DIY Wrapping Paper and Ribbon Organizer

By Kate Riley 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.


  1. Gorgeous idea! I’ll be making one of these to fit my stuff, the only problem I have is….nowhere to put it :/ So…I think I’ll make just a ribbon version for my crafts!

  2. Looks great! I am wondering how you swap out the wrapping paper. I am sure you covered it and I just didn’t understand it. :-) I love how you have made custom organizers for your laundry room. We’re currently renovating the basement, and I may have to incorporate some of your fabulous ideas. :-)

  3. I love ribbon and wrap also! I’m a believer that it’s all in the presentation, and that holds true for much of our lives.

  4. What a great idea! Since Christmas, I’ve been thinking that I’d like to find a way to organize my wrapping paper – I just found it. Thank you!

  5. Love this! I have a question for you though, do you have any problems with your ribbon rolls unraveling? If not, how do you keep them from doing it? I think this is a fabulous idea, great job!

  6. Thanks for the ideas! Currently, I have all my wrapping paper and ribbons in a long flat storage bin. But it wouldn’t be great to display them in a more visible way.

  7. Love it! Thanks for the inspiration. I think it would work great in a closet that I have. Beats storing the pretty stuff in stuffy boxes! :-)

  8. *SIGH* Gorgeous!! I love all the ribbon pictures!!

    And your organizer is inspirational!
    Love it!

    I have been noticing that, amongst all the Christmas clearance, there seems to be an excessive amount of ribbon. The majority of the ribbon is NOT Christmasy at all! It’s just in Christmasy packaging. With items currently 75 – 90% off you can’t beat that for stocking up on ribbon for gift wrapping!

  9. Oh, so pretty and functional!! I would love this in my home, my wrapping stuff is piled onto a top shelf of a hall closet…Nothing like this!! Enjoy. Janell
    p.s. yes, don’t you just have to shake your head when the kids spring little surprises like this on you. Keep us on our tippy toes, for sure!

  10. OH, WOW! I absolutely LOVE this idea! I’m going to show it to my hubby and see if he can help me figure out where we could do this. I know he can build it but our laundry room door is a pocket door and there’s really no room in there to install it. I’ll have to think on that one for a while, but I absolutely LOVE this idea. You are amazing!

    I’d love for you to stop by and enter my Pay It Forward Give-away. It’s gonna be lots of fun!

    Have a great week!

    Teresa <

  11. i have a ribbon organizer but i need one for my wrapping paper. this is genius. i wonder if mr anhesty is down to helping me with this lil project…

  12. Love your ingenuity! I have something that works for me, except for the large rolls of paper. I am going to have to hunt down that tall basket shown in the country living pic. Have to find it…it’s perfect!!!

  13. So adorable! I’m in the process of doing my “craft area” (in the unused wet bar area of my home…hard to explain unless you’ve seen it!) :) and I totally need ribbon and wrapping paper organizers. Space is at a premium and that is a more doable version than ones I’ve seen! I was thinking dowels with those plastic closet rod holder thingies. again, probably not clear. Anyway! I also LOVE the paper towel holder for ribbon!! Genius!

  14. I’m commenting late today…preschool morning, errands, you know. ;)

    I LOVE that you mentioned putting this behind your laundry room door b/c that would be the perfect spot for me too. It’s just an empty, unused spot. Why not put my ribbon stash there? I have a bag FULL of ribbon that I started collecting to try and make the girls some hair bows. I’ve only made like 4 bows, but I still have a growing ribbon collection. I can’t resist a good ribbon. ;)

    Maybe you could add this to my Decorating Dilemmas Party this week as a SOLUTION??? :) I’m posting it tomorrow night (after 10 PM ET), but it will be up all day on Wed. too.


  15. That is just totally awesome! I’m using that space in my laundry room to hang cleaning tools but I’m going to scope out if there’s another place I could put such an organizer. I’ve got tons of ribbon and they’re such a pain to store, find and use.

  16. So cute! You know what else I’ve been doing? Instead of buying all different kinds/colors of wrapping paper (since I never seem to have the right one for the occasion) I’ve just been buying rolls of plain white or kraft paper, and lots of different sizes and colors of cute ribbon. When I wrap a gift, I embellish it with leftover scrapbook paper – and it works because the wrapping paper is plain (white or tan).

  17. My name is Sue and I’m a ribbon addict. I love what you’ve done here. I use the guestroom closet, but I like how yours almost becomes decoration for the room. Very nicely done!


  18. I have the same problem since moving 30 minutes from town to a lake area. No littles one telling me at the last minute birthday, birthday………but showers for church, grad. , weddings, etc. going on all the time. Can’t run to town for paper and bows.everytime. I have a craft space that was suppose to be the utility room but the builder messed up…..hooray! I used pegboard & a crafting table to make a gift wrap station. I am loving it too.
    You did a great job on getting it right for a laundry room area and making it handy! Love your idea ! Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. :)

  19. I love this idea and am especially in love with the color you’ve used here and on the laundry room drying rack. I’m slightly obsessed with that color!

  20. What a great way to organize ribbons and paper… Love it! I have a great laundry area and it will fit in just right… Thank you for such great and easy idea…. have a great week.


  21. Wow! That is a wonderful idea Kate. Looking forward to meeting you in Nashville! Also, I live in SO Oregon — wonder how far we are from each other? :)

  22. I love coming here just to look at all your luscious photos :)

    And my new resolution? To learn to use all the power tools in the garage. You inspire me.

