Yarn Winder DIY – My Guide – How To Make A Yarn Ball Winder

Yarn Winders are great. Did you know you can make your own? A perfect option if you’re creatively inclined, or yarn winders are out of your budget.

Besides, it’s cheaper to buy yarn in hanks or skeins than in ready-made cakes.

DIY Yarn Winder Feat Img

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What are you waiting for? Get out your DIY mindset and create your machine to be proud of. Here are some helpful tutorials, tips, and tricks.

Too much hard work? I’ve reviewed the best ball winder on the market.

Table Of Contents

New Tools from The Hook Nook. An assortment of Hook Nook tools and hooks on a blue background

How Do You Make A Homemade Yarn Winder?

Here is a simple but ingenious way to make a diy yarn winder using everyday items you can get cheaply at thrift or discount stores.

It’s effortless and quick to put together too. Fun and a great way to save money.

Note: With this method, you can’t adjust the size very quickly. To wind a different size of the hank, you need to take all the duct tape off.

You Will Need

  • Lazy Susan – 1
  • A Dish Rack Or Wine Rack (Make sure it’s the kind that can collapse) – 1
  • A Large Ring Sizer Or Turkey Baster – 1
  • Duct Tape
  • Scissors

Step 1

Prepare your hank, untwisting it and removing all ties, so it’s one long loop. Place the loop of yarn around the rack and adjust the size as necessary so it’s tight.

Place the frame on top of the lazy susan, centering it, making sure it isn’t unbalanced.

Step 2

Get the duct tape and scissors and cut pieces of tape, sticking the rack firmly to the lazy susan. Make sure you tape in the opposite direction to the first piece of tape in a criss-cross fashion.

This is so it doesn’t collapse inwards. 

Step 3

Test it to make sure it’s secure. Add more tape if necessary.

You’ve created it. Congratulations! Here is a list of steps on how you wind the yarn.

  • Fetch the large ring sizer or turkey baster. Hold it in your left hand.
  • Hold the yarn in your right hand and wrap it around the turkey baster to make sure it doesn’t slip off.
  • Wrap the yarn around the turkey baster, using the following pattern. First, wind perpendicular until you have a good layer of wool. Then wind at a 45 degree, with the wraps 1/4 apart, twisting the ring sizer as you go with your left hand.
  • (This technique is similar to what you do when winding with a Nostepinne.)
  • It can be a bit tricky when you start, but you’ll get the hang of it.

Have a wonderfully wound center pull yarn cake in less than 15 minutes!

Do you need something to automate the process? See this post on the electric skein winder.

Alternative Methods

Here are some other ideas for making your yarn ball winder.

#1 – Simple Quick Fix Solution

If you quickly need to get some yarn winded or tidied up, this is the perfect quick-fix solution.

Note: This method produces cakes, but with a cardboard tube in the middle to hold it together. Also, it isn’t center pull. It pulls like you would from a ball or a skein.

You Will Need

  • Electric Mixer – 1
  • Cardboard Roll Or Tube – 1 (Can be short or long)
  • Scissors

Step 1

Gather your materials. Place the electric mixer on its side, with the whisk pointing upwards and outwards. Place the cardboard tube on the whisk part of the mixer. Make sure it fits well.

Step 2

Get the scissors and cut a small slit at the top of the cardboard tube. Place the yarn end in the slit. Tie the yarn end to one part of the whisk of the electric mixer.

Step 3

Turn on the electric mixer to the slowest speed possible. Hold the yarn to keep the tension even, and as the whisk turns, the yarn will begin to wrap around the cardboard roll.

Step 4

Continue winding until it’s all finished. Turn off the mixer and untie the end from the whisk. Remove the roll from the whisk, and you have your yarn ready to go.

#2 – Using A Nostepinne

Have you ever heard of one of these? 

It’s the older version of the modern yarn ball winder. The name comes from a Scandinavian word meaning “nest-stick.”

It’s not exactly a DIY winder, but it’s the old version of today’s ball winders. Still, it’s a lovely way to wind your yarn, and much more do it yourself than the other options on the market.

