May 082013

Sometimes I put off even the simplest of sewing projects, because my sewing area is a mess! I’ve been on a quest to get more organized and settled in our house, and coming up with a new thread storage solution was a must. Here’s what I ended up with.

thread holder 9

Last year I made a simple thread holder using a wood plank I picked up at Salvation Army and long nails. It helped for a little while, but had a few flaws.

thread holder 1

First and most importantly, it wasn’t big enough to hold all of my thread, which means the rest of it was scattered around my sewing machine, finding a home wherever there was space. Not only was it messy and disorganized, but I could never seem to find the color I needed for a given project, so I’d go buy more. Second, it wasn’t very pretty from the front, because only the top of each spool was visible, instead of the pretty thread colors. Third, it didn’t help me keep track of my bobbins. Which always seemed to end up like this, tangled in the bottom of a drawer.

thread holder 8

So to the internet I went, seeking a solution, which is when I stumbled upon this awesome DIY thread holder. Not only does it showcase the beautiful colors of thread, but it keeps the bobbins right there with the appropriate color!

From The Creative Homemaker via Ashley on pinterest

So I pinned it, then did nothing. For months. Finally, it was time to get with the program and build it.

It’s funny that I put it off for so long, because it really didn’t take very long to put together and it was very inexpensive. I used 1×2 furring strips from Home Depot ($1.12 for an 8 foot length) and scrap beadboard for the back. Basically I just cut the pieces to the length I wanted (I did 2 feet wide, so I could get 4 pieces from one furring strip), glued and nailed them together using my brad nailer. Glue is the key for longevity for anything you build. Nails or screws hold things in place for awhile, but wood glue is what keeps them in place practically forever. I mitered the corners to give it a nice and polished look.

Sorry, but the only in progress shot I have is from my phone. But you can get the idea.

thread holder 14

I left 2 1/2 inches between each horizontal rail, which gives me plenty of space for the taller spools without the shelves looking too far apart. When I had glued and nailed every piece together it was time to attach the beadboard backing. The backing gives the shelf additional support, keeps it square, and makes it pretty.

After spray priming and painting, it was time to attach the nails for the bobbins. I put in spools of thread to figure out how many would fit on each shelf and settled on 16. Then I used my trick to easily achieve evenly spaced nails. I marked a line every inch on some elastic, for a total of 16 lines. Then I stretch the elastic so that each end was where I wanted them, nailed the ends in place.

thread holder 4

Next I added a nail at each marking.

thread holder 5

After that, I just repeated for all of the other shelves.

Time to hang it on the wall and fill it with my thread. The fun part!

thread holder 7

I didn’t add my bobbins yet, because I had to run to the hardware store before I could deal with them. Call me crazy, but the thread that always unwinds drives me nuts. I’ve seen people use clear tubing to keep the thread from unraveling.

I bought 2 feet of 1/2″ clear vinyl tubing for less than $1.50. Just a warning, I couldn’t find it by the foot at Lowes or Home Depot, so got this at our local Ace Hardware. Cut it to the height of the bobbin and put a slit in the side, and it perfectly wraps around the bobbin.

thread holder 13

Voila! Done! Not only did this project organize my sewing thread but it looks beautiful with all of that colorful thread. Most of that thread I inherited with the sewing machine, which was my grandma’s, so I love seeing it.

thread holder 11

Ain’t it purty?

thread holder 6

Linking up with Bower Power, Young House Love, RedBird BlueSparkle Meets Pop, and House of Hepworths.


  56 Responses to “DIY Thread Holder”

  1. This is such a great project! I store all my spools & bobbins in two card catalog drawers, but I love the idea of displaying everything and keeping the bobbin and thread together!

  2. This is such a great idea! And it does look very pretty – great job!

  3. BEAUTIFUL! I had not heard of the elastic measuring trick!! Great idea! Also, really loved the plastic tubing around the bobbins. Another great idea!!

  4. I LOVE this!!!! I made one tonight for my mom for Mother’s Day! I just have to paint it now. I can’t wait for her to see it! Thanks!!!!

  5. This is a really great solution! I love how there is a spot for the bobbin too. I would love to include this in a project round-up that I’m putting together… would you be interested? I would link back to your project here.

  6. […] Ashley made this thread holder which I think is just brilliant. […]

  7. so fabulous to have them all displayed! mine would be terrorized by toddlers if i had them out to see!

  8. […] love this DIY thread holder Naptime DIY created. I wish I were this […]

  9. So, you kind of blew my mind with this. You had me with the whole bobbins to match the spools thing, but when you added those bobbin clips… mind was BLOWN. You should head to the patent office with this idea and put a name on this. I will buy some!

    • Haha! Thanks. I wish it were my idea but I found it from someone else. So simple but so wonderful! Thanks!

    • I have been putting small ponytail holders around my bobbins to keep the thread in tact. OK for the clear ones but you can’t see the thread color on the metal bobbins so the method isn’t very practical PLUS I’m always searching through my bobbins for the right color from a previous project. THANK YOU THANK YOU! Beth

  10. oooo wow! I love that this has a place for your bobbins too! I’m really a bit jealous f all your thread :o) I also have a nap time blog :o) new pinterest follower and I’m also going to go try to find your blog on blog lovin! Emily @ Nap-Time Creations

  11. i could really use something like this

  12. I just finished mine. It’s great! Thanks for the idea! (First time I ever used my hubby’s nail gun….love it!)

    • That’s great! Good work! It took me a little while to get fully comfortable with the air compressor and our nail guns, so I know where you’re coming from! I’m glad I got over that, though, because nail guns are the best. 🙂

  13. Well, you just gave my husband a project! Thanks for the great idea 😀

  14. amazing! must do!

