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Craft Ideas for Thread Spools

Category Miscellaneous
There are many ways to use empty wooden or plastic thread spools for homemade projects. This is a page about craft ideas for thread spools.


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October 13, 2010

Re-use empty thread spools. Fasten a row of them jammed shoulder to shoulder inside a kitchen cabinet door and you've got yourself an instant knife holder.

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When you take old spools, give them new life, and toss in some balls of fabric, and buttons, you have what our grandmothers used for function, to use in a new way to decorate.

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 1-3

Source: Found one in a thrift shop and had to make them for a gift shop!


  • 20-25 wooden spools, empty or almost empty
  • 20-25 scraps of fabric
  • 1 hot glue gun
  • 1 scissors
  • 20-25 buttons
  • Varies old snaps, hooks, or packages of sewing notions.
  • 2 ft raffia or ribbon or torn fabric strip
  • 1 flower or ribbon
  • 1 old or new jar lid is optional
  • scrap yarn for balls
  • scrap fabric for the lid, at least 2" in diameter more than the lid
  • 30/1.00 hair bands to keep fabric lids on


  1. With the strips cut or torn, hot glue a very small amount to the spools, place the fabric on it and wrap it around to just cover it. If the spool is inset a bit, wrap some more to fill it out.
  2. With scrap yarn, make a ball then cover it with the fabric. This saves fabric and gives it less weight.
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  4. Do this with all the spool sizes you have. Itty bitty ones are very cute, too. Stay with wooden ones, the older styles are best. If you have a bunch of old threaded spools, cover the thread with the fabric. Chances are the thread is too old to use anyway.
  5. Once you have this done, make sure the jar is clean. If you have a lid, great. If not, take a piece of plastic lid from a yogurt or cottage cheese container and cut a circle to use.
  6. Cut a circle in some fabric about 2" from the edges of the plastic circle. Pinking sheers give it a nice touch, but are not essential.
  7. Center the plastic circle on the fabric one and drop a small dot of glue to secure one to the other. If your fabric is one sided, make sure the good side is upside down when you glue the disk to it.
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  9. Fill the jar with buttons, spools, an old pair of scissors, or other sewing things.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I would like a craft idea that would use old tatting thread and spools full of thread, that are somewhat new. I saw somewhere a craft that used these, but can't remember where. Can someone help with this? Thank you ever so.


By Patsy from Salem, MO


April 28, 20100 found this helpful

Sorry, I'm looking for ideas of how to use full spools of tatting thread.

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May 5, 20100 found this helpful

I crochet with it with a size 8 (very old hook) or a size 10 hook. It works up really pretty and I only do basic stiches.

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September 14, 2011

A friend has a lot of wooden spools with no thread on them. She is wanting some ideas for using them or I should say, crafting with them. Thank you.

By homestead from Bardstown, KY


September 22, 20110 found this helpful

People used to make spool dolls. Google that and see what comes up or try and type in spool dolls.

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September 26, 20110 found this helpful

Use as feet on baskets, bird houses, or planters. There is the old strung-together spool doll with a round wooden bead head with painted on face.

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November 28, 2005

I have several wooden spools that belonged to my grandmother. I was wanting to keep them in a jar with some of her old buttons. Do you know if it is better for anitquity to keep the thread on them or off? I know that I am to leave the labels on.


Carol from Fairview, TN


November 29, 20050 found this helpful

I think it's best to keep the thread on. I don't see how it could hurt the spools unless they get wet. It increases their value also. Besides, they must look nicer in the jar. I have sold many with silk thread on them on ebay. You would be suprised at how much people will pay for them.

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November 29, 20050 found this helpful

I think it's best to leave the thread on especially if it's silk thread. It can only damage the spools if they get wet. It will look nicer in the jar also. I have sold many of these on ebay, you would be suprised how much people will pay!

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December 1, 20050 found this helpful

I'm not a collector or anything, but I'd say that if someone was wanting to buy your spools (if you ever wanted to sell), they'd want to see what was on the spools. Plus they'd be more attractive with their colored threads on them. If the buyer didn't want the thread on them, they could take it off, themselves.

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December 1, 20050 found this helpful

Keep in the original condition and that means leaving the thread on, even if it's hanging by a thread.


Baaad pun.

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February 13, 2011

Does anyone have an idea for use of old empty wooden thread spools? Thank you.

