Ribbon Markers for a Reference Book





Introduction: Ribbon Markers for a Reference Book

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

I got a new study Bible, but it came without any marker ribbons. Those can be handy when you are working in one part of the Bible, but checking things in other parts and do not want to lose your place(s). I made a set of ribbons.

Step 1: What You Need

You will need a scissors, some ribbon, some clear fingernail polish, and some cardboard from the back of a tablet or some plastic from a plastic file folder. Cut the cardboard or plastic about a quarter inch narrower than the thickness of the book. Make it five or six inches long.

Step 2: Make Slits for the Ribbons

Make short slits for the ribbons. On one of the ribbons I used three slits. On the others I used four. Four is better. You can stagger the cuts for the different ribbons so there is not an especially weak area in the cardboard or plastic. That part will be clearer in a later photo.

Step 3: Attaching the Ribbons

Here is a drawing to show the general idea of how the ribbons are laced through the slits in the plastic I used. At the right end the ribbon is laced under itself to resist slipping better.

Step 4: Notice the Staggered Cuts

Here you can see how I staggered the slits for the ribbons. If you look closely, you can see how the top two ribbons fold under themselves to bind better.

Step 5: Placing the Assembly Into the Spine of the Book

The ribbon assembly slips down into the binding of the book. Be sure that the ribbons go over the top of the plastic or cardboard. This means that when you pull on a ribbon, it tends to pull the plastic or cardboard down into the book's binding, rather than pulling it out of the book as it would if reversed.

Step 6: Trim the Ends of the Ribbons to Length

It is hard to judge exactly how long to make each ribbon, especially when the slits for attaching them are staggered. Trim the ribbons to length with a scissors.

Step 7: Keep the Ribbons From Fraying

Ribbons fray very easily. Paint the ends of the ribbons with clear fingernail polish. Make sure it soaks into the ribbon material. Wait for it to dry thoroughly.



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    18 Discussions

    That would be an ideal use for this. You may want to use different colors to indicate the ribbon for the order of service section (if that applies) and the different hymns used coded for the order in which they will be sung.

    Thank you for this great idea. Just what I was looking for!

    Would you please tell me what a "tablet" is that you refer to for the cardboard.


    3 replies


    Thank you for your comment.  Attached is a photo of a tablet (or a pad of paper).  My thumb and first finger are resting on the cardboard backing.  Sooner or later everyone has cardboard from a depleted tablet.  Plastic from the side of a milk jug would work, too.  


    Thanks Phil,

    I appreciate it that you took the time to post a photo. I understand now. Maybe it was a case of different terminology for me in Australia.

    I love the idea of using plastic from a milk bottle, also.



    I wondered if a difference of terminology might be at issue and checked your profile to see if it listed your place or country of residence, but it did not.  Long term the plastic will wear better than the cardboard, although even the cardboard does not really wear out.  The top edge simply looks worn.

    As a suggestion, cyan-acrylate glue would also work (list try not to stick the end to anything...)

    Dear Phil, Now this one I can use! I am ver impressend that you know how to use fingernail polish. It seems like to me these insets can be moved from book to book. Is that right? Thanks, Anny

    2 replies

    Anny, Thank you. Once I actually used clear fingernail polish on a nail. I was holding a piece of sheet aluminum over a hole in my car so I could attach the aluminum with pop rivets. The drill bit broke in use and went through my thumbnail and out the other side of my thumb. It left the thumbnail badly shattered near the cuticle at the bottom of the nail. I wanted to keep the loosely hanging pieces together until things healed as much as possible. I "glued" them together with a liberal amount of polish. It all sounds terribly macabre, but was not as bad as it sounds. The doctor I saw about it said he had never seen anything like that before and asked me to let him know how it turned out. (It turned out fine with no infections. But, I did have a spot at the end of my thumb with no feeling for better than ten years.) You could move these ribbon markers from one book to another. They are also so easy and inexpensive to make that each book can have its own set, if you wish. I have them in different books that I am apt to use nearly simultaneously. If you liked this Instructable, check the one I did on "A More Useful Bookmark."

    Phil, You can also use Silly Glue to repair nails (or close cuts) but I am glad you were successful. I will look for your other post. Anny

    Thanks, Rimar. Submitting Instructables is a relaxing diversion. But, I am near to using up all of the ideas I had over the last 40 years.

    You are welcome. You can increase or decrease the number of ribbons you use, as well as using different colors to signify and locate different things.

    I made a smaller version of this with an expired MetroCard, and it works great! Thanks for sharing!

    Nice!! i never thought of putting them on a card and hiding it in the spine! thanks.

    An elegant way of marking pages in a book, sure beats folding the corners of a page. Nicely done.

    1 reply