Vintage Thread Nests

I hung onto all of the leftover colored thread from my wooden spool advent calendar project knowing they would make sweet little monotone bird nests. (And although at the time, it seemed like I was wasting thread that I could have sewn with, I was advised by the dealer that sold me my new sewing machine that sewing with brittle vintage thread was a bad idea.) As I unwound the thread I kept each color bunched together. Using basic craft-store acrylic paint, I used colors that matched the thread bunches or mixed paint to match and painted little wooden craft eggs.Forming the bunches of thread into bowl shapes, I placed each onto parchment paper lined foil and sprinkled embossing powder over the nest so the granules would fall between the threads. I baked each nest just until the powder melted and careful not to burn the thread, removed the nest and continued to press and form the bowl as it cooled. I used the acrylic embossing powder instead of glue so that there would be no shiny areas to the nest and this was the best solution I could think of that would reach throughout the layers of thread strands.I dipped each matching egg into a puddle of E6000 adhesive and pressed into the nest, careful not to have shiny blobs of adhesive showing. You can also use the adhesive to add a round of cardboard to the bottom of the nest for more stability, depending on your final project.Now I have lots of little nests that can be used for so many things!I’ll use some for gift box toppers. They can also be tucked into tiny cups or glasses for place card holders, or placed among the branches of your Christmas tree. Make a specimen tray of all the colors. Fill a jar with the nests like candy. Design graphics with like colors.Hide one with a note in a co-worker’s desk just to be nice.CLICK HERE FOR MORE THREAD NEST PROJECTS!

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77 Responses to Vintage Thread Nests

  1. #1 - Donna says:

    I love this idea! Lovely!

  2. #2 - andrea says:

    Really pretty!

  3. #3 - Unique2wh0 says:

    Awww..very nice

  4. #4 - Jessica says:

    Wow! What a great way to use something that would otherwise have been pitched. I really like the ideas you came up with for using them, and the construction is so clever!

  5. #5 - cindi says:

    What a clever idea. I really like this and the colors are gorgeous.

  6. #6 - Jessica Stier says:

    I am so in love with this idea!!! I want a bunch of them all over my Christmas tree.

  7. #7 - RosyRevolver says:

    I love the texture!! Never would have thought to do this with Amazing Glaze!!

  8. #8 - Country Dreaming says:

    Cool–love the colors.
    Was this your idea or did you adapt it from another idea?


  9. #9 - mary beth says:

    I wondered what you were going to do with those blobs of thread from the other post! Brilliant!

  10. #10 - Michellem says:

    Embossing powder baked to hold the nests together!! Genius!

  11. #11 - Artsy Aut says:

    I love that they are monotone! So cute.

  12. #12 - risa says:


  13. #13 - Createology says:

    WOW! I love your ideas and talent. Now I am sad that I donated all of my huge serger cone threads. However they did go to a worthwhile charity in town that will definitely use them in their weaving projects so I am okay. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thread nests.

  14. #14 - The Dragonfly says:

    I stopped commenting on your blog for awhile because I thought to myself "how many times can I tell this complete stranger that she is a genius and my creative hero without sounding like a stalker?"

    But then you had to go and make nests out of old thread and here I am again to tell you that Cathe, you are amazing and I adore every idea that comes out of that talented brain of yours!

    Stalker out!

  15. #15 - Shelly B. says:

    You are seriously the most talented person I've never met! Amazing!

  16. #16 - Pattie Cordova says:

    what an excellent way to re-use old thread!

  17. #17 - luckygirlgifts says:

    How absolutely wonderful.
    First of all I love the idea,
    secondly, I love all of the suggested ways of using them. So sweet and thoughtful.
    Thank you
    Have a fabulous week.
    Cari b.

  18. #18 - says:

    Wow, this is such a great idea! I love the colors..what a great way to preserve them. Thanks so much for sharing your genius, I'll be linking.

  19. #19 - Sweet Bee Cottage says:

    These are just simply beautiful!

  20. #20 - Widge says:

    gorgeous! I'm amazed at how you think of these things!

