how you can make one magnetic, what to do with them and how to find a lost needle.

    What Are Needles Made Of? 

    Needle are made from high carbon steel although you can find steel needles that have a nickel or chromium coating too which increases the strength of regular sewing needles

    In historical and ancient times you would find that needles could be made from wood or even bone-made needles, but not so much anymore since they are not as efficient.

    Can I Make A Needle Magnetic

    Due to the properties of metal needles , you can make them magnetic by attracting them with a strong magnet or by rubbing them with one. Since needles are ferromagnetic they are not naturally high in magnetism but can once the magnetic force is made or if they are coated with magnetic materials. 

    What Can I Do With Magnetic Needles?

    You might not have thought about what you can do with magnetic needles, but one cool idea is to use these types of magnets to make a compass. 

    We’ve listed some step by steps to make a magnetic needle compass below. 


    • Magnet. 
    • Three needles
    • A clear jar. 
    • Thread. 
    • Pencil. 
    • Paper. 
    • Modelling Clay.


    1. Take the south side of the magnet and rub it from the middle of the stainless steel needle to the pointed end.
    2. Rub this about 40 times to make sure the magnetic field starts to form, do this for the rest of your needles, and check the magnetic field for each one, if they are magnetic then you can start the build. 
    3. Now fold a piece of paper up and tape your needles inside, mark your needlepoint saying N and the hole S, this will be the guide for the bearings of your compass.
    4. Take your third needle and put it into your modelling clay, balance your paper on top and take note of the behavior of sewing needles, do they automatically point north? If so you’ve successfully made your magnetic compass. 
    5. Now take your pencil and fasten the paper to it with a thread, place it on top so as the needle drops down into your jar, the compass reacts with the earth’s magnetic poles due to the magnetised needles.

    How Do I Find A Lost Needle?

    If you’ve lost a sewing needle, don’t panic, you can use a few different ways to try and locate it, one is by using a magnet. 

    • Use a flashlight – Flashlights can be great for catching the reflection of dropped needles on the floor, try looking at places such as carpets, behind sofas or under pillows, needles can get caught up in fabric sometimes too.
    • Try tights – You would not believe how useful a pair of nylon stocking tights can sometimes be, simply drag the tights across your carpet and they should be able to trap and locate the needle.
    • Shake your clothes – Needles can often fall onto your clothes sometimes when sewing, get up and shake your clothes out, keep an eye if anything glinting falls.
    • Use a magnet – Use a big magnet and sweep it over the location where you think you may have dropped your needle, most of the time your needle will be magnetic enough to pick it up.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Needles & Magnetism

    Can I use an iron bar to make my needle magnetic?

    You can indeed use an iron bar to hit your needle and make it magnetic, do this 50-60 times to make it magnetic, you can also use any other stainless steel or iron item.

    How can I make a needle show magnetic force? 

    To make a needle show a strong magnet force you can rub with human hair, animal fur or even some silk when sewing.

    Can I make a needle float with magnets? 

    You can try a floating experiment with your needles by clipping a magnet to the edge of a bowl, threading a needle from a spool and tying a knot so the needle cannot move. Unwind the thread to about 20 centimetres then attach the thread to a spool so that it does not move. 

    Now attach the needle to the magnet with the spool on the tray, slowly move it away and you will see the needle floating!

    Last Words

    Overall, sewing needles are magnetic although they have a weak magnetic force, some coatings like nickel improve this magnetic force, however.

    To make a needle magnetic you will need to rub it a few times with a magnet to increase the magnetic force, once you do this you can even make sewing needle compass items or a floating needle!

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