Sunday, 8 January 2012

Tutorial - wine-box ribbon holder

For a while now I've had all my ribbons just stored in a box, and though I tried to roll them all, secure them with pins and store them neatly, they keep unravelling and now I have a big box of tangled ribbon. Not ideal when you quickly need just a little bit of that lovely red ribbon and it takes you half an hour to find an end. There are lots of lovely ribbon holders to be found on the market, but why not re-use something which you might have lying around the house? Especially after Christmas! I've mentioned this project in a few posts, but finally I've found time to do it and I thought I'd turn it into a little tutorial, my very first :)

If you were lucky enough to get a fancy wine or spirit gift for Christmas you might have one of these lying around. Nice wines are often boxed to make them a fancier gifts, and these simple, rustic boxes are perfect for turning into ribbon holders. 
Mmm the port was nice, and I was already using the box to 'store' ribbon!
Things you need

  • 1 wine/spirit/port gift box. Ensure that it's a real wooden box with a decent thickness. Thin/laminated similar boxes may not work.
  • Length of wooden dowling about 6-8cm longer than the length of the box. Many diameters are available and you should buy a diameter that fits the hole in the centre of the smallest of your ribbon bobbins or spools. Lengths of dowling can be bought fairly cheaply at any good DIY store.
  • Drill
  • Drill bit that fits the diameter of the dowling. I used a 12mm dowling and drilled a hole of a 13mm diameter. This meant that the dowling isn't too tight a fit and can slide in and out quite easily. If you are keen on DIY or know someone who is, chances are they will have a box of a selection of sizes of drill bits. Otherwise, you can again buy them at a DIY store.
  • Saw

1. First, make sure that the majority of all your ribbon spools will fit in your new ribbon box like so. My port box will be I assume a fairly standard size, and it fits these 8cm diameter spools comfortably.
Can't believe those fit so well. It was meant to be!
2. Mark on each end of the box the centre of where you want to drill the holes. Ensure that you measure in the same way on both ends so your dowling will be straight. Also, bear in mind that some spools will have a 'hang', so simply drilling a hole in the exact centre of each side may not be the best option. If the central hole in your biggest spool is much larger than your diameter of dowling, then the spool will hang down off-centre. In which case, you may want to raise the height of your hole to ensure that your spools don't drag on the bottom of the box, but make sure the biggest spools will still fit in! If you do this with your biggest spool, it means that the smaller ones will still fit fine. 

3. Very carefully drill your marked holes. Please ensure you are comfortable with doing this and are doing it safely, or ask someone else to do this bit for you. It doesn't take very long at all! Ensure you do it over some newspaper or outside, as a surprising amount of sawdust can be generated! I put this off for ages because I was dreading having to rummage around in the 'cupboardunderthestairs'. However, the Husbandbot decided to put up a new curtain rail over Christmas, so I just handed him the marked box and it was done in minutes. Perfect timing!
Neatly done husbandbot!
4. Cut your dowling to the desired length with a saw. You can probably do all sorts of fancy things with washers etc. to secure your dowling, but as my box will simply be sitting on a shelf I was happy with the dowling being loose. However, I left a good 3cm sticking out of the box on either side as when you are pulling ribbon out the dowling will move. This should stop it from falling out of one side when you are using it. The dowling can be cut down using a saw. As above, ensure you are comfortable using this or ask someone else. Again, there will be a little mess!

5. Insert your dowling into one side of the box, then angle it so you can load on the spools. Then simply insert the other end of the dowling into its hole and you are finished!
Load those lovely ribbons!
6. Dispense ribbon and craft!
Ooooo what shall I make next?
Further tips and hints

  • You can also get double winebox giftsets, so you could make a double decker ribbon holder box! Enjoy the wine first though (responsibly of course), don't just toss them out to make your ribbon holder!
  • These boxes sometimes come with a perspex cover that slips into grooves on the front of the box. I'm pretty sure I threw out the one for this box a while ago, but it would be a great way of keeping your ribbons dust free!
  • Also, my box already had a little piece of rope to hang the box up. If you're short of shelf or desk space, there's no reason why this couldn't hang on a wall or door somewhere.

Further research
I also have lots of loose lengths of ribbon and would like to buy more empty cardboard spools to put them on. A quick internet search has not been forthcoming. Does anyone know there I can source these?
Ribbon spools I need you!
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  1. Oh, ribbons are a mess. This is a great idea!

  2. Oh you're a little genius! I love this! And now you have an excuse to buy more East of India ribbons (that's the genius part!)

    I'm going to tell all my Twitter friends about this...!

  3. I have one of these boxes and don't know what to do with it! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  4. That is a fab idea thankyou. I think if you need some empty rolls pop into a craft shop i bet they throw them away once they have sold the ribbon.
    Love your blog
    Cat (making it as mum)

  5. Love this idea.

    If you have loose pieces of ribbon you could wrap them around spools and adapt the wine boxes for smaller spools like these.

  6. What a fantastic idea! I TRY to be good about keeping my ribbon tidy, but it always looks a mess. This is the perfect solution - and offers a good excuse to drink the posh drink from the cupboard!!! ;-)
    If you get any feedback on where you can buy empty spools, please could you let us all know?
    Thanks for the fab tip!

  7. That is soooooooooooooooooooo clever!!!