Candy Corn Decorations from Thread Cones

Candy Corn Decorations from Thread Cones

In my neck of the woods (the Carolinas), relics of old industrial textile mills are common at vintage stores and thrift shops. So, it’s no surprise that I run across these types of thread cones at one secondhand store after another. I’ve already repurposed some for a Christmas project, but this time, I decided to upcycle a few into candy corn decorations.

thread cones

Can you believe how many this shop in Durham, NC had?? Yowza!

For the Christmas project that I mentioned earlier, I sought out thread cones in red and green…

Christmas craft project with serger thread cones

This time, however, I only wanted ones in white this time! I wanted to experiment with painting them to look like candy corn decorations for Halloween, and white thread made the most sense. 

cone thread holder

And I have a pretty good idea about how to transform them with candy corn colors!

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Repurposing the Thread Cones as Candy Corn Decorations

I eventually found a handful of thread cones in white or off white. They were in various states of “mess” with fly-away thread tails, thrift store tape, etc.

upcycling project for thread cones

Before I started transforming them into decorative candy corn, though, I needed to “clean up” my thread cones.

First, I removed (re: unraveled) dirty or discolored thread, glued down loose tails, and trimmed the thread, if necessary.

craft project for candy corn decorations

Once they were all ready to go, I gathered a few painting supplies, including my favorite stencil brushes, yellow craft paint, orange craft paint, and wide rubber bands.

I planned on using the rubber bands as a candy corn template. My theory was that they would act as a stencil and allow me to create clean-ish lines between the candy corn colors.

how to paint the thread cones

I started the decorative candy corn at the bottom of each thread cone using yellow craft paint.

First, I carefully stippled on the yellow paint with a stencil brush. Then, I used a small flat craft paint brush to touch paint up against the rubber band.

painting the candy corn colors

When the yellow paint had dried (I let it dry overnight), I gently moved the rubber band a hair lower so that just a teeny line of yellow was above it.

I wanted a teeny bit of overlap so that no white showed between the candy corn colors.

Finishing My Cute Candy Corn

Then, I added another rubber band at the top to mark off the white tip, and used a small binder clip to cinch it tight.

I painted in the orange segment just as I had done with the yellow- stippling with my stencil brush and then doing the rubber band edges with a small flat paint brush.

cute candy corn from thread cones

After the orange paint dried, I was done! The rubber bands worked like an absolute charm.

candy corn decorations for halloween

But I still had two remaining thread cones in my stash! So, I decided that a cute Halloween ghost (or two!) would be a great way to repurpose the remaining serger cones.

I gathered some vintage buttons and my favorite super glue to make some cute little ghosts.

making a cute halloween ghost

And just like that, the last two thread cones were darling little ghosts to work in with my candy corn decorations!

buttons as eyes on a cute halloween ghost

Candy Corn Decorations from Thread Cones

I ended up creating three candy corn decorations in various sizes! Aren’t they adorable for Halloween decorations?

candy corn decorations

And they are proof positive that you can easily paint the thread cones to create whatever kind of seasonal decor your heart desires.

In addition to the candy corn decorations, I also had adorable Halloween ghosts that are just as cute as can be.

cute halloween ghost

In the end, I left no thread cones behind. Each one had been put to good reuse as cute Halloween decor.

I just love how they turned out- my perfect little candy corn decorations and friendly ghosts for Halloween!

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for DIY Halloween decorations, then you will also love the makeover I gave to these plastic pumpkins!

Plastic pumpkins as primitive Halloween decor with rust effect paint

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. This is an amazing recycle Sarah… I could not love it more! Great project!!!

  2. Debra A Wise says

    These are so cute! I think I’ll hunt down some serger cones and try this!

  3. Patty Soriano says

    SO Cute ! I wonder why so many of these end up at the thrift shop with so much thread left on them ? But really great for crafters. Or crochet projects.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      The textile industry really faltered in the latter part of the 20th century and the mills just closed…leaving behind all these spools, yarn/thread and all. Over the years, they’ve found their way to antiques stores and thrifts, depending on who buys and/or finds the stuff in the old mills. So long as I keep finding them at local thrifts, I’ll keep repurposing them!

  4. Robyn Wright says

    Love it!

  5. Love these!

  6. This is just so cute, your creations are just mind blowing girl!

  7. Super cute idea, Sarah and such a creative use for serger thread spools!

  8. These are really neat! As a sewer, I have to admit I’m having a bit of a war in my brain about using a full thing of thread as a painted decoration – haha! I stumbled upon a whole bin of serger cones at a thrift store clean out, but I’ll be using them for my serger. Maybe I could repurpose the cones in a similar way…the cogs are turning! : )

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Haha, if it makes you feel any better, these thread cones are 50-60 years old and the “fuzzier” thread breaks pretty easily! This is a much better use. 🙂

  9. Hope Smitherman says

    You totally are making me wish I could find old spools of thread like this. What a fantastic idea! Thank you for sharing your bright ideas with us! 😀

  10. Love your candy corn recycling project. So clever! I love the way your mind works.

  11. I don’t know which is cuter the candy corn or ghost. Their both adorable! Clever idea using the rubber band to get a clean edge.

  12. Adorable and so easy to make!

  13. Another brilliant craft design!

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