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Rope Ladder Ribbon Organization (with Dowel Rods)

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Everyone can use more ribbon organization ideas, right?? This month’s craft challenge from Decorate and More with Tip is using Dowel Rods. Are you guessing what I did?? …… I decided to create some ribbon organization and storage using two different sizes of dowel rods.

dowel rods with text

You’ve probably seen dowel rod organization for ribbon before, but mine is different. Usually you see something that stands by itself.

Or you might see one that attaches to a wall.

But I don’t have anywhere to set a spool ribbon holder, and I don’t have any wall space left, either….. so keep reading to see what I did!

Thank you Terrie for creating these challenges– I really enjoy them! If you are visiting from blog, then welcome! The rest of the Dowel Rod projects will be at the end of this post.

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You can purchase dowel rods at places like Hobby Lobby already cut into 12 inch sections, in various diameters. You can also purchase dowel rods in 48 inch lengths at home improvement stores. For this project– I did both!!

Dowel Rods, Before

Dowel Rods

My ribbon is kept in various places— Do you recognize what kind of storage boxes those are? One is a shoebox, but the other three are— floppy disk storage boxes! Do you even remember what floppy disks were?! They weren’t even floppy— well, originally they were, but I’m talking about the rigid ones. Wow. Anyway, they are the right size for storing ribbon….


Then I have some larger spools of ribbon over in a basket laid on its side. This is because the basket is on a shelf that is too high for me to see what is in the basket if the basket was sitting properly. My craft area is in our basement and shares room with some books and board games. I’ve tried to work on organizing it to show you B4 and After pictures– but I have not succeeded in the After picture part yet….

ribbon spools

So when I had this idea to organize and display my ribbon better, I couldn’t wait to try it out!

I saw a rope ladder for bunk beds recently in a Country Living magazine. The magazine had DIY directions of how to make a rope ladder. I would use dowel rods and jute rope to make a ribbon ladder organizer. I must tell you that I can usually follow directions just fine. But the directions to tie the rope for this ladder don’t make sense to me. The directions say to make a knot and slip the rod through the knot. But look at pictures 3 and 4 in the magazine picture. The rope looks much different than just tying a simple knot….. that looks like a more complicated knot….

jute rope tied around a dowel rod, next to a magazine picture of a rope ladder

This is what the rope looks like with the dowel rod through it according to their directions. See how it looks nothing like their finished picture?!

closeup of jute rope tied onto end of dowel rod

I played around with the rope a little until I got it looking more like the finished picture. The way I did this was instead of pulling the rope all the way through like when tying a knot, was to just pull the rope partly through, and then slip the rod in the loop. The rod stays in the rope either way because the ribbon spools aren’t very heavy– it is just if you want a different look, or in my case, if you want it to look like the magazine picture, that you could try tying it differently.

closeup of end of dowel rod with jute rope tied onto it

There are clear directions to making the kind of rope ladder pictured in #countrylivingmagazine (which is also the same method I figured out in the photo above) at Art of Manliness.

You can measure two ropes, or make one long rope. The first one I made, I used two ropes and tied them together at the top. The second one, I just used one rope and then I didn’t have to tie them together.

dowel rods laid out with jute rope

I needed thinner dowel rods for some of my ribbon spools because the spool holes were smaller in diameter. I was able to cut these in 12 inch lengths by using my pruning shears.

pruners cutting a dowel rod

I do need to warn you– if you pick up dowel rods be sure to inspect them before you purchase them. One of mine was defective– half of it, was flat instead of round! That also meant that it was thinner and weaker. Since it is a little hard to photograph or describe, I made a short video to show you.

It is always so fun to see an idea come together!

Ribbon spools on a dowel rod with jute rope

I have hardly any spare wall space (that is one of my problems with getting my craft area organized). I have had this white wardrobe cabinet for 20 years. It is my craft cabinet and holds fabric, yarn, and other odds and ends. I attached Command hooks to the fronts of the doors to hold my newly made Dowel Rod Ribbon Organizers!

plain white cabinet with two doors

I think it will be pretty easy to move spools on and off the rods as I use up ribbon and get new ribbon, by just slipping one end out of the rope and then putting it back in.

Ribbon Organization, AFTER!

Rope Ladder ribbon organizer

I think there are probably some other things I could organize by making rope ladders…. if so, I will let you know! What could you organize with a rope ladder?

(P.S. Joann Fabrics has a simple ribbon storage solution that can either sit on a surface or hang on a wall.)

ribbon organization rope ladder

Up next is Celebrate and Decorate with an interesting wall hanging!

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  1. Thankyou for a brilliant idea concerning ribbon storage. We rent so will buy some over the door hangers then use your idea. Yipee another storage problem solved.

  2. Now, if only I had that little bit of ribbon! I have a VERY bad habit of buying up ribbon on sale after the holidays. It does come in handy, but I REALLY need to use it up! Pinned!

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