The skeins of embroidery floss are actually six individual strands of floss all twisted together. You can separate the strands to use any number of strands together that you would like.
The #8 pearl cotton is similar in size to three strands of embroidery floss.
Watch the Video:
DMC 3 Strands vs Pearl Cotton #8:
I took some DMC pearl cotton #8 and DMC embroidery floss, both in the same color (#321).
I separated the embroidery floss into two sections of 3 strands each and punched a section of both the 3 strands and pearl cotton #8 to see the difference.
As you can see, not really a lot of difference. The 3 strands of floss seem to separate out and fill in the holes a bit better. (I was very careful to punch the two samples evenly.)
Valdani 3 Strands vs Pearl Cotton #8:
Next, I tried the same test with some variegated Valdani floss, using a 3 strand ball and a #8 pearl cotton ball. I used color P4 – Aged White Light in both.
I think the difference shows up a little bit more with this variegated thread. Again, the 3 strands separated and filled in the holes better and gave a softer look.
I hope this helps you decide which type of floss you want to use in your next project!