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Mini Thread Spool Bracelet Tutorial (A Fabric Scrap Project!)

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I was so surprised (and excited!) by how well my tutorial last week (for making your own boho fabric bead bracelet) was received. It seems that fabric scrap crafts are quite popular! I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who loves holding on to fabric scraps I hope ya’ll enjoy this mini thread spool bracelet tutorial, too!

I’ve been mulling this particular tutorial over for about two months and just hadn’t quite worked out how I wanted to string everything together and close it up. After writing last week’s tutorial, I realized that stretch cord was the answer I’d been searching for! Today I’m happy to finally share my tutorial for a mini thread spool bracelet.

Mini Thread Spool Bracelet Tutorial (With Fabric Scraps!)

Thread spool bracelet with fabric scraps

I made this bracelet with fabric scraps because, well, I have lots of fabric scraps! You could also do this tutorial with strips of scrapbooking paper, instead, though you might want to use a paper glue instead of the Fabric Fusion glue I recommend for this project. If you are using cloth scraps and busting your fabric stash a little, it really is worth it to use a clear-drying, waterproof fabric glue instead of Mod Podge. I’m not hating on Mod Podge, it just isn’t the best tool for this job! Fabric Fusion leaves less of a sheen on the cloth and is waterproof after 24 hours. If you want to seal your wood thread spools, too, give the assembled spool/beads a quick coat of a matte finish clear spray like Krylon. Then you’ll be good to go and who cares if you get caught in the rain?

mini wood thread spool bracelet

Materials needed for mini wood spool bracelet

  • Mini wood spools! I used 5/8″ ones and bought a “value pack” with enough to make two or three bracelets.
  • Fabric scraps (scrapbook paper will work, too)
  • Fabric Fusion glue or Original Tacky Glue (Tacky Glue isn’t as waterproof but it’s easier to work with)
  • Rotary cutter, ruler, and mat (easier) or scissors
  • Stretch cord
  • A paper towel
  • Small piece of tape
  • Small round file (needle file)
  • Tape measure (optional)
  • Ironing board & iron (if your scraps are winkled!)

materials for making a mini thread spool bracelet

Mini thread spool bracelet tutorial

Before we get started with the regular steps: I noticed the inside edge of some of my spools was a little rough looking, and I didn’t want the stretch cord to catch and break. For a while in elementary school I had this beading wire that was kind of brittle, and sometimes it would break while I was out and about wearing my made-by-me bracelets. I really hated when this happened! That’s why I decided to use a very small round file to clean up the inside lip of my spools.

rough edges inside spool

A couple quick swipes on each side is all it took, and now I’m not as worried about my bracelet breaking!

file out inside of spool

1. First, you need to figure out how big (or, really, small!) to cut your fabric scraps. I think the easiest thing is to use a ruler to measure the inside height of your spools (the flat area between the lips) and a tape measure to figure out the circumference. Use these measurements to decide what size to make your fabric strips. A little bit smaller than the overall height looks nice. My spools were technically 5/8″ tall but that looked cramped, so I cut pieces 1/2″ wide. Conversely, you want your fabric to overlap a bit, so make your strip a little longer than the spool’s circumference. My pieces were about 2″ long.

2. Decide how many spools you’ll need to make your bracelet. In the example, I used 12. Eleven would fit fine, too, but I liked having an even number of each fabric pattern! If your spools are the same size as mine, use 2 spools per inch of wrist circumference. For a slightly tighter fit, subtract one from this total and then you’ll have the number of spools you’ll need.

3. If your scraps have been shoved in a drawer or crumpled in a basket, go ahead and iron them.

4. Cut a strip of fabric for each spool you’ll need in your finished bracelet. You can use all the same fabric, all different fabrics, or whatever you’d like. I used two and alternated.

fabric scraps for bracelet

5. Get your paper towel handy then lay a bead of glue down the inside of one fabric strip.

put glue on back of the fabric strip

Spread the glue out with your fingers until it coats the back of the fabric, then carefully wrap it around the spool with ends overlapping. Add a tiny dab of additional glue, as needed, to ensure the exposed end stays flat. Use your paper towel to wipe off any excess glue that leaked out the sides and to clean off your hands. I have noticed that Fabric Fusion will discolor the wood, so try not to get glue all over the top of each spool and clean up any messes. =)

first spool bead finished

6. Keep making beads until you have as many as you need! This shouldn’t take long if you’re only making one bracelet.

spool beads

7. Allow the glue to dry at least a little bit. It takes a couple of hours to dry fully and 24 hours to become waterproof, but you can complete the bracelet as soon as you feel sure the fabric won’t move around when you handle the spools.

8. Cut two pieces of stretch cord. You’ll have a little extra to cut away at the end, but I recommend using your wrist circumference x 3 as the length of for each piece. This means you’ll probably need each piece to be somewhere between about 18″ and 24″. If you estimated in step 2 and don’t want to do math now, just cut two pieces that are 24″ long each to be safe.

