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Customizing My Spinning Wheel

Customizing My Spinning Wheel

My first and only spinning wheel is a Louet S-17.  As a novice spinner, the reason I chose this particular wheel was I wanted a quality, yet inexpensive basic wheel and the S-17 more than fit that criteria.  Yes, there are fancier and prettier wheels, but I love the simplicity of my S-17!  

Most spinning wheels have a lacquered finish, while some are intricately carved from beautiful oak and cherry woods.  Not my S-17, it's unfinished, laminated hardwood that has been sanded satiny smooth.  Now some might find this unattractive, but I see it as a pristine palette calling me to create something uniquely mine.  And so that is just what I did.

Here's a little step by step tutorial on how I customized my spinning wheel.

template for painted spinning wheel

I created a template by tracing around my wheel onto freezer paper.  The freezer paper was a tiny bit too small, but was certainly sufficient for trying out ideas. I had already settled on flowers and colors that would mimic my Flora & Fiber logo.  My freehand drawing/ painting skills are too rudimentary for this project, so I chose some stencils I had in my stash - likely purchased from a craft store clearance bin.   I tried a variety of ideas and placements, settling on repeating the floral motif around the outside edge and a central pattern that I thought would look interesting in motion while the wheel is spinning.

supplies for painted spinning wheel
  • Stencils - 2-step floral design, medallion mask
  • "Paint"  - Ranger Distress Ink - Peeled Paint, Broken China, Black Soot, Mowed Lawn, Chipped Sapphire (last two not pictured)
  • Craft Sponges
  • Painters' Tape
  • Protractor (downloaded and printed )
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
evenly marking wheel with protractor

The wheel was very easy to remove from the back post, just a matter of 2 bolts.  If you are not sure how to do it, I recommend referring to your assembly instructions.  It was not hard.

I wanted my floral motif to repeat six times evenly around the border of my wheel; that would mean every 60 degrees (circle is 360 degrees).  I found a protractor online, downloaded it (see link above), and printed it.  Then, using the ruler and the central hole already drilled in the wheel, I made a faint pencil mark every 60 degrees at the wheels edge.

stenciling the leaves on S-17 spinning wheel

I chose to use Ranger Distress Ink for my stenciling as I had the inks on hand and in the colors I wanted to use. Distress inks are water-based dye inks that are fade resistant.  I have had good results with these inks in the past, although I never tried them on wood before but I know others do.  Acrylic paints are also commonly used when decorating spinning wheels.

The first stencil is the leaves.  I carefully placed it within my pencil marks and measured making sure the stencil edges were even with the wheel edge. Using a craft sponge, I stenciled with Peeled Paint ink, then highlighted with the Mowed Lawn ink to give some dimension.

stencilling flowers on S-17 spinning wheel

By the time I got around the wheel, the first group of leaves were dry.  Using the second stencil, I added the flowers, first with Broken China ink and then highlighting with Chipped Sapphire ink.  Most quality 2-step stencils have lines that make it easy to align the second stencil.

The stencil also had 3 little dots for the flower centers.  I used Black Soot ink for these.

completed painted S-17 wheel

I used a mask rather than a stencil to add a medallion design in the center.  Again, I sponged with Peeled Paint ink.  This actually looks more subdued and prettier in real life.

I chose not to apply a sealant because the ink should be permanent once dry.  Also, the wheel is not something that will be washed frequently nor exposed to weather.  

A couple tips to consider.  I wiped the back of the stencil off each time I moved it so as not to smear any residual ink.  Should you have a smear or stray ink mark, wipe it off immediately with a wet paper towel; an advantage of water-based inks.

painted S-17 spinning wheel completed

I'm pleased with the result!  My humble S-17 wheel is now a personalized one of a kind!

finished stenciled S-17 spinning wheel

If you already own or want to purchase a Louet S-17 Spinning Wheel, why don't you try your hand at customizing it?  Louet currently has a special offer.  If you share a picture of your painted S-17 wheel, Louet will send you $200 worth of fiber!  Wow!  Click here for the details.  

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