Do you have girls in your life who love to dance, twirl and do gymnastics? These ribbon wands are so magical! And they’re easy, fun and cheap to make, even for a big group of girls. I made a set of 24 and it ended up costing me almost exactly $1 per wand. I came up with a few helpful hints I’d like to pass on after making ribbon wands for a birthday party. It is a simple project, but with woodworking and spray paint involved you should plan ahead at least a little bit!
Dowels (I paid for 9 dowels and cut them into thirds)
Eye hooks sized to fit in your dowel
Ribbon (I got 100 yards of ⅖” satin ribbon from Amazon)
Drill and small drill bit
Spray paint (I love gold!)
Scrap cardboard box
Garbage bag for overspray
Exacto knife or sharp scissors
clear nail polish, optional
Let the fun begin!
Step 1: Prepare
Collect all the items you will need for the project. You will need the smallest size drill bit to get into the center of the dowel, so be sure you have that on hand! When you buy the dowels at the hardware store, have them cut the long dowels in thirds or quarters for you. If you don’t have a saw at home this is especially important, but even with a full set of tools at home I was glad for them to do it quickly and easily for me before I left the store. My wands ended up being about 1 foot long.
Step 2: Drilling
Use your smallest drill bit and drive a hole into the center of each dowel. You can see in the picture how I held it down on a hard surface and pushed the drill bit in. I tried 4-5 methods and this was the most stable way I found. If your bit goes in at an angle or it just doesn’t work out, you can try again at the other end of that same wand. Don’t be afraid to push the drill in hard and give it some speed- it will help it go in with confidence!
Step 3: Do the Twist!
Now get your eye hooks out and twist them into the pre drilled holes you just made. I got them started with just my hands and then used a screwdriver to give it some tork. This strategy was a lifesaver for me as I kept doing more wands- my hands got tired!
Step 4: Paint
Now that your eye hooks are in your dowels, I used an exacto knife to cut very small slits in the top of an old cardboard box. Really, I just did one quick stab to create each slit. Then fit your eye hook into the slit and your wand will stick up, being held in place for spray painting. You could skip over this step entirely, if you prefer a more natural wooden look. I laid out a garbage bag on my grass and sprayed the wands with gold spray paint, walking around the box to reach all angles. You may want to come back a few hours later and give them another coat or touch some up.
Step 5: Ribbon
I sat down to watch a show while I cut my satin ribbon to about 44” long. This does not have to be exact, the whole project is intended to be whimsical. But, my measurement can give you a guide so you know generally how it will turn out. If using satin ribbon, I would recommend painting the ends of your ribbon with clear nail polish so it doesn’t unravel during play!
Step 6: Final Assembly
Assemble the ribbon wands with the kids! I had each child choose 3 colors for their ribbon wand. We did this for my 9 year old daughter’s birthday party, but it would work great for really young kids too because the kids feel like they made something, when the only thing they are really doing the day of is choosing their colors and tying one knot! Or you could have them pre-made and send them as take home gifts! I hope these are as big a hit for you as they have been for me!