Thursday, November 15, 2012

Homemade Christmas Present Idea: Ribbon Wands

Last year I made a bunch of ribbon wands for Christmas gifts for our girls and a bunch of cousins.  They were really sweet and quick and easy to make! The oldest cousin I gave one to was I think 11.  I guess I'm partial to them because I did rhythmic gymnastics for a while growing up, so I think they're awesome :)  Our girls play with theirs all the time.

  • Wooden dowels (allow about a foot in length per wand) - got these from Spotlight
  • Thick Satin Ribbon (I used ribbon that was 5cm thick for most of the wands, 4cm for the wands I did for the 1 year olds like Ana.  I bought lengths that were 3m long for the bigger cousins which was a nice length, and I think Ana's is only 2m long - easier for the little ones to play with without knotting it up)
  • Eye-hooks (these are something used for blinds or curtains or something?!  It took the ladies at spotlight a little minute to figure out what I was after, thank godness I knew what they looked like!...)  You bought them seperately for a few cents each :)

  • Fishing swivels (yeah.. weird.  AND my first real sojourn into Anaconda.  But they're the secret to making the ribbon wands get the movement they really need!!  So there I was in the fishing section, choosing the most flexible and aesthetically pleasing kind of 'barrel swivel' I could find :))  Here are the ones I settled on...

  • Optional: paint/wood stain
  • Needle and thread the colour of your ribbon-ish (Okay, if it's going to annoy you, you'd better find a thread the EXACT same colour of your ribbon... I always kind of like that my thread's a tiny bit darker or lighter than the fabric I'm using... and still wondering why I do not celebrate a great deal of sewing success!! :))

How to make them:

1.     Cut the dowel to size.  I (haha - okay, James) cut most of the pieces about a foot long, but did a couple of smaller pieces for the babies.  For example the one we made for Ana was only 9 inches, or about 23cm long.
2.     Paint/stain the dowel.  We just stained ours (okay, James did this bit for me too :)) using leftover wood stain from some shelves a couple of years ago.  Here's the before/after wood:
3.     I'm sure I could have managed steps 1 and 2 myself, but James was happy to participate in making the gifts, which was nice... plus he took the wood to work and cut it on some big machine and it took 2 seconds...

4.     Screw in the eye-hooks, into the centre of one end of the piece of dowel - I ended up needing to use pliers or something to turn the eye-hook near the end, to make sure it was in nice and tight!

5.     Slip one end of the swivel onto the eye-hook, and close the eye hook up again nice and tight again with pliers or something (okay, I admit, James did this too...but again, it's all doable - I was just keen to get him on board Christmas-ing! :))

6.     Get out your ribbon!!  This is the bit that I really enjoyed, partially I guess because I actually DID this bit, but also because it's kind of nice and therapeutic to do a little hand sewing every now and then! Especially if it really is just a little.. :) I threaded the ribbon through the loose end of the swivel, and then I folded the end over a couple of times, then sewed it together.  I folded it over a few times so it wouldn't fray.. and then I sewed it all around the folds, as you can see in the pics.  My sewing is nothing special at all (except for therapeutic for me!), and looks kind of awful I guess, but you can't tell unless you're taking close up photos to put on your blog (sigh) :)  I'm sure you could do this and maybe make it look a little more professional!! :) 

7.    Grab a match/candle/lighter/whatever brand of fire you like, and burn the end a little to seal it and so it doesn't fray! :)

And you're done!! :)  Simple, cute and a lot of fun!!!  Hopefully whoever you're sewing it for, loves it as much as my little one does! :)


  1. Wow, that's actually more complex than I would have given it credit for. I'm way more impressed with your/James' skills now :)
    The kiddies do seem to love them! Great ideas Abs :)