I’ll be conducting a dance story time this summer (more on that later of course!) and I knew I wanted to do a story time heavy on props. My son and I attend a class at the local kids’ gym and they use these ribbon bells from Lakeshore:
I thought they’d be so much fun for the kids so I went to the website to order them. $24.99 FOR SIX OF THEM!!!!!! Yowza! I wanted about 25-30 so that was going to cost us about $125! Not happening. The more I looked at them, the more I realized I could make something that looked a lot like it and served the same purpose but didn’t have the hefty price tag.
First, I bought the dowels and ribbons at AC Moore. The dowels are 5/8″ around and 36″ long. I had my handy husband cut them into 6″ pieces for me on his radial arm saw. He was also nice enough to sand down the edges so there was no fear of splinters. I bought four dowels for $2.49 each ($10.56 total for the handles).
The ribbons are 3/8″ wide and 15 yard spools. I only needed one spool of each color and paid $15.90 for all six spools ($2.50 each).
I cut the ribbons into 19″ long pieces (I got that length from the Lakeshore website specs) and then painted each end with clear nail polish to prevent fraying.
I bought the jumbo silver bells (two packs of 24) at Oriental Trading for $13.76 with tax.
To assemble I used our hot glue gun to attach the ribbons and then the bells to the dowels:
I tried attaching the ribbons both ways, two each under one bell like Lakeshore does (left) or all the colors straight across (right):
The children’s department took a vote and we all agreed the six colors going across looked better than two under each bell. And in the end I ended up using just two bells for each instead of three so I could make our bells go further.
Pretty sweet huh?? The whole project ended up costing just over $40!! While these ribbon bells were time consuming, they look great and we saved a ton of money DIY-ing. Doing artsy projects like this is one of my greatest pleasures as a children’s librarian.
I’ll let you know if they’re sturdy enough to stand up to our babies and toddlers!