Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pleater Thread Box

I am still super busy but I wanted to show you something that helps me save time. My Pleater Thread Box.

To make one of your own you will need:
  1. Plastic thread box that will hold at least 24 large spools of thread. Thread box need to be wide enough for your pleater to sit on.
  2. 1 inch wide sticky back Velcro
  3. spools of quilting thread (this will be your biggest expense)
  4. Ice pick
  5. Gas stove ( if you don't have one find a friend that does)
On the hinge side of the plastic thread box measure up about 3/4-1 inch. Draw a horizontal line across the entire hinge side. I used a washable marker. This is to mark your thread hole line.

You can eyeball the spaces between the holes or you can measure and mark 24 thread holes.

Safety warning! To make the holes you are going to use a ice pick and a gas stove. This is not something to do while you are distracted with small children trying to help, have dinner in the oven or are mad at anyone. :-)

Okay, everyone one calm?:-) Lets continue.........

To make the holes you need to place the end of the ice pick into the flame of the gas stove. This might also work with a gas grill but I have never tried it.

After the ice pick has been in the flames for about a minute or so bring it immediately over to the thread box. Keeping the ice pick straight up and down (if not your holes will be at an angle) place the tip of the ice pick where you want your hole to be.

The ice pick should go through the plastic like butter. You should not have to apply any pressure or use any force. If the ice pick does not go through the plastic very easily then you need to heat the ice pick for a little bit longer.

Reheat the ice pick and repeat the process to make 24 holes.

You might have a little plastic lip or ridge form around the hole but to not worry is can be picked off after the plastic has cooled completely.

Fill your thread box with as many spools of thread you can afford. My thread box has alternating spools of pink and white hand quilting thread.

Look at your spools of thread and find the little notch that is usually on the side of the rim. Place the spools of thread with this notch downward. If not, the thread will catch on this notch while you are pleating.

Note: this thread box use to have 24 spools of thread. I have been cannibalising (taking/stealing /reassigning ownership) from it for other projects. I will replace them when I find a good sale.

Now the hard part. Thread the holes with alternating colors of quilting threads. Leave about a 8 inch tail. If you don't have 24 spools of thread do not worry. Just place the thread you have in alternating colors.

Once you are done. Bring all the ends of the threads together and pull slowly. Is every thing pulling freely? If not make some adjustment till they all do.

Lay all the threads down in front of the pleater box. Take your sticky back Velcro and pull apart the two pieces. One side is soft and fuzzy, this is the loop side. The other side is rougher. This is the Hook side of the Velcro.

Peel the stick back paper off the Hook side of the Velcro. Stick it to the plastic box behind the thread holes you made.

Bring your threads up and lay them separately on the Velcro. The Hook side of the Velcro will act as combs/channels that the thread can travel through.

Take the loop side of the Velcro and place it on top of the Hook side. Press down. You can leave the sticky back tape on or you can remove it and apply a ribbon of your choice or you can replace it with a piece of Sew On Velcro of the same width.

Place your Pleater on top of the thread box and thread your pleater as needed. And your done!


  1. What an absolutely clever idea. I'm going to bookmark this post for future reference. Thank you!

  2. Janet, the only thing better than this idea would be to have YOU come pleat for me! :)


  3. I found it was easier to get a drill with a tiny bit and drill holes

  4. Who sells these thread boxes? I don't remember seeing them at a fabric store lately.

  5. Janet - Thanks so much for this. Before I found your instructions, I made my own thread box for my pleater, but it didn't work very well because I didn't know what I was doing. I'm going to do it the right way with your instructions.

  6. Love this idea. Will use Robins idea of using a drill and wind my thread onto bobbins so that I don't have to buy so many spools of quilters thread.

  7. I had wondered if this was possible. Thank you! One question, how do you secure your pleater on the top of the thread box? Also, I would appreciate more pictures on each step. Genius!

  8. The pleater just sits on the pleater box and is not secured. It does not move around when pleating because of the rubber feet on the bottom of my pleater.

    When I am finished pleating, my pleater goes back into its box and the pleater box back on the shelf.

  9. I love it. Will definitely do this. I was googling "pleater thread box" to see where I could get one and this came up. I thought I had read way back in your blog already but not far enough I guess. Thanks for sharing.

  10. New at this. Made a box but was hoping that I would not have to rethread the needles every time I change projects but can't wrap my head around how to make that happen. Help.

  11. The threads from my pleater box are coming up from the underside of my needles. I use a Clover Yarn threader to thread the needles.

  12. Fantastic idea! For the box and for threading from the bottom! I,too,had wanted to be able to keep it threaded. So this is how it's done? Wonderful. Thanks so much.