DIY Wrapping Paper and Ribbon Organizer

January 11, 2010

Kids have a way of springing things on you – it just comes with motherhood territory.  Friday, my daughter announced to me that she was expected at the social event of the season.  Okay, it was just another invitation to yet another kid’s birthday party, but it happened to be taking place that very afternoon.  Need gift, need it wrapped, pronto !

In the past, whenever these kinds of social events had arisen, I always found myself scrambling for wrapping paper and ribbon.  It drove me crazy.  I had no place to store wrap in my office and I didn’t want to store it under the bed.  Then I thought, hey, I’ll use the space behind my laundry room door.  Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.  Genius, I tell ya.

I searched around online for a quality organizer, and even considered buying one like this, but most of the consumer reviews said it was junk.  Then I had a light bulb moment.  Light bulb said, “Gurl, what the heck are you thinkin’ ?  Git yer beehind on down to Lowe’s and build yerself yer own, dagnabbit !”  So I did, lickety split.

This project took about two hours total from start to finish over the course of two days, but now I have this great little wrapping paper organizer and I’ve maximized storage in a place I wasn’t using before- behind the laundry room door !   Yeee haw !

organizer for wrap and ribbon

I was inspired by this image from Country Living, but I wanted to build a tall skinny version.

gift wrap station country living

So I did.  This organizer is made of solid wood, holds six rolls of standard size wrapping paper or cellophane, and many rolls of craft and decorative ribbon.

diy wrap and ribbon organizer

Building This Simple Wrapping Paper & Ribbon Organizer

Supplies (all found at Lowes):  2’ x 4’ x 5 mm piece of birch plywood; 2 pieces 1” x 3” x 8’ poplar board trimmed to frame plywood back; 1 piece 1/2” x 4” x 2’ poplar; cup hooks; eight 36” long dowel rods measuring 3/8 inch width; 2” nails, “D” ring hangers; primer and paint.

Step One: Cut your 1” x 3” x 8’ poplar boards to frame the sides and bottom of your plywood back.

trim poplar

Step Two: Determine where your dowel rods will go on the bottom of your frame, mark and drill halfway into poplar board with drill bit.  If your dowel rod is 3/8” then use a 1/2” drill bit to allow your dowel rod to slide in and out of the opening easily.

drill holes

At first, I only drilled four holes (see below), but I later came back and drilled six holes to store more wrapping paper.

Step Three: Match up your 1/4” x 4” x 2’ poplar piece to the base, trim the sides to 3”, then drill corresponding holes all the way through the thinner poplar piece so it can act as a guide for the top of your dowel rods that hold the wrapping paper.

match middle piece with holes

Step Four: Prime and paint all of your pieces including your dowel rods.  I recommend using oil based primer when working with raw wood.  I used the brush on Zinsser, but you could also use spray primer as well.  Allow to dry.

zinsser oil based primer

I chose to paint the box frame with Rustoleum’s ‘Seaside Green’ leftover from this laundry room drying rack I made last summer.

drying rack

Since they’re both hanging next to one another in the laundry room, the colors totally jibe.

seaside green rustoleum



Step Five: Once your paint is dry, attach your frame to your painted plywood back with nails.  I left the back of the plywood raw since no one will ever see it.

nail together

Step Six: Use a standard height tube of wrapping paper to measure the height of your middle poplar guide.

measure wrap height

With a right angle, make sure your middle guide is level, then attach to your frame with nails.

use right angle

Cut your dowel rods to just above the middle poplar guide.

saw dowels

Step Seven: Attach your “D” ring hooks to the back, then attach and your cup hooks to the front to support the dowels for the ribbon spools.  It helps to drill a small pilot hole before screwing in your cup hooks.

attach d ring hanger

cup hooks and ribbon

That’s all folks.

Total time for this project ?  About two hours, stretched over two days.

I also keep my greeting cards in this little organizer on the shelf.  Mr. CG brought it home to me last year.  I almost cried.  Then I found out it was a free gift when he bought a bunch of Mother’s Day cards.

greeting card organizer

I think ironing boards make perfectly appropriate places to wrap presents, don’t you ?

gift wrapped duo

The best part about my handy dandy organizer is that it is hidden from guests’ view, but not from mine.  Bonus – now I can take inventory as I fold socks.

behind the door wrap organizer

This little shelf keeps scissors and tape away from munchkin fingers.

shelf for scissors and tape

I like my little organizer.

diy wrap and ribbon organizer

Cause I like to look at pretty papers.

pretty wrapping paper

And pretty ribbons.

pretty ribbons in a row

Pretty ribbons are one of my favorite things.

Like raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens, and . .

Never mind.

Need more inspiration for storing your ribbons ?

Here you go.

ribbons in jar country livingCountry Living


ribbon on a roll good housekeepingGood Housekeeping

ribbons in bowl sundance Sundance Catalog

ribbon in a basket craftstylishCraftStylish

ribbons in a row blisstreeBlisstree



ribbon spools getty imagesGetty Images


ribbons on a shelf country living Country Living


martha ribbons duo Martha Stewart



ribbon spools country living Country Living

For more gift wrap organization ideas, visit another Bay Area gal pal, Cristin at Simplified Bee right here.


This project was featured on Apartment Therapy and also featured on DIY Life.

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