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Topic: Cheap, fast, easy baker's twine diy  (Read 1616 times)
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« on: December 27, 2013 08:28:30 AM »

[Long-suffering mods: I don't know if this belongs here. Feel free to move it to a moore appropriate forum. Thanks!]

Love baker's twine but not the price? Or maybe the color selection doesn't match your taste? You can make your own in any color combination you like.

You will need:

Embroidery floss, twine, yarn or other stringlike stuff in colors of your choice
Cup hook or screweye
Drill (power screwdrivers and electric drills work fine; I like a manual because it makes it more kid-friendly and fun)
Cabinet handle, nail or other anchor in an open space. I like the latch on my front door lock.
Charming assistant

A few words before we start:

Tools. Fun. Dangerous. You know the story. Be careful.

Start small. At least the first few times, keep each length of string no longer than your height.

[Sorry for the lack of action photos. It isn't a visually complex or entertaining process, I'm afraid.]


1. Mount the cup hook in the chuck of your drill.

2. Cut equal lengths of string and knot them together at one end.

3. Make a slip knot on either end of your now magically double-length string.

4. Put one loop onto the cup hook and the other on your anchor. Snug them down.

5. Step back until the string draws taut.

6. Examine the string for an existing twist. The floss I use is usually left-handed, meaning it rotates counterclockwise (dunno if other brands are similar, or if textiles in the southern hemisphere are opposite). This corresponds with the reverse direction on a power drill.

7. Run the drill in the same direction as the twist. Try to keep the action smooth and even while keeping the string taut. You will probably have to move up a little as the string shortens.

8. Periodically stop and have your charming assistant snap the string at the center knot a few times to encourage even tension on both halves. This is especially important when the two halves are different materials, e.g. one cotton and one metallic.

9. Since it depends on factors including length, material, drill speed and desired pattern, it is impossible to say how long it will take. Test for tightness of twist by holding the string a foot or two from the drill and relaxing the end.

When you have achieved optimum twistiness for your purposes, give the drill a last burst and give the knot another twang.

10. Have CA hold the string at the knot while you walk the drill over to the anchor. It is a little dance to keep both sides taut, so you may want to play music.

11. Working carefully to keep the string from unwinding, slip each loop off of its hook and knot the ends together. Don't let go just yet.

12. Take both strings together halfway between the ends in your free hand. Holding them loosely, let go of your end at the same time as CA does. Hold them apart as they spin to keep them from tangling together. Stop them and tease apart any bunched portions. Check for evenness of tension partway through and adjust if needed. With practice long lengths can be made by letting it twist up a little at a time, but keeping the tension even can take some trial and error.

Voila! Next to commercial baker's twine for comparison:

It really is harder to describe than to do.

I knot the ends to keep it from unraveling each time I cut off a piece. When the end is looser than the middle, I tighten the twist and anchor it down with another knot.

Tangles can be unwound and either retwisted or used for another project.

For a look at the same technique used to make autumn leaf swags, see:

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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2013 09:04:47 AM »

great idea!

« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2013 09:28:30 AM »

So you spin them backwards, then ply them together? That is brilliant! This looks very fun and easy. Thanks for the tutorial.

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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2013 09:47:30 AM »

Thanks jexxican and bunny! It really is easy, and fun for kids too. They love cranking the hand drill.
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2013 04:26:59 PM »

Neat idea!!  I think it works here Smiley 

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