DIY Yarn Swift!

Today I’ve got another DIY for you – how to make your own yarn swift from things you can pick up at Goodwill!

DIY Yarn Swift with green yarn on it

I’ve needed a swift for a long time, but it never seems to make it to the top of the supply list, so I thought for quite a while about how I could just make one with stuff I had on hand or could pick up used. My first idea was an upside down umbrella, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make the yarn stay where I wanted. My next thought was an expandable wine rack, which is actually what I went to find at Goodwill, but they didn’t have one, so I ended up with the coat rack instead, and I think it actually worked better. If you’d like to make one, please read on!

To make this project, you will need:

1 Expandable Coat Rack,

4 Large Pegs (I used these Shaker Pegs that we found at Home Depot, but any pegs that are about 3 inches or longer will work)

1 Lazy Susan (Mine is a 15 inch from Ikea. I wouldn’t go any larger than that but smaller would be fine.)

6 screws (The thickness will depend on how thick your shoe rack and Lazy Susan are; you will be screwing two of them into both pieces to hold them together, so you’ll want the screws to be long enough to get through both. Mine were about two inches.)

A drill (While this project could be done with just a screwdriver, it would take a lot of arm power and time. I don’t recommend it!)

I found my pieces in my own hoard of junk, and Goodwill. You could certainly buy each piece new, but I’m not sure it would save you a significant amount. My swift ended up costing about $14, as I already had a Lazy Susan, the drill, and the screws. I bought a coat rack (that was originally $30 at World Market) for $8 at Goodwill, and the pegs were about $6 new at Home Depot.

So, on to making your swift! Start with your coat rack and pegs.

Expandable shoe rack and four wooden pegs (start of DIY yarn swift)

You’re going to be replacing the short peg on each corner with a longer one. Take your drill and make a pilot hole in each peg, like so:

Putting a pilot hole in a wooden peg

Then, take the short pegs off of the corners and replace them with long pegs:

Shoe rack with two pegs replaced with longer ones (part of a DIY yarn swift)

You may be able to reuse the screws that you already took out, but in my case, the short pegs were held on with flat ended screws (rather than the more usual pointed end), so I had to use different ones. Now, see that lone short peg on the very end of the coat rack up there? Go ahead and just turn it around – it might catch the yarn when you’re winding. There’s no need to cut anything or get fancy with it (unless you want to), so just switch the peg to the back. When you’re done, it should look like this on the back:

Back of shoe rack (part of DIY yarn swift)And like this on the front:

Shoe rack with 4 long wooden pegs (part of a DIY yarn swift)

You’re halfway there! Now take your coat rack and center it on top of the Lazy Susan; it doesn’t have to be exact, so I just eyeballed mine, but you could measure if you’d like.

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

Then clamp it down so there’s no sliding around while you’re trying to drill.

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

Take your drill and put two more pilot holes on the bottom middle rungs, where the pink arrows are pointing in the above picture. You want to put them as far from the very middle as you can, so that you don’t drill into the base. Then drill your screw into each hole; if you find that the pointy end reaches down far enough to touch whatever surface you’ve got your swift on, it’s too long! You want it to go through the coat rack and the Lazy Susan with only a little of the pointy end poking through on the bottom. It should look like this when you’re done:

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

And you’re finished! The coat rack part of your swift should still contract in and out, so it should be able to accommodate most skeins of yarn. I tried it out with some Hawthorne Fingering from Knit Picks, and it looked great!

DIY yarn swift made from an expandable shoe rack and a lazy susan

I don’t have a ball winder either, so I use an old medicine bottle, and to show you how to do it, we made a video! It’s my first one, and we accidentally filmed in portrait (not knowing that all editing software turns it into landscape – oops!), but I think it’s got some good info and will teach you how to wind yarn, starting from the very beginning; most of you knitting veterans won’t need it, but I thought it would be a good brush up, or a place to start for newbies!

I hope this helps at least a few of you, and if you end up making one, I’d love to see it on Instagram or Facebook!

Wine Cork Bulletin Board

A while ago my friend Destiny gave me a bunch of wine corks, which she had been saving but didn’t have a reason to keep. I looked around for things to make from them, and we both really liked the idea of a bulletin board. You’ll see about a thousand of these if you type it into Pinterest; I didn’t use any particular tutorial as it’s easy enough to wing on your own, but if decide to do this and you want some concrete steps, that’s where I’d look!

I started out with some thrifted frames (there are two of them because I’m making another one for a different friend of ours, but ran out of corks, so you’ll only see one!), and some paint.