9. Leaving a couple inch tail, tape the two pieces of stretch cord together on one end. I actually taped mine to my table because it made threading the spools way easier!

tape ends down

10. Now it’s time to get beading! You want to weave the cords through the spools so that the spools are vertical. This is pretty easy, but the clear stretch cord is difficult to see in photos, so I made a little diagram. The blue arrows represent one piece of cord and the red arrows the other. You can see how each piece goes in a serpentine manner through the spools.

threading order for spools

Begin by inserting one piece of cord through your first spool.

thread the first spool

Then bring the other piece of cord the opposite direction through the spool.

thread the first spool with the second piece of cord

Slide the spool down to the taped end of cord.

first spool threaded

12. Repeat this process with the next spool.

second spool threaded

And the next, etc.

fourth spool threaded

Until all your spools are threaded!

all spools threaded

13. Now comes the trickiest part – tying the bracelet! I basically folded the bracelet up on top of itself and then tied the cords off in pairs – the cord from the top of one spool to the top one on the opposite side and the two bottom cords. I recommend using a surgeon’s knot to keep your stretch cord tied. It’s basically just a square knot with an extra wrap. If you’re not sure how to do it, please check out the video on my post about making a cloth bead bracelet – it shows you how!

tie the stretch cord ends

You want your cord to be a little tighter than what you see in the picture above! Ideally, you want the spools to be touching (or at least almost touching), but you don’t want to have the cord already stretched and applying pressure to the bobbins. This makes them bunch up and look weird, and it isn’t good for the life of your bracelet!

tie both the stretch cord ends

For added security, drop a dab of glue on each knot. Even better – you can use a large crimp bead to seal the knot in place! I wouldn’t rush out to buy crimp beads and crimping pliers just for this project, though, which is why I don’t show that method.

14. Trim the stretch cord, leaving a little extra on each side of the knot. This helps the knot stay tied and gives you the time to tighten it back down if you do notice it slipping.

15. Wear your new bracelet to feel crafty and awesome!

Mini Thread Spool Bracelet Tutorial

This wood spool bracelet really speaks to me because it’s a great way to show your love of fabric and crafts while you’re out and about. I bet you could start some conversations with it, too! How good does it feel to have someone ask about something you’re wearing (using, etc) and be able to reply “Thank you, I made it!”?

More fabric scrap craft ideas

If you haven’t already stopped by this boho fabric bracelet tutorial, check it out!

stash-busting boho fabric bracelet tutorial

And if you need even more fabric scrap ideas, be sure to stop by this list of 20+ fabric crafts!

stash busting fabric scrap craft ideas

Have you noticed these mini wood spools at the craft store? Have you used them for any other projects? I have plenty left over, so I need some more ideas!

Natasha of The Artisan Life-01

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Rose August 27, 2015, 16:13

    I just pulled this tutorial up again so that I could link it to one of my HubPages articles about wooden thread spool craft projects. 🙂 I still love it!

    Also, I meant to comment the first time around that I hear you about views on older versus newer tutorials. I generate well over 90% of my earnings on HubPages from articles that I wrote in 2011 and 2012. Many of them are solid, but many of the articles that I’ve written since are much better. It can take a long time to get traction going with online content, and while you wait, it’s tough to see older not as great content beating out newer better content.

    • Natashalh August 27, 2015, 18:08

      Thank you for the link!

      And thank you for sharing about your traffic. It is definitely kind of frustrating to see people visiting older, not as well written pieces over and over again while they ignore newer, “better” ones. I’m really glad to know I’m not alone. =)

  • Maria@SewTravelInspired May 26, 2015, 17:48

    I hate throwing away scraps. I might have to make one of these. I have pinned it just in case.

    • Natashalh May 26, 2015, 20:34

      Isn’t it the worst thing? I only throw away only the most frayed scraps and bits of selvedge. Thank you for pinning!

  • LeAnn May 23, 2015, 03:13

    What a cute project!! Goodness knows I have PILES of scraps, so I am always on the lookout for scrap happy projects.

    • Natashalh May 23, 2015, 09:27

      Isn’t it so hard to get rid of any scrap, no matter how small?

  • Cynthia May 22, 2015, 02:26

    What a cute bracelet and great tute! I love the idea of wrapping the spools. And your instructions are really clear

    • Natashalh May 22, 2015, 06:16

      Thank you! Trying to express how to do something in words can be very difficult.It’s definitely way harder than actually just making the item!

  • Rose May 21, 2015, 16:11

    I really love the little decorated spools! The bracelet is a great idea, but there are so many options for them.

    • Natashalh May 22, 2015, 06:17

      There really are a lot of choices! I’ve actually been thinking about earrings, but, of course, I’d have to come up with a new way to decorate them. =)

  • Judy Nolan May 21, 2015, 08:20

    Such a cute result! There are so many things you can do with spools. You could also change the orientation of the spools so that they run end-to-end, and do a bracelet or necklace that way. I would consider putting wooden spacer beads between them, or maybe bits of felt, which adds color and texture. Quite some years back, I made Christmas tree ornaments from spools–and that’s a subject all to itself!

    • Natashalh May 21, 2015, 09:23

      Yeah, I’ve seen the just straight threaded through necklaces and didn’t think they were that interesting. Adding some beads between would be fun! And I really like the felt suggestion.

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