  21. #21 - NinaB says:

    These are gorgeous. I wish I have access to cheap threads, so I can do this.

  22. #22 - Carmen says:

    That green one is stunning. What an amazing idea, now if it were me baking thread and embossing powder I would have set our cooker on fire 😉 Yours look fabulous.

  23. #23 - My name is PJ. says:

    EXCELLENT! My great grandmother who was born in 1884, would have LOVED you! You may, in fact, be the reincarnated her! You find an aesthetically beautiful use for every.single.thing. I love reading your posts!

  24. #24 - Rettabug says:

    This is a wonderfully creative use of old thread! I have a big clump of multiple colors in a bag by my emb. machine. I'm thinking a rainbow nest would be a pretty table favor & I might use some Jordan almond mints for the eggs.
    Thanks for sharing your creative talents.

    ♥ Rettabug

  25. #25 - sparklepetal says:

    Just found your blog via One Pretty Thing and I love it! I don't think we visited Petaluma when we went to California a few years ago, but I certainly noted its name, as a Petal myself I feel like an honorary citizen!

    And these nests are just gorgeous! I have little nests on the brain at the moment and need to find a spare minute to make a felt one for my winter coat lapel.

  26. #27 - Loddelina says:

    I love the idea of putting those little nests among the branches of my Christmas tree!
    Thank you again, Cathe!

  27. #28 - Mama Magpie says:

    How adorable! I love this idea-I have been pondering how to make faux bird's nests…Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. #29 - Jennadesigns says:

    Wonderful idea! I am definitely going to do this. I have a ton of vintage thread that while beautiful, I wouldn't dare actually put in my machine. I knew I was hanging onto it for a reason!

  29. #30 - emily says:

    these are lovely! Now a use for all those old threads I can't toss out!

  30. #31 - Leslie @ Bei Mondi says:

    These are so sweet!

  31. #32 - BearyAnn says:

    This is a great idea for that box full of brittle thread I can't use but refuse to throw away. How beautiful beside the note cards.

  32. #33 - x vInTaGe VioLeT x says:

    really beautiful nests.

  33. #34 - Michelle Palmer says:

    They are dear!!! Thank you for sharing~

  34. #35 - the undomesticated wife says:

    Love love love this! So cute and a great use for the thread!

  35. #36 - Ann Martin says:

    SO pretty! Now there's no need for any of us crafty types to offer excuses for being string savers.

  36. #37 - christina says:

    Awesome idea! I have all these vintage spools of gorgeously colored thread, but they're too age weakened to be useful. I never would've imagined such a beautiful way to reuse thread, so thank you endlessly. Lovely, inspirational shots to send me off in a crafty daze.

  37. #38 - Centsational Girl says:

    Love this ! That last photo is so gorgeous, as is all of your work. I love the sentiment of leaving it in a coworkers desk !


  38. #39 - Esther says:

    What a lovely idea ! Simple but very versatile. I have some reels for rather bad but pretty thread that would look wonderful like this.

  39. #40 - Artistic Accents by Darla says:

    Beautiful and creative!

  40. #41 - Susan says:

    those are so beautiful! I love this idea.

  41. #42 - Amy @ Living Locurto says:

    Very pretty! I love the monotone look.

  42. #43 - FILIGREE MOON says:

    Just the most clever idea ever! ~ Angela

  43. #44 - itstwoam says:

    I've been reading your blog since shortly after its inception, although I don't often comment. But I'm "coming out of the closet" so to speak, to tell you just how extrodinary I find these. Simply beautiful and so inspiring!

  44. #45 - Andrea - Faded Plains says:

    Does your creative mind ever rest…you always have the most wonderful ideas…and this one is super cute!

    P.S. And yep…it's a white hydrangea on my website.

  45. #46 - Robin says:

    WOW! Fabulous idea!!

  46. #47 - Debilou~Mississippi Mama says:

    As my mamaw would've said, "Now who woulda thunk it",, what a clever idea,, so cute.

