Once upon a time, I had nowhere to store my thread. So I came up with this easy DIY thread rack to hang on the wall above my sewing machines! I love the way it looks with all of my thread arranged on it, and the black lace kind of makes it look as if my thread is being held up by magic. If you also need a thread storage solution, this tutorial will show you how to make your own. It’s great for anyone who needs an easy way to store a lot of thread.
You will need a piece of welded wire. The wire in the link is the size that I used, and it holds 203 spools of thread! But you can request a different size if you need more or less storage for your thread. You can also use the panels from wire storage cubes like this.
You need a pair of pliers that will cut and bend the wire.
You also need to hammer a couple of nails to hang the finished thread rack on your wall.
I used some spray paint and an upcycled piece of lace from a thrift store skirt to make the thread rack fit my décor a little better, and some rubber tips to cover the cut ends of the wire. But those items are optional.
Lay the wire out on a flat surface. I’m using the back deck, so I don’t scratch the floor in the house. You could also put down a sheet or drop cloth to protect your floor/table if you want to do this part indoors.
Notice how the wire has a bend in it? It curves upwards because it was shipped and stored on a large roll. Bend the curve backwards, pulling it up where it curves down too far. You can see in the pictures that I’ve gotten it pretty flat now.
What actually holds the thread spools are wire prongs that are made by cutting and bending some of the wires. Cut the top of a 2″ wire free, and then grab the cut wire near the bottom with the pliers. Tilt the pliers back towards you to bend the wire. Continue cutting and bending every other wire in the row. I staggered the next row, so that I was clipping one inch over from my last cuts, instead of cutting the wires directly below the last cuts. You can see exactly what I mean in the pictures.
You can’t cut every wire in the row, because then there won’t be anything to hold the thread rack together!
You could hang it on the wall just like it is, if you like the industrial look. I chose to dress it up a little bit so that it fit in with the rest of my gothic/steampunk/mermaid sewing room.
If you’re going to paint it, it’s a good idea to use rubbing alcohol or acetone (nail polish remover) to clean the wire before you do, because it will have some oil on it from the manufacturing process. You could probably also wash it with dish soap. I used acetone. Then I hung it from a tree, and spray painted it black.
You can add some rubbery caps to the cut end of the wires if you want to. I found these online, or you might be able to find some in the wire shelving section of the hardware store. If you don’t want to worry about getting the correct size of caps, you could also try covering the tips by using a wire coating like this, or small pieces of heat-shrink tubing, or maybe even dimensional fabric paint.
I was going to buy this beautiful black paisley lace to put over the thread rack, but I stumbled across this skirt at Goodwill that I thought would work instead. It was black lace over a solid lining, and fortunately, it was just wide enough. I cut up one side of the lace, cutting it free from the zipper as I went, and then cut across the top to free the lace from the waistband.
I took the lace skirt piece, and slid it over the wire prongs. I didn’t have to cut any holes in the lace, because the wires fit through the openings in the netting. It took a few minutes to get all of the wires poked through the lace, and it was kind of fiddly getting it even, but I think it looks really cute now.
I used four 2″ long roofing nails to hang my thread rack, but really any nail will work if it’s long enough to sink into the stud, and has a big enough head that the thread rack won’t pop off. I cleaned the nails with acetone, and spray painted them black so they would match the painted wire. Here’s a painting trick that I utilize whenever I want to paint nails, screws, tacks, etc: I stabbed the nails into a pizza box to hold them upright, and painted them all at once. It reduces paint wasted by overspray, keeps paint off your hands, and holds the nails still.
Next, I found studs in my sewing room wall by knocking on the wall with my knuckles. It’s crazy easy to hear where the studs are in my house: the wall sounds hollow in most places, but if you knock on the wall over a stud, it sounds like a solid thump. Your walls might be different. You can try using a rare earth magnet to find the drywall screws, or you can use an electronic stud finder that you can get at any hardware store.
I put a folded scrap of fabric on top of each nail before I hammered it, because I didn’t want to chip my paint job. I sank two nails into two studs, equal distances from the floor, and added another nail 6″ below each first nail. You can adjust the hanging height of the thread rack very easily, because you can hang it from any of the upper horizontal wires. So put the upper nails about 6″ below where you want the top of the thread rack to be, and you can still move it up or down in 2″ increments with no problem.
I love how it looks hanging on the wall with all of my thread arranged on it! Don’t you think I need some more blue thread? lol
I’ve also seen people use these tree-of-life nail polish racks (like in the picture above) for their thread spools, and I think they look amazing! I’m thinking about getting one to use for my fabric paint and acrylic paint bottles.
Pin this idea for later, or make your own today! And if you need a way to store your bobbins, check out my DIY Garden Hose Bobbin Holder!