How to Make Your Own Yarn Holder & Dispenser Using Everyday Materials

Updated on September 27, 2017
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green is an avid crocheter and knitter. She designs and sells handcrafted goods.

Homemade Yarn Dispenser With Holed Lid

A functional yarn holder is as near as a sturdy plastic container.
A functional yarn holder is as near as a sturdy plastic container. | Source

Have you ever pulled a strand from the center of the skein, only to have it "lock up"?

Sick of Tangling?

If you do a lot of crafting with wool or yarn, sooner or later you'll grow tired of your yarn becoming tangled and you'll consider ideas for some type of yarn holder. You will have noticed that no matter how careful you are, tangling is part-and-parcel of working with yarn.

Skeins present two problems. If you've ever pulled the yarn strand from inside a skein, only to have it "lock up" sometime later, you know how long it takes to sort out that particular knotted mess. And if you pull a strand from the outside of the skein, your skein has the tendency to flop around like a fish out of water--and it can easily become a jumbled mess.

If you are like me and you wind your skeins into balls before starting a project, you still face having those balls scooting off and wrapping around a table leg, rolling down a hallway, or even worse, tumbling down a staircase. It can be frustrating having to chase after a ball and this robs time from crafting.

In another scenario, if you work with multiple strands, it is near-impossible to keep the balls separated, free from tangling, and the strands twist as you work.

It is a good idea to have some type of yarn holder before picking up your knitting needles or crochet hook. When you are stuck and need something on hand, you can make your own yarn holder/dispenser out of everyday materials.

This article looks at three yarn holders you can make in minutes from materials you likely have on hand. These yarn holders aren't fancy, by any stretch of the imagination, but they will serve you well and help you to craft smarter and not harder.

That ball scooted off and rolled down the staircase!

— Frustrated crafter

Idea #1: Making an Easy & Quick Yarn Holder From a Zip-Lock Bag

Sweet & Neat

A bit of ingenuity means yarn stays put.
A bit of ingenuity means yarn stays put. | Source

Make A Basic Yarn Holder & Dispenser Using a Humble Zip-Lock Bag

Yes, really, Zip-lock bags. This practical solution may seem a tad obvious but how many crafters actually have used these bags to contain their yarn?

I was working on slippers and using 4 strands for the soles. My yarn became twisted and hopelessly tangled. In desperation, I looked around my home for something to put the four balls into to keep them separated. I hit on using Zip-Lock bags. They do very well in a pinch.

Simply place your yarn inside the bag, pull out the yarn end, and zip up the bag 3/4 of the way across, leaving enough room for the strand to move freely through the opening you haven't zipped.

It doesn't get much easier than this. Zip-Lock bags make instant plain-Jane yarn dispensers.

I use Zip-lock bags for all my small left-over balls and yarn ends, which saves everything from ending in a jumbled mess at the bottom of my yarn basket.

— Happy crafter

For Larger Balls, Simply Use Larger Bags


How Zip-Lock Bags Saved the Day

In the photo below, I had started a crocheted rug and, as can be seen, was working with multiple strands and different colors. In short order, I knew I had to do something or I was going to spend most of my time trying to keep everything untangled. Using Zip-lock bags was a great time saver.

Keeping Things Organized When Working With Multiple Strands

A thick crocheted rug is easier to work on when colors are kept separate.
A thick crocheted rug is easier to work on when colors are kept separate. | Source

Have you ever made your own yarn holder?

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Idea #2: Making a Yarn Holder From a Milk Jug

It Ain't Pretty But it's Practical

If you have a large plastic milk jug with a handle, as pictured in the above video, this can easily do duty as a yarn holder. (Note: video doesn't show how to make a yarn holder, it is included to show the type of jug to use.)

You can make a yarn holder from a large milk jug two ways:

  • Cut the top part of the jug off and place your ball of yarn inside. I would suggest cutting it nearer to the top to ensure that your yarn does not pop out of the opening. Use a large jug so that your yarn ball has room to turn.
  • Cut a hole in the side of the jug and and thread your yarn through it. Doing this ensures that your yarn does not pop out of the top of the jug.

This set-up is admittedly crude but will do you in a pinch. An advantage with this type of homemade yarn holder is, of course, the handle.

Idea #3: Using a Large, Clear Container With a Screw-On Lid to Make a Homemade Yarn Tainer

With a Screw-On Lid, Yarn Stays Inside

A sturdy, lidded container makes an attractive and useful yarn holder/dispenser.
A sturdy, lidded container makes an attractive and useful yarn holder/dispenser. | Source

DIY Yarn Tainer

Another way to make a yarn holder and dispenser is to use a large clear plastic container with a wide-mouthed screw-on lid.

  1. Make a good-sized hole in the lid by heating a metal prong and inserting it through the center of the lid. (Do this outside so you don't breath in the fumes from the melted plastic.)
  2. Place your ball of yarn inside the container and push the yarn end through the hole, then screw on the lid. Easy-peasy and looks more attractive than a milk jug.

This makes one of the best homemade yarn holders and is one of the better do-it-yourself yarn dispensers.

No More Tangling With a Homemade Yarn Tainer and it Looks Good, Too


Handy-Dandy Tip

When working on a project, store your hook and scissors in your yarn holder. No having to hunt for them.

Idea #4: Folgers Coffee Tub

Versatile Containers

The video below offers some innovative ideas for using Folgers coffee tubs. These containers come in generous sizes, have a built-in handle, plus come with a wide-mouthed snap-on lid, which, because it is flexible, is easy to make a hole in. While these containers aren't clear, they can easily serve as yarn holders and dispensers.

Idea #4 A Lidded Tupperware Container

An Oldy But a Goody

If you are lucky enough to have some old lidded Tupperware containers hanging around in your pantry, these offer distinct advantages as pre-marked and "wear-ever" containers. In many cases, the lids conveniently include a raised center circle, which you normally would press to seal the lid but that you can use as an accurate guide for where to make your hole. These raised lid markers take the guesswork out of finding the center of the lid.

Idea #5: A Handled Wicker Basket as an All-in-One Dispenser and Storage Container

Why a Basket Offers an Instant Solution

A handled wicker basket offers an instant solution, both as a yarn holder and as a place to store your scissors and crafting supplies.other skeins. Place your yarn ball on one end (the end closest to you) and thread the yarn strand through the handle opening, place your other skeins and your crafting supplies on the other side. This way, everything is in one place and at the ready for each crafting session.

Innovative Do It Yourself Yarn Holders

Single Strand
Multiple Strands
a spouted, lidded teapot
chair rungs
an up-ended ceramic plant pot with a holed bottom
an old-fashioned enamel spouted coffee pot
slated or holed laundry basket
a deep bucket--thread strand through the handle
a restaurant-style glass sugar container with a fluted, metal lid
a metal, holed colander
kid's plastic toy container with a wide snap-on lid

After Reading This Hub, Will You Make Your Own Yarn Holder?

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© 2012 Athlyn Green


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      2 years ago

      Now I can crochet a basket to use as yarn organizer. Great idea, thanks!


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