I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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October 27, 2010

Wooden spool toy

I picked up a copy of ReadyMade last week for the first time in years. It’s definitely more refined than it used to be and kind of a strange combination of indie crafts and Martha Stewart and budget Dwell? It used to have projects like “Make a tool box out of your old snowboard deck!”, and now it has recipes for an Indian dinner party. Definitely a step in the right direction, IMO. It’s actually pretty cute.

And look what I found on the last page:

A super simple and very cute toy made from vintage wooden thread spools. I happened to have a handful of these in my sewing drawer that I bought a a flea market years ago. Insta-toy!

I used two colors of leather (to make it cuter, of course) and actually tied knots between each spool, which gave it a little more movement. It’s so perfect for little teethers. And it took literally 4 minutes to make. I was feeling so Made By Joel this morning! (side note: he has another super cute use for spools on his blog right now.)

Dashiell snatched it right up the moment he discovered it on the living room rug.

Just reinforces my revelation (shocking, I know) that babies are so happy with things you find around the house. Yogurt tub, cracker box, magazine, ANYTHING made of cardboard. They’ve proven to be much more entertaining than most toys you can buy. Now if I could only come up with these ideas on my own.


  1. Meg said on October 27, 2010

    I love this. With a new baby coming into the family (not our baby) I’ve been pondering, again, my desire to not have lots of plastic toys (or really lots of toys) cluttering up my house. I’m picky about what’s in the house (you know…) and I get depressed by clutter (and plastic, and uglyness). So this is a lovely reminder that babies are happy with spools and an empty box. I mean, babies used to be quite happy without many toys at all, yes?

    So, I think, when we were little, I remember these being made into little snakey guys that you could drag behind you. You know, paint on some eyes, give it a name, nice long cord. For when he’s older.

  2. Caroline C said on October 27, 2010

    I love it! I always read Made By Joel and can only dream of being that wonderfully creative! Unfortunately, I create through imitation.
    Dashiell looks satisfied. He’s positively adorable!


  3. Joel Henriques said on October 27, 2010

    Ooh, I love this. I remember making something like this with my grandma when I was a kid. And thanks for the kind mention. ha. I’m pretty sure my next book is going to be about making baby toys and crafts. I totally agree with Meg’s comment that it can get pretty crazy when you have a living room full of huge plastic toys.

  4. you are super pretty said on October 27, 2010

    so cute!! i love organic and wood toys. and i remember my mom’s old sewing tin full of these old spools. i loved them. as well as the tins and tins of vintage buttons i wish she still had.

  5. charlane said on October 27, 2010

    my grandmother always made those

  6. Kristina said on October 27, 2010

    @Meg – exactly. Shiny plastic baby crap is both hideous and as it turns out, unnecessary. Except for the exersaucer. That did come in handy. And am definitely with you on the drag along snake/caterpillar.

    @Joel – Baby toys and crafts! Yes please please please.

  7. Becca said on October 28, 2010

    I like the simplicity of this toy.
    How cool.
    If only you could convince in-laws to give old yogurt tubs for birthday gifts!

  8. Ania Florek-Kozakiewicz said on October 28, 2010

    So cute toy. I recently decided to keep a journal of things that my 2 year old plays with. As you say kids are amazing and do not need all this bought stuff. For mine of course cardboard boxes and tubs of all kinds are everyday toy but for last 5 weeks he constantly plays with white … bathrobe belt!!!! ( under my supervision of course). He comes back from nursery and asks for it. He plays with it in the way adult’s brain would never think of and then he … hugs it! This is his best friend now:) Kids are sweet.

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