How to Build a Thread Rack

Written by amber royer
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If you are seriously into sewing or embroidery, a thread rack can keep things neat and tangle free and can help you decide between similar colours without even pulling out the spools. Sometimes, thread racks lie flat on a table or stand alone, like an easel, but if you have limited floor space, this wall-mounted rack, which holds 80 standard spools and 18 Gutterman-style spools may be more suitable. This design even includes hooks at the bottom of the rack for hanging scissors and other supplies.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 7 wooden dowels, ¼ inch in diameter and 48 inches long
  • T-square
  • 1 board, ½ inch-by-3-inches and 6 feet long
  • 3 boards, 1 inch by 2 inches and 6 feet long
  • Hack saw
  • Table saw
  • Drill press
  • Wood stain
  • Sponge brush
  • Wood glue
  • Paper towels
  • Hand drill
  • 4 small wrought-iron hooks
  • 2 boards, 1 inch by 4 inches and 36 inches long
  • Hammer
  • 1-inch nails
  • 4 mounting screws, appropriate to wall type

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  1. 1

    Measure 15 3-inch lengths on five of the wooden dowels. On the sixth wooden dowel, measure 13 3 1/2-inch lengths. On the seventh wooden dowel, measure five 3-inch and five 3 1/2-inch lengths. Mark these measurements with a pencil and cut straight across the dowel with the hacksaw. There will be a slight overage on each dowel, and a large overage on the last one.

  2. 2

    Mark the half-way point on the 3/4-inch-by-3-inch board with a T-square. Cut the board in half with the table saw. Measure 1 1/2 inches from the end of each board. Drill a mounting hole in the centre of the board at each measurement. The size of this hole will be determined by the type of mounting screws your wall requires.

  3. 3

    Use the table saw to cut the three 1-inch-by-2-inch boards in half lengthwise to make two 1-inch-by-1-inch boards from each. Measure two 30-inch lengths on each of the 1-inch-by-1-inch boards. Use the T-square and a pencil to mark a straight line across each board. Use the table saw to cut along each line. There will be an overage. On eight of the resulting boards, starting at one end, measure and mark 2 1/2-inch intervals. On the ninth board, measure and mark 1 1/2-inch intervals. Use the drill press to make a 1/4-inch diameter hole all the way through the centre of the board at each mark.

  4. 4

    Sand and stain each board length. Sand the cut edge of each dowel piece then stain the entire dowel piece. Allow to dry. Apply wood glue to the inside edge of the holes in the 1-inch-by-1-inch boards. As you glue each hole, insert one of the 3-inch dowels into the boards with 2 1/2-inch hole spacing and one of the 3 1/2-inch dowels into the board with the 1 1/2-inch hole spacing; twist the dowels as you insert them. The dowels should go all the way through the board. Wipe off any excess wood glue with a paper towel. Allow to dry completely. Use the table saw to cut the back corner of each of these nine boards at a 60-degree angle. Cut some of the leftover triangles into 18 one-inch-long pieces to be used later.

  5. 5

    On the tenth 1-inch-by-1-inch board, starting at the end, measure 5-inch lengths and mark these measurements lightly with a pencil in the centre of the board. Use the hand drill to drill four small holes at the marks. Screw the wrought-iron hooks into these holes, making sure they wind up perpendicular to the board.

  6. 6

    Set out the two 1-inch-by-4-inch boards 21 inches apart on a flat surface. Lay the 1-inch-by-1-inch boards across them, spaced at even 3-inch intervals. Use the triangles you cut earlier to support the 1-inch-by-1-inch boards, again creating a flat surface. Place a dot of wood glue at each intersection point, and carefully lay the 3/4-inch-by-3-inch boards directly above the perpendicular pieces and parallel to the 1-inch-by-4-inch boards, keeping the horizontal spacing the same. Nail these boards to the perpendicular boards beneath, making sure the nails go through the thicker, angled end of the 1-inch-by-1-inch boards. Turn the rack over and wipe off any excess wood glue. Allow the rack to dry thoroughly. Mount, as appropriate for your wall.

Tips and warnings

  • If you use the larger cone-style thread spools, make your dowels 5 1/2 inches long and, depending on the width of the spool, leave between 3 and 4 inches spacing between the spools and between horizontal boards in the rack.
  • If you don't like the hooks, simply cut more pieces from the last dowel and create another angled row for spools instead.
  • Always wear safety glasses when working with power tools, and be especially careful of your fingers near saws.
  • Make sure you have a disposable surface, or a table you don't mind getting holes in, under your work when you use a hand drill.

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