How to make a chinese ribbon stick

Written by joan mansson
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How to make a chinese ribbon stick
The flow of the ribbon is controlled by the hand and wrist movements of the dancer. (ribbon image by Clivia from

Ribbon Dance is based on an old, colourful Chinese dance in which performers each hold a ribbon stick, a varnished dowel with a length of brightly coloured ribbon attached. The ribbon is waved in rhythm to the music creating a visual display in addition to the dance moves. Today the ribbon sticks are used in rhythmic gymnastic performances as well adding another level of grace to the already expert movements of the athletes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 12 inch dowel, 1 inch in diameter
  • 12 to 20 inches of ribbon
  • 3 inch wide coloured duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Varnish
  • Brush

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  1. 1

    Varnish the dowel and set aside to dry according to the instructions of the product you've chosen to use. Drying will take anywhere from an hour to a day, depending on the weather. It takes longer to dry on a humid or rainy day.

  2. 2

    Measure out the length of ribbon to anywhere from 12 to 20 feet. If a smaller child is using this you might want to experiment with what he can handle.

  3. 3

    Cut off a 4-inch length of the coloured duct tape and set it aside. Duct tapes now come in a wide variety of colours are an excellent adhesive.

  4. 4

    Take an end of the ribbon and wrap its width around the dowel about an inch below the dowel's end.

  5. 5

    Wrap the duct tape around the ribbon end of the dowel covering the ribbon completely and leaving an additional one and a half inches of duct tape on wood. Wrap evenly and tightly to keep the ribbon stick attractive.

Tips and warnings

  • If you wish you may leave the dowel plain or paint it instead of using varnish. Ribbons can be any pattern or colour. If you don't want to use duct tape to hold the ribbon in place you can use a wood glue and cover the end with ribbon or cord for decoration.
  • This project does not comply with specifications of the gymnastics associations for rhythmic gymnastics.
  • Don't use a wired ribbon since it won't flow as a standard silk or polyester ribbon will.

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