Thrift store picture frames before being painted

Now, I’m going to recommend that if you do this step, you spray paint it. I used regular craft paint and a paint brush, and while they turned out okay in the end, it was a lot more work than I’d been intending and took forever to dry. They also turned out a bit brighter than I wanted, but I think it still works.

Thrift store picture frames after being painted, one red, one yellow

Now, on to the corks! I knew starting out that I wanted to cut the them in half lengthwise, but it turns out that’s a lot more difficult to do than I had assumed. After some false starts and a round of Googling, I decided to steam them to soften them up, so I filled a pot with a few inches of boiling water and set a strainer on top, with the lid over it (the lid is off for the purposes of the picture, but you’ll need it, trust me).

Wine corks being steamed

I found that about 5 minutes was long enough to soften them; you should be able to cut them with a regular old kitchen knife at this point. Be careful, though! They’ll be slippery after this step and you’ll want to watch where your fingers are in relation to the knife. This pile was just enough for one cork board.

Wine corks cut in half

You’ll also want to try to weed out the corks that are too short or too tall, since they’ll make spacing more difficult. You can use the discarded ones to fill in any gaps at the end.

After all the corks were cut, I glued the back of the picture frame back on the front, arranged the corks in a pattern I liked, and glued them down with my hot glue gun. I’d advise arranging the pattern before you glue anything down, both for the sake of spacing and making sure you have enough corks. My pattern was really simple – I tried a bunch of fancier ones but they didn’t fit as well, so I ended up just doing single lines all the way across. They didn’t quite fit with whole corks all the way across, so I filled those gaps in with ones I’d cut in half (they should be very easy to cut with scissors after they’ve already been cut lengthwise). I think it turned out pretty well!

Finished wine cork bulletin board, frame painted yellow

I tried to make sure all the corks were facing the same direction, because it bothers me otherwise, but it doesn’t particularly matter. It will be seen from a distance most of the time, and hopefully will have things pinned to it anyway. I would watch the amount of glue you squeeze out though – too much and you’ll have a bunch of visible spots between the corks. This one will be going to it’s new home this weekend, but I think I might just have to make another one for me!

Close up of wine cork bulletin board, frame painted yellow

Side Table Update

We have a very small living room. Like, can’t comfortably fit a couch small (we’ve tried). Our house is old, and the space we’re using for a living room was meant to be a sort of parlor, as far as we can tell. In any case, we decided a while ago to just have two chairs with a table in between, and I’ve been searching for the perfect side table since. Turns out, tables are crazy expensive, and none of them were exactly what I was looking for, so I decided I’d just have to redo an existing one. You can see where this is going, right? Off to Goodwill, where we found this lovely Ethan Allen table for $10:

Hexagon shaped side table from thrift store, before painting

It was pretty dirty and kind of beat up, and those pulls are just icky, but I had plans! I shanghaied my lovely husband into taking off the handles and the hinges holding on the doors, and then got to painting.

Thrift store side table being painted blue

I used Rustoleum 2x spray paint in color Satin Lagoon. It has the primer and paint all in one, so no sanding or separate primer required. This picture is after the first coat, so you can see it provides pretty good cover right off, but I did three coats just to be sure everything was even and bright. I would definitely recommend waiting 24 hours between each coat; I only waited a few hours in between and while it mostly turned out okay, I had some crackling on the back. It was easy enough to fix by sanding it down and repainting, but it was a pain. I also sprayed a layer of clear acrylic on top to protect the paint…it probably would have been totally fine without it, but I wanted something between the paint and all the things that could ruin it!

We couldn’t just stick those old handles back on my beautiful new paint job, so I found some adorable brass owls (at World Market) to use instead.

Brass door pull shaped like an owl

Our house has closets in the living room that have brass pulls with different animals on them, so I was pretty thrilled to find some that matched the style almost exactly (this is the little bee; there’s also a turtle, a dragonfly, and a frog).

Brass door pull shaped like a bee

We had to put wood putty in the holes for the old handles and drill new holes for the owls, but after painting you can barely tell.

Close up of brass door pulls shaped like an owl

It turned out the perfect color (we have a large painting on the wall that is my loose inspiration for decorating), and fits in great with our chairs!

Side table painted blue with Rustoleum paint

I love that it has some storage in the bottom, as my crafting supplies inevitably make their way out to the living room, and this way I can hide them and pretend I’m not a total mess.

Side table painted blue with Rustoleum paint, side view

It’s just the right size to hold drinks, my bowls of yet more supplies, and whatever else ends up on it. I’m quite happy with it, especially since all the supplies, including the table itself, ended up being less than $30!

Before and after of repainted thrift store side table

Now, on to fixing that chair…