thrift store ribbon holder

by | Nov 1, 2022 | Decorating, Home Studio | 35 comments

In between the unpacking, painting, and projects, Jeff and I have taken a morning or afternoon here and there to hit a few local second-hand shops.  One afternoon, we made the rounds to a few of the thrift stores just a couple of miles from our house.  At one of those thrift stores, I spotted a wooden rack.  At first, I wasn’t sure what it was…a towel bar, maybe?  Whatever it was, I liked it and thought it was interesting.  It could have dozens of different uses and it was only $10, so I decided to pick it up.  When I got it home and interacted with it more, I decided it was a paper towel holder.  I could’ve used it as that, but I decided to have a bit more fun with it and make it a ribbon holder in my studio.

ribbon holder | miss mustard seed

I have some gorgeous ribbons that I’ve collected over time and I like having pretty things out where I can see them.  I bought the woven jacquard ribbons from a specialty shop in Minnesota and they came on a board instead of a spool, so I needed to figure out a way to display them.

Creativity simply put is just problem-solving, so I get excited when I get to play MacGyver.  I find that it leads to some of my best ideas!  I wouldn’t put this project in that category, but I was pretty proud of myself.  To make spools to hang the ribbons on my new ribbon hanger, I cut off a slice of a spent paper towel roll that was the width of the ribbon.  I then put a Glue Spot on the roll to stick the end of the ribbon in place.

winding ribbon | ribbon holder | miss mustard seed

I rolled the ribbon on my makeshift stool and put a pin in the end to keep it from unraveling.

winding ribbon | ribbon holder | miss mustard seed

It actually worked!  Simple, quick, and free to make with things I already had on hand.

winding ribbon | ribbon holder | miss mustard seed

I threaded all of the spools onto the ribbon holder and hung it next to the large storage cabinet in the corner by the door.

ribbon holder | art palettes | art studio | miss mustard seed

The thrifted paper towel holder turned ribbon holder ended up being a fun little addition to this corner of the studio.

ribbon holder | jacquard ribbon | miss mustard seed

ribbon holder | jacquard ribbon | miss mustard seed

ribon holder | art studio | miss mustard seed


  1. Anna

    Your new ribbon holder is beautiful! I love being able to see the wonderful patterns of ribbons you have collected.


    I must say how happy I am to see the nice warm woods you are using. My whole house has warm wood tones (built in 1895) and is so beautifully grained that I could not paint over it even though that is the trend for many years now. I have had a hard time finding paint colors for the walls that did not make it appear more orange though, so I am painting once again and maybe will hit the right balance. Paint as you know looks different throughout the day and what I like the morning light is not what looks as nice in the evening, so it has been a real challenge. So excited to see where you take your new home! I’m always inspired by you. ♥

  3. Kim

    I just love finding little useful items like this ribbon/towel/etc. holder in thrift stores! They are often one-of-a-kind hobby woodworking or shop class projects and it is fun to give them a new life and preserve their creator’s ingenuity.

    I also agree, making something handy out of nothing (paper towel cardboard) is always a big win for the day!

  4. Cassandra E

    Thank you! I love it so much. What a find!!! I’m so glad you used it for your star ribbons. Everything is coming together!

  5. Beverlee

    I love it! But, I really love that white piece…

    • Pam

      I enjoy as you enjoy adding layers of decor to warm up your lovely new studio. About that white large white piece… just waiting for you to make a magical transition with a talented Miss Mustard Seed paint update, or with your gorgeous refinishing work.

      In my opinion, the piece currently is not living up to its potential, but will, someday, become your Cinderella.

  6. Bea

    I love your wooden paper towel holder and I’ll be looking for one similar to also use for my rolls of ribbon. I enjoy using things for a different purpose from the intended one.

  7. Gillian

    love love love! what a unique find!!! I would love to have one too!!!

  8. Janine

    I spotted that yesterday as I was touring your new studio space, via the blog and knew I hadn’t seen it before. It’s so you, and looks so pretty!

    • Lindy P

      Lovin’ it! And lovin’ your choice of ribbon patterns ~

  9. Wendi U

    That rack is actually quite beautiful. I LOVE that you hang up your palettes, brushes. Great idea and may consider this too. It looks so rich!!! I loveeeee that white tall cabinet too!! An artist’s dream!!! It’s giving me food for thought! My biggest question is what do you do with the strong smells for like turpentine?

    • Julie

      I love how the swoops of the ribbon holder play so nicely with the swoops of the palettes. Stunning!

      • Rita

        It’s a unique piece. I would have snatched it up at well for $10. Too many possibilities for uses. I know you are having fun finding new things to use in your new home.

