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DIY Project of the Month: What to do with Leftover Ribbon

By LearnVest |
These easy, DIY ideas shouldn't cost you a dime if you have a couple of craft supplies like a hot glue gun, double-stick tape and toothpicks.
This story is from our partner LearnVest and was originally published on 3/28/12.

how to go green crafts

Ribbon is beautiful, but surprisingly expensive. As such, we've been known to save especially pretty strands until the bottom of our gift-wrap drawer is a tangled mess of satin, grosgrain, organza and velvet, just waiting for the next birthday or gift-giving holiday to pop up.

But you don't even have to: Today, we'll show you a ton of fun ways to make use of those ribbon scraps—from wine charms to home décor to organizing tips to party decorations, and even more.

Better yet, these easy, DIY ideas shouldn't cost you a dime if you have a couple of craft supplies like a hot glue gun, double-stick tape and toothpicks.

Cupcake Topper
When it comes to dressing up desserts, look beyond sprinkles and food coloring. These festive flags--made from playful ribbon scraps and toothpicks--make it easy to sweeten the look of store-bought or home baked goods, like cupcakes.

Materials: Toothpick, 1/2-inch ribbon, hot-glue, scissors
Craft time: 1 minute per topper
1. Cut ribbon into a 2-inch long piece.
2. Fold the ribbon in half, sandwich the top of the toothpick in between, and secure in place with hot-glue.
3. Once dry, use scissors to cut the end of the ribbon into a flag shape.
4. Insert the flag topper into the top of a frosted cupcake and serve.

Decorative Trim
Before you hit the home store searching for new décor, try updating what you already have in the house. You can embellish a plain lampshade (or solid color throw pillows or picture frames) by using ribbon as a decorative trim that will tie that accessory into the rest of the room.
Materials: Ribbon, double-stick tape, hot glue
Craft time: 10 to 15 minutes
1. Cut and tape ribbon in place on lampshade or pillow as desired.
2. Use glue to secure ribbon in place and let dry completely.

Don’t waste money on disposable decorations for birthday parties or holidays. Instead, create a family keepsake: A reusable banner from your favorite ribbon leftovers. Make it as short or long as you like, then hang it on the back of a chair or above a doorway or entryway.
Materials: Assorted ribbon pieces, long length of ribbon, scissors, hot-glue
Craft time: 5 to 10 minutes (depending on garland length)
1. Trim assorted ribbons into 4- or 5-inch pieces.
2. Lay the long length of ribbon on a flat surface and slide the shorter ribbon pieces underneath it, about 2 inches apart.
3. One by one, fold the top of the ribbon piece over the long length of ribbon, and secure in place with hot glue.
4. Hang the garland by tying or tacking it up on the ends.

Wine Charms
The biggest party pet peeve: forgetting which wine glass is yours! Keep confusion to a minimum by tying different colored ribbons to the stem of each guest’s glass before you pour in the vino. Bonus: The ribbon ties will double as table décor!
Materials: Assorted colors of thin ribbon
Craft time: 1 minute or less per charm
1. Choose ribbon scraps that are at least 3 inches in length.
2. Knot or tie the ribbon into a bow around the stem of a wine glass.
3. Trim ends of ribbon as needed.
4. Discourage friends from fighting over who gets which color!

Zipper Pull
You can add a ribbon pull to save yourself from contorting in front of the mirror the next time you slip on that sassy back-zip number, but this is also helpful for quickly closing zip-front winter coats when wearing mittens or chunky knit gloves. It's also great for bags and luggage.
Materials: Thin ribbon, scissors, fabric glue (optional)
Craft time: 3 minutes
1. Slide a thin piece of ribbon through the zipper pull of your garment and either knot the ends together or glue pieces flat on top of one another.

Why dog-ear the precious pages of your new book when you can make your own beautiful bookmark out of a single strand of ribbon, and any drop earring that's gone out of style or lost its mate?
Materials: 12-inch length of ribbon, lone drop earring or charm
Craft time: 3 minutes
1. Remove the earring hook from the drop earring.
2. Thread the end of the ribbon through the earring or charm and knot to secure.
3. Place bookmark inside pages of book to mark your spot.

Colorful Labels
Organize that sea of storage boxes stylishly by subbing in thick ribbon pieces for boring white labels. Customize each with the name of the box contents and affix in place.
Materials: 2-inch wide ribbon, permanent marker, double-stick tape
Craft time: 3 minutes
1. Write file box name on a piece of ribbon with a permanent marker.
2. Trim the ends if necessary, then tape in place on the side of corresponding file box.

Love Notes
Looking for a unique way to tell someone special how much you care? Write a sweet saying on a length of ribbon, then wrap it around a wooden spool. This is also a really cute way to send invites to something (or, say, ask your best friend to be your maid of honor). For best results, tuck it in a small box and hand deliver.
Materials: 1-inch ribbon, letter stickers, tape, wooden spool, sticker
Craft time: 5 minutes
1. Lay a length of ribbon on a flat surface and arrange letter stickers on top to spell out desired word or phrase.
2. Trim any extra ribbon, then tape the end to the outside of the wooden spool.
3. Wrap the ribbon around the spool so that the text faces inside.
4. Keep closed with a decorative sticker.

Napkin Ties
We’ve all been there: Company’s coming and you’re desperately trying to put the finishing touches on what you wanted to be an effortless-looking affair. Our solution: Make formal place settings fun in a flash.
Materials: 1-inch ribbon scrap
Craft Time: 1 minute or less per tie
1. Tie matching or complementary ribbons around fabric napkins.
2. Go the extra mile by writing guests' names on one end of the ribbon ties so they double as place cards.

Key Chain
No key chain? No problem. Color-code your keys (think: green is for garage, blue is for back door, fuchsia is for front door, etc.) and they’ll be hard to miss--and pretty enough to display in the kitchen or mudroom.
Materials: ¼- or ½-inch ribbon
Craft time: 1 minute or less per key
1. Loop a length of thin ribbon through the top of loose keys to quickly organize your spares.
2. For multiple keys, slide them on the same ribbon before tying.

This article was brought to you by Recyclebank partner LearnVest. To check out additional articles, please visit

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