craftastic

SEWING CADDY
or, how to justify the purchase of a 7-piece power tool set.

I’ve been looking for a sewing caddy-type thing to hold my ever-growing collection of spools of thread, but was running into problems because I wanted the dowel-bits long enough to hold both the thread AND the corresponding bobbin. Also, there seemed to be a lot of wasted space in a lot of the ones I saw, because my threads are mostly thin Guterman spools. Also, I am fussy. And don’t really like plastic. So I was telling this to Mr. T, as we were walking through a Bunnings, and within 10 minutes he had cleverly managed to convince me he could make one … IF he purchased a 7-piece power tool set he just happened to have his eye on. Read on.

So, you will need:

- A craft cutlery tray, bought at (in my case) Bunnings. You could also use a normal tray, and I imagine the lower sides would mean you could see more of your threads. But I wanted the cutlery style one with the handle, because I am picky.

- Screws. (Heh.) I bought a packet of 50 plasterboard screws, because they were long enough and also thin enough to fit the thread & bobbin. (Keep in mind I was doing all of this blind in Bunnings, because (of course) I hadn’t bought along a sample spool or a bobbin. Note to you: take a spool of thread and a bobbin with you when choosing your screws, to make sure the screws are thin enough and long enough.) The ones I chose were brass coated, so they had a nice shiny patina to them. You could use nails or pieces of dowel or thick wire; I just liked the screws. Did I take a photo of the screws? No I did not. They were about $12 for a packet of 50 screws.

- 7-piece power tool set. I am assured this is not optional, but I have my doubts.

OK, mark out (inside your tray) the places you want screws placed. You will need to measure your tray and figure out how many screws will fit. Make your screws at least 2cm away from the sides (so you can reach in and pick up the thread) and 4-5cm apart from each other. My tray had two compartments, each 10cm wide by 34cm long. I wanted three rows of screws. Conveniently, I had a metal ruler 3cm wide, so I marked lines 3cm in from either side of my tray, then a middle line equidistant between these two. I then measured in 2cm from the short sides to mark my first screwhole, then 5cm between each screw along the line from there. Due to the length of my tray, this gave me 7 screwholes centred nicely in the tray. For the middle line of screws, I marked in 7cm from the edge, then 5cm between each screwhole. This gives one less screwhole in the middle row, and these screwholes are offset to the holes on either side. (I feel like I’m writing porn over here. If you need to take a little break and compose yourself, feel free.) Also, if I have completely confused you (which I feel is likely, what with the disturbing talk of screwholes) I have mapped out a diagram which may make it clearer: click here to see it in a new window.

Using The Drill from the 7-piece power tool set, drill the holes. Despite this photo, the holes were not drilled straight into brick – we used a piece of polystyrene packing to support the tray while drilling. You know what makes an awful squealing noise? Drilling through polystyrene.

Then, using The Sander from the 7-piece power tool set, sand the tray. Don’t ask if this could have possibly be done without the purchase of 7 power tools, say with some sandpaper and a block, because you will receive a Withering Look combined with a Raised Eyebrow, along with the suggestion that perhaps you could do this part yourself. Instead, back away quickly.

Stain or paint your tray. We used Dark Mahogany stain, left over from a previous project. You can do whatever your heart desires, of course. Let the stain dry, then stain again if required (or if you notice there are a couple of corners not quite stained, shut up, it can happen to anyone.) Let the stain dry. (I stress this, because I can never resist the urge to continue on with the project even though it is OBVIOUS I should just LEAVE IT ALONE. I’m sure you’re far less impulsive, or at least have better impulse control.)

To curb your horrible impatience while the tray is drying, use The Grinder from the 7-piece power tool set, grind the tips off the screws to make them blunt. This part is, of course, entirely optional, unless you are like me and could see in graphic detail the possibility of tripping over the cat and plummeting eyeball first towards the sharp row of screws sticking up from your Caddy of Death on the floor. (Just me? …alrighty then.) Hold the screw with a pair of pliers, grind the end off (takes about 2 seconds), then when it cools down, rasp any remaining sharp bits off with a whetstone. (You could suggest doing this whole step with just the whetstone or a file, but the Withering Look and the Eyebrow will return. Best to back away quickly and take photos of the pretty sparks from the grinder.)

(But just whispering … you could definitely do this with a file. Hold about three screws at a time and draw across a coarse file to blunt the ends. Easy.)

Using The Drill from the 7-piece power tool set, insert the screws into your screwholes. Make sure they’re flat to the base, as the tray will be resting on these screw heads. The flat trays (as opposed to the cutlery tray I used) usually have a recessed lip, so this won’t be so important if you use one of those.

Tadah! You’re done. Fill your caddy with pretty threads and bobbins. Yes I can pick it up by the handle, but those with bigger hands may be in trouble. You may prefer the normal tray option. And as for the 7 Essential Power Tools … well, you definitely need a drill. Everything else is (in my opinion) optional. (But I never said that.)

5 comments to craftastic

  • Wonderful project… sadly I dont sew, and lack the *scratches head for word* … love *thats my story and I am sticking with it* for power tools… though if a cute guy was playing with them I will gain some interest… possibly ask if I may join in:P

  • excellent work… it will match your dog bed, stain-wise, right?
    …wo-ah, i just totally outed myself as a craftnerd.

  • jac

    Yes, the dog bed is Dark Mahogany, tastefully distressed with Flecks of Mud. Good spotting 99!
    (gratuitous Maxwell Smart reference for my own amusement)

  • Thank you for the wonderful project. Not only do I need a spool holder but it was about as entertaining as any tutorial I have ever read. You are a hoot. Your experience with Mr T. sounds remarkably similar to mine with Mr. Z.

  • This is an amazing spool holder! Gotta love a crafty man! Thanks for visiting my weblog.

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