Thread Bobbins from a Fabric Mill as Rustic Christmas Ornaments

Thread Bobbins from a Fabric Mill as Rustic Christmas Ornaments

Because Greenville, SC (where I live) was historically a town filled with fabric mills, the relics of those old mills are found in every vintage shop around. And repurposing those relics is a favorite pastime- including these wooden bobbins or thread bobbins. Because they were on the smaller side, I had an idea to turn them into icicle ornaments!

Thread bobbins or wooden bobbins from a fabric mill to be upcycled into icicle ornaments

All I needed to do was give them a paint job and figure out a way to hang them from my Christmas tree. And I had just the thing to use as ornament tops!

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

Upcycling the Thread Bobbins into DIY Ornaments

First, I painted the wooden bobbins with an “undercolor”- I chose shimmery gold and silverWhy an “undercolor”? Because I planned on distressing these so that two colors would show through!

Silver and gold paint for wood on the wooden bobbins that will become the rustic Christmas ornaments

Next, I rubbed plain ole’ paraffin wax over the thread bobbins. The wax will help during the distressing process by allowing the top coat of paint to be rubbed or sanded off.

Wax on the wooden spindles between coats of paint for easy distressing the rustic Christmas ornaments

After I rubbed on the wax, I painted the wooden bobbins again in a brighter “overcolor”. For this step, I chose a chalk paint red and turquoise blue.

I absolutely love the color combo of a bright poppy red and an aqua or turquoise at Christmas time!

Americana Decor chalky finish paint for wooden bobbins from the fabric mill as DIY ornaments

Once my unique Christmas ornaments dried, I rubbed off some of the red and blue chalk paint. This revealed the flashy metallic paint underneath, which was exactly what I had wanted to happen!

Icicle ornaments by upcycling the wooden bobbins or thread bobbins from a fabric mill with chalk paint

After that, I buffed finishing wax over the thread bobbins as a top coat to protect the painted finish.

Last but not least, it was time to “cap off” my icicle ornaments. And to do so, I used ornament caps from vintage Christmas ornaments that had gotten broken!

Ornament caps from broken ornaments that have been salvaged to add to wooden spindles with super glue

And if you don’t have any broken ornaments, grab a box of cheap ornaments from the thrift store and use the ornament caps from those!

To attach the ornament caps to the thread spindles, I added some super glue in the top hole and pinched the ornament caps in the holes. Finally, I propped up the wooden bobbins in antique bottles so they could dry right-side-up.

Propping up the thread bobbins with ornament caps from broken glass Christmas ornaments as the glue dries

Rustic Christmas Ornaments from Thread Bobbins

Once everything dried, I had three icicle ornaments from my the thread bobbins. I just LOVE how they turned out!

Clear topcoat on icicle ornaments to protect the chalk paint finish for rustic Christmas decor

They look even better hanging on the tree, don’t they?

Repurposing the wooden spindles or wooden bobbins into DIY ornaments with chalk paint and ornament caps

I’ve had fun turning these wooden bobbins into DIY Christmas ornaments. But other small wooden spindles or even finials would work as well. In fact, there are probably endless possibilities for creating rustic Christmas ornaments from upcycled, unexpected vintage elements like these!

And if you enjoyed this upcycling idea using thread spindles as Christmas ornaments, then you’ll love these tabletop trees that I made from serger thread cones!

Cone Christmas trees and tabletop trees by upcycling the serger thread or thread cone as a Christmas project

Craft on!


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  1. charmingimperfect says

    Sarah, these are adorable! I love chalk paint, although, I’ve never used it crafting. 🙂 Found you on the Your Turn to Shine link up.

  2. what a cool idea! The local scrap exchange has some of these and similar, I wondered what they were for!

  3. I love these cute vintage spindle ornaments!! My grandma has a few ornaments from when she was a little girl and these kind of remind me of them. Thanks for sharing at Your Turn To Shine!!

  4. What a clever idea. I have a couple of these smaller ones so maybe they too will become ornaments.
    thanks for the idea,

  5. This is such a great idea! Thanks for linking up to the Home Matters Linky.

  6. Oh my goodness, how adorable! I love them!


  7. Hopping over from Prodigal Pieces…LOVE these ornaments! Be blessed!

  8. These are great ornaments!

  9. That is an awesome idea! How great they were featured in a magazine too! I’d love to find some vintage spindles. I love chalk paint. There is still time to enter to win a whole selection of paints & stencil supplies on the blog! Pop by if you want. Thanks for sharing your project! & hope to see you again soon. Theresa @DearCreatives

  10. distresseddonna says

    Congratulations for being published. Since I live just down the road a piece, I find tons of the spindles. This is a lovely idea – of course I love the distressing! Thanks for sharing it at Make It Monday.

  11. Stinkin’ perfect repurpose, Sarah! I love them and am featuring your spindles tonight at the “What’s YOUR Prodigal Piece?” link party. :o)

  12. Love this!

  13. Norma Miller says

    Where can I get the spindles and the things you put in the center for hanging or I guess we could just drill a hole in the top to hang would make good gifts for next year great idea


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