How-to: Upcycled Cardboard Embroidery Floss Spools

Create a template for your cardboard embroidery floss spool.
Create a template for your cardboard embroidery floss spool.

1. Create a template. If you already own some embroidery floss spools that you like, just trace them. Graphing your own pattern on centimeter-gridded graph paper is really easy, however. A template drawn on graph paper is easy to make symmetrical, and you can fancy it up however you wish.

Fussy cut the spools out of cardboard.
Fussy cut the spools out of cardboard.

2. Fussy cut from cardboard. To fussy cut something means to cut it specifically to include a certain exact detail, often from a novelty print. I use a lot of fussy cuts in my postage stamp quilt, for instance. You can fussy cut your embroidery floss spools by placing your template over something awesome, like Art Garfunkel’s face or Toucan Sam’s beak.

If you cut your spools out of plain cardboard, you can still embellish them with ink pens–just make VERY sure that nothing you use will rub off on the floss.

3. Wrap and store! The first time I made these spools, it gave me no end of satisfaction to finally wrap all of my floss nice and neatly and organize it correctly (in rainbow order, obviously!).

DIY cardboard embroidery floss spools are also nice to be able to whip out when a kid (or both of them) decides that she *needs* her own supplies, and since you know that you can always make more in just a few minutes, they make it easy–so, SO temptingly easy–to add to your embroidery floss stash on a whim.

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.


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  1. brilliant! yer right, they are pretty…my floss is all stuffed into a jar getting tangled. i need to do this…sadly, the only cardboard we have is not nearly so pretty.

    • And they don’t bend? I don’t know why I keep thinking that the cardboard has to be so sturdy–I just REALLY like cardboard, I think. But now I’ll start using pretty cardstock-weight papers, too!

  2. I have a shameful confession to make. When I say this post in my reader, I thought, “Why bother? The plastic bag as been working for the last few years.” I didn’t even bother reading the post

    Yesterday I decided to put all my embroidery floss in a newly acquired glass jar. As I pulled out the jumbled mess, I realized that the plastic bag had not really worked out well. I used the included spools to make more. Now I have a very pretty jar of unused embroidery floss and one of “opened” floss wound onto spools.

    Should have just read this earlier and realized there is a reason for those spools :0)

    • Properly winding embroidery floss and yarn, and properly folding fabric, is one of those things that I never *want* to do, but I’m always glad when I’ve done it. And when I haven’t done it properly, which is also often, I’m always irritated at myself. I made an order of bean bags the other day, and it was ridiculously clear by how much ironing I had to do which of my bean bag fabrics I had stored properly and which I hadn’t.

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