Basics of Bobbin Lace

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Paul 1 month ago.

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  • #15634 Reply

    Bobbin lace can be incredibly beautiful, but it’s equally intimidating. Tiny threads, specialized materials and patterns that just look like grids and
    (See the full post at: Basics of Bobbin Lace)

    I'm an author here at How Did You Make This?.

  • #15635 Reply


    That was amazing!!!

  • #15636 Reply

    Renelle Legos

    It’s so weird that you posted this! I just started teaching myself how to make bobbin lace and I did come up with a cheap replacement for bobbins that work just as well and they actually look incredibly similar to actual bobbins. I think I paid 89 cents to make two instead of the much higher prices. I’m going to write a post on my tumblr about it soon. If you want me to let you know when it’s up, I’ll be glad to!

  • #15637 Reply


    Honestly the Lacis beginners kit is worth the $30 on Amazon. You not only get a self healing foam “pillow” to pin into you get bobbins that are great for learning and that I’ve found perfect for heavier thread laces.

    There are a number of beginner bobbin alternatives. There’s a way with beads and kabob sticks, but basic pencils are great. The eraser and the hitch keep the thread from moving. I’ve also seen popsicle sticks. Here is my concern as a lace maker and teacher. These alternatives “work”, however, making the lace is more than the thread weaving. A HUGE part of it is the tension which the bobbins provide. Also building up muscle memory/hand movement. Many of the “real” bobbins you find are a certain style for a reason; they are for making a certain type of lace with a certain type of thread.

    If you decide to pursue this hobby I recommend getting a nice pillow and bobbins – spangled midlands or square continentals – they work with most all lace styles. Like all things good equipment make a difference. Also, check out the International Organization of Lace for a local lace group and teacher…we do it for free.

  • #15638 Reply


    Been a lacemaker for years I can direct you to amazon where you can purchase 2 dozen bobbins for 14.95. Your clothes pins will not suffice when sewings are needed. Not to mention the lacemakers knot used on the bobbins help to keep hands off the thread. This is not possible with the use of clothes pins.
    You beginner pieces look nice however.

    The mess from Lacis is known among lacers as the pillow from hades. You can purchase pillows from vansciver bobbins, snow goose or just use housing insulation and cover with 100 percent cotton. We do this for people coming into lace as a newcomer. It’s inexpensive and efficient.

  • #15639 Reply


    Ps. Insulation board. You can get several pillows from a board. Sorry

  • #15640 Reply

    Mini Monster

    i’m sorry, am i being really stupid here (not a first) but i cant seem to find the bit which actually tells you how to wrap the thread around the pins? again, just might be being stupid but… i just can’t find it!

  • #15641 Reply


    I can’t find it either!

  • #15642 Reply


    I’m with you on not wanting to spend any money – not even $15 – until giving it a go. I’m trying to figure out what I have around the house that I can use to see how I go.

  • #15643 Reply


    What about using pencils and nails or pins? You could get several out of a full sized pencil or use those kid sets of short colored pencils. Place a suitable sized nail or pin in the lead, a drip of glue to hold it in place, and a layer or two of clear polish over the sharpened point so you don’t get any marks on your clothes/lace/whatever. If getting several from a pencil with eraser, make sure the eraser end is the bottom of the bobbin.

  • #15644 Reply


    I spent 0$. I used long bolts I had in the house. They were similar to the real thing: round, heavy, and long enough I could grab. I made them matching pairs by adding a bead (also in house) to each pair. Also had in the house: crochet thread, extra sleeping pillow, and pins. Found a youtube how-to video and make-shift equipment worked pretty well. All except the pillow, folded in half, I layed the pattern 90* the wrong way but it still worked. (I do have previous macrame experience that came in handy.)

  • #20975 Reply


    Here’s a link to Jenny Brandis’ site with instrux for making bobbins from bamboo skewers, beads and paper…

    And Brenda Paternoster’s site with instrux for making them just out of paper…

    The Lacis basic kit is a nightmare. You’re better off making your own.

    Insulation board breaks down fairly quickly. Ethafoam makes good pillows. It is chemically inert and self-heals. You can find it at packaging stores. Cover with a layer of thin quilt batting, then dark colored cotton…blue is relaxing.


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  • #23091 Reply

    Hypnos son of Hades

    I have just gotten into bobbin lace as well, and not willing to spend a lot of money on the materials, I tried using markers as bobbins. They work very well (for me) – the thing on the marker cap holds the thread down.

  • #23355 Reply

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  • #23378 Reply


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