By linda from Niagara Falls, NY


February 5, 20050 found this helpful

I have a bag full of old wooden spools - not the spools you find today - the old spools anywhere from 8-12 inches, some have the yarn/thread still on them & some don't. I'm looking for crafts to use them in.

Thanks for any help.

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January 21, 20140 found this helpful

They make really cute Christmas tree ornaments. Glue ribbon, pictures, beads anything that looks like Christmas.

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September 22, 2008

About 5 years ago I made a craft project for Halloween by painting on wooden spools. The characters were Frankenstein, Dracula, and a witch. Can anyone out there can help me, thanks in advance!

Donna from Edwardsville, PA


September 22, 20080 found this helpful

These are made with plastic spoons, but I'm sure you could modify them for wood spoons. The link below is for the ones in the picture.

This link makes a ghost and spider as well as the other styles using spoons.

Hope that helps!

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By Michele (Guest Post)
September 24, 20080 found this helpful

You can go to this link. Tthere are a few listed.
Good luck

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March 23, 2013

The spools (plastic or wood) need to hold around 2 hundred feet of yarn or a little more.

By Curb minor

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November 28, 2016

This is a page about making a spool reindeer. Thread spools can be used to make many craft projects.

Making a Spool Reindeer

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December 6, 2016

Use an old spool to make these cute and handy pin cushions. This is a page about making a thread spool pin cushion.

finished pin cushion with pins

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 13, 2011

I have empty wooden and plastic spools from thread. These are from small sewing machine thread. Does anyone know easy crafts we can do with them? We do missionary work and we try to make things out of trash.

Tee from Lafayette, LA


Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

For the spools that measure the same diameter on the ends, you can simply glue these together to the height you desire for very attractive candle holders (pillars). It is nice to have 3, each a different height arranged in a group. Leave wooden and natural or paint or finish as desired. (02/05/2005)

By wannaquilt2

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

Stain them with a walnut or dark cherry stain. Let them dry and wax them to give them a bit of a sheen. Hot glue pine cones, nuts, and tiny ribbon bows and some small dried flowers and you'll have beautiful candle holders for Christmas Gifts.

By Annie

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

In those old wooden thread spools you have a bit of history. They are conversation pieces in themselves.
If they have the thread's maker still on them that is even more historic value.
If I were you I would make up a small display case to enshrine some of those spools of thread before you start the other ideas.

As to the other ideas may I suggest depending on how many sizes of spools you have the possibility of making a miniature table and chairs. I can recall from my youth, my grandmother made a spinning top out of one. I still can see the YOYO she made me. I never got it to work well but it did work.

Oh and why not Christmas tree ornaments, a bit of paint here and a bit of glitter there. They would be unique.

You could let your children just use them as stack blocks. Maybe make a family game out of them.

The threads on the spools themselves might be woven together into some kind of design of knots.
Possibly make a picture of thread much like the pictures of wire you still find around.

How about fastening a spool to your ceiling fan chain?
Anyway these are just a few ideas. If I had a bag of spools I would probably come up with a hundred more.
Good luck. (02/06/2005)

By Michael Ruger

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

A loop of 20 or more wooden spools hung at a doorway or on a door will keep out bad luck. (11/15/2005)

By Joe

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

I can't bear to throw out old wooden spools, so am saving them for just the right project. I plan to use a few as drawer pulls in my sewing room. I recall many years ago, spools cut in half lengthwise and glued onto small boxes, old cigar boxes, perhaps. However, this would destroy the historic value of both. (12/04/2005)

By Eleanor

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

You can get harden Aida cloth (I don't remember the name for it) and do cross stitch, then attach to the wooden spool. Add a tassel for the hook, maybe some fun ribbon, etc. to hide the seams at the top and bottom and wha-la you have a personalized ornament. I'll be doing that for Xmas in 2006 using people's names. (01/04/2006)

By Michelle

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

Idea 1:
One cute idea is to make dolls. Instead of beads thread the spools onto embroidery thread, string etc. using 4 strands (two folded in 1/2). Put some wool or colored tread through the top loop for hair. You can also put a longer string tied in a loop through the top loop so the doll can be hung up. Thread one bead on for the head, separate 1 thread on either side for arms and put two spools on them then make a knot. Then 2-3 for the body. Separate the two threads and put two spools on for the legs. Make a knot. Decorate the head with eyes, etc. I've seen this idea on several websites.

