Custom Thread Rack

You never realize how much thread you’ll accumulate when you jump into the wonderful world of embroidery, until your thread basket is overflowing and you can never find the color you’re looking for.  After several months of digging through an overfilled and overflowing basket of thread, I’d had enough!!!  I needed a solution and a way to better organize what I had so that I could easily and quickly find the color I wanted and get stitching!

Several months prior, I remembered seeing on Pinterest a thread rack that I really liked, however it was intended for use with the much smaller sewing thread spools.  I decided to show the picture to my dad (who has a wood shop) and between the two of us, we sketched out some plans for a rack that would fit my needs!  I headed home to the mountains for a weekend to spend some quality time with my mom and dad in his wood shop and we got started!

We sketched out ROUGH plans to get an idea of what I wanted and the cuts we needed to make.

We sketched out ROUGH plans to get an idea of what I wanted and the cuts we needed to make.

Please note, my dad uses rough sawn lumber and does the finishing in his shop, so the wood I’m using might look a little funny at times! But all of my final measurements for your cuts have been adjusted so that they can easily be applied to lumber you pick up at your local home improvement store!!

What you will need to complete this project:

Wood: 5 – 1x6x8

1/4″ Plywood (at least a 41″x33″ piece, typically comes in a 4’x8′)

Wood Glue

Finishing Nails

Sandpaper (120 and 220 grit)

Wood Staples

Wood sealant and finish

Router Saw

Table Saw

CUTS:

1x6x8:

2 – 41″x 2 1/2″

2 – 31″ x 2 1/2″

7 – 39″ x 2 1/2″

1/4″ Plywood:

41″ x 33″

We started by building the outer frame for the thread rack (2 – 41″x2 1/2″ and 2 – 31″x2 1/2″).  Once we had made all our cuts we laid out the pieces to ensure it was square.  Next we sanded it smooth using first 120 and then 220 grit sandpaper.  We applied wood glue and then clamped it before securing it with finishing nails.

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Once everything was cut, we laid it out to ensure it was square before gluing and nailing.

Once everything was cut, we laid it out to ensure it was square before gluing and nailing.

Just before nailing, we sanded it down to smooth out the surface from the rough saw cuts.

Just before nailing, we sanded it down to smooth out the surface from the rough saw cuts.

We applied glue.

Before nailing, wood glue was applied.

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We used clamps to ensure a snug fit when nailing.

We used clamps to ensure a snug fit when nailing.

And then we finished up with an air gun to secure with nails.

And then we finished up with an air gun to secure with nails. (See that great looking bearded man in the background?!?  That’s my dad!  He’s pretty spectacular!)

Next we cut a backing (41″x33″) from 1/4″ finishing plywood (we’re using a brand called RevolutionPly).  We went over this quickly with a sander (220 grit) this time to ensure any scuffs were removed.  After checking the fit, we used wood glue and staples to secure it to the back of the thread rack.

Next up, we cut some finishing plywood on the table saw to use as backing on thread rack.

Next up, we cut some finishing plywood on the table saw to use as backing on thread rack.

More sanding to ensure a nice smooth finish.

More sanding to ensure a nice smooth finish.

We applied wood glue before laying down the backing.

We applied wood glue before laying down the backing.

And Finally, we finished up with some staples.

And Finally, we finished up with some staples.

To make the shelves we cut down seven 39″x2.5″ boards.  We were originally going to cut and apply pieced of the finishing plywood to create a lip to secure the spools, but after tossing around several ideas my dad decided to finish them by routering in an 1/8″ lip. We finished the shelves by sanding them smooth using first 120 and then 220 grit sandpaper.

PLEASE NOTE: This step can be very dangerous.  Unless you feel very confident with your table saw skills, I highly recommend forgoing the lip, or creating the lip with the backing nailed to the front.  While I did most of the cutting for this project and feel pretty confident around the different saws in my dad’s shop, this was one cut that I stepped back on and let my dad (who is much more skilled with these tools) complete.  Had I been completing this project by myself, I would have elected to cut strips of the backing and nailed them to the front of each shelf.

After using the router saw and table saw to cut the shelves, my dad used the table saw to router out the shelves to give them a nice lip.  (Please note: this part is pretty dangerous, and should only be attempted by someone very skilled with a table saw).

After using the router saw and table saw to cut the shelves, my dad used the table saw to router out the shelves to give them a nice lip. (PLEASE NOTE: this part is pretty dangerous, and should only be attempted by someone very skilled with a table saw).

The routered edge on my shelf.

The routered edge on my shelf.

Once all the shelves were cut, we laid everything out to make sure it fit properly.

Once all the shelves were cut and sanded, we laid everything out to make sure it fit properly.

Afer the frame was put together and the shelves were cut, we applied both a sealant and a finish.  The sealant only takes a short time to dry, so after approximately an hour we were ready to spray our finish.  As you see, my dad also did this step and is using a spray gun, however, if you don’t have a spray gun system, you can either buy aerosol cans of the sealant and finish, or you can brush it on.

Before securing the shelves, my dad went ahead and applied a sealant and the finish to the thread rack.

Before securing the shelves, my dad went ahead and applied a sealant and the finish to the thread rack.

We stapled each of the shelves to a leftover scrap of the backing board so that they could easily be finished on all sides in one step.

We stapled each of the shelves to a leftover scrap of the backing board so that they could easily be finished on all sides in one step.

The next morning after everything had plenty of time to dry, we cut some spacers out of the left over backing plywood and used those to ensure the shelves were both level, and properly spaced.   We applied wood glue to each end of the shelves, slid them in place and finished with finishing nails on both sides.  We also added additional staples to the back for each shelf (similar to how we stapled the edges).  To finish, we removed any remaining wood glue that oozed out as we slid the shelves in place, and then we were done!

Once everything was dry, we used the last of the backing scraps to cut spacers for the shelves.

Once everything was dry, we used the last of the backing scraps to cut spacers for the shelves.

These were handy to ensure the shelves were not only straight, but that they also didn't move as we finished gluing and nailing them in place!

These were handy to ensure the shelves were not only straight, but that they also didn’t move as we finished gluing and nailing them in place!

Once your shelves are nailed in place you can remove the spacers and that's it!  You're ready to hang it up!

Once your shelves are nailed in place you can remove the spacers and that’s it! You’re ready to hang it up!

I had so much fun working with my mom and dad on this project!  I may be partial, but I truly believe my dad is a GENIUS!!!  I was able to explain what I was wanting, and he helped me figure out the best way to make it happen!  He is retired now, and builds log furniture as a craft (I definitely get my crafty side and work ethic from him), and you can find examples of his work here and here!

I was so excited to get it home, and as soon as I walked in the door I put the MR straight to work hanging it on my wall!!!

I could not wait to hang it!!!

I could not wait to hang it!!!

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I decided to use the bottom row of my rack for my sewing thread and added some small nails so that I could hang the corresponding bobbin thread just in front of the large spool.

I love having all my thread organized and easy to get to now!!  No more searching through a messy pile of spools or using the wrong color for a project because I couldn’t find the right one I was looking for!  Not to mention, I think the thread looks so pretty lined up in nice little rows!!

Are there any supplies or tools in your craft space that you are having trouble organizing?

Or have you found good ways to get everything in order?

If so, I’d love to hear about your problems and or solutions in the comments!!

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6 thoughts on “Custom Thread Rack

    • Thanks!!! It defintely adds more work getting it to a finished workable finish, but its great!!! Hope your son makes it for you!!! If he does, be sure to find me on Facebook (www.fb.com/thefivetoniner) and post a picture!!! I love seeing everyones work!!!

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