Skip to content

Project Four: Spool Thread Holder (with tutorial)

January 12, 2011

I had been meaning to make one of these for ages, but it was only after I found all those beautiful vintage wooden spools of thread at the charity shop that I was really spurred on. I wanted to display them as I found them so aesthetically appealing, as well as be able to view and select the colour thread I needed quickly and easily.

When I say I made this, what I actually mean is I designed it and collected all the materials. All the actual labour was done by the boy.

Here’s how we made it:


One piece of MDF 16″ by 12″ ( this was the size the piece already was when we found it in the bin store. Any size could be used)

One electric drill with a wooden drill bit

18 small wooden dowels (£2.99 from Homebase for a pack of 50)

1 metre of wooden doweling (from our supply of wood that we scavenge)

1 junior hacksaw



Emulsion paint (I used leftover paint from painting the walls)

Wood glue (£1.99 from Homebase)

(total cost: less than £2 for materials used. I like cheap projects)

Step One:

Draw a grid of 2 inch squares on your piece of wood.

Step Two:

Using a drill bit the same size as the diameter of your dowels, drill a hole at all the intersections of the horizontal lines with the vertical, making sure you drill about the same distance down each time and don’t go through the bottom of the wood.

Step Three:

Depending on your selection of spools, decide how many small dowels you need (for old-fashioned smaller spools of thread) and how many longer dowels you will need for the modern longer spools. Once you are decided, cut your long piece of doweling to make enough longer dowels for your longer spools. I cut them about 2 and a quarter inches long, using the hacksaw.

I had 35 holes drilled, so decided on 18 short dowels and 17 long dowels.

Step Four

Once all your holes are drilled, put a dab of wood glue onto the end of each dowel and hammer it into a hole. It is quite therapeutic, the boy certainly enjoyed it. Leave it to dry overnight.

Before we had cut the longer dowels to size and inserted them, I couldn’t resist trying it out with the vintage wooden spools to get a feel for how the finished product would look. Lovely!

Step Five

Prime and then paint your new spool holder in the colour of your choice. I chose white, as it is my favourite colour to paint things, and I think it helps show off the lovely colours of the thread, but any colour would work.


Once it is finished and the paint is dry you can just prop it up on a shelf and admire your handiwork. I have a friend who has a really tall one (she is a professional tailor though) and it is at least 1.5 metres tall. Very impressive. I like mine. I especially like admiring the vintage wooden spools of thread every time I walk past.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2011 4:32 pm

    You’ve just hit upon one of my pet peeves: spools of thread in a pouch, all unraveling and getting knotted up, co-mingling with dissimilar colors and textures and types.

    Yip … just a little Type A. So I appreciate this great project suggestion!


  2. January 13, 2011 4:34 pm

    Awesome. I think this would be perfect for my Grandma. She keeps everything in a box and has to look through it forever to find what she is looking for.
    Thank you. Hunter71 🙂

  3. January 13, 2011 5:27 pm

    Looks cool and chic! And your boy is very talented!

  4. January 13, 2011 6:14 pm

    Thanks, I think the wife is going to give this a try. Hopefully ours turns out as nice!

  5. January 13, 2011 7:14 pm

    My daughters who are learning to sew would love this project! Thanks for sharing.

  6. mrsand241 permalink
    January 13, 2011 7:35 pm

    looks like a great family project

  7. C @ r o L i N e permalink
    January 13, 2011 7:36 pm

    oh to be so organized…it looks like a work of art. I have a lot of old spools of thread, they would look great displayed like this. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. January 13, 2011 7:54 pm

    I am just loving those purples! Cooool!

  9. January 13, 2011 8:14 pm

    Ugh, I NEED one of these; I’m swamped by scattered about threads. Thank you! ❤

  10. January 13, 2011 9:09 pm

    I would need enough board to cover one whole wall if I were to display all my sewing threads like that, I have so many! I do like looking at them, however. I have embroidery theads, too, that I really would love to display because they are all so shiny and bright, and I even have some metallics.

    Your board is very lovely with all your vintage threads and all those colors! And so nice that you even had help with it all from that sweet-looking boy. 🙂

    • January 13, 2011 10:14 pm

      Shiny bright metallic embroidery thread would look amazing displayed like this, you really need to make one rtcrita!

      I am so glad to have inspired others to have a go at making these. Lovely to read your supportive comments!

  11. January 13, 2011 9:54 pm

    Love, love, love it! It’s functional. It’s art. It’s a lot better than the system I have been using–which is to shove all of my spools into a box. Thank you for the great idea! Look forward to reading more of your blog.:)

  12. Aaron permalink
    January 13, 2011 10:37 pm

    I love this idea. If I ever find a bunch of old spools of thread I am making one too!

  13. January 13, 2011 11:30 pm

    I like how it turned out. That would be great to use to find the thread you need. I like all colors displayed too.

  14. January 14, 2011 7:45 am

    Great….. very good work. Keep it up! you are very creative.

  15. January 14, 2011 8:03 am

    I didn’t know other ppl saved their grandma’s thread – I don’t use it tho as the thread seems to break.
    What a cool idea to display it

  16. sarahjanethain permalink
    January 14, 2011 8:18 am

    I love this idea… I once went to a gallery where they had done the same with old buttons and felt tip pens! I am about to have a baby so when I have some spare time I will be giving it a go…

  17. January 14, 2011 8:28 am

    very good work!!

  18. NourishU permalink
    January 14, 2011 8:34 am

    Great project, thanks!

  19. ladyseam permalink
    January 14, 2011 8:41 am

    How fun! 🙂

  20. January 15, 2011 12:20 am

    interesting article, is the first entered in this site and will not be the last

  21. Sonia permalink
    January 15, 2011 6:15 pm

    I really love the good old wood cotton reels, so much nicer than the plastic ones. The boy is learning some excellent stuff here!!

  22. January 30, 2013 10:44 am


    I mentioned your beautiful wooden thread holder on my blog

    Have a nice day!

  23. August 29, 2013 8:52 am

    Thanks a whole lot, Useful details!.
    Regards, Superior information and facts.


  1. Project Four: Spool Thread Holder (with tutorial) (via so resourceful) | myvirtualdesignstore
  2. Feature | So resourceful: 111 Projects in 2011 (Interview with Rose Holman) | ♥ the creative diarist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

K&Q Vintage Crockery

An exquisite collection of high quality vintage crockery for hire.


Random musings of a Highland mum and crafter

The Polished Button

vintage inspired sewing...


Smile! You’re at the best site ever

A Year on the Make

365 days of stitching, knitting and creating

Party Spanner

I like to party (I am a spanner)

%d bloggers like this: