01 August, 2011

How to make your own knitting needles ~Tutorial

I am going to lead a session on learning to knit at our School craft group this week.
 I thought it might be nice if we began by each making our own knitting needles.
That got me thinking. Perhaps there are others out there that might like to see how we do it? Let's begin...
I bought a few lengths of sustainable Tasmanian Oak dowelling of various diameters. 
(the skinny end two, are bamboo skewers to create 1mm double ended needles, to attempt some of that miniature knitting in the future).
I had them cut into 30cm lengths (for children's needles I would cut them at 20cm)

A pencil sharpener speeds up the job no end!

 I used three varying grades of sandpaper for wood (not wet/dry).
I call them Rough, Medium, Fine.

My boys love to help with most things I do at home.
Even though they are still at the finger knitting stage, sanding and polishing wood is fun for them and very helpful for me! 

  • Using the Roughest grade sandpaper first, Medium second and Fine, last. Turn the needle while sanding to keep the needle centred and even.
  • I feel it's important NOT to sand to an absolute point. Just have a slightly rounded tip (to avoid the point catching & splitting your yarn whilst knitting).
  • Then sand the length of the needle too until smooth.
  • Rub the whole needle with either beeswax or natural oil (I prefer grapeseed as it's least likely to go rancid), to smooth and seal the wood. 
  • Polish well with a cloth. 
  • Sand again with the Finest sandpaper and then wax/oil again lightly. 
  • Then polish for a second time. Rest the needles for a while before using.
Here are the polished needle and sharpened needle side by side for comparison.

 There are many options for tops to add to your needle (see bottom picture for some more ideas). Unless you want them to be double pointed.

 If your bead holes are too small to fit on the top of the needle. A bead filing reamer can come in very handy. But you can just glue the beads on to the top of the flat needle end (or even sharpen the flat end slightly, to fit inside a bead)
A hot glue gun makes this step a little faster.

Beads aren't the only option for topping 
home~hand~heart crafted knitting needles!
Buttons, shells, gum nuts, seeds, pods, crystals are to name but a few...

Or you could always buy some I have ready-made.
Available in my etsy store.


  1. i've always wondered how to make needles- and for some reason it was always more complicated than this in myhead!!! i could do this! yay !

  2. You CAN do this!
    I'm so pleased you enjoyed my tutorial. Thanks for reading! ♥

  3. Hmmm. I think I just found some wonderful Christmas gifts for my sons to make for their grandmothers. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial :)

  4. I hadn't considered making them as a gift for the boys' "Nan". Thanks for the idea!

  5. Thanks for the tutorial! I had heard of this process but it's helpful to see visuals.

  6. Very pleased you enjoyed this post.
    I too find visuals to be great for the self-taught home crafter! In many ways, we're so lucky to live in this age of 'access to almost everything'.
    Long Live Blogging Crafters & YouTube :)

  7. what a fantastic idea! thank you for sharing it.

  8. Thanks so much for your tutorial I'm ready to make a big ones and have fun doing it!

  9. merci beaucoup pour le tutorial c'est trés utile


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