Portable yarn caddy

Sometimes when I’m knitting, I just know I look like an actor in one of those infomercials who intentionally makes using an everyday item look tedious for the purpose of selling a “new and improved” invention. Knitting is supposed to be relaxing, but you’d never guess it by watching me when I tug gently at my skein of yarn for more to work with, only to have it fly across the room into the paws of an overly eager to play cat…or onto the dirty floor of a hospital. If you craft with yarn in any way, you know the struggle is REAL. Some people have a fancy yarn bowl solution to this problem; my “new and improved” invention, though, had the humble beginnings of a plastic Ovaltine jar. But with a few cuts here, and some scrapbook paper glued on there, it became the yarn artist’s dream: a portable yarn caddy.

Yarn caddy

Yarn bowls are not a new thing, probably. But I just discovered them not long ago at a craft fair. A ceramicist had thrown some really beautiful clay versions that made my artsy heart flutter… and my wallet cry a little. So I have been admiring these fantastically simple contraptions for a while now. They are basically a soup bowl with a swirly hole carved out of one side to feed yarn through. (Genius!) As usual, I declared to myself that I could make one, or something like it. And, by Jove, today was the day it happened!

Mine looks a lot different, but it does the same job. It holds two smaller balls of yarn, the ends of which can be threaded from the inside out through two holes cut into the jar’s side. No more rollaway balls of yarn. No more looking like a bad infomercial actor, at least not while knitting. If yarn is a large part of your life, you’re gonna need one or two. And for two small payments of $4.99 this yarn caddy can be yours! Order in within the next 10 minutes, and I’ll throw a second yarn caddy in for FREE!

Haha…juuuuust kidding. 😉



  •  Ovaltine jar (or other plastic container with a lid that is big enough to hold yarn balls like a PB jar)
  • 2 different patterns or colors of scrapbook paper
  • glue
  • a box cutter
  • scissors
  • lace, buttons, glitter, etc.
  • a hole punch
  • 2 clear, hole reinforcement stickers


How to do it:

Measuring paper

  •  Begin by measuring out the piece of scrapbook paper that you will be gluing as a bit of decoration around your jar. You could measure this; or just lay the paper next to the jar, mark where to cut with a pencil, and eyeball it. (Guess which one I did.)

Punching holes

  • Next, mark small dots on the paper as a guide, and punch holes at these dots. I made one at the top and bottom parts of my paper since my 2 yarn balls will be stacked overtop of one another.

Lightly traced circle

  • Now, using your hole punched scrapbook paper as a guide, wrap it around the jar and trace the holes onto the jar with marker or pencil.

Hole cut in jar

  • Using a box cutter, cut around each of the circles you just traced onto the jar. Mine ended up being square instead of circular since I was pretty sure trying to be more precise would have landed me a gashed finger. The importance here is that the cut edges are smooth so that your yarn doesn’t snag on anything as it is pulled through.

Gluing the scrapbook paper around the jar

  • Now you’re ready to glue on the hole punched piece of scrapbook paper. Line up the holes in the paper with the holes you cut in the jar. The paper holes should be smaller than the jar holes and should nicely cover up the square-ness of the holes beneath them. *At this point, you can also add the hole reinforcement stickers. Since the holes are a “high traffic” area for moving yarn, you will want these to avoid rips and to keep your yarn caddy looking fresh in the future.

Lip of jar lid

  • You’re almost done! Locate the other piece of scrapbook paper that you will use to decorate your jar lid. The lid for my Ovaltine jar had a slight lip in between the outer edge and the middle part that you might be able to appreciate in this picture. I simply pressed my paper gently around this till I was left with a circular indentation. I traced this circle in pencil and then cut it out. You may have to make adjustments at this step depending on what your lid looks like.

Glue on circle for lid

  • Glue this circle to your lid.

Detail of finished yarn caddy

  • You can be finished here, but if you want to get a bit craftier, glue on some buttons, add some glitter, or stick on some stickers. I glued on a little scrap piece of lace around my jar’s top. If you do this, make sure to do it with the lid on.

Add a couple balls of yarn to your yarn caddy, and you’re off to the park, the doctor’s office, or your living room sofa next to a very disappointed cat. 😉

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