Sunday, October 24, 2010

Organizing Ribbons

I've worked out a ribbon organizing system - for now. Thank you for the great ribbon tips. What appeals most to my sensibilities are some of your suggestions, such as putting dowels into shoe boxes or under-bed plastic boxes or this Martha Stewart idea (left) for using gutters to create a wall-mounted rack. (

My main issue is portability. I tend to work my projects all over the house and I occasionally teach workshops or take my projects with me when I visit my mother. In the daytime I use the studio but at night I take my bundle downstairs to my "night studio" in front of the TV, put my feet up and engage my hands with whatever project I am currently working on. (I know. I know. A better solution would be to have one large studio with a comfortable chair and video screen so I didn't have to carry my stash around. Someday. )

So whatever I concoct for a storage solution needs to consider portability. For now, I've organized my ribbons onto hanging pants racks. Here are the three portable holders I made yesterday. My ribbon stash is finally under control!

Much ribbon comes already wound but sometimes I buy ribbon by the yard and have to wind it myself. This can create a mess of stashed-away finery.

Yesterday I went to the hardware store and bought a four foot length of pvc pipe, cut it into 2 or 3 inch pieces with a hacksaw, sanded the rough edges including the inside, buffed out the ugly red labeling, and wound my "old maids" onto their own spools.

I timed myself and each small pvc spool took me three minutes to make. I did everything manually. Using power tools would cut this time by half or more.

Instead of pvc you can cut old toilet paper spools, costing you nothing. I used this method in the past but cardboard is flimsy and doesn't hold up well over time so I'm moving to more durable materials.

Winding the ribbon onto the spools is what takes some time. I recommend doing this while watching a dvd or listening to an audio book to cut the tedium. (Note, when you begin, secure the end of the ribbon to the pipe with tape or it will slide around. When done, then secure the end with a fine pin to keep it from unwinding.)

Someday, when I get a chance, I would like to build a tall closing cabinet, light weight, with a handle on top for carrying. Inside would be rows of dowels to hold the ribbons. It could hang on the wall or stand alone. It would be an easy project for someone who builds. (My carpentry projects take 10 times longer and come out pretty crude.) Now I need to find a carpenter who wants to trade me for something.

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