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! Hanging it on the wall saves precious space in my sewing studio, and I love the way it looks with all of my thread arranged on it. The size is flexible, so it’s great for anyone who needs an easy way to store a lot of thread. I covered it with black lace, which kind of makes it look like my thread spools are being held up by magic. And now I’m going to show you how to make your own sewing thread rack!
Materials 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.
A pair of pliers that will cut and bend the wire.
A hammer a couple of nails to hang the finished thread rack on your wall.
I used spray paint and some upcycled lace to make the thread rack fit my décor a little better. I also used some rubber tips to cover the cut ends of the wire. But those items are optional.
Flatten the Piece of Wire
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 drop cloth to protect your floor or table.)
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.
Cut and Bend the Wire to Make the Thread Spool Holders
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!
If you like the industrial look, you could hang it on the wall just like it is. I chose to dress up my DIY thread rack a little bit with some paint and lace, so that it fit in with the rest of my gothic/steampunk/mermaid sewing room.
Decorate the Thread Rack
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, but 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. Then I cut across the top, to free the lace from the waistband.
The lace skirt piece just slid 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.
Hang the DIY Thread Rack on the Wall
I used four 2″ long roofing nails to hang my DIY thread rack, but most nails will work. Just make sure they’re long enough to sink into the stud, and have a big enough head to hold the thread rack. 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 walls sound 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 could also try using a strong magnet to find the drywall screws, or using 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, so I didn’t chip the paint. I sank two nails into two studs, equal distances from the floor. Then, I added another nail 6″ below each first nail. You can hang the thread rack from any of the horizontal wires. Adjust the hanging height by moving it up or down in 2″ increments.
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
Other Thread Storage Ideas
If you don’t have much wall space, you can modify the wire thread rack so that it sits upright on a table or counter. Bend the wire into a wave shape, or even a complete circle. Set the circular thread rack on a lazy susan, and you have a DIY thread carousel! Or, make several smaller thread racks, and connect them together with zip ties. Form a shape like a folding privacy screen so that they support each other.
I’ve seen people use these tree-of-life nail polish racks for their thread spools, and I think they look amazing! They are pretty enough to be a focal point in your sewing studio, and I’m thinking about getting one to store my craft paint bottles. (I can’t stab them on wires!)
Amazon also has several wooden thread racks, which may fit in better with your decor.
Now you know how to make your own sewing thread rack! And if you need a way to store your bobbins, check out my DIY Garden Hose Bobbin Holder!