DIY yarn machine in preschool

This is a simple way I use for children to get their own yarn and to help keep the yarn organized in the process…..

I call this my yarn machine. It is very basic – you just drop a ball of yarn (make sure it is a ball) in a tissue box then thread one end of the yarn through either the top of the box or through a hole in the side of the box…

These boxes are actually taped together so I can pick up the entire unit and put it away…

I use the tissue boxes as individual boxes too like when we made our spider webs yesterday…

I was going to paint or cover each box with paper the same color as yarn in the box but decided that it was fine like it is for now. The kids can easily tell which color of yarn is in each box based on the thread that is coming out of the box…

So – there you have it! My DIY Yarn Machine:)

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By |2011-10-26T06:00:31+00:00October 26th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Amber October 26, 2011 at 7:37 am - Reply

    Great idea to tape them all together to move as a unit. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      I have them set up on a shelf and by taping them together – they don’t dump over or get lost:)

  2. Sara W October 26, 2011 at 7:49 am - Reply

    I really like this idea because I never know what to do with my yarn so it doesn’t get unrolled into a big mess!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      I am glad you like it!

  3. Schedule5 October 26, 2011 at 8:20 am - Reply


    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm - Reply


  4. jackie October 26, 2011 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Brilliant, Deborah! I love it!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      Thank you Jackie!

  5. Chris October 26, 2011 at 8:42 am - Reply

    Oh, I love ideas that make life simpler. No more grumpy untangling messes! Ta

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      Haha! For sure!

  6. stephanie a. October 26, 2011 at 10:22 am - Reply

    thanks, deborah, for mentioning it because we’re making your spider webs today and I was wondering how to let them self-serve on the yarn. I wonder if I can use the long tissue boxes and stick two or three different colors in there.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      I hope the spider webs went well!

  7. Natalie October 26, 2011 at 11:38 am - Reply

    I think I will try this idea to keep my yarn tamed when I’m knitting at home too!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      Could work for lots of different reasons!

  8. Mama Pea Pod October 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    How absolutely brilliant!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Thank you:)

  9. Karen @ PreKinders October 26, 2011 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    Great idea!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks Karen!

  10. Kimira October 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    That, Deborah, is the cleverest thing I ever saw. I have been keeping a too close reign on the yarn because it gets tangled too easily and it is super difficult to untangle it. So the girls cant do yarn craft without my tight control. This is a great idea to implement, maybe with milk cartons on a smaller scale. I’ll post once I get it up. Thanks

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      Haha – there are probably lots of ways to vary the idea – go for it and loosen up those reins!

  11. Marcia October 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Adorable and practical 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 26, 2011 at 11:50 pm - Reply

      Thank you Marcia:)

  12. Teacher Tom March 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    You know, Deborah, my mom made something like this years ago for her garden twine. She used a small coffee can and put a small hole in the lid. I even now have it at school to use with our garden twine, but it NEVER occurred to me to use it for our yarn. I swear, I avoid using yarn sometimes because while I’m not afraid of messes, I seem to have a phobia about tangles (and the subsequent waste). THANK YOU!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 31, 2012 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Tom – I must admit that keeping yarn out and about for the kids has always been something I avoided because of having to deal with tangles and balls of yarn unrolling throughout the room. It always seemed like so much work, so I can relate to your tangle phobia. When I sat down to try and figure out how to keep the yarn from becoming such a headache, it dawned on me that I just needed a container with a hole and I came up with a tissue box. I have had the same balls of yarn in my tissue box since the beginning of the school year. I have shown the children how to pull out what they truly need and cut it off. There have been a few occasions that it has gotten stuck and I have had to pull the yarn out and see why but with a little tug here and there, it works like a charm. I wouldn’t even consider putting out a ball of yarn again in my classroom without first tossing it in an empty tissue box:) I love it!

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