Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our Homemade Spindle Box

I'm finally reaching the end of my planning for early next school year and decided I'd add some more Montessori materials to our collection, even though we hardly used the ones I made last year. Hopefully I'll be better about incorporating them into our days next year. The first I tackled is a spindle box. You can find very nice wooden ones online, but I didn't want to spend that kind of money. Kansas Dad offered to make one for me, but he has enough on his plate already, so I decided I'd figure something out. (So often sites or books will say something like "make divisions in a box" but I like to see examples of homemade ones.)

I had saved some popsicle sticks Grammy gave us (we often receive left-overs from classroom crafts) and watched all year for the perfectly-sized box to put them in, preferably with ten even compartments. Of course, no such box appeared. I decided to use a plastic container that's been empty for a while, awaiting some contents. I cut dividers from cardboard I'd stashed with our craft supplies. (I'm pretty sure I used some that came wrapped up with Amazon orders.) I started out making the dividers almost two inches deep (to reach the first little notch in the plastic bin), but realized they'd be so tall it would be hard to reach in for the little sticks, so I cut them in half.

I roughly cut the nine dividers, measured my box and marked where I wanted them on a sheet of paper I could slip beneath the box. I then started gluing them in using my most trusty glue (Aleene's Original Tacky Glue).

At first, I put the glue on the cardboard and then slipped it in, but that made a mess, so then I extended the marks on the page and put the glue on the plastic instead, which worked very well. If you want to attempt this yourself, I highly recommend putting the cardboard in a number of times to make sure it's going to fit well. Trimming after glue has been smeared is not so much fun.

As you can see, the spindle box isn't perfect, but I think it'll work for us. If you have talent with a sewing machine, I'd recommend trying this design, which I think is wonderful. I also found another blogger who used a tray she bought on sale. I thought a box would store more easily and we didn't have balsa lying around from other projects, but her spindle box is definitely more beautiful than mine.

If you don't have a book like mine (Teaching Montessori in the Home: Pre-School Years), you can search online for ways to use a spindle box like this one. I'll try to blog next year about how we used it ourselves.


  1. So do you purchase a curriculum, or what guides your planning? I really want to do more with Gemma eventually (still don't want to push too much at only 2 1/2), and there is so much out there on the internet to look at, it is just overwhelming to me. I get paralysis by analysis. Any tips?

  2. This is such a great idea! I'm going to try this too :) I'm trying to plan dear son's preschool homeschool year and I love this idea. Thank you for always sharing all these tips with us. I'm also going to see if I can reserve that book at the library.

    I looks at your baby ticker on the sidebar and see you're almost due! I hope you're feeling well :)

  3. Monica, I was going to post a reply to you here in the comments, but then it seemed a bit long. I'll send you an email instead. (Feel free to remind me if you haven't received anything in the next few days; my mind isn't as focused as usually right now!)

    Sarah, I really hope you can find the book. It gives simple straightforward instructions for using all the materials and a good introduction to Montessori in general (though I really need to re-read that part...).

    I'm feeling exhausted and hoping baby comes early but it's not very likely.


Comments make me happy; thanks for speaking up!