diy {wooden spool photo holders}

So I have come to the conclusion that most of my diy projects are born out of a desire not to go shopping with my kids. We recently replaced the shelves in our living room and I was having trouble figuring out a way to display my mounted photos. I didn’t like them just leaning against the wall. I propped a couple up in front of a jar of vintage wooden spools….then it dawned on me I can saw a slit down the side and stick the mounted photos in! So that is what I did….I am super random, I know.

Supplies: Hand saw, wooden spools, sandpaper

Step 1: Slowly saw a slit in the spool. Getting it started is the hardest part, go slow. Once you get past the edges it cuts very easily. There is probably a way to do this on a power saw, but I was too worried about cutting off my finger….and a hand saw fits in the house where it is air conditioned.

Step 2: Saw all the way to the middle and make the opening large enough to fit the mounted photos. Sand the wood down.

Vintage Wooden Spool Photo holders….one more way to avoid shopping with your kids when you need to display a photo! Of course you have to have wooden spools on hand!

Chris came home and didn’t notice the spools, but when I put a sweet potato on display he noticed that. I grow potatoes inside better than houseplants. I got the paperback book display from my grandpa’s neighbor. She was using it to hold books for a garage sale and told me she wouldn’t sell it. I mentioned my grandpa was her next door neighbor. The next time I was at my grandpa’s he said, “My neighbor left a piece of junk by the garage for you. Take it or I am throwing it away.” Score. My aunt made me a lap quilt…I love it.

And just because it is annoying to me to see glimpses of things and not the whole area….our new shelves (inspired by Anne-Claire Rohe’s). I am not done filling them…someday.

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  • Katie - I love the spool idea!

  • mrs.magoo - Oh my goodness I love it! What a great idea!

  • Jodi - I LOVE your style! These are gorgeous. Where do you get your photos mounted? I love the spools, the potatoes, and the old camera. I found an old kodak brownie on etsy that I put up in my craft room. Love it. Those old chairs look like they were part of an old stadium??

  • Yanet - I avoid going to the store with the boys as much as possible too. Cool idea. Now tell us more about the potato thingy.

  • laura - i’m so glad you included the whole view:). looks great!

  • Stacia - Um… the sweet potatoes have me baffled! Please share. Do they stay in the water or do you move them to a pot of soil? I’ve never seen anything like it!

  • anne c - i appreciate your randomness! espcially when you share it with us!

  • Julie - LOVE this idea. Now if I only had some spools! I think that is the one thing my grams didn’t save :(. If you enjoying growing sweet potatoes try an avocado seed. My kids love to grow them inside and its the same “technique” lol!

  • a pocket full of posies - Brilliant!! (and mighty useful AND lovely too!)
    LOVING the statement on how most of your DIY projects are born! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah - cool as always!! thanks for sharing

  • Mandi Smith - Spools are soo cute, thanks for the idea, I’m on it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Timothea - Love the shelves! I’m wondering where you got them (or the components) since I’ve been searching everywhere for some shelves I like. Thanks!

  • jenny - I love the randomness, especially because I have some vintage spools that I have been trying to decide what to do with! Very fun!

    My mom has always grown sweet potatoes in a glass jar..brings back memories. I have always loved the way it looks too.

  • tasha roe - gah!! genius strikes again! i mean seriously!! I have a huge jar of those spools that I bought at a yard sale for $0.50….for the whole jar. score.
    love the diys.

  • Shannon{photos by shannon} - I wish I had a cute little area like that in my house!

  • Lisa P. - That quilt is beautiful! I wish it lived on my bed…

  • Liene - I really love this idea!

  • ellen - that’s what they say about necessity! my friend and i were just talking about which errands you can run with children and which ones you can’t. not that i don’t love my little ones. i do! so much. but sometimes i need to think and that takes a lot of concentration.

    i went to big lots today in search of some of the scrapbook supplies by martha you mentioned. i found some! i wasn’t sure if it was just a fluke or limited to where you are. i’m going to try to use them to make bookmarks for some younger women i’m doing a Bible study with. we’ll see if i can conjure up a smidge of your creativity!

  • D'On - I absolutely LOVE the spool picture holders. What a great idea!

  • Mara - Great idea – love the whole look too, and I agree, it is frustrating when you can’t see how the whole area looks – thanks for posting such a picture! Love your blog! (and by the way, I started following after you were done with professional photography – I love hearing all about your life and your projects – so fun!)

