10.05.2010

little plastic spools

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I have been trying to come up with ways of reusing empty thread spools. Not the nice wooden ones, that you can carve, make lovely toys, or just set out because they just feel so wholesome. I mean the ugly, plastic ones that lay underneath all the regular thread that we all have dozens of sitting by the sewing machine. What to do with them all?

Turns out that my ideas are rather few. Perhaps it is because I've been busy with other things and haven't been really on the ball creatively lately, but I find these plastic spools particularly uninspiring. Here is my short list:

string into play snake

use as armature for sculpture

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door handles

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And that's my list.

It's a good thing I have fresh, creative little minds to make up for my shortcomings. Smootch and Birdie came up with more uses for plastic thread spools.

spyglass

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cityscape

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water tower base

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construction

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extreme stacking

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Other than toys, the hole in the middle is helpful for sorting cords, string, or pulling over the drape cords to keep them for knotting up. There are also a number of games that use string and a spool, and they have also been used in a number of crafts, notably as wheels for robots and space cars.

How do you reuse your plastic thread spools?

28 comments:

  1. I scrapbook, so I have a lot ribbons lying around, I used to organize them on this spools. I also spin and use large spools to keep my fine silk handsun yarn when I ply, but I did not figure out a way to upcycle them into something very creative yet.

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  2. What funny timing! I just collected all my empty spools to donate to my son's preschool. I'm sure all the kids will come up with many creative crafty uses!

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  3. I get mostly paper spools and was planning to use them as tree branches for the Golu Park that we are creating for the 9 day Navarathri Festival...

    I liked that idea of extreme stacking... albeit my DD tries that with glass bases... sometimes...yes its scary... ha ha

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  4. look at this :
    http://clemrecup.blogspot.com/2009/12/petit-ange-de-noel.html

    funny !

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  5. My daughter uses them for dipping into paint and then printing circles.

    Also if you paint them with half and half paint and "gloopy glue" (pva white glue) it sticks to the plastic. Then sprinkle glitter. Then string your new jewels onto some string.

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  6. Thats so funny that you posted that! I just ran out of thread yesterday while I was sewing (of course) and I didnt want to throw away the plstic spool! I was trying to think of what in the world I could do with it! And now I know! Thanks for the cute ideas!
    CraftyCierra.blogspot.com/

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  7. I saw someone on craftster using them as handles for hand-carved stamps.

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  8. Love your sculpture idea! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  9. I love love your drawer/door handle idea! I just recently started using mine for ribbon pieces that either did not come on a spool (see salvaged or thrifted) or are too small to re-spool on the cardboard spools they come on. Also, love the extreme stacking way to have some seriously fine tuned motor skills!

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  10. The occupational therapist I work with uses them with the little ones (2-3 years old) to practice stringing. Easier to hold than beads. someone more creative than I might figure out how to use them at built-up spoon/fork handles for small children or stroke patients....

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  11. How did you do the door pull (handle)? It looks great!

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  12. If they have a flat base you can cut out shapes from craft foam, cork, or other like materials and glue them to the bottom of the spools to use as stamps.

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  13. They really have a limitless imagination, don't they?

    I don't really have an abundance of plastic spools, but I think you've got the right idea - put 'em in a box in their room for a week and let them get creative. Then take it away for a few weeks - swap it for some other thing like toilet rolls, bottle caps - then bring them back and let them rediscover them all over again.

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  14. They always end up as kitty toys in our apparrtment. Unfortunately my cat doesn't care if the spools are empty before she kicks them from my sewing table. She love the sounds they make when she kicks them around on our hardwood floor. In the end they lie under the sofa until I find them and throw them away. Not very creative, but the cat is happy.

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  15. I have never thought about what to do with those empty spools. I was content with letting them pile up....lol.

    vintage necklace giveaway....check it out

    http:coymisconception.blogspot.com

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  16. this is all I got http://mycutiefruity.blogspot.com/2009/08/kids-craft-spools-and-scraps.html

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  17. I made trees using the empty paper spools of coats thread i use and using green coated polyfill, have a look here for those interested..

    this is actually the park my DD and myself made today for the Navarathri preparations...

    Navarathri is a 9 day festival celebrated in India where we arrange various dolls in steps and also decorate our houses, invite guests.... sorry i keep going blah blah isn't it..here is the link..for those interested...just wanted to share part of my culture...
    http://adithisammasews.blogspot.com/2010/10/navarathri-golu-park-ready.html

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  18. Nicole, The bottoms of Gutterman thread spools actually twist off. Just put a screw through the middle and viola: door handle :)

    CreativeMama, share away!

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  19. I had an idea. Use them as a "stem" for a pumpkin. You could even use a soup can for the pumpkin and paint it orange, that way, the spool would be easy to glue to the can. :)

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  20. You could use them as a base for a recipe card holder, or something (just glue a clothespin to the top).

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  21. I wrapped rainbow sticky tape i had lying around round it, then tied a thick piece of cotton string which was once the handle of a fancy gift bag i got, in such a way that the string was 4 times longer than the spool and knotted at each end. It was my daughter's favourite toy ages 4months to 2.5years, and she still, age 4, refuses to give it to her 4month old sister. I need to make another!

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  22. We're saving all little bits like these spools, ribbon bits, t.p. rolls, small boxes, wine corks, random bits of plastic and metal etc. in a big box to get ready for our first Fall potluck.

    We'll spraypaint everything the same color, provide paintbrushes, glue and cardboard bases and let our guests have at it! Fun for young and old.

    Inspired by some smart ladies at the California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria - our kids could have stayed at that booth for hours!

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  23. We use them for blowing bubbles in the bathtub.. soap up an arm or leg, rub the end of the spool in the suds, then blow gently. Great sneaky way to get a kid clean.

    I suppose they work with regular bubble solution, too.

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  24. I put more thread on them!
    I came across some industrial spools a few years ago at bargin prices...but they are WAY to big for any of my machines, so I use my empty spools for that thread!

    But I like the idea to use them as bubble blowers too!

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  25. We made a toy stethoscope out of one of our large ones-I tied a long length of ribbon through to hang around their necks and voila! Stethoscope with no ear pieces-but they haven't realised that yet. An ear trumpet for listening to babies is a related idea.

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  26. Bang long (long!) nails through them and into the wall, a board, or whatever takes yout fancy. Hang yarn, ribbon etc (otherwise I leave the stuff in a bag, and it ends up in one heck of a rat's nest). Cheaper than buying metal hooks, and cleaner for the things you hang off them :)

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  27. I found your site while googling fun patterns for the beginner sewer. I love your patterns and ideas for re-purposing otherwise wasteful items like sheet packaging. I also really like the fabrics you've chosen and the owl drawing. please keep them coming and thanks for sharing!!

    Laurie

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  28. I would really love to pay someone for about 75 empty plastic spools! Preferably the 200/250 yard size. I need to transfer some thread from the biodegradable spools it came on. Big messy project, but fortunately the bobbin threader on my machine is on top and allows me to wind onto objects other than an actual bobbin. Help anyone???

    Esther

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