Hi, I'm Torrey. Welcome to Left Field, where creativity runs amok and imagination is ALWAYS more important than knowledge. Shoes are not allowed but ties are optional. This is a repository of snippets from my life out here in Left Field. One never knows what shiny bits of creativity will be found here... cards, scrapbook layouts, photography, poetry, recipes, ponderings, rantings and musings. It could be anything! Life in Left Field is always changing, always real, always ...interesting.

April 19, 2013

The Long and Winding Road

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

So, I've been hermitted away in my studio for the past 3 days.




AGONIZING organizing.


So, I guess that would be... 
Agonizing Organza Organizing.

And, since I did it without preservatives, additives, or wearing any makeup...that would be  
Organic Agonizing Organza Organizing

I am SO ELATED to be finished...that one might even say (now that I'm done)...it was  
Orgasmic Organic Agonizing Organza Organizing.

But, I digress.

I got the idea from my bestee, Jodi -- who (on many occasions) has led me down numerous "primrose-laden paths" over the years. This was no exception. What can I say? She inspires me ... like the Pied Piper. That, plus the fact that I got SICK AND TIRED of rummaging through my chest-o-ribbon to find the perfect shade to go with whatever my current project is at the moment. And then having several spools scattered about my studio waiting to be re-chested.

I had a 4-drawer dresser FILLED with spools of ribbon. Nothing obsessive about me. No siree. It's just every time I go to Michaels...there is this GIANT bin of ribbon outside their front entrance... beckoning me, like sirens call to sailors off the rocky shore. I can't remember when the last trip to Michaels didn't include at least one spool of ribbon coming home with me. Maybe I should open my studio as a home for orphaned ribbon.

Anyway, Jodi found this awesome idea for how to neatly store ribbon, so I thought I would tackle my Mt. Everest-sized pile of spooled ribbon. Sounded easy enough...all you need is:
  • Foam core board (or mat board  or corrugated cardboard) cut into 2 x 2.5 inch pieces.
  • small rubber bands (the ones for hair, or those kids' bracelet weaving ones)
  • Something to store your ribbon in...(I chose 12 x 12 plastic scrapbooking paper cases by Iris--sold at Michaels--the same ones I put my patterned paper in)
  • Box knife
  • scissors
  • pen
  • ruler/yardstick (I actually used both)
  • Strong hands
  • Ibuprofen (you try cutting/winding a bazillion ribbon cards)
  • Lots of time
  • Mindless movies in the DVD player (I chose the Stargate SG1 series)
  • Chocolate
I had NO IDEA that I had amassed SO MUCH RIBBON. When all was said and done, I had wound over 500 cards of ribbon. I'm not kidding. Basically, it works out to about 1 spool : 1 card (except for the really wide/bulky stuff ... and the rolls that had like 30 yards of ribbon on them --those took several cards).
I measured and marked the foam core into 2 x 2.5 inch rectangles. Then I cut them all out. FYI, foam core REALLY dulls your box knife blade FAST. I went through 3 blades (and yes, I turned each around to use the other side). After I cut about 200 of these, my hands needed a break, so I switched to winding the ribbon (not much of a break is it?). This is how I transferred the ribbon from the spools to each card (notice how neatly and precisely I wound it). Let's just say I got REALLY good at winding this stuff by the end. I can now, confidently, go to China and get a job in a ribbon factory for 20 cents an hour.

Now, OF COURSE  I (roughly) arranged it all in rainbow order. DUH. How else would I do it? I ended up with 4 boxes total. Each box holds about 150 cards of ribbon. I have one for warm colors, one for cool colors, one for neutrals and one for multi-colored, metallic, and miscellaneous wide ribbon.

Here is the "cool colors" box.

Here are all the finished boxes. 
This is what ~600 spools of ribbon looks like.

So...does ANYONE have suggestions for doing something creative with 500 empty ribbon spools?  ANYONE???


  1. I love reading your blog posts. You have an awesome sense of humour that always makes me chuckle. This is a fabulous way to organize your ribbons. I love that you can see them in colour families at a glance. You are very welcome to come to my house next to show me how to do this properly :) I might be a little slow to catch on though...wink wink... Thanks for the idea.

  2. Awesome job... You rocked this project! It took me a week of cutting/wrapping every night to get all mine done - but now I know what I have and where to find it. I had a whole box of lace too... it's insane how much I have amassed. Next, on to my punches!

  3. Someone actually wants my empty spools. She's paying for shipping. Too funny!

  4. I love this idea and I had a handle on my ribbon before I inherited my good friend's ribbon. I love the idea and I think I have some leftover floss holders/ that I use to organize my cross stitching floss. Thank you for the great idea!

