What Do You Do with Your Empty Thread Spools?

1200 metres of sewing, represented in spools

During the year I have gathered a collection of empty thread spools. I have been reluctant to throw these out as they are a representation of how much sewing I have achieved this year (over a kilometre's worth!) but they are now starting to fill up my tin of threads. So, what can you do with your empty plastic spools?

  • Recycle them! 

  • Give them to kids to play with - suggestions I've read about include threading them onto string, printing with them and using them to blow bubbles.
 Thread spool snowflakes. Image from here.

  • Give them to your cat to play with:

My cats were pretty interested in the spools. You could also hang them on a piece of string and tie it to something, like the back of a wooden chair

Image from Blueberry Junkie

  • Make a back massager, using this tutorial - no pictures sadly, but please send me a photo if you make one!
  • Make Christmas decorations, like this garland:
Image from Maria's Quilt Scraps. Made using this Tutorial.

  • Use them to organise ribbons, bias tape or pieces of elastic:

This was the idea I chose, and it is perfect for keeping things neat in your sewing box. Just secure the end with a pin.

Have you got any other ideas of how to make use of empty thread spools?

K x


  1. I saw a great tutorial on using empty spools to hand circular knitting needles: http://pinterest.com/pin/144959681725628999/

  2. Great idea Melizza! That would make them so much easier to find.

  3. Some great ideas there! Love what you did with them.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  4. I've got an old wooden cotton reel hung with red ribbon on the Christmas tree.
    Well time post though because there's 7 (not so pretty) plastic reels waiting to be used for something.
    No cats or small children here so I'm going with the ribbon storage idea.

  5. Brilliant idea to use them for ribbon! I'm going to do that too!

  6. Ohhh thanks for this.. I was growing them away but I think this is a great way to reduce waist

  7. Ahhhh! I usually just throw mine in the recycling bin, but it's such a great idea to use them for bias tape!

  8. Good one. I'll be using that ribbon organising idea!

  9. Love that idea of storing the ribbon and tape on the old spools - thanks!!! And my kits would def love to get hold of an old spool to play with!

  10. My cat LOVES those empty spools! But organizing ribbons with them is a really good idea. Thanx! :) xx

  11. Great tips, Kestrel.


  12. Hi Kestrel, I used one empty spool at the center of a Ferris Wheel! You can see it here: http://www.remodelandolacasa.com/2012/01/accessorizing-cheap-way.html I even used your picture at the top! let me know if its ok.

  13. Hello, I don’t know if this thread is still active but as for me I am using the Empty Gutermann thread spools On my serger. I buy only one big cone of thread and rewind the empty spools to use with all my sewing machines at the same time, 4 on the serger and 3 on the overlocker. I am having the hardest time finding the empty spools. If anyone would like to sell them, I would be very grateful, Annick


Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say