Knitting Needles on a Budget

We cut some dowels to fit a window we were hanging curtains for and forgot to take out the trash last week, so I had no room left in my recycling bin to stuff the remnants in. Fortunately, I have so desperately been wanting to contribute to the instructables community, so I gathered the discarded cut pieces off the floor to bring you this idea.

Disclaimer: This is my first one, so if you have feedback about what I could post differently next time, I won't be offended, but please be gentle (and I'll thank you now for making my next Instructable more instructable :)

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Stuff You'll Need

Those left over dowel pieces/remnants
A pencil sharpener with a hole big enough to put the dowel in (or an Exacto Knife if your dowel is too big for the sharpener)
Several grades of Sand Paper (Coarse to fine)


Some kind of oil (lavender/olive)

Step 2: Sharpen the Ends

For each dowel, sharpen one end to your desired pointed shape. You can use either the pencil sharpener (if it will fit) or an Exacto Knife.

If you want double-pointed needles, follow this step for the other end of your dowel.

Step 3: Sand the Dowel

Like filing your nails, rub in one direction. When you want to sand the angled edges, wrap the paper around the pointed part, hold it with your hand and turn the down with your other hand, like you're sharpening a pencil.

Start with the coarsest sand paper you have working your way to the finest until all the splinters are gone (you don't want that precious yarn fraying before the project is even finished! nor do you want the knitter's hands bleeding all over their expensive cashmere!)

Step 4: Embellish and Treat, As Needed

when you have a finely smoothed instrument, you can decorate it with markers, paint (in thin layers, not letting it distort the smoothness of the point or shaft), or just leave it natural.

When you're done decorating (or if you chose not to), rub any exposed wooden surfaces with oil - it will take care of any hanging shaving fuzz and give it a nice shine, making your new knitting needles look nice and pretty. (Tip: To prevent from having an overly greasy needle, instead of pouring the oil directly on, I put a few drops of the oil on my palm and rubbed the needle with that greased hand.) You might have to let it cure a few hours and do this process again to get a well-conditioned needle.

Step 5: Knit

Get to it!

Be the First to Share


    • Book Character Costume Challenge

      Book Character Costume Challenge
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge

    10 Discussions

    My only suggestion would be to include what you're making in your title. It will help people who are looking for something like this fine it.

    5 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The title is still a bit misleading. I just clicked on it thinking it would be some way to make full trash bins easier to deal with using knitting needles! Maybe omit that part and put in something about DPs? This is great!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It is! It's just that making double-pointed is pretty unique on here. What about calling it something like "Double-pointed knitting needles on a budget," or "Make your own recycled double-pointed knitting needles"? Just a thought.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks again :)

    I did consider adding the words "Double Pointed", but it does include instruction on how to make them NOT double-pointed, hence the more generic direction - you can make them double pointed or not... maybe I'll add DP in parens, to indicate the option?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Don't use any oil that is made from a food product. Reason? They will, eventually, go rancid on you. Instead, use tung oil, linseed oil or any other wood finishing oil. Believe me - I did this when I first started working with wood & was sorry later because when the oil went rancid, the piece I used it on .... smelled.

    You can find many different types of wood oil finishes in stores like WalMart or check your local building supply stores. If you choose a product like MinWax, you can also color your new needles to look like various woods. Even spray on polyurathene finishes will work fine. If you use a spray on finish, tho, you'll need to prop your needles upright in something (rigid foam or a washed out glass jar, even a well-washed can will work) before spraying one end. When that end is dry, flip your needles over & spray the rest of the needles.


    9 years ago on Step 5

    nice! I've made knitting needles too because it's hard to find double-pointeds in the large sizes needed for felting.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I've done a similar thing but with bamboo barbeque skewers. Instead of paying $12 (NZD) for a set of 5 bamboo sock needles, I paid $2 for a pack of bamboo skewers, $1 for sandpaper and made at least five sets!

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    i am still collecting the wooden chopsticks that usually come with chinese takeout and sanding those down the same way :) i'll post pictures if i ever get around to it.