Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Organization: Ribbon

Now that my cardstock and DSP are officially organized, it is time for me to move on to another section of my craft space. Although you would not have to move 6 inches to find something that needs more organization, I am going to tackle ribbon first, I think. I have a lot of ribbon. I only have about 6 rolls of Stampin' Up! ribbon, but I have over 20 rolls of other wide ribbon, two gallon size bags of individual ribbon strands, and then what I call "other" ribbon, which either is curling ribbon, sequined ribbon, etc.
Why do I have all this ribbon? Well, in my projects that I make, I use ribbon on a lot of it. Well, most of the time anyway. I am just starting to use it on cards. I use to buy ribbon by the yard, but that was too expensive. I would buy the bolts at WalMart(3-5 yard bolts), but again, it was more than I wanted to pay. Especially when I found bolts of ribbon (50 yard bolts) for around $0.05 to $0.33 a yard at BBCrafts.com. Fantastic deals. So I invested in some standard styles and colors that I use on my projects. It will save money in the long run (so I told my hubby).
So I am googling to find any ribbon storage ideas that I can find. I am going to summarize my findings here just to help those of you that are in need too. Click on a photo for a larger view. The first photo shown at the top is just cute. This person used an embroidery hoop and tied the ribbon along it. She has it hanging over her desk as a "ribbon chandelier".

Some people store ribbon on small cards (2"x2") by pulling it off the roll and wrapping it around the card, then putting the cards in rows in a box. For me, this would only work for 1/4 of my ribbon. Bolts of 50 yards would not stay on a card like this. Secondly, I have purchase ribbon that comes on cards. I have to iron it before I can use it. This is a NO NO!! I am allergic to housework!

Next, some people do a variation of the cards of ribbon by wrapping the ribbon around an old fashioned clothespin. Seems like it would reduce my allergic reaction to the ironing, since the ribbon is just going to be curled some. But, for me, again it only address 1/4 of my ribbon. Another thing I noticed about this ribbon storage method was that it is not so organized after all. All that ribbon I have in a large apothecary jar would be on sticks in a basket. I would still have to dig through to find that perfect ribbon. Plus, for both of these methods, there is a ton of prep work.

Another type of ribbon storage is the Ribbon Ring/Ribbon Rack. Shown here in 3 different examples. I actually tried this style by making my own (like the example with the large ring). I had the ribbon organized by color on the ring, but it will still messy looking. Some of my ribbon was sequined and wouldn't lay in line like it was supposed to. It does create a stunning display of color in your space. I do prefer the ironed version (I had to take allergy meds for a week after ironing all my ribbon). The biggest flaw for me was that the longer yardages would hang much too low (I like my things symmetrical and even-- there was no way to get all the ribbon even without cutting). Of course, different texture ribbons would not lie together well. I still will hold this idea in the back corner of my mind for all the ribbons I have that are not on bolts. The people who use this method suggest cutting a 3 yard length to keep on the ring and put the bolt in a box. I personally don't understand having two storage methods and two storage places for ribbon, plus pre-cutting ribbon is wasteful IMHO.

This next method of storing ribbon is nice. I tried this one too. I used old shoe boxes that I covered with wrapping paper and put grommets in the sides (my hubby had 100s in his shop). I had mixed results. Some rolls are too large for shoe boxes to close properly. Second, some ribbon was too wide to go through the grommet holes (even larger ones) without bunching up, making it almost impossible to pull through the holes. For me, it was a problem not to know how much was on the roll too. Open the box you say. Well, I could and I did, but when I am going to do a project, I like to visually see my materials so I can, at a glance, decide what I plan to use. Especially if I am on my way out the door to go shopping and forgot I needed to check and see what I am low on, I don't want to have to open lids. I know, it is a small thing, but this method just didn't work for me. This method was perfect for most all of my ribbon except very large (tall) rolls that would not even lay down to fit; it held individual strands just at easily as it did the bolts. It was clean and neat though, which the Ribbon Ring was not. Variations of this include those little purse-like squishy boxes with holes for ribbon. Too messy looking for me, but is a great option for others.

I have also tried ribbon spools on dowels method. Either horizontal or vertical you have to consider that taking one roll off is not simple. Also, I had too much weight on my dowels making them sag. Not pretty. Sometimes when I would pull on one ribbon another ribbon would unroll, so I had to pin all the ribbons-- yes, I lost pins several times when trying to get some ribbon. Again, this did not address the problem of individual strands.

I like the idea of using jars for loose strands of ribbon too. I have one large apothecary jar (like those shown in the photo) that I have most of my loose ribbon in now. I have to dig to find a ribbon. This example shows ribbons separated by color. I have seen the same idea using smaller jars. It is a very striking way to add color to your craft space while getting organization at the same time. I don't have the money to buy all those cute jars people use, but I do eat a lot of dill pickles (that is for another post), so have saved up several jars of one size and style to use for this purpose, if that is what I decide to do. Side note: If you don't recycle or can't because it is not an option where you live (like here) this is a great way to reuse!

I really like this next idea. It is probably going to be my preferred storage solution. Problem is that I will have to get rid of a shelving unit to do it (no problem-- it only houses my painting supplies, which need better organization anyway--I knock over half my paint jars trying to get one!). This method uses rain gutters. Yep, rain gutters that are cut to certain usable lengths (there are examples on google from 2' to 8') and then mounted to the wall or in this example onto peg board. It will hold various sizes of bolts (should I be saying rolls?) of ribbon. Then you can pull the ribbon and cut to desired length. Tip: Martha Stewart even shows this example-- using copper gutters, of course-- and suggests putting the roll in upside down to provide more stability when you are pulling the ribbon for measurement; plus she says to glue a tape measure along one length of gutter. This method would work well for all the rolls/bolts of ribbon. However, there is still the strands of ribbon that never was on a roll.

This example seems nice. It has the Clip IT Up storage system attached under some wire baskets that basically serve the same function as the rain gutters, but for a little more money. The Clip It Up is a fairly expensive organization($59.95) that has these nice metal clips that you can clip up bits of ribbon, packs of stickers, etc. with. People who use these Clip It Up organizations for ribbon use it for their loose strands of ribbon or to hold a 3-4 yard piece of ribbon with rolls of ribbon in a box in another location. You know how I feel about two storage locations. But, sing it for the loose strands would work great. I found a website that gives a tutorial on how to make a version of the Clip It Up for around $6 here.

Foam core. Not much is cheaper. If you can sketch, measure, and imagine a 3D figure, you could probably make one of these for yourself. I can, but I don't know if this is what I want to do. It is nice in that it is cheap and it will hold all sizes of spools of ribbon (that's the word...spools!), but I would have to use something else for the loose strands. If I do decide to make this, I will post measurements of how I made it. Seems like it would take a fair bit of math and measuring... need I mention any other disadvantages?

Most likely, I will use some sort of combination between a couple of these methods. Maybe jars laying in the gutters or a clip it up (the homemade version) on the gutters. Photos soon to show you the results.
I do hope that these photos save you time researching methods for ribbon storage and I hope my comments give you many things to think about. It may sound negative, but I just want you to learn from my mistakes.
Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. This was fantastic, thank you for all your research. I haven't built my craft space yet (waiting for the bubba to go into a big boy bed, then that corner of the bedroom is MINE) but this has given me a lot to think about in the meantime. Thank you


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