  • Jennifer - yes, I, too, am baffled by the potatoes! How lovely! Please do share on growing them indoors.

  • Katie H. - As you well know we have a lot of these mounted photos in our house and now that we have moved to a new place I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them. I LOVE THIS IDEA!! Thanks a bunch.

  • Kari - These are AWESOME! Thanks so much for the great tip!

  • Giovanna - Is soooo easy and I never never thing in something like this.

    PLOP!! I need move my head, my mind is moth-eaten

  • Tammy Kay - looks great Ashley.
    I’ve been collecting spools for awhile now. I love your idea.
    I want to make a huge heart out of spools and hang it on my wall.
    I saw it on a blog but can’t remember where.
    Awesome space. I love the drawing of the frame behind the shelf

  • Kristi - What a fabulous idea…I have some spools and I didn’t know what I was going to do with them. Now I do…thanks to you!

  • Jolie - Genius!!! I was just the other day looking at my little pile of wooden spools and wondering what I could do with them…mind if I appropriate your idea?
    And the paperback rack is killing me….want want want!

  • KaraM - How do you come up with these ideas?! It baffles me.

  • Lisa Johnson - love it! I especially love the bookrack story!

  • Rachel - Ooh elegant Ashley! Thanks so much, I’ll be linking.

  • twirling betty - What a brilliant idea – I absolutely love it and it looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing it.

  • FullertonRegan - I just have to tell you… your aesthetic is so, so beautiful. Every peek at your home is so lovely, artistic, inspiring. I would love to capture more of that and find myself incorporating so many of your ideas into my own home (the pencil “frame” with the orange tape… oh yeah, that’s happening soon). I am so glad I found your blog. Thank you for sharing your creativity with all of us.


  • judy - still want to go down south. jar

  • Kristin - I am loving the spools! Such a cute idea. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also I love the picture frame that is painted on the wall or vinyl with the taped in picture. Haha I love those little touches of whimsical. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • pamela - i was thinking about the spool project, which i love, and couldn’t help thinking there had to be a safer way. for our fingertips that is! i think if you had a c-clamp and a fine tooth saw it would be a safer. clamp the spool a little below the middle and then saw through. i just know myself and would definitely have bloody fingers if i tried it your way! awesome project though : ) (…as usual!)

  • Brooke - Cute, cute, cute….love the spools, the movie theater chairs.
    I wish I was friends with your aunt ๐Ÿ™‚ I did have a friend make me a quilt for Briar with almost all Amy Butler, but oh man, your aunt is awesome. And your mom for making you the cute Amy B. stackers….JEALOUS! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hope you have a wonderful week!

  • shelley venema - love your blog, my daughter told me about you!

  • JoLynn - Can your aunt make me a lap quilt? ๐Ÿ˜‰ She must be very talented…I’m lovin’ that quilt!!

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  • PattyB. - Be honest… you’re some kind of Craft Genius, huh.

  • Jade - Going to make these today. Even borrowed a saw. Fingers crossed I don’t lose a digit. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I spy a red Craft Hope book on your shelf!!

  • Nancy - What a cute idea! I have loads of these old wooden spools.
    Guess that will be one of my future projects. Thanks for sharing.
    Smiles and Blessings,

  • Andrea - Thank you for posting. I bought wooden spools today with the intention of Googling ideas for use. Cute blog.

  • Nicci Neace - So excited to find your blog!! Please let me know how one enters the guveaways! Looking at your diy projects now. Thanks for sharing!

  • Chris - I love this idea!! Now I just need to find some spools!

  • mihaela - I am so in love with your blog. Everything here is just fits so perfect in any home. i honestly started clicking randomly on your projects just to borrow some ideas for the weekend, but now I’m taking them one by one. Just keep them coming!!! :))

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  • Meghan Hill - This is such a great idea!! I am going to go home today and make lots and lots of these! Thank you:)

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  • Katie@MyDarlingDays - absolutely fricken genius! love this!!

  • Nikki Decker - I love your honesty! Cutting off your finger and working in the a/c would be my first concerns. This looks pretty easy and doable, or at least something I could attempt without hours of my day wasted on what will soon become nothing similar to a craft, more like trash!