ArtSpark Winter Tutorial - Whimsical Spool Garland & Giveaway!!

Happy Holiday Season from ArtSpark, with another nifty tutorial. Read to the end where you can find out about a superb GIVEAWAY to enhance your winter merriment.

More and more uses for wooden thread spools - that's my motto. I've been playing around with turning them into a kind of bead and using them as pendants, card holders, ornaments and tumbled together in a bowl. This holiday version adds a whimsical homespun sparkle touch to your seasonal tree or window treatment.

Collect the following elements to create this project:

--old wooden spools
--enough fiber to wrap around the spool a number of times
--craft glue
--assorted beads
--beading thread/filament and beading needle
--2 yds silver or white glitter tulle

The first step is to create the spool ornaments.

Gather ye some old wooden spools. These can often be found at antiques malls, from stray grandmothers or on Ebay. If they have incised or stamped writing on the top, they're super. If they have missing or ripped paper tops, you may want to spiff them up with a little text or scrapbook paper collage before you begin.

Select a festive fiber or a seasonal ribbon. Hold it against the spool and wrap it around and around until the body of your spool is no longer visible. Don't make it too fat, but make sure the spool is nicely covered. If you'd like, you might use more than one fiber or ribbon, depending on how much color and variety you like. 

When you reach the end, add a dab of craft glue or fabric glue to keep the end of the fiber or ribbon from wandering about. Press it down and hold it until it's adhered.

Rustle up a selection of beads. I keep a container of mixed WILD beads of every shape, color and size. Whenever I have a beading project, I put any leftovers I've spilled out into this container. Certainly you may use just one or two colors to match--it's up to you. Your spool beads can be as crazy or tame as you'd like.

While you're at it, throw in some sequins...buttons and etc.

Begin beading your spool by threading beading filament or silamide into a beading needle. A beading needle is super fine so it can go through the little seed beads. You'll be happier if you use filament meant for beading, instead of regular thread. It's stronger and more invisible.  Knot the filament, draw it through the fibers and loop it back through to knot it to them.

Bead randomly around the spool, adding beads of various sizes as you go. Every few beads, knot your filament again. Try stacking some sequins with beads.

As you bead, you may find that the fibers shrink and don't cover well enough. It's okay to go ahead and wrap some additional fun fibers around the spool and continue beading over them.

Once you've encrusted your spool with beads, you're done! Now, let's move on to garlanding.

Make enough spools to create a garland to your specifications. You'll be able to space them out however it pleases you. Figure about 8 spools for a six foot garland, or more if you want to get crazy.

Cut a strip of tulle about 8" wide and the full length of the 2 yards. I cut off the selvedge first because I wanted a more ethereal look. Love the glitter tulle--but any tulle will do.

Use a skewer to push the end of the tulle strip through the first spool, then pull it through. Continue this, sliding each spool down as you go and adjusting them as close as you'd like and spacing them evenly along the length of tulle. 

If you'd like to create a longer garland, wrap the end of one length of tulle around the end of another 6 foot strip and pull one of the spools over the joined strips and that will hold it nicely in place. Continue adding 
spools from the other end.

Hang your garland over the window, on the mantle or dress your tree. When the holidays are over, simply pull the spool beads off and find another way to display them!

Now, on to the giveaway! My lovely friends over at Art Camp for Women have decided this is a great time to offer up some enticing goodies. To be eligible for a prize package of goodies which includes 2 scrumptious paper packs, a Somerset magazine, a leather bound journal and a copy of my Quilting Arts Workshop dvd "Stitch Imagery: from Photo to Fabric Fun", simply pop over to the ACFW site and sign up for the newsletter. Never any spam, just inspiration like journal prompts, news from camp and encouragement. One lucky winner will take this goodie pack at the end of November. I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching at camp next fall--so save your pennies if you think you might enjoy CREATING together in the beautiful mountains!


  1. Oh so delicious! I do believe I'll be pulling out my cart'o yarn when I return home :)

  2. those are so cute! i can see a garland already in the making...thank you!

  3. I love your beaded spools. They are really cool and putting them on a garland is a great idea for Christmas. I would love to win the goodie pack and to go to this camp. Maybe when my kids are older. Thanks for telling us about the give-away.

  4. These are so stinkin CUTE!! ----

  5. I love these sparky little things.. want them all over my house!

  6. Im lovin these colors!

  7. As usual, wonderfully juicy and delicious!! Thanks, Kelli!

  8. oh these are the coolest things I've seen yet! i'm so excited to find the wooden spools, but will definitely stop throwing all my plastic spools away (one can only keep so many for stamping, etc!) Thank you for beautiful pics and steps!

  9. Kelli! Thank you! I have piles of spools and the garland would be so much fun on my tree. I also have some spindles from Pendelton wool mills and they would look fantastic Kellified. Thanks so much!!!

  10. I love what you've done with these spools! I'll have to keep a lookout for some!
    I've signed up for the ACFW newsletter
    Thank you!

  11. Love this Idea Kelli!! I am going to make some room in my schedule to do this Project!!!!

  12. colour, sparkle, texture - perfection!

  13. Love this! Easily adapted to plastic spools, too.

  14. Kelly this looks so fun! I will have a house full of kids this weekend and think we should make decos! Thanks for posting the Art Camp give away - can't wait for camp with you! Lori W at Art Camp for Women

  15. Love love love the wooden spool garland! Vintage sewing things are a fav or mine!

  16. Fantastic!!! Love them....

  17. Mary Dean11/17/2011

    Love them! Very fun!

  18. What a Fabulous project to use my wooden spools that I've been collecting!

    I popped over to the ACFW, wonderful site....looking forward to some more inspiration!


  19. Well, I usually am all over giveaways, and this one sounds fine, but...I am in love with these Christmas spools! I just won 23 wooden spools on eBay. Some of them are green! I can't wait for them to arrive at my home so I can make these loverly Christmas spools. Should the garland go on the mantle or the tree? Ah well, that's part of the fun. Thank you very much for this tutorial. Happy Thanksgiving! Joanie

  20. Great tutorial. Love the photos.

  21. Love this tutorial- and love my download of stitch imagery- what fantastic fun!

  22. Your spool garland is wunderful!

  23. Love these, thanks for the tutorial! I'm going to make some tomorrow.

  24. Oh, this garland is genius!! I love how it looks. I must make one for Easter.

  25. Delightful! And they'd make a really lovely necklace too

  26. I LOVE this idea - a chance for all of those old wooden spools to come out of the drawer and shine! I'm working on the Art Camp for Women website this afternoon and all I want to do now is make beaded spools! You amaze me Kelli - can't wait to see you again at Art Camp in October 2012!

  27. This is so gorgeous that I had to make it with my husband and kids the same day I first saw it. It was an awesome family activity (with some modifications) and we LOVE having our beautiful garlands around the house.

    Thanks so much for the inspiration. I blogged about it if you're interested: http://madebynicole.blogspot.com/2011/12/spool-and-tulle-garland.html

  28. I'm kinda late to the party. Just found this tute and am amazed at it. I am just wondering if you couldn't make necklaces, too....? Why not?
    Thanks for sharing your talent and your time.