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

Making one is perfect if yarn winders are out of your budget.

It’s cheaper to buy hanks or skeins than ready-made cakes.

DIY Winders Feat Img

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Here are helpful tutorials.

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

I reviewed and updated this post on July 27, 2022.

Table Of Contents

How Do You Make A Homemade Yarn Winder?

Here is a simple way to make a DIY yarn winder.

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


  • Lazy Susan
  • Dish or Wine Rack (Collapsible) – 1
  • Large Ring Sizer Or Turkey Baster
  • Duct Tape
  • Scissors

Step 1

  • Prepare your hank
  • Untwist it and remove ties
  • Place the loop of yarn around the rack
  • Adjust the size so it’s tight
  • Place the frame on the lazy susan

Step 2

  • Get the duct tape and scissors
  • Cut pieces of tape
  • Sticking the rack to the lazy susan
  • Tape in the opposite direction to the first piece
  • This is so it doesn’t collapse inwards

Step 3

  • Test it to see it’s secure
  • Add more tape if necessary

Congratulations! Here’s 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
  • Wrap it around the turkey baster so it doesn’t slip off
  • Wrap the yarn around the turkey baster, using the following pattern
  • Wind perpendicular until you have a good layer of wool
  • Wind at a 45 degree, with the wraps 1/4 apart
  • Twist the ring sizer as you go with your left hand.

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

Need to automate the process? See the electric skein winder.

Alternative Methods

Here are other ideas for making your yarn ball winder.

1 Simple Quick Fix Solution

This method produces cakes, but with a cardboard tube in the middle.

It isn’t center pull. It pulls like from a ball or a skein.


  • Electric Mixer
  • Cardboard Tube (short or long)
  • Scissors

Step 1

  • Place the electric mixer on its side, the whisk pointing up and out
  • Put the cardboard tube on the whisk

Step 2

  • Get the scissors
  • Cut a 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

Step 3

  • Turn on the electric mixer to the slowest speed possible
  • Hold the yarn to keep the tension even
  • As the whisk turns, the yarn wraps around the cardboard roll

Step 4

  • Continue winding until finished
  • Turn off the mixer
  • Untie the end from the whisk
  • Remove the roll from the whisk

2 – Using A Nostepinne

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

It’s a lovely way to wind your yarn. Enjoy woodworking? Make one!

How To Use A Nostepinne

  • Tie the end of the yarn to the stick with a hitch knot
  • (If it has a groove, tie it there. If not, tie it to the top or bottom)
  • Move the yarn to the middle and begin winding
  • This is to form the base of the yarn ball
  • You don’t want it too far apart
  • 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

Other Tutorials On How To Make A Ball Winder

1 – Like A Store-Bought Version But Better

Handprints created an excellent do-it-yourself version.

It’s more complicated than other methods in this post, but excellent.

It doesn’t require complicated materials or power tools.

2 – A Ball Winder Using An Electric Drill?

As incredible as it may sound, this tutorial by Sideways shows you how.

Be gentle and don’t let the drill go too fast!

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


Can You Use A Yarn Winder Without A Swift?

Yes! You’ll need something else to hold the loop of yarn.

Like the back of a chair, an expandable rack, or someone’s arms!

How Do You Wind Yarn With A Ball Winder?

Find a workbench or a space to set up your tools.

Clear the area off.

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″.

Clamp each to the table, and tighten the bolts.

Put The Yarn On The Swift

  • Unwind the hank or skein and remove the ties, so it’s a ring of yarn
  • Find the two ends
  • Check they aren’t tangled
  • Push the button at the bottom of the pole up
  • The arms expand
  • Place the ring around the arms
  • Adjust as necessary

Connect The Yarn To The Winder

  • Find the end 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

Create A Yarn Cake

  • Crank the handle
  • The yarn from the hank spins, creating the center-pull cake
  • Use your other hand to guide the yarn
  • You’ll have your beautiful cake soon!

Remove The Yarn

  • In one hand, hold the thread at the slot at the winder’s top
  • 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

How Do You Make A Yarn Cake By Hand?

Make a ball winder, use a Nostepinne, or use a turkey baster, rolling pin, or similar long, cylindrical object.

Ready to venture into the world of DIY?

Are there tutorials I haven’t mentioned in this post? Let me know.

See my review of the yarn swift and ball winder combo.

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About The Author

Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

Jodie Morgan - (Founder)

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Lives In: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Author: Jodie Morgan is a passionate crocheter and blogger with 17+ years of experience currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Taught by her mother, she fell in love with crocheting after her first child was born. When she’s not crocheting, you’ll find her enjoying a cup of coffee with cream, or sharing helpful resources and tips with the online crochet community. Please say hello, or see what she's making on socials.

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