  47. #48 - 32˙North says:

    I am completely blown away! Cathe, I bow down to your supreme creativeness! BTW, the photos are out of sight.

  48. #49 - Room to Inspire says:

    Beautiful – simply beautiful little nests!


  49. #50 - Queen of Dreamsz says:

    How clever. :0) These are just precious….love that last one…the color is beautiful.

  50. #51 - Kathy says:

    What a marvelous idea! This is fabulous!! I have lots of old spools of thread. Now I know what to do with the thread!

  51. #52 - Tae says:

    These are truly, truly lovely!

  52. #53 - Pfeiffer Photos says:

    yet another lovely from the mind of Ms. Lovely herself…thanks. 🙂

  53. #54 - Rainbowology says:

    Great idea for Easter too, with edible sweet eggs in them! 😀 I might make a larger one (Rainbow coloured of course) for the table! Thanks for the idea!

  54. #55 - Karen- The Graphics Fairy says:

    I seriously would like to see an x-ray of your brain because, I am so sure yours is wired differently! How do you come up with this stuff, this is just so amazing!!!

  55. #56 - Mod Podge Amy says:

    Cathe, so wonderful. xo

  56. #57 - Erica says:

    I love that robin's egg blue nest – so lovely!

  57. #58 - Kimberly says:

    Just found you through Dawn and I LOVE your nests. I will be back to read more about you and your art.

  58. #59 - Catherine says:

    Oh my, these little nests are absoultely beautiful! Very charming! Thank you for sharing your technique on how to secure the threads without using any shiny adhesive. Brilliant solution.

  59. #60 - Michele-thisgoodday says:

    So pretty…and nice vintage thread with great coloring is still plentiful…Thanks!!

  60. #61 - drooz studio says:

    once again. brillant.i'm loving the green one…

  61. #62 - subgirl says:

    love your nest idea! I did a bad thing and used some thread off a vintage spool (it matched!) now I know what to do with the rest of it so I'm not tempted again!

    I will use matte acrylic medium instead of embossing powder though, no risk of scorching, and it's a matte, malleable plastic "body" once dried, no shiny spots if you use matte.

  62. #63 - jen says:

    I love the green and blue!

  63. #64 - Laura Bray says:

    These are absolutely darling!

  64. #65 - Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish says:

    perfect for my bird obsessed mother-in-law! thanks!!!

  65. #66 - lisa says:

    This are adorable!

  66. #67 - Nicolette says:

    Oh, I LOVE these!
    Wonderful to make over the winter while dreaming of Spring….

  67. #68 - whyte says:

    I'm nominating, voting and declaring you the winner of the most wonderful, useful, repurposing queen on earth.

  68. #69 - ThessalyRose says:

    This is brilliant! I have a ton of old thread I inherited from my great aunt! I think I'll use fabric stiffener, though; it's kind of like watered-down white glue and it dries completely invisible. Thanks for the idea!

  69. #70 - Anonymous says:

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    Теперь любой человек имеет возможность читать чужие смс и смотреть журнал звонков за последние 3 месяца, даже если их удалили с телефона.
    Проверьте своего любимого или любимую. Как говорится – доверяй, но проверяй.
    Ссылка на [url=]РЕСУРС[/url]

  70. #71 - Ramona Brady says:

    I've had this bookmarked for months. Just wanted to say how cool these are and that I am making one as part of my first collage (also thanks to you). Thanks!

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  73. #72 - Jacque Chinnery says:

    This is the first time I have seen this posting, and I love the idea. I have lots of thread that is so old that I would never use it for sewing, so this is a great way to use it. Thank you for another creative idea for using what we already have around the house/studio.

  74. #73 - lynn koh says:

    I love your DIY ideas. Can you tell me where I can get the color of the blue eggs. I think I would like to make this for someone who loves birds.

    Thank you!

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  76. #74 - Bonita Mizera says:

    I loved your little nests. I have alot of old spools of thread that I’ve collected over the years and now thanks to you Cathe I know what I want to do with them.