  23. Love this idea!!! I’ve been looking for organization ideas for my crap…I mean craft room and was thinking of how I could copy all the PB ideas. This is great!!!

  24. This is so great! I’d love to have all of my wrapping stuff so organized and pretty. I keep mine in a long Rubbermaid that rolls under my bed. It’s handy, but not nearly as nice to look at! :-)

  25. Ok so I saw your stair case banister a long time ago but I was sitting in my daughters nursey and hating her armoire. Loved it at first but I am changing the style of the room so I don’t know what kind of wood it is but I want to get rid of the paint color and make it look espresso like her crib. Do I do what you did or is there other steps or products?? Please help.

  26. I do have to work on my ribbon storage! I actually have the storage, but I bought more ribbon in the past couple of months that still has to be put away, so I might as well do it neatly. I love this organizer, Kate! It’s functional, it’s out of the way, it’s colorful ~ I think you did a great job of making your own. And why not use the ironing board to wrap gifts. That would be about the only use it gets in my house {I hate to iron}!

  27. Awesome idea. I use bags mostly but I really like the idea for the ribbon
    which I have a lot of. Thanks for sharing.

  28. I already emailed my husband asking if he could help me make one of these very soon. Love how you adapted it to be long and skinny. Thanks for the inspiration!

  29. I love your ribbon organizer. I have been trying to find something that I live and I totally love what you have done. I might have to steal this idea from you. Thank you so much for sharing.

  30. This is fab! What a great way to organize all the bits and pieces that you need for wrapping. And such an easy project, too… I have a very messy and far-too-small shoe carton in which I collect new and used ribbons. And I always swear when I look for something in it. The rolls of wrapping paper are difficult to reach on the top of a cupboard. Have to copy your organiser! Thanks for sharing!

  31. Hi Katie,

    Just came over via AT and love your site! This is a genius idea, well done & thanks for the how to. I’m off to see if I can find a nook in my house for one :)

  32. Looks like I just found my next project to build! I have one of those ugly plastic wrapping paper holders, and it scrunches all the paper up and rips it! This is such a great idea!

  33. So nice, I will have to make one myself. Our laundry room has the same layout with the doors flush to the wall. I absolutely adore the gift wrap station. It’s perfect, heck, I would buy one if I saw it in the store.

  34. I love the idea of wrapping paper on a vertical dowel! I’ve tried the ribbon on a dowel idea already, but became immediately frustrated upon finishing a roll of ribbon right in the middle of the dowel… haha! Needless to say, the empty spool will sit there until I have a few more empty spools. I am looking into installing a simple version of the Martha Stewart wall dispenser (second from the last picture).

    Tall and skinny is definitely the way to go, by the way. I had 3 foot dowels, which sagged in the middle :-/

  35. SUCH a great idea, just in time for Spring Cleaning! I’ve added this to my “Get Organized” roundup for today, and you can grab an “I’ve been featured badge” if you’d like!

    Thanks so much for the terrific idea! :)

  36. I love your wallpaper organizer and have purchased all of the supplies to get started on the project. Before I start, I have a question that I am hoping you can answer. How can I adapt the organizer to accomodate gift bags and sheets of tissue? I don’t want to place them as an afterthought, but am at a loss to incorporate it into this design.


  37. My husband and I built this organizer this past weekend. It was fun to build and very easy. Thanks so much!!! You are brilliant! Being a bit Type A, I was looking for info about how to space the holes and how many inches down from the top to place the hooks. Using your picture as a guide helped calm my Type A nerves and helped me to just go with it. The organizer looks great tucked into a 26 inch space on one size of sliding closet doors. Now I want to build your drying rack, but I’ll have to find room for it first!

  38. looks great.. but I still have the problem of the rolls all unrolling when you hang them like that.. so I have been just using cheap plastic bins which work great.. so is there a secret to keeping the bolts from unrolling.. besides tape or pins? and I also notice that rolls are all different sizes of holes some you have to cut larger etc… just curious.. t hanks!

  39. May I ask how you keep your 4 year old from grabbing sheets of the wrapping paper and just running away with them, un-rolling the entire roll? LOL. I know this is what my little guy would do. What a great idea though!

  40. After seeing this amazing project here on your blog last year, I took myself off to the Hardware Store purchased timber, glue, dowel etc and set about making one for myself! Best thing I ever did – I added a little shelf at the top for my cards and have been warpping organised ever since!

    You are such an inspiration – thanks for inspiring me to give DIY a try!!!

  41. This looks great. Dumb question: How do you remove the wrapping paper? Does the vertical dowel get lifted up? Is there sufficient clearance from the ribbon-holding dowel to remove the paper without removing the lower ribbon dowel? Or do you just lift it a little and slip the paper roll off from the bottom? Are the holes at the bottom of the frame (holding the lower end of the wrapping paper dowel) drilled all the way through, or just enough to secure the bottom end of the WP dowel? Thanks for your answers. I want to show this to the Mr. Fix It in my house!

    • Hey Ellen, it’s super simple, I just lift up the dowel rod and the old roll slides right out. Easy peasy.

  42. This is a really great and simple solution. I was tasked with making a “wrapping station” for this Christmas season, and I’ve been trying to figure out how that would be different from a “table”

    But I guess I now can see a difference, hah!

    I’m thinking I’d like to have the rack of paper hinge down so that 3 or 4 rolls can be pulled out along the table as needed, without having to take the whole roll off. This gives me a great place to start.


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