New and refurbished ideas for LDS Primary Music Leaders (a.k.a. Primary Choristers)

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Late Posting Disclaimer: I typed this post up a couple of weeks ago and just plumb forgot to finish editing it and posting it on the blog, so although I talk about ribbon wands in conjunction with May's song below, ribbon wands can be used for just about any song any time.

Of course it is time to talk about
because May's song,
"When I Am Baptized"
is just
 for my rainbow ribbon wands
to be used.

Ribbon wands can be an investment in time and money depending on how many you make, but if you can swing it, you won't regret it. The children just loooooooooove using these. They never tire from them. They are great for teaching and feeling the melody of the music. The kiddos get plenty of movement to keep those wiggle worms at bay...and of course, you will certainly get your exercise in for the day. By-the-by, do any of you feel like you've just finished your workout at the gym after you get home from church??? I'm sure I would be in much better shape if I did my "Primary Workout" on a daily basis instead of once a week!

Anywhoooooo, I made my ribbon wands a couple of years ago and use them at least a few times a year. The kids would probably love it if I would use them more often, but there are always so many other things I want to try and do. These are great for nursery too! I first introduce the ribbon wands in Primary after we did the program. It was a great, fun way to release all those wiggles they had held inside of them from sitting so well in Sacrament meeting and it was an easy singing time just singing fun songs and taking turns following the leader in twirling the wands. I've done this for the last two programs and plan on using them again this year, so I guess it has become a tradition.

Ribbowands are easy to make, but will take a little time to put together if you plan on making quite a few. There are a variety of ways to make them, but this is how I made mine.

  • 12" long (I think the diameter I used is about 1/4")  (a 4' dowel will give you 4-12" ribbon wands)
  • Small eye hook
  • Small fishing swivel
  • 36" long double-sided satin ribbon x 1" wide (I did my ribbon 1 1/4" wide x 86" long for the wand I would use because it is just cool to see how a full-length one works. Don't make the children's too long because they would be too difficult for the little ones to use.)
  • Scissors
  • Saw to cut the dowels or have them cut at the hardware store, but they may charge per cut.
  • Drill and drill bit smaller than the eye hook screw or a big headed push pin
  • 2 Pliers
  • Sand Paper
  • Thin blade screw driver 
  • Lighter or lit candle (no, this is not to help set the mood)
  • Spray paint (optional)

  1. Cut the dowels into 12" lengths.
  2. Sand smooth the cut ends and any other areas that are rough. Don't want any slivers.
  3. Drill or use a push pin to start a hole to screw in the eye hook. If you use a drill, be very careful in holding the stick so you don't slip and hurt yourself with the drill. You may also want to put a piece of tape around the drill bit to help mark how deep you drill to in the stick. Make sure the drill bit you use is thinner than the screw part on the eye hook so that the screw "bites" into the wood when it is screwed in.
  4. If you want, you could paint your dowel. I decided not to because I didn't have the time and I figured over time the paint would start to chip off making them look less attractive. But that's your call.
  5. With one plier in one hand grip one side of the eye hook and with the other plier in your other hand, grab the opposite side of the eye hook and slightly pry open by bringing one hand towards you and the opposite hand away from you to open the eye hook wide enough so you can hook on the fishing swivel then close the eye hook back up. Don't try to pry the hook open in a split fashion. It is much harder to close if you do. Hope that is clear as mud.
  6. Screw in the eye hook and fishing swivel combo into the hole in the dowel. To help save on your fingers, use the thin blade screw driver to slip into the eye hook hole as leverage to help twist the screw in or use your pliers.
  7. Thread one end of the ribbon through the other end of the fishing swivel.
  8. Tie a double knot on the end of the ribbon so it won't pull through the fishing swivel. I did not tie a knot directly to the fishing swivel's loop because it didn't seem to swivel as well, it looked a little more bulky and it was harder to tie a knot on the swivel without ending up with a long tail.
  9. With the lighter or lit candle, carefully melt the edges of the ribbon to help prevent fraying.
  10. Voilà! Now you have a fantastical ribbowand.

Here are a couple of other quick ribbon wand variations.

  • You could use thinner ribbon such as 1/4" wide double-satin ribbon in different colors. Decide on the length you want and double that measurement. Cut 2 or more ribbons in that length. Thread the ribbons through the eye hook (depending on your ribbon width, you may want a bigger eye hook). Even out the ribbons so your eye hook is in the middle of the ribbons. Tie the ribbons in a double knot. Seal the cut edges from fraying and you are good to go. You could add a swivel if you want the ribbon to swirl better.
  • A less expensive way is to use 6-7 36" strips of curling ribbon and glue it on the tongue depressor sized craft sticks. Then glue some ribbon around the area where you have glued to help give it a finished look and extra holding power. I have several colors of curling ribbon on large spools that I bought a long time ago from an Xpedx store that I use for gift wrapping. There is a lot of ribbon on those spools that have lasted me for years. Use just one color or several colors. This size is great for those little nursery hands.
I'm sure you could probably find a variety of other ways to make ribbon wands on the internet as well as you can purchase them off the internet, but they can get quite pricey.

Later I will post ways to use ribbon wands along with cheat sheets for different pattern movements to help you in choreographing your songs.


  1. Oh I soooo needed this post last week! I went to Michaels but couldn't even find "rainbow" ribbon. The tongue depressor quick version is a great last minute solution. I will be making the fancier ones!

    1. I'm sure all the music leaders out there were busy buying every bolt of rainbow ribbon on the shelves. LOL When you get yours made, your children will love them!

  2. I bought Dollar Store shower curtain rings and 6 different Dollar Store plastic tablecloths. I cut the tablecloths into 1 inch strips and tied them to the rings. They flow beautifully! I love them better than ribbon. Not so heavy.
    Very easy to make.

    1. Rochelle, what a great and innovative idea. Thanks for sharing your great idea.

  3. The song leader in my ward used straws and curl ribbon for her ribbon wands. It worked really well and the kids (junior and senior) love it. She's been using them off and on since the beginning of the year (or there about) and they hold up really well. Only, she's using them to teach "Choose the Right" she has the kids do different arm movements for each part of the song, kind of along to the tune. Both my kids (one junior, one senior) learned the song really well, even after just the first time singing it.

  4. lovely looking ribbon wands! where did you find your rainbow ribbon? i've been looking online but haven't found anything...

  5. Kathy-Ann: what another great idea using straws with the curling ribbon. Love the creativity.

    Anonymous: I bought the ribbon on sale over 2 years ago at my local craft store. Not sure if that style of ribbon is around any more, but I'm sure there are lots of other fun ribbons to use. Maybe if you can't find a rainbow type ribbon and you are still wanting a rainbow look, another idea would be is to buy ribbon in the seven different colors of the rainbow so you'll have ribbon wands in each of the rainbow colors e.g. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo & purple.

  6. This is really helpful.. thanks.

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