Every knitter or crocheter knows the struggle of keeping your yarn in one place while working. Without something to anchor the yarn in place, your yarn may roll all over the place, collecting dust from your carpet and even getting tangled.
That’s why having a yarn bowl to hold your yarn will help you feed the yarn to your project with ease, without it getting tangled.
While many knitters and crocheters do invest in a wooden yarn bowl for this purpose, there are so many things around the house that can be “converted” into yarn bowls.
In this article, we will show you how to make DIY yarn bowls out of everyday things. This DIY is a great way to save some money on a super useful item that can make knitting and crocheting a lot more pleasant!
15 Items To Transform Into a Yarn Bowl
But there’s also no need to go to the trouble of making one. There are so many household items that work just as well as any store-bought yarn bowl – and they’re much cheaper. You can’t beat free.
Here are some of the most common yarn bowl substitutes:
1. Storage Basket
If you have a storage basket that has handles, or a woven basket with some holes to feed the yarn through, these will make great yarn bowls!
You can place your yarn balls in the basket and feed the yarn through the handles to keep the yarn ball from jumping out of the basket while you work. You can use the basket to house several yarn balls at once, unlike most yarn bowls, which is great if you are doing colorwork.
Feeding the yarn through the handle or through any wide open spaces will add some extra tension to help you avoid tangles and keep your yarn in one place as you work!
2. Plant Pot
If you love to garden or keep houseplants, you probably have some small plant pots at home. The plant pots are designed with drainage holes at the bottom, but this design also makes them great as yarn bowls!
When you knit or crochet, simply feed the yarn through one of the drainage holes, then place the pot upside down to “trap” the yarn ball inside. This tip will work better if you have a slightly heavy ceramic pot since it won’t be knocked around as the yarn is pulled. You will then have a great DIY yarn bowl to assist you with your craft!
3. Large Bowl With a Binder Clip
A great alternative for a yarn bowl is a regular bowl that you have around at home. You can “transform” this household item into a yarn bowl with a binder clip, which will act as an extra loop to guide your yarn.
You can insert your yarn through the handles of the binder clip to add some tension to the yarn, which will keep the yarn ball inside your bowl as you knit or crochet.
4. Tote Bag
You likely have a few tote bags, or even plastic bags, in your house. You can utilize a tote bag as a yarn bowl by hanging it on the side of a chair, popping your yarn inside, and leaving the working strand out.
As you work, the ball of yarn can roll around inside the bag as the yarn is fed to your needles, but it won’t be rolling all over your carpet.
However, since the tote bag is fabric, you will want to avoid it if you have natural fiber that tends to shed a lot since the friction won’t be good for your yarn. If this is the case, you can use a plastic bag, which will also get the job done!
5. Soup Mug
A big soup mug can be a wonderful yarn bowl. The design itself already resembles a yarn bowl, but you will need to insert the yarn thread through the mug’s handle, which will keep the yarn from popping out of the mug as you work.
6. Water Pitcher
A tall and skinny water pitcher, especially one with the lid, is probably the best DIY yarn bowl on this list. The tall and skinny design will keep your yarn ball in one place – it won’t accidentally pop out when you pull out the yarn.
If your pitcher has a lid, you simply have to thread the yarn through the water opening and close the lid, and you should have a very sturdy yarn bowl that will keep your yarn in place while you work.
Similar to a pitcher, a teapot also has a wonderful design to act as a yarn bowl. You can pop the yarn inside the teapot and feed the yarn through the teapot’s snout. This “yarn bowl” is quite secure; it keeps the yarn ball in place while adding the right amount of tension to your work.
A colander, especially one with bigger holes, can help you hold several balls of yarn at once, which is great for colorwork. You can pop the yarn inside, feed the yarn through one of the holes, and you should have a very useful yarn bowl.
Since these holes are often quite tiny, this tip will only work with smaller strands like sock yarn.
Also, if your yarn is very delicate (for example, mohair silk), the pulling against metal may cause your yarn to break as you work, so you will want to use other “yarn bowls” if you are using delicate materials.
9. Ziploc Bags
This item is one that you can easily find at home, and it is great to hold one or several smaller balls of yarn. You can place the yarn inside the bag, pull out the yarn thread through the opening, and seal, leaving a small gap for the yarn to pull through.
Admittedly, this method only works if you need a quick fix since the bag’s opening can become undone after some time, and you will need to reseal it to continue working. However, this is still a valid option if you need a quick option with items you can find around the house.
10. Empty Soda Bottle
If you have an empty soda bottle, it’s great to repurpose it, so it doesn’t go to landfills. You can transform a soda bottle into a yarn bowl by cutting out the bottle’s bottom to insert the yarn and feed the yarn through the bottle’s mouth opening.
This method would work best if you have a center-pull ball of yarn, which means that the yarn is pulled from the center of the ball, not the outside. Otherwise, it can be a bit hard to pull the yarn from the outside of the yarn ball, as the bottle may not be big enough for the yarn to roll around in.
11. Paper Towel Holder
If you pull yarn from the outer side of a skein or cake, you may find that a paper towel holder can be a wonderful yarn bowl. Similar to a thread spool, you will need to insert the yarn securely in the paper towel holder and make sure that the yarn can rotate around the rod.
Your paper towel holder will need to be quite heavy and sturdy to keep it from falling over due to the constant pulling. However, you will find that a paper towel holder is quite a practical and useful solution.
12. Empty Lysol Container
An empty Lysol container is designed to be repurposed as a yarn bowl! The lid already has an opening for the yarn to feed through. If you want, you can even make the opening a bit bigger by cutting away the plastic pieces at the opening.
You will only need to pop the yarn inside, pull the thread through the opening and close the inner lid, and you should have a yarn bowl that does the job!
13. Tissue Box
Similar to a Lysol bottle, a tissue box would also work great as a yarn bowl. If you have a plastic or ceramic tissue box that opens at the bottom, you can just insert the yarn through the opening, put the yarn inside the box, and close it at the bottom.
This option will also work if you have an empty paper tissue box. You will need to open the seal at the bottom of the paper box to place the yarn inside and seal it back up with tape to secure it while you work.
14. A To-Go Cup
What else has an opening at the lid that can be repurposed as a yarn bowl? A to-go cup with lid! You can use any to-go cup that you can often find in coffee shops and fast-food chains – a big-sized cup would work with almost every type of yarn.
Simply put the yarn inside the cup, feed the yarn through the mouth or straw opening in the lid, and voila! A cheap and practical yarn bowl is at your service.
15. Coffee Can
A coffee can is another great solution if you are looking for a sturdy option to hold your yarn ball in one place. A quick DIY is required – you will need to drill or poke a small hole in the plastic lid to insert the yarn.
If you don’t mind the quick DIY, a tin can is a great and permanent solution if you need a big and sturdy yarn bowl.