By Jessica Wilson
I grew up in a home full of fabric and ribbon, pins and pinking shears, and thread – spools and spools of thread. I also grew up in a home filled to the brim with kitsch and vintage stuff. So it may come as no surprise that I am now the proprietor of a home full of fabric and ribbon, pins and pinking shears, and thread – spools and spools of thread. There is something elegant about vintage wooden spools of thread. They are most definitely one of my favorite things. I cannot bring myself to use them up or pass them along. Instead, I hoard my spools in a large glass jar that once was home to my great-grandmother’s favorite pickled herring. I never tire of looking at that jar and its contents, which often spool my noggin with more ideas than I can handle. From picture stands, to pretty hooks, to garlands and other arrangements, I love to turn those spools into other, even prettier objects. This being the holiday season and all, and me with a penchant for going a little overboard with the gift wrap, I have a super simple tutorial for turning your vintage spools into pretty gift tags to top your brown paper packages, tied up in string.

Materials and Tools

Wooden thread spools
Tacky glue
Curled tree ornament hooks
Needle-nose pliers
Buttons and/or beads
Embroidery floss
Typewriter or computer
Glue stick


Step 1: Prep your spools by gluing the end of the loose thread to the spool. Set aside to dry. I picked up extra spools from a couple of different Etsy sellers so I wouldn’t have to use up my family stash.
Step 2: Grab your hook and straighten out one end with your pliers. I picked up my hooks a couple of years ago from an emporium store. I’ve seen them all over the place this year, so they shouldn’t be too difficult to find. You can also nix the hooks and simply use embroidery thread or wire.
Step 3: Thread a large bead onto your now semi-straightened hook. I used beads from an old vintage necklace. You will want beads that have a slightly larger hole than usual, as the hooks are thicker than your average sewing needle. Thread another bead if you wish.
Step 4: Cut a length of embroidery floss 6″-8″ long and tie it onto your hook. Dab a bit of glue to secure it, and set aside to dry.
Step 5: While your glue is drying, load a sheet of paper into your typewriter and type up a row of short holiday messages. You can, of course, do this by hand as well, or print it all out from your computer. Trim into small rectangles and adhere one to each of your spools with a hardy glue or craft stick.
Step 6: Now that the glue on your hook is dry, it’s time to add your spool. Thread your spool onto both the floss and the end of your hook. Next, thread your floss through one hole of a button of your choice (from the bottom up). I find that a two-holed button works best for this. Next, thread back down through the other hole to create a loop of sorts. Squeeze a healthy dose of glue into the hole of your spool and stuff the loose end of your floss into the hole while still keeping a loop on the other side of the button. (This last part may seem tricky, but it’s just a matter of not getting your fingers tangled in the floss. I find that trimming down my floss helps a bunch.)
Step 7: Add more glue to the top of the spool and center the button and loop over the happy mess. Set aside to dry.
Step 8: Add your tags to your gift packages or keep them all to yourself. Write a longer message on a long, thin strip of paper and wrap it around your spool, tie closed with a length of thread. These also make nifty ornaments for your tree.
About the Author:
Jessica Wilson is most happily known as “jek in the box” and spends most of her time crafting it up and taking pictures. She can often be found standing on benches over on Flickr and creating all sorts of kiddie crafts on her blog scrumdilly-do! She lives a life of scrumdillydilly and loves to share.
Check out more of Wilson’s wooden spool projects:
Peg Rack
Treat Stands