In a previous post, Finding a place for all those ribbons, I discussed the different methods you can use to store ribbons. My own preferred method is to wind ribbons onto 2-inch by 2-inch squares of chipboard, and to line them up like books inside the cubbies of a thimble rack.

photo 2

Although many of my ribbons do fit inside the wall-mounted thimble rack, I began storing the rest inside a plastic drawer. That drawer began overflowing, however, so once more I wound ribbon onto squares of chipboard because that takes up far less space.



It feels like a sin to throw away the empty ribbon spools, or even to toss them into the recycle bin that the city collects every other week.


I scoured the Web for ribbon spool recycling ideas, and to my delight discovered there are many ways to re-use ribbon spools. You can turn them into ornaments, gift boxes, mini albums, pumpkins, sweet treat holders, and even dimensional flowers. In the video below, Heidi Borchers illustrates how she makes ribbon spool flowers. You can find step-by-step written directions in her post, Ribbon Spool Flowers.

Diane Henkler of In My Own Style, shows you through her tutorial, Recycle a Ribbon Spool Into a Gift Box, how to convert ribbon spools of various sizes into gift boxes that are truly a delight. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to receive a pair of earrings, a necklace, or one of my crocheted flower brooches in a box like this?

Craftgawker_thumb - Diane Henkler
Photo courtesy of Diane Henkler

Cristina Garay of Remodelando la Casa assembled a unique pumpkin ornament from multiple ribbon spools using nothing more than spray paint, glitter, wire, paper and jute. She was inspired to make her pumpkin from a post she read last year that used canning jar lids. You can find Cristina’s tutorial on her Web site by visiting A Recycled Pumpkin.

ribbon spool pumpkin2 - Cristina Garay
Photo courtesy of Cristina Garay

In her post, Recycled ribbon spool ornaments, Sarah Roberts of Quince and Quire designed adorable Christmas-themed ornaments you can hang on your tree, mirror or window, or suspend from a hook. I can see how adapting this idea by adhering a child’s photo or a family photo to one side of the ornament would make this decoration especially memorable.

Sarah Roberts
Photo courtesy of Sarah Roberts

There are many more ideas you can discover on the Web, so feel free to click on any of these links to read about them:

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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8 thoughts on “Don’t throw away those empty ribbon spools!”

  1. So many cool ribbon spool ideas! I’ve always tried to keep my collection to a minimum so I don’ thane storage problems…I’m usually mostly successful…

  2. Thank you for this list of things to do with empty ribbon spools. I always hated to just throw them out (recycle bin of course) now I have some uses for them.

  3. I am looking for empty ribbon spools for a customer of mine for a project they are doing. Do you know where I can buy empty spools like the ones shown on your website? I am a promotional products distributor in Albuquerque, NM

    Any suggestions you may have I would appreciate it


    1. Hi, I have several bags (13 gal. Trash) full of ribbon spools, variety sizes. Where are you located? I’m in Georgia. You can surely HAVE them. If we can figure a way to get them to you.. Email me.

  4. Marking stuff with the empty spools is good. But rapping my ribbon on flat cardboard is not a good idea. I don’t like my ribbon too have creases in it!

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