If you’re good at or enjoy woodworking, you could even make one for yourself.

How To Use A Nostepinne

  • Tie the end of the yarn to the stick, and make sure it’s a knot you can easily undo when you’ve finished. A hitch knot is a great idea. (If it has a groove, tie it there. If not, tie it to the top or bottom. Doesn’t matter which end.)
  • Move the yarn to the middle and begin winding. This is to form the base of the yarn ball. As you turn, make sure it’s close together, you don’t want it too far apart. Keep the yarn with tension.
  • Take the yarn from the top wrap down to the bottom diagonally while turning the Nostepinne with your other hand. Do it again, but move it from the bottom up to the top.
  • Repeat the yarn strands pattern until you’ve finished winding all the yarn.

Other Excellent Tutorials On How To Make A Ball Winder

#1 – Almost Like A Store-Bought Version But Even Better

A lover of knitting and craft who goes by the name of Handprints created an excellent do it yourself version.

It does take a bit longer and is a slightly more complicated version than other methods discussed in this post, but it’s excellent.

The best part is it doesn’t require overly complicated to obtain materials or power tools.

Available on Instructables here.

#2 – A Ball Winder Using An Electric Drill?

As incredible as it may sound, yes, a power drill can be used to wind yarn, as this tutorial by Sideways in Instructables shows you how.

It’s deceptively simple, but make sure you’re very gentle and don’t allow the drill to go too fast!

Find out more here.

Wondering where can I buy yarn online? Here are some suggestions.

Your Questions Answered

Can You Use A Yarn Winder Without A Swift?

Yes, of course, you can! But if you choose not to use a swift, you’ll need something else to hold the loop of yarn.

A good idea is the back of a chair, an expandable rack of some kind, or someone patient and willing’s arms!

How Do You Wind Yarn With A Ball Winder?

Find a workbench or a space you can use to set up your tools. Clear the area off.

If you worry if it might get damaged by the table clamp, place a cloth on the surface. The best distance between your yarn winder and wind swift is 12-18 inches.

Clamp each instrument to the table, and tighten the bolts to secure them.

Put The Yarn On The Swift

  • Unwind the hank or skein and remove the ties, so it’s a ring of yarn. If you use scissors, be careful not to cut the actual yarn when removing the ties.
  • Find the two ends, checking they aren’t tangled.
  • Push the button at the bottom of the pole upwards. The arms will expand.
  • Place the ring around the arms. Adjust as necessary.

Connect The Yarn To The Winder

  • Find the end that’s on the outside. This is the one you need to connect to the winder.
  • Slip it through the metal yarn guide and the slot at the top of the spindle.
  • It’s now attached

Create A Yarn Cake

  • Begin to crank the handle slowly. The yarn from the hank will begin to spin, creating the center-pull cake.
  • Use your other hand to guide the yarn between the instruments. It helps you have control over tension.
  • Increase the speed of winding slightly. Make sure everything is still running smoothly.
  • You’ll have the results of your beautiful cake in no time at all!

Remove The Yarn

  • In one hand, hold the thread with your pincher fingers at the slot at the winder’s top part.
  • Use your other hand to ease the yarn cake off.
  • Unwind a length of yarn from the ball. Wrap it around the middle a few times and tuck in the end.
  • Tada! You’re done!

How Do You Make A Yarn Cake By Hand?

Make a ball winder for yourself, use a nostepinne, or use an everyday household object, like a turkey baster, rolling pin, or similar long, cylindrical object.

There you have it, ready to venture into the world of DIY and create something useful, functional, and something you can be proud of? I hope you find this post helpful.

Are there any tutorials you found helpful I haven’t mentioned in this post? Please feel free to let me know, so I can help other readers find them.

Which combination would be best for you? See my review of the yarn swift and ball winder combo.

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About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Crochet Penguin. (Yes, I’m real :) )

Thanks for being here. I started Crochet Penguin to show 1,000,000 people the joys of crochet & highlight alternatives to fast fashion.

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