Thursday 14 February 2019

DIY Upcycled Sewing Thread Reels Wreath

Today I'm sharing a tutorial for making a fun crafty wreath from your old empty reels of sewing thread!

Colourful yarn wreath decorated with upcycled sewing reels
 Yarn-wrapped wreath decorated with upcycled sewing reels
Yarn-wrapped wreath decorated with colourful upcycled sewing thread reels

ADVERTISEMENT: This tutorial is sponsored by Bostik, and is part of a series of crafty projects I'm sharing to promote their range of adhesives. Click here to see all the posts in the series!

I'm never sure quite what to do with my leftover thread spools - they don't really have an obvious purpose but I still can't quite bring myself to throw them away. "I'm sure these will be useful for something" I think to myself, sticking them in a box of craft supplies... and then never actually doing anything with them. I bet you guys have a bunch of stuff you keep like this, too, right?? You just never know when stuff might come in useful for crafting!

empty sewing thread reels

So, when the team at Bostik asked me to come up with a project to try out their new Fix & Flash glue I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get out my stash of empty spools and actually make something with them.

 Bostik Fix & Flash glue

Making this wreath I also got to use up a bunch of scrappy bits of leftover yarn I'd been saving for ages AND I saved a bit of cash by making my own wreath base from a cardboard box instead of buying one. Essentially I felt like a crafty upcycling genius working on this project.

Colourful yarn-wrapped wreath decorated with upcycled sewing reels

Tip: if you don't have any empty thread reels but like idea of making one of these wreaths for your craft room, you could also make this project using a box of cheap sewing threads or those thread colours in your stash that you somehow have loads of but never actually sew with.

You will need:

- Bostik Fix & Flash (which I'm reliably informed is available at Hobbycraft) or other suitable strong glue
- Empty sewing thread reels
- A wreath base or a large piece of sturdy card (e.g. from a big cardboard box)
- Yarn for wrapping the wreath
- Leftover bits of yarn in assorted colours (or bits of felt, fabric or coloured paper)
- A sewing needle with a large eye
- Sewing scissors

If you're making your wreath base from card instead of using a shop-bought one you'll also need sturdy craft scissors, a pencil, and things to help you draw the wreath shape (I used a compass, a ruler and a large dinner plate). You will also need some PVA or other craft glue if you're decorating your reels with felt, paper or fabric.

To make the wreath:

1. If you're making your own wreath base (instead of just buying one from a shop), you'll need to cut a large ring shape out of sturdy cardboard.

I used a large dinner plate (approx 26 cm wide) for the outer circle, drawing around it with a sharp pencil. I then used a ruler to find the rough centre point of the large circle, and used a compass to draw the inner circle (approx 12.5 cm wide) around that central point.

It doesn't matter exactly what size wreath base you make or use, just ensure you've got enough space to add all your sewing thread reels!

 use a large plate to draw the wreath shape
cut out the wreath shape from strong card

2. Use some brightly coloured yarn to wrap your wreath base. Knot the end of the yarn around the ring shape, tying it securely so the knot will be at the back of your finished wreath. Then gradually wrap the whole of the wreath with yarn until the shape is evenly covered and there are no gaps for the base to peek through. When you're happy with how it looks, cut the yarn end and knot it securely at the back of the wreath.

This step is quite time consuming, but it's a lovely relaxing task to do on the sofa in the evening while watching a bit of telly!

wrap the wreath base with yarn

3. Now it's time to decorate your empty thread reels. Leftover bits of yarn are perfect for this, but you could also use pieces of felt or even colourful paper or fabric to wrap around the empty spools - just cut the colourful scraps to size and glue them in place with the appropriate craft glue.

When choosing colours you could stick to a strict colour palette for your reels, create a riot of different colours, or even create a rainbow effect across the wreath. I had lots of bits of leftover yarn in pink and other warm tones, so I chose a selection of those.

Tip: if you want a rainbow or another sweep of colour across the wreath, plan ahead and work out how you're going to position the reels before you start adding colour to them so you know which reels to add which colours to. I'd recommend using a large piece of paper and a pencil to mark out the positions of each reel, which you can then refer to as a guide when attaching them to the wreath. 

Wrap each empty reel with some leftover yarn, knotting the ends securely and trimming them neatly. Make sure both knots are on the same side of the reel, so you can hide them when you stick the reels in position! I hid the first end of my yarn under the rest as I wrapped it around the reel and used a sewing needle to help me loop the second end into the rest of the yarn to secure it.

wrap the empty reels with leftover bits of yarn
old sewing thread reels wrapped with colourful yarn

4. Once you've decorated all your spools, it's time to get out the glue and add them to your yarn-wrapped wreath base. I'd usually use a glue gun when sticking stuff onto wreaths but I often find glue guns quite awkward to work with and occasionally a bit messy (all those trailing strands of glue! and great squidges of glue that squeeze out from behind the thing you've just stuck in place!)... so I was really interested to try Bostik's new Fix & Flash glue.

using Bostik Fix & Flash glue to make an upcycled wreath

It turns out that using this stuff is half like being in a sci-fi film set in the future, and half like pretending to be a wizard because the glue sets like magic with a beam of light!

First use the fine nozzle to apply the clear glue to the back of one of the sewing reels, where it'll touch the wreath base. I'd definitely recommend test glueing something to start with as I managed to splurge glue everywhere as it was much more liquidy than I'd been expecting. Carefully position the reel and press it in place for a few seconds to create the initial hold.

attaching the first thread reel to the wreath

Then use the UV bulb at the other end to shine a beam of light for fifteen seconds onto the edges of where you've glued. And that's it! The glue has set.

using the Fix & Flash UV light beam

Make sure you follow the safety instructions when using the Fix & Flash (both the glue and the UV light), and gradually add all the reels to your wreath base. I set a little timer on my phone for 17 seconds so I could just tap that and easily time the amount of light needed. 

decorating the wreath with the upcycled thread reels

I will confess that I managed to get a bit of glue on my fingers when working on this project (oops) because I am quite clumsy and really ought to always wear latex gloves when using strong glue (because of the aforementioned clumsiness) but otherwise I was really pleased with how easy this stuff was to use. I definitely felt like I had more control over it than using a glue gun, and you can use Fix & Flash to glue loads of different materials.

I would never have tried this without Bostik asking me to create this tutorial, but I'm glad I did as I think this will be a really useful addition to my craft supplies stash!

Once you've added all the reels to your wreath it should look something like this:

finished yarn-wrapped wreath decorated with upcycled sewing thread spools

Hang the wreath from a hook or nail using more of the same yarn you used to wrap the wreath base earlier.

DISCLOSURE: this post is sponsored by Bostik, who also provided the Fix & Flash I used to make the wreath. 

P.S. Fancy some more free crafty goodness? Subscribe to my newsletter for a monthly free pattern and visit my crafty tutorial archive for lots more free projects.

Make a colourful yarn wreath for your craft room


Luna said...

I love this idea so much! I think I am going to give it a try with all my left over yarn from crochet projects.

Littlelamb said...

This is a brilliant idea. Will be looking for that glue as well.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks, guys! This was a really fun project and I'm super pleased with how it turned out. Plus it is SO SATISFYING making stuff from crafty leftovers :)

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Your wreath is so cute - and I save empty spools too :) Plus, that glue is amazing! I would never have guessed something like that ever existed. I have a horrible tendency to burn my fingers, even with low-temp glue guns ;)

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks! :) The glue is total magic, isn't it? Science = a wonder!