Ribbon Device Tutorial

This tutorial is designed to fill a gap. To the best of my knowledge, there is no ribbon device tutorial on the web. So I put together a guide on how I made mine, in the hopes it will be helpful to some people. I do not pretend my ribbon device is canon. Or even close to canon. For starters, I made mine with the ribbon extended across the palm of the hand. On the show, the ribbon ends on the back of the hand. I made mine that way for one reason: it stays on my hand that way. If I made it the way they have it on the show, it would fall off very easily. I wanted something I could wear around a con and not have it fall off. So this is my 'until someone makes a better one' prop guide. Whether you make it the same way I did, or if you use some of the ideas and construct your own more canon version, I hope you find this guide beneficial.

Here are screencaps of the ribbon device from various episodes


For the metal, I used sheet aluminum from Home Depot. It was somewhere in the area of $17 for a sheet that was more than enough for what I needed. To make the actual ribbon part, I took a yard stick and a utility knife, and made a single straight cut an inch and a half from the edge, all the way across. This creates a nice score line. Then I put the aluminum on the edge of a counter with a good square edge, so the line was right on the edge of the counter. A little pressure and the aluminum snaps right along the score line, in a surprisingly clean break. Just make sure you only cut it once with the utility knife. If you try to do it twice to make the score line deeper, the two cuts wonít be exactly the same, and the break wonít be as clean. I also cut a smaller piece and bent it up at the sides for the detailing on the back of the hand. I tried to cut the starburst design that goes at the top of the ribbon out of the metal, but it turned out so misshapen, I gave up on it. And ended up making the starburst out of funfoam and just gluing it onto the metal. Yes, you can tell it is made of a different material, even after it is painted, though the difference isnít terribly obvious. I donít terribly much recommend that method if you can avoid it, but if you canít get it to look right in metal, it is an option. For the raised circle in the middle of the starburst, I used a standard rhinestone from the craftstore.

The aluminum is flexible enough to bend with your hands. I just wrapped it around my arm to get the sizing. I used smaller pieces of the aluminum for the finger loops. Use something round to shape them. For this part you donít want to use just your hands. The ones in the show have points that come down from the finger loops. If youíre going for accuracy, you would want to put them in. I was afraid they would be constantly sticking me, and skipped them.

The resulting loops wonít be quite round if you do it free hand. Be sure to spraypaint the finger loops, finger caps, and the ribbon itself before you start gluing pieces together. For the wires, I used the springs off of decorative plate holders, similar to this one. Plate holder

For the finger caps, I used lipstick caps, since my metalworking skills arenít quite up to making something conical in shape. Finding a lipstick brand that made a rounded cap wasnít easy. I finally found N.Y.C. brand lipstick. There are two Wal-Marts in my area, one carries that line, the other doesnít. If you have trouble finding it locally, you can get it here. The finger caps in the show have points coming down from the finger caps as well. For accuracy, you may want to add them, even though I didn't.

I used JB Weld to glue the pieces together. I tried liquid nails first, and it didn't hold worth anything. Glue the springs or whatever you are using as the wire to the inside of the finger tips. That way they donít show. Since I made mine with the ribbon across the palm of my hand, I glued the other end of the springs on the inside of the ribbon, and there was plenty of room. The thumb piece had to be attached from the other side, for obvious reasons.

I made the gem in the middle out of clear resin with red dye added in. I embedded an LED light in the resin as it was drying. If you arenít making yours light up, a simple rhinestone could potentially work. I made the base that the rhinestone sits on out of sculpy, with a hole in the top for the wires to come through and a hole in the side for the on/off switch. I used two ultra thin button cell batteries to power it. The base turned out thicker than the one in the show to be able to hold the electronics, but to me at least it was worth it to have it light up.