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Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder



Molly Kozera of Bit O' Shine shares this wonderful papercraft tutorial. Turn an ordinary oatmeal container (or similar sized container) into a pretty yarn holder. This makes a quick and thrifty Mother's Day gift for a mom who crochets or knits.

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder


  • Empty 42oz size oatmeal container
  • White school glue
  • 2 inch paint or sponge brush
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Razor/craft knife
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Pencil
  • Wallpaper scrap large enough to cover container
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Clear gloss sealant in spray can
  • Assorted trims and embellishments


With drying times (and several other things going on), this project took me two days.

A few months ago my friend Judy handed me an empty oatmeal container and asked, "Can you make me a steampunk yarn holder out of this?"

Oatmeal Container

She'd just given me a ton of gorgeous beads so how could I not want to reciprocate and do something nice for her? Since then, the container has been staring at me from my floor while I pondered the materials I would use to transform it. This weekend, it all came together. To thoroughly cover the original container design, I used a scrap of white, paintable wallpaper. Wallpaper? Yep! Kimm gave me the idea - check this out.

I traced my container onto the back of the wallpaper with a pencil and carefully cut out the size I would need.

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder 2

Using regular white glue, I poured a lot on the back of the wallpaper. I probably could have used water to moisten the pre-glued wallpaper, but considering I am applying this to cardboard, I didn't think that would be a good idea.

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder 3

Once the glue was spread I carefully lined up my container and rolled it along, pressing firmly to make sure there were no bubbles. Once it was on, I walked away and let it dry for a few hours.

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder 4

When I was sure the glue was dry under the wallpaper I took a razor knife and trimmed the excess paper around the plastic area where the lid goes. If you don't do this, your lid won't snap shut properly.

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder 5

Then I made a wash (part paint, part water) out of two colors of acrylic craft paint - burnt umber and metallic gold. I only used a few drops of the gold paint since I wanted a subtle sheen. I applied the wash with a large brush and let the first coat dry. Then I came back and brushed on a second, heavier coat, blotting at it with a paper towel to leave some places a little darker and to make the design have more depth and a more aged look.

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder 6

I then let the whole thing dry overnight.

Though glued, painted, and dried, the wallpaper is still a bit fragile and I applied two coats of spray can clear sealant to protect it.

Now for the lid! I have a great piece of scrapbook paper that looks like leather so I traced the lid onto the back of the paper, cut it out, and mod podge'd it onto the top of the lid.
Once the glue was dry I gave it two coats of clear sealant as well.

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder 7

Now for the embellishments! Steampunk style, being inspired by Victoriana is meant to be functional but gorgeous and detailed at the same time. This in mind, I dug out the trims and tacks. The points on the tacks were too long - they would have poked all the way through the container, so using some heavy duty wire cutters, I snipped the sharp bits off and dug out the glue gun.

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder 8

I applied my embellishments to places where they could be functional as well - such as added reinforcement to hold down the seams. All the embellishments were hot glued.

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder 9

Then I cut a hole through the lid using a razor knife so that the yarn can come through and the container doesn't have to be open. I would have liked to put a gromet there, but I didn't have any. sad face
And just for fun I added "knit" and "purl" with stickers that look like old tyepwriter keys.

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder 10

It's also a good idea to take a lightly damp cloth to the interior of the container to remove any oatmeal dust left in there. Technically there is nothing steam powered about this, but it does have a "period piece" look to it, right?

Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder 11

If you decide to make your own oatmeal container yarn holder, be sure that, whatever materials you use to cover it, they are sealed, protected and functional. And most importantly - let your imagination go wild!

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My mom made a few of these for her knitting needles and yarn out of the Quaker oatmeal boxes when I was a child. She covered them with recycled gift wrapping paper. Its nice to see the instructions for them again.

ebrowncrochet 0644937

My mother and I both crochet. I cannot wait to make one of these, or should I say 2 of these, especially because I do have some extra (left over) textured wall paper. I also do crafting, so I'm sure I'll have quit a few small decorations to put on our pretty new yarn holders. I'm sure Mom will love hers too. I'll let you know. Thank you.

hrenee2008 4247539

That's a cool idea, I'M a crocheter and having some trouble with my yarn. Thank You.

caroleisentrager 0627727

This is a neat idea and one I WILL create! I am forever chasing down yarn! Thank you!

Deb in the Land of the Waterfalls

wonderful way to reuse oatmeal container. I do knitting and crochet, so I am definitely going to try this craft project. Thank you.

jereenah 7857586

This is also great done on large hot chocolate containers from sams club, lots of fun endless posibilities. also add a handle and make it an easy carry project.You can also add pocket in outside for storage of crochet hook or knitting supplies.

wgailhowe 5225008

I love this idea. One thing that I like to do, especially when using a lot of colors on one project, is crochet a short chain, and attach it to a small loop in my border. This lets me know exactly which color I have in each container.


I have several jars[plastic] that popcorn and other items came in them. They are clear so I don;t decrate them. I punch a hole in the lid put my yarn in and pull it through the hole and I have a place tohold yarn. I nave seen items similar costing up to 9.99. Mine was cheap as I go to the $ stores to get them. Mary

Mary M

I just made one of these to hold my yarn. I added a large grommet to the center of the lid. this will keep the stress of the yarn to a minimum against the lid.

afks05 3189800

Boy, does this ever bring back memories. In 1944 we lived with my grandparents. My grandmother crocheted every day making queen-sized bedspreads. My sister and I made her oatmeal box containers to hold the many balls of crochet thread. I still remember doing it till today.

gre8dean 5895856

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