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.
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?
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!)
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.
A couple quick swipes on each side is all it took, and now I’m not as worried about my bracelet breaking!
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.
5. Get your paper towel handy then lay a bead of glue down the inside of one 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. =)
6. Keep making beads until you have as many as you need! This shouldn’t take long if you’re only making one bracelet.
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!
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.
Begin by inserting one piece of cord through your first spool.
Then bring the other piece of cord the opposite direction through the spool.
Slide the spool down to the taped end of cord.
12. Repeat this process with the next spool.
And the next, etc.
Until all your spools are 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!
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!
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!
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!
And if you need even more fabric scrap ideas, be sure to stop by this list of 20+ fabric crafts!
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!