ashley englishsmall measures

Small Measures: DIY Colored Baker’s Twine

by Ashley

I’m what you might call a simple kind of lady. My personal care routine is about as straightforward as it gets; I prefer the quiet company of friends and loved ones in intimate settings to the wild riot of the city; and I drink my coffee from a French press, with cream and nothing else. That said, I do like a bit of flourish this time of year, especially if it comes in the form of a cleverly adorned package.

Whenever I receive a package that comes with a creative embellishment or decorative presentation, I’m completely smitten. Since the holiday season is seriously upon us, a bit of DIY decor of my own is in order. For today’s Small Measures, I’m sharing my method for creating colored baker’s twine. With a few tools, you’ll be turning out skein after skein of decorative twine, in any color combination you see fit. Simple, yes. But stunning, too? Indeed. Happy holidays, friends! — Ashley English

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Considering the cost of commercially available colored twine and how long it could take to have it shipped to you in time for holiday gifting, making your own twine at home is the win-win solution. You save money, get to trick out your twine in whatever color (or color combination) you please and the whole project is completed in less than 30 minutes. The finished product will have a flecked look, not the regulated, mechanical look of commercially manufactured twine. But that’s part of its appeal, I think. The rusticity offered by do-it-yourself colored twine makes your finished package feel so genuine and sincere.

Giving a Hanukkah gift? Color your twine blue and silver. Got a niece who can’t get enough purple in her life? Pull out your plum hues and get busy. Have a pal who loves the season’s festivities and merriment but likes a darker palette? Black twine it is! Everyone wins with this twine, folks. Everyone.

Colored Baker’s Twine

The Goods

  • kitchen twine, any width
  • scotch tape
  • scissors
  • cardboard
  • colored markers
  • ruler


The Deal

1. Begin by cutting a piece of cardboard about 4″ wide and 6″ to 8″ long.

2. Cut a length of kitchen twine. The length you cut will depend on the amount of a given color you’d like to have on hand. I used anywhere from 2 feet to 2 yards for each batch of twine I made.

3. Use a small bit of tape to affix the twine to the top of the cardboard on one side.

4. Begin to wind the twine around the wide part of the cardboard. Hold the cardboard with your dominant hand, using your other hand to wrap the twine.

5. Push the twine together as you wind, keeping each strand right against the one above it. It shouldn’t be so tight that there’s no wiggle room, but it also shouldn’t be so loose that it slides.

6. When you’ve wound as much twine as you’d like to use on a given color (or color combo, as it may be), cut the twine from the spool. Use a bit of tape to attach it to the bottom portion of the cardboard.

7. Using the ruler as a guide, draw a line with a colored marker from the top of the twine down the length of the cardboard to where the twine ends.

8. Continue making equidistant parallel lines all the way across the width of cardboard. If you’d like to use a second color, using the ruler, repeat steps 7–8, filling in the exposed white twine between each line created by the first batch of colored lines.

9. Flip over the piece of cardboard and repeat steps 7–8.

10. Remove the pieces of tape. Unravel the twine, flip it over and repeat steps 3–8.

What about you? Got any simple yet lovely go-to decor tricks and tips for making packages gorgeous? I’d love to hear them. A little extra something something this time of year can make a world of difference.

Photos and styling by Jen Altman

Suggested For You


  • This is exacty the wrapping style I have used for over a decade! Infact the simplicity spills over into my holiday decor as well! There is just something about brown craft paper that makes any present seem timeless. Bakers twine is also a great choice. It already comes candy cane striped!

  • Perfect! I’m going to try this today. After I finish my french press coffee + cream!

  • I feel terrible saying this but, you can buy the exact wrapping paper and twine at an IKEA for under two dollars. May not be worth the time DIYing.

  • Design Sponge, how do you always know what I NEED? You’re the best. All of you.

  • tarra-absolutely, baker’s twine is a wonderful option, if you can find it. i love that this twine is something you can whip up in a pinch.

    jm-indeed, if an affordable, easy purchase from ikea works, then by all means go for it, i say. if, though, you don’t live near an ikea (like me!), and want something you can personalize in terms of both a wide range of color options (more than just the standard green or red & white stripes) and character that shows through in the hand-crafted, non-mechanized character of DIY colored twine, then this craft would be a nice alternative.

  • This is great also for people not living in the US, I’m from Uruguay and we don´t have baker’s twine here. It’s too bad because I love the look, but now thanks to you I can whip up some to wrap my presents! Awesome!!!

  • Glancing at the picture quickly, I actually thought the first one was silver twine. I might try this by using silver paint instead. Leaving it a little uneven but sparkly. Thanks for the idea!

  • At first when I realized you were going to use markers to make the colors I thought oh not this will be time consuming and crazy. But when I saw how easy I just loved it. I have all my stuff for Christmas but what lovely color combinations are floating in my head for other crafts and gift packages though out the year. Thanks.

  • Even better – draw the stripes at an angle for a more traditional look. Fun project for a snowy afternoon!

  • I actually think the rectangles of cardboard with the decorated and colored twine wrapped around them look so cool, you could just hang them up on the wall in a row for a fantastic piece of textured art. Seriously–they are beautiful objets d’art even before they are unwrapped and put to use.

  • I definitely take more pride in my wrapping than un the present itself…love this simple stylish approach, off to buy supplies tomorrow!

  • This is such a brilliant idea; thanks, once again, Ashley, for your inspiration.

    I don’t often read the comments after a post, but am glad I did this time. Fran Pelzman Liscio and I went to college together! Hey, Fran!

  • Thanks for the inspiration. It will come in handy for Valentwine’s Day, mixed with fun fibers on my whimsical dolls.