Oatmeal Container Yarn Holder


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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

I used an oatmeal box for a knitting needle holder the only difference is I used tape and made a checker board on the top and cut little X's in the open boxes to hold the needles put some stones or marbles in the bottom to keep my cats from knocking it over and TaDa my needles are out and handy. A vase works well also but I couldn't keep my cats away from it...they wanted to play with the marbles they could see. Cats love to reach into things :)

You did avery nice job on this container. I am sure yourfriendwill love it. It does have a Victorian feel to it.

Very clever idea.....I will do this one and will share it with my friends as well....Thank you.

This is so cute! Great gift idea!

This is such a clever and functional project. It would be great for kids to make for a loving and crafty grandmother or aunt. I am always looking for practical and fun ways to recycle intstead of tossing and this really fits the bill. Thanks for the ideas flowing for that almost empty container on my shelf. Oatmeal anyone?

What a great idea. Was going to buy my mother a yarn holder for Christmas, that was until I came across this. Hope I have one mede before Christmas arrives. (work,work,work & no play!)

This is a wonderful idea. I've been looking at yarn holders, but they're just too expensive. One suggestion: self-adhesive shelf paper would work, as well.

a brilliant idea .

I love it!!! And oatmeal is so good for us. I always hate to throw out the containers. The part I love best is the closeup detailed pictures. It will be so easy to follow your instructions.

I have made a similar item. I used an ice cream pint container for the kitchen cotton yarns. I used scraps of brocade and trim.

Hi, I am new to Fave Crafts and I am very happy to have so many craft and patterns at my restless fingertips. I especially love this Yarn holder from a simple Oatmeal container. Ive often felt bad at throwing away such containers that look like they have such potential. I can now make one to hold my yarn in as I am knitting with it. As of yet, Ive had to be so careful and always keep it out of reach of my little dog , a Havanese who thinks he is part cat and loves to play with yarn. Once he got the needles along with with the yarn and unraveled an entire project. So Thank You for this project!! Sandy R

this is a great idea! i have been wanting a yarn holder but have not wanted to spend the $$. and besides, i just hate throwing out those great containers! i'll make one for myself and give them as gifts for others. thank you for your cleverness and good instructions!

I really like this idea. I have so much scrap items and embelleshments . i am going to make one for myself ,and two others one for a knitting friend and one for my daughter who crochets. Thanks for the fun idea ,now i need wmpty oatmeal boxes.

And if you put holes along the side , you can use more than one ball of yarn for doing multiple color projects.

I really like this idea because it would be easily adaptable for individual styles and taste (and whatever you happen to have on hand). Thanks!

You can also use a 2 lb.coffee can and do the same thing if you don't have an empty oatmeal container. sasclown

We made these when I was a kid - in school I think or maybe at the summer recreation program We also made drums out of the oatmeal boxes too Another cool thing we did at school was we made Santa Boots out of the smaller oatmeal box and the rounded cornmeal box We made a hole in the bottom side of the oatmeal box and inserted the cornmeal box into the hole We then taped it with masking tape to hold it together and paper-macheted the entire boot filling it in to give it the boot shape It dried for a few days then we painted them red and glued cotton balls all around the top for the furry part The teacher had us set them in the window sill or somewhere and before Xmas she filled them with goodies to take home Mine was put out on the topRead More of the TV every year and we put candy canes in it - and we replaced the cotton balls each year too as they would yellow while being stored I don't know where that Boot went - but it was one of my favorite and longest-lasting kid crafts I ever made LOL

I am looking forward to making one of these for my daughter

I've seen a lot of these (2 in my closet!) but none this nice. I just happen to have an empty oatmeal box lying around here somewhere....

This was the type of article that I can relate to because it also had visual props.

Put several of these in a recycle bag and you have a protable project bag that keeps the different yarns from getting tangled.

When I was a kid we made 'drums' out of the oatmeal boxes. Since my son is now 22 I have been just throwing my old boxes away. I can't believe I did not think of this myself. I have made yarn holders out of two litre soda bottles, and a crochet hook holder out of a water bottle. I am going to make a few of these now. My mom still knits and could use several of these. Thanks.

What great Idea! I am going to make one for home and a smaller one to carry with me in the car and waiting for appointments. Thanks for the idea.

Wonderful idea. I can't wait to get the oatmeal box empty, so I can make me one. Thanks!!!


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