  5. For your empty spools, I took one side of the cardboard off so that I had one flat side and the center core left. I then cut the cardboard still attached to the center core into different shapes, Squares, Circles, Stars, Diamonds, etc. and donated them to our neighborhood daycare. The kids love them because the core is big enough for their little hands to hold onto and they can trace around the different shapes to make pictures.

  6. For the empty spools, remove both sides and use center for making bracelets. Cut an opening to put bracelet on. Can be decorated with fabric, ribbon, beads etc. kids love doing these!

  7. Late to the party, but I LOVE this idea. And I love Stargate too. All three shows. And the movies. Gosh I can't get enough of it!

  8. how funny! here i am three years later googling how to store ribbon and this popped up. looks like my february work will be lined up for me...gotta get started on this fab idea. thanks!

  9. Hello. Loved your post. I have a 10-yard length of 3/4" wide grosgrain ribbon. What length(s) would you recommend I cut it into to make it fit on the cards and still be useable for projects. I don't have a project in mind yet, so I'm not quite sure...

    1. Thank you for your comment, CCberry! 10 yards is an awful lot to wind on one card. Most of my ribbon spools were 3-5 yards each. So I would divide yours accordingly. Hope this helps!

  10. love your idea, I'm going to store my embroidery floss the same way.. thnaks

  11. Have you had any ribbon discolor because the foam core is not acid free? I'm just in the process of trying this on black foam core.

    1. I've had no problem, whatsoever, with discoloration of the ribbon...but it's only been about 3 years since I did this. Ask me again in another 20. LOL. I don't know how black foam core would act because I used white.

  12. I know that I am responding to this 3 years after the fact.. but thank goodness for Pinterest so I was able to find this post. THIS IS GENIUS!!! This is the same concept of storing string for cross stitching but I never thought it for ribbon. And you are hilarious! New reader right here! THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR GENIUS IDEA!!!

  13. uggg i have been in my craft area this foggy winter afternoon trying desperately to figure out to store that ribbon! The boxes i throw it into get so messy when i am looking for one particular ribbon- or its so messy i just give up and use nothing!I have many of these storage boxes that i might have to try to replicate your plan! If your hands have recovered perhaps you could help me!

  14. that's so funny because I'm sitting here watching sg-1 while I'm reading this blog. love your idea by the way. I think this might be one of my project for when its starts getting cold again, (but not in any hurry for that lol). thank you for your blog and the ideas.

  15. What are the rubber bands for?

    1. You put the rubber band around the finished ribbon card to keep the loose end secure.

  16. Do you have any problems with the ribbon creasing? Like to you have to iron it flat when you’re ready to use it since it’s not stored round?

    1. Hi, anonymous poster! I really haven't found creasing to be a problem since most of the ribbon I use gets adhered flat to my projects. In the event that creasing is problematic, I have a cheap hair flat iron that I keep in my studio and I just pull the ribbon through it (but be careful, some ribbon can potentially melt doing this..so I just plug mine in for a few seconds until it's warm/hot...but not scorching hot).

  17. I know this is an old post but I came across this out of desperation for getting my grosgrain ribbon out of giant tubs.... so I thought this was a great idea (and still do!) BUT I totally have a Love/Hate relationship with you right now! Oh... my.... gosh.... looking at my tubs, I thought ‘no big deal... I don’t have 500 little squares worth of ribbon. Easy peasy...’ WRONG! It’s amazing how much space this saves but I’m only half a tub through my spools and have thought about just throwing it all away! Lol and nothing is worse than getting it almost wound up all the way and then you stinking drop the little square and it all unwinds haha I’m excited to get this process done but in the mean time, I’m definitely cursing you for seeing this project and starting it! Lol

    1. Oh Corryne, I feel your pain. Trust me, when it's all done you'll be so happy!

  18. I did this too
    ..had 7-8 iris cases....worked good, but now looking into a dresser/chest with drawers to hold them all...took me days to cut all the foamboard, found it at dollar store, keep buying ribbon (why? why? why?)...but been just throwing it in a box now.
    And i continue to find more stashes in my basement ~ I shake my head every time I go in my basement.
    And Hobby Lobby just had a bunch of the small rolls for clarence of .25 cents
    My husband was with and asked if I'm getting an obsession with my ribbon.
    Guess I do....

  19. So glad I saw this post on Pinterest. Now I can downsize and get rid of the huge box that sitting in my kitchen for 2 years! I have 4 empty 12x12 containers just for these ribbons. This idea works well for my fabric trim too!

  20. Just spent the evening cutting cardstock and wrapping my collection of ribbons. Still have a ton to do but I can't thank you enough for posting this. I live in a very small apartment and my craft stuff is crowding me out. This has freed up a lot of valuable space. The spools are not going to waste either. I found some very cute projects on Pinterest for them and I am getting excited to try something new.



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