  15. Your blog & pics more helpful than even the original! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  16. This looks great! I hope to attempt it myself. If you could tell us the width and height of the completed piece that would help me make sure I am following correctly. Thanks for the post.

  17. It looks like the original poster’s was 31 1/2″ x 23 1/2″- did you do yours the same?

    • Sorry for the delayed reply! We were out of town so I couldn’t measure my thread holder. Mine is 25″ wide by 20″ tall. I just made it based on my space and supplies. There is about 2 1/2″ between each shelf which is tall enough to hold any of the spools I have.

  18. Thanks!

  19. This is amazing…just what I have been looking for.
    Thanks for the instructions!

  20. This is awesome!!! You need a pin-it button on this post – I’m sure it would drive a ton of traffic for you, because I know I’m pinning it for future reference (ya know, like when all the other million projects I have in progress get wrapped up, hehe!).

    Thanks for sharing!!

  21. Vinyl tubing to control pesky dangly bobbin thread is genius.

  22. […] All in all, the wood, sandpaper, and nails came to about $15. I already had E600, and then I spent $2.50 on acrylic paints, which left plenty over. I also got a piece of foam board from the dollar store to make a back, and I need another to cover up the top shelf.  Home Depot has a cutting station, so I asked them to cut the furring boards into two foot pieces. (For materials and a word-walk through, see here!) […]

  23. Myof had one years ago! You’ve inspired me to make my own. Thank you!

  24. I love your thread holder. I am remodeling my sewing shop and cannot wait to have a thread holder. How did you ever think of the tubing to keep the bobbin thread from hanging off? You had a terrific idea! Will be watching for more ideas.

    Linda in Arkansas.

  25. Love your holder. Cannot wait to make me one.

  26. I’m not sure what the elastic is for — just for measuring or is there another purpose. Could not tell from the photos and if it is in your narrative, I missed it.

    • The elastic was for making sure the bobbin nails were evenly spaced…I think I wrote that, but it’s been awhile since then so maybe it wasn’t very clear.

  27. I love the vinyl tubing on the bobbins. I have small rubber bands on my big spools but could never figure out how to contain those annoying bobbin threads. I’m going to look for bigger tubing as well to put around my big spools. Thank you for sharing your how-to. I’ve been using a spice rack to display my thread but couldn’t figure out how to display bobbins as well. Can’t wait to make this!

  28. I found your site via Pinterest. I love your thread storage solution. Beautiful!

  29. my husband made me one of these but amped it up a bit! He added 3 shelves on the bottom that are about 6″ deep to keep other stuff. It’s awesome!!

  30. you could put plexy glass doors on it to keep dust and toddlers out of it .

  31. Think I’m going to give this a shot myself and instead of using the wood for the back I think I’m going to try a piece of fabric for added color. Love this and thanks for posting.

  32. Ingenious!! Something I definitely can use in my tiny sewing room.

  33. so what is the actual dimensions

  34. I’m not likely to actually make one but it was interesting reading. Ingenious.

  35. You are sooooo clever! Thank you for sharing this most excellent storage project. I’m a gonna do it!

  36. Hi there, love this thread holder but wanted to know what holds the thread from falling off the shelves, thanks Nancy

  37. OK! I’m sold! I sooo want to do this.My threads & bobbins are always scattered in different drawers. I’ve got the boards but have been stewing over ideas for keeping it light weight & the spools from tumbling off if bumped. Thinking maybe foam board covered in colorful fabric for the back & maybe some bright rounded elastic stretched across the shelving in front of the spools. This would still allow for easy removal & help hold them on the shelf. Thank you for the inspiration!!

  38. I love this idea and plan to make it soon!!! What was the height of the piece? This is the greatest Idea I’ve seen for thread!!!!

  39. I love this idea; one question – what keeps the thread spools from falling off the shelf?

    • I guess just gravity? They just rest on the shelf and I don’t bump it around or anything so I’ve never had an issue with it. You could always nail in some short finish nails into the top side for them to sit on if you’re worried about them falling off.

  40. I love this idea for my new sewing space. I am building a “cottage” for myself from a very large tool shed that my husband left (I became a widow three and a half years ago). It is taking a long time to complete my “cottage”, in the meantime I will keep and organize my new sewing area with this great idea.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  41. i love your thread project. i have been so frustrated with my sewing room, your idea and this other lady’s (sorry i can’t remember your name) idea of using comic book boards to make bolts out of the fabric for easy access will be the making of my sewing room!
    thank you so much

  42. This is the BEST idea for threads AND bobbins I saw ever!. I must show it to all my patchworkers! Thank you for this idear! Best greatings from Sweden ;o)

  43. love it .been looking for something to tidy my thread mess . thank you doing this this week.

  44. Wow what a briljant idea! When my hobby room is ready I’m definitely going to make this! Have fun. Greetings Marit

  45. This is awesome ! I’m headed out to do some shopping, Lowe’s here I come…
    Thanks for the idea!

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