diy project: ashley’s wooden spool photo holders

long time readers may remember ashley’s amazing wooden palette day bed from last year. i love the way her projects manage to blend a worn-in vintage look into a stylish modern setting. these adorable photo holders are no exception; the vintage spool turns the image into a little sculpture! you can swap the images out easily, prop them wherever you please, and best of all, you don’t have to  buy any expensive frames. it’s a great way to have more photos  around the house without having all of them displayed in uniform fashion, and these take about thirty seconds to make. CLICK HERE to read more about this project and see more of ashley’s beautiful photography work. thanks for sharing, ashley! -kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


– hand saw
– wooden spools (you can often find vintage ones on ebay or at flea markets, but new ones look great too)
– sand paper
– photographs


1. Slowly saw a slit in the spool. Getting it started is the hardest part, go slow. Once you get past the edges it cuts very easily.

2. Saw all the way to the middle and make the opening large enough to fit the mounted photos. Sand the wood down.

3. Slide your photo into the slot. Larger photos may require a spool on either edge.



This is such a cute idea…practical too! Makes it easier to switch pictures in and out. Thanks for sharing.


what a great and simple project! On my way to a flea market now, perhaps I’ll look for some cool-looking spools!


Are you using anything to support the actual photo? I’ve tended to find in the past that ‘propped up’ photos (e.g. leant against book shelves) tend to curl over on themselves. Does the good support at the bottom here avoid this?


Helen, the photos are mounted on syrene board so they don’t need extra support and they won’t curl over. You can order photos mounted on foam board or mat board from most photo processing companies. has some great options.


Bellissimo! I just bought a bag of wooden spools at an antique market last month (with some minor guilt given I had no plan for what I might use them for!) Thanks so much for sharing this clever idea!

Nidhi Saxena

Indeed a creative idea! I shall try the same and to add on will paint it with some metallic finish. Thank you so much for sharing this simple yet beautiful idea.


I love the simplicity and charm of this diy. I also enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing.


Really cute, but I cut the heck out of my thumb after about 20 strokes. Safety tips might be useful!


I have a huge box of these old wooden spools, not knowing what to do with them. Thanks for a great idea!