  10. Kristine

    I’m sure, in a house somewhere, sometime during my childhood, I was in a home that had a kitchen with a paper towel holder like that one. It just looks very familiar to me. I love how it has some real presence, and like others before, really enjoy the warm woods that are filling the walls of your studio. And to turn it into a useful tool that is also pretty to look at is just a great win!! Thank you for sharing the steps as you as making your progress!

  11. Linda Emslie

    It looks like it was a holder for rolls of brown paper for packing parcels in a store.

  12. Jo Ann Bohannon

    Love ribbon!!!!! And I love that shape.
    Where are your beautiful art boxes? Did I not notice them? Can’t wait to see the pool after it’s repaired.

  13. Jen C

    Excellent find and perfect for your ribbon! Your studio is looking great.

  14. IEL

    The “ribbon rack” is a lovely compliment to your palettes. What a dreamy art studio:)

  15. Karen

    I love the artist’s paint palettes, all covered with used paint, that you hung on the wall. You should use the plain one and cover it with the paint colors you traditionally use. Then hang it back on the wall to represent your paint palette. It will not only add your personal style to the display but also match better with the others.

  16. Sharon

    I spotted your ribbon holder in your studio photos yesterday and was admiring it! The shape provides almost a cap type finish to your palette board display. What a great way to enjoy your pretty ribbons!

  17. Julie | Home On The Hill

    It was that ribbon holder in yesterdays post that grabbed my attention, I’m hoping to make something similar from an old bedhead & my husband does wood turning so could make the rod part for me.

    I was wondering though how yours works.

    Does the rod slide out from one end only & what stops it coming out when in use? I’m thinking maybe the grooves in the rod ends sit down over the wood edge of the hole? One end is bigger than the other etc?

  18. Mary Sacoman

    Hello, Marion! What you have is a roller towel bar, in beautiful shape. A similar one, not quite as fancy, hung near the sink at my grandmother’s house. The roller towels were lengths of linen dish towel fabric sewed together and slipped over the rod when one end was removed. Kept the hand towel out of the way, and a dry section was always handy. Fond memory of my Grandma Jennie’s kitchen at Glenwood Farm!

    • Jan Hebert

      I agree with you Mary Sacoman, this is a really special towel bar. My grandmother had one as well – not as fancy – hanging in her pantry. I loved that pantry and her wood burning kitchen stove, thank you for the memories

  19. Laura

    What a lovely piece! It looks like an antique, as in over 100 years old, which is before paper towel was invented. I’m wondering if I could make one like it……..

  20. JC

    Brilliant idea and so pretty with the ribbon!

  21. meg

    we had holders like that that held a linen towel sewn into a loop. i’m not certain paper towels were used in that era. It really a great find!

  22. Dotte

    Love it! I noticed it from your post yesterday and wondered about it…
    If only I could find such unique treasures!!!

  23. Kathryn Casey

    I loved this arrangement on the wall and appreciating the tip for using a paper towel tube.

  24. Mary

    That is no ordinary towel holder…simply beautiful! Clever you… always finding unique items and then using them so artfully

  25. Vanessa Prohaska

    Lovely idea. I bought some bathroom tension rod holders and wood dowels at the hardware store and placed them zig zag style, inside my Target book shelves. It holds all of my ribbons. Great minds think alike. ?

  26. Terri Spencer

    Terrific idea and so well excited! EZ to follow instructions, inexpensive, looks great and the convenience is several fold! A+!
    Thanks so much :). Terri

  27. Anna

    I love this idea! It’s perfect for the up and coming holiday season which entails gift wrapping galore. Also I love that chippy white basket in the last photo.

  28. Karen B.

    I noticed the shelf on one of your previous tours and thought it was a very clever idea. You are always so creative, and it gives me great ideas for my own stash of ribbons. Thank you.
    Karen B.

  29. Marie

    What a lovely piece, and an ingenious way of repurposing it.
    My collection of trims and laces needs to be tamed and displayed for ease of use.
    You have the wheels in head spinning for a similar solution, except I need more rows. But your find gives me ideas for sure, and my hunt will continue with fresh eyes!
    You have already started making this very special house a home for you and your family. Love your colors and details so far. Your blog is one of my work break guilty pleasures!

  30. Pat Gaumer

    My grandmother had one that was very similar in her kitchen. It hung by the sink & held a linen towel that was sewn with the short ends together. That way you could dry your hands & pull down to get a dry spot on the towel. It would be changed every couple of days. Would not have been a good idea in the Covid era!


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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