IDEA 2: for smaller spools. wind colored embroidery thread around each to cover. Then glue together in different patterns and when glue dries put a pin back on. (01/12/2006)

By Cindy

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

If they are small sewing spools, wrap a a torn strip of homespun around and tie a bow. Find a candle to fit in the center. Make a little card to attach to it saying something like: "Let your light so shine before men." Matt.5:16, or John 8:12 "I am the light of the world." or use any verse that appeals to you. May God bless you in you mission.

Crystal in SC (01/12/2006)

By Crystal Stogner

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

Have you thought about donating the spools to a nursery school, or nursing home to be painted and threaded through with yarn, and other ways to just do simple crafts for small children or elderly, and disabled folks? We have even painted them and used them to stack, or weave yarn through, and hang up for decoration. Just a thought. (01/13/2006)

By Glinda

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

My daughter made a photo clip out of them from school. They took the spool and they covered it with tissue paper then they inserted a piece of wire into the hole (so the wire would be standing straight up) then at the top of the wire they looped it around in a circle and they inserted a photo of themselves or a picture that they made. It was really cute! (01/16/2006)

By Kim

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

Several years ago, at a flea market, I bought a beautiful hand painted wooden spool that had dried flowers glued into the hole in the center. It didn't look like it was hard to do, but they certainly caught my eye as I walked by. I still have it. Hope this helps. (01/19/2006)

By Jayne Pavone

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

The spools could be used for wheels on a block of wood. Children love making cars or trucks.
Another toy can be made by putting a rubber band through the cotton reel on one end you have a matchstick which holds the rubber band in and on the other side a longer piece of wood which you wind up and it drags on the ground and the spool moves along under its own power.
I have seen dolls or robots made up of spools and plastic bottletops threaded together with elastic they look really good. Good luck. (01/28/2006)

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

I have painted a snowman face on the smaller thread spools and attached orange clay (the kind you bake) for a nose. I used jute cord running through the center to hang it from and tied a piece of homespun to the top. Cute ornament.

I've also used the spools in felted wool garlands. I felted wool sweaters and cut them into irregular 1" squares and strung them with jute cord and a yarn needle with the spools, wood beads, buttons, and jingle bells. I too love to use items I can recycle in my crafts. (06/13/2006)

By Stacy

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

My father, (back in the 40s) would paint them bright colors and thread them with rope or twine, for baby rattles. They seemed to love them. (02/13/2007)

By Taffy

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

I have just made a spare bedroom into my craft room.
I purchased (cheap) printers drawer on eBay and then I took all the wooden spools and stained the tops and bottom all the same and then painted the middles in a whole slew of colors. Then I antiqued all of them and sprayed a sealer on them. I hung the printer's drawer on the wall and then placed all the finished spools in the slots. It looks great. You would think it was real thread. I am very pleased with the results. (05/29/2007)

By baylee

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

I used 2 spools about 6 inches apart with a thin piece of wood on top of them as a handle on an outside door. That was 20 years ago, and the door handle is still sturdy. (06/10/2007)

By Jan

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

My mother used to make cars out of the round oatmeal containers (cut out area for seat). She used a straight piece of Tinkertoy for axle and attached wooden spools to end. I don't remember exactly how they were attached, but it's a great memory. (10/08/2007)

By crafty

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

Take a piece of homespun material, wrap it around the spool and glue it in place. Do several spools, string them on a piece of jute, tie another piece of material in a knot and put in between each spool. Then when you have the length you want make a loop at each end for hanging. These really look nice on a Christmas tree or hanging over your curtains. There's endless uses for these. I hope you like this idea. (01/08/2008)

By Connie

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

If you still are looking for a fun craft from wooden spools, make topsy-turvy spool dolls. The Carol Duvall show had them today. They are very easy and fun to pass out to children. You will also need 4 beads for hands, 2 large beads for heads, and jute to hold together. Scraps of material for clothes. Very cute and easy. (02/13/2008)

By Bev

Craft Ideas for Old Wooden Spools

Yet, another possibility you can take the wooden or plastic spools and cut them from top to bottom. Lay them lengthwise in a old cigar box creating rows, leaving a small space, then cover the rows with any fabric cast-off you like, creating a ring box. This would work especially well with smaller spools. (08/13/2008)

By em

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Crafts MiscellaneousJuly 16, 2015
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