Flashback: Ribbons of Organization

Craft & Design
Flashback: Ribbons of Organization


By Paula Biggs

Hi, my name is Paula and I have a ribbon problem. A BIG one. Like six-boxes-of-ribbon-up-on-my-shelf kind of big. Every time I do a project, I run to the store for the colors needed and always buy more than I need. After I’m done, I dump them in a box and they disappear into the ribbon vortex. Now, if all those spools of ribbon were visible, I know I would buy less and use what I already have.

I did make an effort to organize my spools of 50-yard ribbon at one point:


But this system has many drawbacks (especially if you are lazy as I am): the dowel isn’t strong enough to hold the kind of weight put on it; every time you use some ribbon, all the spools on the dowel unravel; and when one goes empty you have to unthread and rethread the entire dowel to take it off or replace it. Those are some pretty big issues that prove discouraging to keeping all those ribbons organized.

So I set to thinking how to solve these issues so that I might actually use the organizer, and came up with this ribbon organizer shelf. The spools can get dropped in and out at will, and the dowel is only there to keep the ribbon inside. I like to just pick up my ribbon and bring it with me, so this is a perfect solution for how I work. With the help of a can of spray paint, the organizer can even come in fashion colors!

This organizer is meant for standard 4″ rolls of ribbon; of course, you could add an inch or two to the dimensions to handle larger spools.


Materials and Tools

Drill and 3/8″ drill bit
Wood rosettes: 3 3/4″ x 3 3/4″
Wood glue
Wood back board: 2″ x 24″ x 1/2″
Wood bottom board: 4-1/4″ x 24″ x 1/2″
Wood dowel rod: 23-1/4″ x 3/8″
2 sets of picture hanger hardware
12 4D finishing nails, 1″ – 1 1/4″
Paint of your choice

Your friendly neighborhood home improvement store is usually more than happy to cut your boards for you if you can’t do it at home. You can also purchase the rosettes pre-made, as I did.

ribbon org sketch.jpg

Before getting started, the above diagram shows you how the organizer goes together, and offers a picture for placement of the dowel hole. We tried it with the hole 1/4″ from the top as well, and it worked, but the ribbon slid forward a bit too far in the shelf for my liking.



Step 1: Drill holes. Using a 3/8″ drill bit, drill the holes on the insides of the rosettes to hold the dowel rod. It should be 3/4″ down and 1/4″ in from the top outside corner of each rosette. Don’t drill the hole all the way through the rosette.


Step 2: Glue. Place a small amount of wood glue in each hole and insert each end of the dowel into a rosette.


Step 3: Nail in the backboard and add more glue. The dowel goes to the front of the organizer, the 2″ x 24″ strip of wood (back board) to the back. Place a thin layer of wood glue on the surfaces that will touch, then use three of the finishing nails to fasten the back board to a rosette on each side. The glue AND the nails will give it more stability.


Step 4: Glue the rosettes to the bottom board. Apply a thin line of glue on the bottom of the rosette and place the assembly on the bottom board.


Step 5: Nail the bottom board to the rosette. Line up your three finishing nails on the right and left and pound them in on each side.


Step 6: Paint! At this point, you can take some sandpaper to your shelf to smooth out any rough edges and properly prep the surfaces before you paint. Personally, I am rather impatient, so I used a spray primer/paint combo to coat the organizer. It took two coats.

Step 7: Hang it up. Properly position the picture hangers on the back board of the organizer, nail in, then hang on the wall. Place your ribbon inside. Make these in multiples for a really neat display on the wall.

Some other tips to organize your motley mess of ribbon:

Organize by color. Especially if you’re going to see the ribbon all the time; not only will it look pleasing to the eye, but you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for faster.

Double-sided Velcro (available in the electronics section of the hardware store) is great for keeping ribbon from unspooling when not in use. It is reusable and doesn’t leave sticky marks on the ribbon like tape will.

If you must use one of the string-everything-on-a-dowel organization systems, put a nylon washer between the spools to help them spin independently of their neighbors and not unravel everything at once!

About the Author:
Paula Biggs is a party-loving mom of two tiny tots living on the sunny beaches of Melbourne, Florida. She is the woman behind the frog at Frog Prince Paperie, a printable party design group and blog dedicated to making parties magical!

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Haley Pierson-Cox from Red-Handled Scissors is a maker of crafts, a lover of cats, an avid swearing enthusiast, a cross-stitch book author, and a general purveyor of quirk. She's also sometimes an irritable cartoon named Tiny Cranky Haley. https://www.redhandledscissors.com

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