4 DIY Spool Cap Substitutes for When You’ve Lost your Spool Cap

Picture this: you sit down at your sewing machine, wind your bobbin and thread your machine. You’re just about to start sewing and then you realize your spool cap is missing. 

Now what?

Can you still use your machine?

A spool cap holds the spool of thread in place to give your machine an even feed of thread. Without this component, your spool will jump around and may come completely off of your machine. 

The spool cap is an important part of a sewing machine and many machines will not function properly without this piece. You’ll definitely want to order a replacement spool cap, but the good news is that there are several ways that you can make a temporary spool cap so can keep sewing!

How to Find a Replacement Spool Cap

The best solution for a missing spool cap is to replace it. If you’re not sure what type of spool cap your machine needs, look up the user manual. User manuals can easily be found online with a simple Google search. 

The user manual should have the spool cap part number so you can re-order the piece. You can find the replacement piece online or contact your local quilt shop to see if they can re-order the piece for you.

Most machines offer multiple different sizes of spool caps and they range from small to large. While any size spool cap will work, you’ll get the best results if you match the spool cap to the size of your spool of thread. If you’re ordering a replacement, choose the cap size that matches the spool size you most commonly use.

While getting a replacement spool will be best for the long term, there are several quick fixes you can do to keep your sewing machine functioning.

Four Spool Cap Substitutions

Rubber Band

A rubber band or hair tie is a great spool cap substitution. Wrap the rubber band around the spool pin several times so it stays snug on the pin. This will hold your spool of thread on the pin so you don’t have to worry about it coming loose.

When choosing a rubber band or hair tie, make sure it is not made of any harsh materials that will scratch your machine, like metal. If you don’t have a rubber band or hair tie available, try using a ribbon or twine!


This spool cap solution is a bit more DIY, but you can easily create a makeshift spool cap by cutting a hole in a piece of cardboard. 

Choose a piece of thick cardboard like a shipping box rather than a cereal box. Trim the cardboard into a square or circle that will fit on the end of your spool pin. Then cut a small hole in the center. Make sure that the hole isn’t too big because you want the cardboard to fit snugly on the spool pin. Push the cardboard onto the spool pin and you’ll have a great spool cap substitute! 

If your thread is getting caught on the jagged edges of your cardboard, try taping the rough edges so your thread can smoothly run over your substitute spool cap.


Similar to cardboard, a piece of plastic will be the perfect spool cap substitute in a pinch!

Choose a thick piece of plastic like a milk jug or soda bottle. Cut a circle out of the plastic and then cut a small hole through the center. Be careful not to make the center hole too big or else the plastic won’t stay in place on the spool pin. Slide the plastic onto the spool pin for a quick makeshift spool cap.

If the rough edges of your plastic are catching your thread, use tape around the edges to create a smooth surface for the thread to run over. 

Cup or Bowl

Depending on if you have a vertical or horizontal spool pin, you may be able to use a cup or a bowl to place your spool of thread into. If you have a vertical spool pin, use a cup and if you have a horizontal spool pin, use a bowl. Place the cup or bowl behind your machine for a nice even feed.

This method may or may not work well depending on your machine, but it can be such a great solution that some sewists choose to use this method instead of their spool pin.

With these spool cap substitutions, you’ll be able to get back to sewing quickly after you order your replacement part. Remember that these are temporary solutions and your results may vary depending on your machine!

Save this post to your quilting Pinterest board so you can reference it in the future!

xo, Hailey

Other Blog Posts You May Like:
How to Thread a Singer Tradition Sewing Machine
How to Wind and Insert a Bobbin into a Singer Tradition Sewing Machine
Singer Tradition 2277 Review From A Beginner Quilter
Can You Use Polyester Thread For Quilting?


  1. OMG Thank you! I didn’t even know what the part was called. I didn’t think to just make something to put on the end of it, lol!

  2. I have an old Brother with the metal spool pin fastened underneath the top, held in place by a “hairpin” that fits thru the plastic slot, can’t find a narrow one online. Will one of the generic plastic spool pins fit most holes on top?

    1. I’m not quite sure because I don’t have a machine that has that type of spool. You could try calling a local quilt shop or sewing machine repair shop – I bet they’d know!

  3. Haha, I looked up a substitute spool pin because I thought that I can’t be the only person having this problem. I’m grateful that you posted these helpful substitutions. Thank you so much!

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