When your daughter has a Frozen/gymnastics theme for her 4th birthday party and you are the sort of lady who likes making party favors, there really is only one choice – ribbon wands. It’s the closest you can get to giving her actual ice powers. After reviewing a number of tutorials, this is the method I decided on. It’s been 6 months since that party and ours have held up wonderfully to daily play.
- wooden dowels
- barrel swivels (in the fishing lure section of your local outdoor store)
- screw eyes – make sure these are smaller than the diameter of your dowels
- sewing machine
The first thing you want to do is use pliers to open the screw eyes slightly so you can get the barrel swivels on. I found this was easiest to do with two sets of pliers – one to hold the screw eye and the other to open it. Then I squeezed it closed with the same set.
Why bother with the screw eye and barrel swivel when you could just glue a ribbon to the end? The swivel twists like on the ribbons used by rhythmic gymnasts. It keeps the ribbon from getting twisted and stuck on the dowel. It’s also super secure – these wands are going to hold up to years of play.
Next step is to screw the eyes into the end of the dowels. Most of my dowels were soft enough for me to do this by hand – just a few required me to use pliers to get them in.
I found that it worked better to add the screw eyes with the swivel attached – when I tried to open screw eyes already in dowels the ends sometimes cracked open. With thicker dowels this would be less of an issue, I’m sure.
One other thing to check at this stage is whether your dowels need a quick sanding. I got two identical packages and one needed a couple passes of sandpaper and the other didn’t.
Next I cut my ribbons and grouped them together with paperclips. I found that a mixture of widths and textures of ribbon worked fine in the final product and made them look very exciting when you spin them around.
The easiest way to thread that giant ribbon through that tiny eye was to roll the widest ribbon around the smaller ones and ease the tube through. I think having a smooth outside ribbon helped them glide through easily.
I sewed two quick parallel lines of stitching to secure the ribbons.
And then trimmed the ends close to the bottom line of stitching. This is the one part that I wish were a little bit prettier, but none of the 4 year olds cared so I let it go.
The final step, which I didn’t photograph, is I quickly passed the cut ends of the ribbons over a flame. I would hold it in there for a second and pull it out to check, repeating until the end was melted a tiny bit. This makes it look a little neater and keeps it that way by preventing fraying.
My tiny Elsa was pretty pleased with the final product!