DIY Drop Spindle: Take 2

Last week I gave away my two bottom-whorl spindles (the Celtic one and a plain one), along with some fibre, to two lovely young ladies new to the SCA to get them addicted too encourage the craft. This is all well and fine with me (I can’t wait to see how they do!), but it does leave me with nothing by my now-definitely-too-heavy furniture-caster spindle and my ugly-but-zippy top-whorl clay spindle. Of course for me, this means time to make more spindle whorls!

The art-clay is fine, but I’ve now observed that it takes a good few days to fully cure, and let’s just say I’m not renowned for patience… I thought this time around I’d try polymer clay: I bought me some Fimo from the local art store ($2.50 ea.), which can be “fired” in your own oven. I also hoped that the polymer clay could make some “prettier” spindles :)

I found this great little tutorial on making Lentil Swirled Beads (such a cool site! check out her other stuff, too!), and tried to follow her directions. I didn’t get nearly as spiral-ly beads as I’d hopes, but I was using inferior tools (a CD case and dinnerplate). I made one large bead with about 1/3 pkg red & 1/3 pkg black, and a smaller one using maybe 1/4 red & black with a blob of white .

large polymer clay spindle-whorl
This spindle is bigger than it looks; maybe a little too heavy, even, but I’m learning good things about spindle weight through these experiments.

small polymer clay spindle whorl
This spindle is smaller than it looks, with a bamboo skewer shaft (not dowel). It’s my favorite of this bunch.

Then I smooshed some stuff together that hadn’t been working out well at all into a funny little high-whorl.

polymer clay high-whorl top
(top view)
polymer clay high-whorl underside

On the whole, these spindles are still not quite as pretty as I’d hoped, but I have some faith that with practice I could have success with polymer clay (how about a Faux Ivory spindle?). For now, it remains inexpensive, accessable (more so than wood and woodworking tools!), and quick (even though I didn’t get around to firing them until the next night); I’d definitely recommend other home-spindle-makers to “give it a whirl”!



Filed under crafting, drop-spindle, how-to, spinning

6 responses to “DIY Drop Spindle: Take 2

  1. I love the swirl spindle! You could definitely make up a tutorial on how to make such spindles for Knitty!

  2. Em

    Really? You think so? That would be too cool…

  3. There you go done did it! I’ve dabbled in poly-clay for some time back in 2004 and loved it most of the time. (I couldn’t get past certain techniques and so go bored). I’d never really given the idea of making whorls with clay much thought until I’d read about it once on another blog. But I still have some supplies left and I might have to try this.

    Thing is.. I don’t know how big your lentil bead is but I think a skewer wouldn’t be the right size shaft for something that heavy. That said, have you tried using it as sort of a support spindle? All I’ve ever heard was that dropping poly-clay items breaks them like nobody’s business(and I know it’s true), so I don’t suppose a person would not want to be dropping theirs, especially if they are new to spinning. I personally would also like to explore supported spindle spinning anyway and I’m just thinking aloud :).

    Thank you for being an inspiration!

  4. moe moe

    Is there a recipe to make the whorl unbreakable when there done ?
    please email me

  5. jordan c

    I am wondering if you baked the whorl with the stick inside or if you fitted them together after baking?

  6. I’ve been enjoying reading your spinning posts especially the DIY ones. I bought a spinning beginners kit start of this week and I’m hooked. lol!
    It came with a top whorl….but I want to try a bottom whorl and a suspend spindle so have been contemplating what I can do with a crochet hook, hair ‘chopstick’, broken earing and some polymer clay.

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