Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DIY Embroidery Hoop West Elm Spheres

So the other day I was browsing through the West Elm catalog, and I came across a really cool accessory. I went online to find it, and lo and behold, not for sale anymore! Boooo.

Take a look at these funky spheres.

I thought they would be perfect for our family room shelving unit (whenever we decide what look we are going for). I am trying to add in a few industrial pieces to the space and these would definitely fit the bill. I am NOT a tchotchke lover and tend to not use accessories much at all. Once we add shelving to the big, blank wall in there, I will need a few select things to put up. These are simple, minimal, and like I said, have a bit of an industrial feel with the wood and metal.

So yeah. Bummer.

Few days later I am looking for foam for that bench. Scouring the house. I am going through my big basket of miscellaneous crafty stuff, and I find two embroidery hoops. My father in law had found them in the basement and offered them up. I knew I wouldn't be embroidering anything but thought they looked useful, so I scooped 'em up (I am not normally a junk collector! I swear). So yes, there they are. Then I thought, hey, these are very similar in size as the West Elm spheres. Wonder if I could figure this out.

This is what I ended up with:

So similar! I ended up having to buy one more hoop in each size, but that brings my total cost to $2. Not bad at all. Here is how I did it.


2 Embroidery Hoops per sphere
Wood Stain & Foam Brush
Tacks of some sort. These are the nail head ones I bought for the bench. They were really long though, so I would suggest thumb tacks. These were $1.25 for 25.
Step 1) Separate your hoops into 4 pieces (per sphere).

Step 2) Squeeze them all together and space them evenly. You put 3 hoops vertically together and then put one hoop horizontal inside the vertical ones. Push one tack into the top, through all 3 hoops. I connected the metal brackets together, which will be the bottom.

Step 3) Add a tack to each spot where the horizontal hoop intersects the vertical hoops. You should have one tack on top, and 6 tacks on the horizontal hoop. You really have to push those babies in!! I stabbed myself with one, which wasn't pleasant, so be careful. You can see the arrangement of the hoops in the photo below.

Step 4) Stain it. I took it outside, since the stain I have is oil based. PeeeeUuuuu. Not to mention toxic. I first used American Walnut, but it was a bit lighter than I wanted, so I went over it with Dark Walnut. I just used a foam craft brush to VERY lightly spread the stain. Don't use too much because A)it will drip and B)it will take FOOOOOREVER to dry.

See, it was a bit light.

I like it much better darker. Although, it dried a smidge lighter than this.

Let it dry for a few hours.


I think they will be perfect for the family room, and at $2 and just 15 or so minutes of work, SO worth it! And really, what would I ever have done with those embroidery hoops anyways??


  1. Goodness me, these are brilliant! Definitely adding this to the to-do list.

  2. those are awesome! Thank you for the tutorial. I'm definitely going to make some..

  3. OH MY GOODNESS I was just thinking about trying this exact thing! So glad to see it worked so well for you. Now I have to try it! I want to pin it, but don't see a Pinterest button. Do you have one? :-)

    1. Oh funny!! Yes, there is a PIN IT button right underneath the last photo of the post. Thanks and good luck!!

  4. Tried this and epically failed! I bought some hoops from Joann's but when I tried to arrange them they broke! And I didn't know what to do with the metal piece with the screw(do u know what I'm talking about??) lol

    1. Oh no!! Boo! I just arranged them so that the metal pieces are in the bottom and sort of linked together. Bummer that they broke, must have been too tight. Loosen a bit next time then tighten after you get them together. :(

  5. Cute blog, I'm a new follower. And I love your spheres. Well done, and great tutorial.


  6. I love these, they look so professional, Bravo! I can't figure out how to use the thumb tacks, upholstery tacks? Did you drill a pilot hole? Maybe my hoops are just too thick...

    1. I just pushed REALLY hard! I had to really work them in. I used upholstery tacks, just because that's all I had. I feel like thumb tacks would work even better maybe. I pushed them against the ground a bit when it was hard to get through. You could also use a screwdriver to basically make a little pilot hole. Or a drill of course. Thanks for stopping in!!

  7. Did you leave the metal tightner thingy on or take it off????
    These are really cool looking and I have tons of the hoops. Thanks!

    Brenda L.


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