I have a problem with ribbon. I like it, I buy it, (I buy too much of it, in fact), I use it, and I always have some left over. Which I can't throw away, obviously. It's pretty, and I'll find some use for it later! If I can find it in the jumble and mess of my ribbon box, that is. I always coil up the ribbon nicely, but then second I go looking for something, it turns into a colorful spaghetti-like tangle of ribbons again. I found myself wishing I had a stash of twist ties like my mom used to have. But I don't think I've bought twist-tie trash bags in my whole adult life, and I have no such stash. *Bam*--inspiration!
Make my OWN twist ties! With pretty, pretty washi tape! That way they'd be exactly whatever length I'd need, too.
Washi tape is such cool stuff. I've seen it used for years, but somehow have never gotten around to playing with it myself until now. My procrastination did allow the product to become immensely popular, and thus available in an astounding range of colors and patterns. That's a silver lining, right?
The simplest version of washi tape twist ties is nothing more than wire and washi tape. I used floral wire here, but any thing (24 gauge or finer) craft wire would work. Place a length of tape on your work surface, sticky side up. Put wire on top of the sticky tape. Put a second length of tape on top, sandwiching the wire between the two sticky tape surfaces. Trim any excess wire from the ends.
Now this works well, but a lot of washi tape is rather translucent, and if you just use the tape-and-wire method, you can see the patter bleed through from the reverse side of your twist tie. It doesn't always look bad (like the twist tie on the bottom in the picture above), but if keeping the design pure (like the top twist tie) is important, we need to make the twist ties with just one extra step.
The secret? A sheet of plain white printer paper. Set your length of wire on top of a piece of paper. My wire didn't want to be straight, so I taped down the edges on the counter with a little extra tape. Place a strip of washi tape on top of the wire and paper. Use scissors to trim the excess paper away from the washi tape. This will give you a twist tie that is white on one side, patterned on the other. If you'd like the pattern on both sides, simply apply a second piece of washi tape to the white backside of the twist tie. Trim away any excess wire. (I like to make a little inverted V cut.)
These twist ties allowed me to take these jumbled ribbons, and keep them nicely corralled.
Like that! The twist ties keep the ribbons in their coils, even when I dig around in the container to find just the right one. And because they're longer and wider than your average twist tie, I can keep the ribbon secure without squishing it, and getting unsightly crimps stuck in the ribbon. Because you know I'm not going to iron unless it's absolutely necessary. I go years--YEARS--without ironing anything. If you're reading this, mom, I'm sorry. All your kind efforts and lessons went to waste.
The twist ties are also an adorable way to close up favor bags.