Make this using everyday garage tools -- no fancy skills or tools needed!

I quickly grew tired of winding skeins of yarn on the backs of chairs and over my knees. I considered getting a yarn swift, but I balked at the price tag ($65 and up). Determined to utilize my crafty hands, I embarked on making my own yarn swift out of stuff from my garage.

My first yarn swift cost me $7 to make, and because I dye yarn, I soon found the need for a second swift, which cost me $17 because I had used up extra wood in my garage for my first swift. Depending on how much material you have in your garage, this project will probably cost anywhere from $0 to $20 USD, plus a little elbow grease.

This is a tabletop swift that is easy to make, using basic garage tools. No fancy power tools! It is also easy to assemble for quick storage and portability.

This is a Sew Useful contest entry, so if you want one or don't think you can make one, I have one for sale on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6465064

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Time: approx. 2-3 Hours (or less for the more handy)


  • hammer
  • chisel
  • rasp (optional)
  • handsaw
  • cordless drill
  • drill bits
  • nail set
  • sandpaper to smooth out rough edges (I used 80, 100 and 220 grit)
  • several 1-1/2 inch nails
  • wood glue (regular craft glue will also work)
  • tape measure
  • 1/2" spade bit
  • miter box (optional; it helps you saw straight)


  • One 6' long 1x1poplar ("A")
  • One 6' long 2x1poplar ("B") (you could get smaller pre-cut pieces too, as shown in photo)
  • One 4-5" long 3/8" hex bolt.
  • One to Two 3/8" diameter dowel rod(s)
  • One 3/8" washer
  • One bad CD (like the free promos you get in the mail) or a small scrap piece of wood
  • One 3/8" wing nut (a regular 3/8" nut will do as well)

<p>when you said a 1&quot;x1&quot; did you mean the wood style of inches (3/4&quot;x3/4&quot;) or literally 1&quot;x1&quot;? also where did you get you wood, what hardware store? </p>
Making this made my day - and many more to come (every time I look at it)! Thank you so much for sharing this!! I have wanted one of these for years and I made this one in not much more than an hour, with materials I had lying around. ($0) I have mine mounted high up flat against the wall in my craft room with a little shelf sticking out of the wall a couple of feet away, with the ball winder thing on it. So not only is it completely functional but it's great to look at (and fun for kids). It's also inspired many ideas for future wood crafted toys that I look forward to making. I will see my swift every day for years and years to come and it will make me happy each and every time. I'm so glad I discovered this before I'd gone ahead and bought one. Thanks again!
This project is so easy to make and easy to use. It also seems to be more sturdy than the expensive swifts look.
Made this one - I lovee it!!! Thank you so much!
Seems to me that this DIY yarn swift was copied almost word for word from this site. Give credit where credit is due.<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.craftydiversions.com/patterns/homemade_yarn_swift.htm">http://www.craftydiversions.com/patterns/homemade_yarn_swift.htm</a><br/>
LOL. I own the copyright to this pattern and instructions, and the site you reference. The instructions originally were just on my site, then I decided to post here as well. Thanks for keeping an eye out for me though!! :)
My wife just bought a zillion skeins of yarn and I was facing the daunting task of having to hold each one as she wound them into balls. With this instructable, a few hours of my time means I won't have to! Yay! I followed the instructions nearly exactly, only I set in some ball bearings I pulled from some old rollerblades instead of using the bolt. Smooth as silk! Cutting the notch is also much easier and faster with a scroll saw. Thanks!
I just made this last night using wood left over from our last renovation - it works brilliantly! I am thrilled that not only were the instructions and pictures super easy to follow but I was able to make one completely for FREE. I have been wanting and needing one and have always been put off by the prices. THANK YOU!
I've used this swift and I can recommend it highly. I have a standard swift, and it couldn't handle a large hank of yarn I had, so I used this. It can handle all different sizes and weights of yarn. Well worth the time (or money if you buy the one on Etsy).
awww, Thank you!!
Your Etsy link doesn't seem to be working--could you please update it? Thanks!
Thanks! I just fixed it.

About This Instructable




Bio: blog http://www.CraftyDiversions.com
More by Crafty Diversions:SewUseful Recycled Sweater Flower Pin / Brooch SewUseful: Portable Tabletop Yarn Swift (for winding yarn) 
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