Vintage Industrial Thread Spool Ornament

Not too long ago, I ran across a post that caught my eye.  Dana, of Crafted Niche was hosting an ornament exchange. It sounded like fun, plus – who doesn’t like the thought of sending and receiving something from out there in the wild blue yonder?

I’d love to say that I signed up right away…but I didn’t.  I hemmed and I hawed, even though I really wanted to participate, I didn’t throw my hat into the ring until the last day to sign up.

And then I waited…what seemed like the slowest, longest week. I wondered – did my form go through?  Would I hear something back?  Would I be assigned an ornament exchange buddy?

All kidding aside – my initial wonderings were answered when I received my email on November 5.  I was assigned an international exchange buddy, Emma of TheHappyCook.  I was so excited – we quickly exchanged emails and then I started trying to come up with an idea.

I gave Pinterest a quick search and typed in “ornaments” in the query field.  As anyone familiar with this particular site can attest, I ended up with a myriad of results. It was a little too much for me to wrap my mind around.

So I quickly logged off and allowed my thoughts to marinate for a week or so.  Then I ended up taking a little afternoon trip to nearby Clarksville, VA on November 18 with my parents and youngest sister to take in their annual downtown Christmas festival.

I found something that was just meant to be.  In one of the many stores downtown that we visited, I ran across one that had several old industrial spools of thread. As I’m new around the blogosphere, you wouldn’t already know this, but I have been sewing for many years and love all textile related items.

So I scooped up as many as I could carry out with the idea that I would make something unique with them. I’m not kidding, I left the store with twenty one spools of thread in various hues of green, gray, silver, blue and brown. If it hadn’t seemed so crazy, I might have walked away with the whole lot, there were probably fifty all nestled inside of an old handmade toolbox.

And so I brought my cache of threaded spools home and there they stayed, just waiting, waiting for the inspiration to strike. I probably waited a couple of weeks before I did anything with them. Like my college days where term papers would be researched well in advance, but not written in their final form until the last moment until the spark of imagination grabbed hold – so went the process of making a vintage roll of thread into a nifty Christmas ornament.

A trip to Michael’s ensued and I came home loaded with little bits of this and that, ribbon and trimming and what not. I decided I would somehow turn this former implement of industry into a darling angel.

At first I considered using a wooden doll head [these come in a variety of sizes, with holes drilled on the underside to attach to doll bodies], but then I decided against it. I wanted to do something simple and elegant.

I opted to use a pre-carved wooden bell ornament to simulate a head.  I simply removed the threaded eye hook and put it on the opposite end.  Then I used super glue [crazy glue, lok-tite] to glue my “head” to the top of the spool.

I let this dry for 24 hours, just to be safe…and because no matter what I do, I’m pretty good at getting glue all over my hands.

Next, I cut a length of burlap ribbon to wrap around the “body”.  Don’t you just love this ribbon? It’s all fancy, schmancy and rustic at the same time. I might have gone a little ribbon happy at Michael’s, I bought this and several other kinds of ribbon.

Then I used super glue to attach the burlap ribbon around the spool.  I considered using hot glue, but I thought I might be too messy with it and I also thought it might add a little bulk where I didn’t want it just yet. The super glue works just fine, just apply sparingly and don’t forget to hold it to allow it to cure a bit before you go on to the next step.  It says 30 seconds to a minute, but I found that a rubber band wrapped strategically so that pressure is applied, but not actually touching the areas where the glue is works really well to free you up to go on to the next step.

I then took a glitter covered poinsettia hair clip that I found [also from Michael’s] and “harvested” a couple of petals with a pair of scissors to use for the wings. I held them up and angled them this way and that until I was happy with their arrangement.  Then I applied hot glue to each petal stem and pressed carefully to the back. In order to keep my fingers out of the hot glue, I used a ball point pen with the pen retracted. This worked really well for me but I suppose a dowel, crochet hook or knitting needle would also be a good substitute.

After I was happy with my wing placement and added a few extra dabs of hot glue for support and to reduce movement, I cut a length of a small, sparkly silver ribbon for the waistband.  This ribbon also served to cover the stem ends of the wing petals.

After all that loveliness and bling on the top portion, I had to do something about the exposed edge at the bottom of the spool. That’s where I brought in the metallic wire lace ribbon.  I cut a length and turned the edges under just so the clipped wires would be on the inside.  Then I folded the ribbon in half lengthwise and hot glued it around the base of the spool.

Perfect! And the wiry ribbon was also stiff enough to provide a support for the base of the angel.

I finished it off by cutting a piece of metallic silver glitter curling ribbon and threading it through the eye hook on the top of the head, tying it off and curling the ends. Then I spent a few wistful moments admiring my handiwork before taking a few photos, packing it carefully into a box and readying her for her trip “across the pond”.

I’ll be linking this post up to the linky party at: Crafted Christmas Homemade Ornaments Ideas Link Party. Be sure to check this and other great ornament ideas out there as well.

Now I just need to decorate a few of those other spools for our house!