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The Best Chenille Stems

Last updated on September 7, 2021
Best Chenille Stems

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Whether you call them chenille stems or pipe cleaners, the build and usage are the same. They’re made of wire that’s surrounded in softer threads, allowing you to make fun art projects out of them. You can also use them to clean your pipe, but chances are, if you’re shopping for a pipe cleaner, you have crafts on your mind.

Chenille stems can sometimes be softer, with a higher-quality yarn, than items advertised as pipe cleaners. But that doesn’t mean it’s always the case. It’s important to pay close attention to the build of any stem you’re considering, particularly if you’re using them for making crafts.

Although the yarn determines how soft the stem is against your fingers, the wire is the most important thing to consider. This is especially true if you plan to reuse your pipe cleaner multiple times. A quality wire will allow you to bend, straighten and re-bend your cleaner again as you move from one project to another.

If you’re buying pipe cleaners or chenille stems for your child to use, though, quality might not be as important as quantity and colors. You may find that you get more flexibility with an extremely large assortment of colors, eliminating the need to reuse the same stems over and over.

Our Picks For The Top Chenille Stems

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Product Overview
Our Take
 Best Basic

Creativity Street AC711208 Reusable Chenille Stems, 100-Count

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Creativity Street

AC711208 Reusable Chenille Stems, 100-Count

Each of these chenille stems bags includes 100 pieces that are all reusable. The stems bend, twist and are crush resistant. You can order them in one of 12 different colors, including green, pink, dark blue, orange and yellow.

Overall Take

Super EconomicalYou won't have any trouble stocking your craft room with these chenille stems, as they have a budget-friendly price tag.

 We Also Like

Caydo Multi-Color Chenille Stems, 324-Count


Multi-Color Chenille Stems, 324-Count

With 324 pieces in 27 different colors, you'll have everything you need to kickstart some great projects. Each chenille stem is 6 millimeters in diameter and 300 millimeters in length, and colors include red, yellow, green, blue, pink, rose red, white and purple. The stems are made from premium wire and fiber to make them easy to twist and bend mul...

Overall Take

27 Different ColorsCapture every color imaginable with this set, which includes an assortment of stems in 27 different colors.

 Best for Projects

Carl & Kay Assorted Color Chenille Stems, 348-Count

Carl & Kay

Assorted Color Chenille Stems, 348-Count

You'll get 348 pieces in 29 different colors in this chenille stems package, with each wire measuring 12 inches by 6 millimeters. The pipe cleaners are made from nontoxic wire and fiber to provide long-lasting play while also keeping your kids safe. You'll also get a bonus package of 48 adhesive googly eyes in various sizes to enhance your designs.

Overall Take

Bonus Googly EyesAccent your projects with fun eyes with this set, which includes a pack of 48 adhesive googly eyes with the pipe cleaners.

 Strong Contender

Charles Leonard CHL65490 Assorted Color Chenille Stems, 1000-Count

Charles Leonard

CHL65490 Assorted Color Chenille Stems, 1000-Count

This set of 1,000 pipe cleaners includes an assortment of colors to help you find the perfect item for each project. Colors include black, dark green, yellow, orange, red, lavender, white and brown. They're both colorful and soft to make them pleasant to work with.

Overall Take

Colorful and SoftThese chenille stems are soft to the touch to keep your hands comfortable while you work.

What to Look For

  • One set of pipe cleaners can give you or your children hours of fun. You’ll find plenty of inspiration on sites like Pinterest, as well as on blogs. Look for new ideas and challenge yourself.
  • One way to have fun with pipe cleaners is to make pencil toppers or napkin holders. Think of functional items your kids can make. They’ll feel pride every time they see the family using the crafts they made.
  • Pay close attention to the variety of colors you get in your set. You may have hundreds of stems, but only a few different color options. An assortment of dozens of different colors can give you the variety you need.
  • A pack of solid stems can come in handy, though, particularly if it’s a color you find yourself using often. Consider investing in a set of black or white stems to have a neutral option to complement your projects.
  • Think about what else you’ll need for your art projects. You can buy accessories like eyes and noses separately.
  • Although having the right length can come in handy, keep in mind that you can trim your pipe cleaner to the size you need. That means it’s likely better to err on the longer side. You’ll need a pair of wire cutters on hand for trimming to size.

More to Explore

When John Harry Stedman invented the pipe cleaner in the early 1900s, he likely couldn’t have imagined his creation would outlive the popularity of pipes. In fact, he eventually sold off the rights to his pipe cleaner innovation to B.J. Long Company — a move that made him very wealthy.

But it was perhaps his other well-known invention that got Stedman the most notice. He was the original creator of the streetcar transfer ticket, called the Stedman Time-Limit. It was simply a ticket that allowed someone riding streetcars to transfer from car to car using the same ticket. Prior to this, they had to purchase a new ticket at each stop.