Repurposing Medium Format Film Spools

What do you do with all of those film spools once you’ve shot the film that comes on them (if you develop your own film that is)? My guess is, you probably throw them away. Well, if you’re in the mind set of reusing/recycling/repurposing items, then today’s post is for you. We have come up with a few ideas for things to make/do with them.

1. Make a faux flower…

Reminds me of Wisteria

The How-To


  • film spools (about 6)
  • Small flowerpot
  • Dry foam (for bottom of flower pot)
  • Artificial plant stem of your choice—try to make sure the leaves match well with the shape of the flower
  • Grapevine wire
  • Green covered florist wire
  • Ribbon of your choice-for color of flower
  • Moss
  • Hot glue gun/ glue sticks

Step One:
  Use the florist wire to wrap each film spool. Leave enough wire to be able to use it to attach it to the stem later. Don’t worry about how it looks, because you’re about to cover it with ribbon.

Step Two:
   Wrap each wired film spool with your ribbon. Make sure to glue at the start and the end of the ribbon; also, maybe a few spots of glue in between.

Step Three:
   Bend your stem so that it’s arched over at the top. Start attaching each spool at the top of the arch, going down, by wrapping the wire around the stem. Try not to use a lot of wire because it could build up and start looking a bit strange. Just cut off the leftover wire. Use the grapevine wire for extra support. You can wrap the entire stem with grapevine wire if you need to.

Step Four:
  Place foam in the bottom of your flowerpot. Insert your stem in the middle and make sure it is stable.

Step Five:
Cover your foam with moss by gluing it down with your hot glue gun. The moss will probably add some much needed support as well. You can use it to take up space left in between the pot and the foam. Build up a good bit right around the base of the stem too.

2. Make some desk-top holders (a picture frame, a pencil holder). These are easy and fun crafts to make with kids

The How-To

Supplies (picture frame): 

  • Plain picture frame
  • Used film
  • Film spools (maybe two or three)
  • Hot glue gun/ glue sticks 

Step One:
Cover the entire frame with the film using the glue gun. Create folds using both sides of the film.

Step Two:
   Decide where you want to place the film spools. Glue film around spool and then glue to frame. Use a little extra film so you can create some folds from the film glued to the spool. 

Supplies (pencil holder):

  • Eighteen film spools
  • Used film (two rolls)
  • CD (you don’t need anymore)
  • Glue gun/glue sticks

Step One:
   Glue first set of nine film spools standing up in a circle on the CD. Leave a space in between each spool.

Step Two:
    Weave film in and out of the spools. Glue at the start and finish of the circle.

Step Three:
     Glue next set of nine spools standing up directly on top of the first set.

Step Four:
    Repeat step two.

3. Other ideas for things to make:
  • A Necklace
  • A Keychain
  • Place card holders
4. Create a stacking game out of them 
Do you have any other ideas? Share by leaving a comment.

– Melanie Payne


One comment

  1. A reader brought up a really good point on our Facebook page about this topic…. “Well,the empty spool from the just-used roll becomes the new “take-up” spool,so you only ever have one empty spool,and its in the camera, right?”

    So, I thought this was worth transferring this question and answer over here in the comments…

    And my reply…”For most people, yes, this is the case. However, if you are developing your own film, then you would have the spools to either trash or do something with. Another option is to ask for the used spools back from the developing lab. Also, if you have test rolls that aren’t being developed, then you may have those spools available as well.”

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