Sunday, February 19, 2012

How to make ribbon wands...

Today I'm going to show you how I made the ribbon wands for Minty's birthday.  I made these in lieu of lolly bags since some of our guests had food allergies.   In any case I'm sure all the kids were already pretty hopped up on sugar after their cake and ice-cream!  These were a fun party favour since the kids could enjoy playing with them at the party, as well as being something they could take home to keep.  

You will need:

- dowel cut into 31cm lengths
- 10mm screw eyes
- brass barrel swivels (size 6) - you can get these at a fishing tackle supply store.
- small pliers
- ribbon

Let's talk ribbons.  Much like men and chocolate, not all ribbons are created equal.  For a ribbon wand you need something that is going to give you a lovely rippling effect as you wave the wand.  Silk ribbon is ideal but if you can't get your hands on any or are finding the cost prohibitive you can just buy a synthetic satin ribbon, as long as it is double faced.  There is no point buying cheap satin craft ribbon, as it won't give you the twirling effect you are looking for.  For my wands I mostly used ribbon that was 1 inch thick (the purple ribbon was 1 3/8 inch thick).  

On most commercial ribbon wands I looked at the ribbon was around 2.4m long.  Personally I think this is way too long for kids aged 4 and under.  They tend to end up getting tangled up or the kids trip over them.  After a few trials I decided the best length for the ribbon was 1.6m.  This is still long enough to get some good twirling action happening but not so long as to cause catastrophic tangling accidents!  Obviously you need to be guided by the age and dexterity of the kids you are making these for.

Assembling the wands is fairly straight forward.  Cut your dowel into 31cm lengths.  Sand the ends to ensure there are no splinters.  Screw a hook into the end of each dowel.  Use the pliers to open up the hook a little and allow you to slip the swivel in place.  Close it back up with the pliers.  Stop your ribbon from fraying by holding the ends under a flame for a couple of seconds or by using a couple of drops of fray check.  The fray check will leave a dark line where it dries so I prefer to melt the ends as it looks a lot neater.  Next, thread the ribbon through the swivel and tie a knot to secure it.  Now the wand is finished take it out for a twirl!


  1. Awesome, so simple to make and looks like the kids loved them. :)

  2. Very cool! I bought a rainbow ribbon wand from the National Geographic Shop a few years ago, to use as a toy with my cats. You are right about the length: the one I bought was too long for me to use easily!

  3. Beautiful, thanks for all the details. I am going to make a batch to sell at a local seaside fair.