ribbons aren’t just for wrapping gifts, you know. ever use them in your creative projects? they’re a colorful, versatile and distinctive way to add an extra splash of color and interest, and belong in every crafty gal/dude’s arsenal.
ribbons can be used in a variety of ways and can create very unique effects. on cards they can be tied around the fold, with or without a bow, to add an extra element of interest. or they can be stuck down on the edges of a card or scrapbook page to create a colorful or textured border.
if you’re making individual tags or tag books with pull out pieces, you can use ribbons to make the pulls. they’re great with altered projects too, as you can create colorful ribbon details on them. like what? well, for instance—if you’re altering a spiral bound journal or notebook, you can tie small pieces of multicolored ribbons all down the spiral – not only does it cover the spiral up, but it also looks so cute!
different types of ribbon
when it comes to choosing what type of ribbon you’ll use, there’s a great array of choices out there. some of the commonly available ribbon types are:
grosgrain – grosgrain is a form of textured ribbon. rather than being smooth to touch, the fibers are woven and you can usually see and feel the line of the weave. they come in all colors and designs, and many designs complement the weave of the ribbon very well. grosgrain ribbons are ideal for using as borders in projects and are very sturdy.
ric rac – ric rac is basically a term used to describe a zig zag or wiggly line! so, you guessed it…ric rac ribbons aren’t straight but cut in a zig zag. they were particularly popular in the 1970s, but are now regarded as rather antiquated. i love ric rac and use it on my dolls’ clothing. it comes in a variety of different textures, widths and colors (even variegated!), and adds a fun element to all kinds of projects.
chiffon – chiffon ribbons are lightweight and made from plain woven sheer fabrics such as silk, nylon or polyester. chiffon ribbons are quite delicate to work with, but look very elegant when tied or incorporated in various projects.
organza - organza is another type of fabric that tends to be very thin and sheer. organza ribbons are a plain weave fabric and can be made of fibers such as polyester, nylon or silk. they’re lightweight and nice to work with. my honey has tied many a mean organza bow!
satin – satin ribbons have a glossy surface and are usually made of fabrics such as silk, nylon or polyester. there are various types of weaves available—such as twill or plain—which give the ribbons a different look.
velvet - velvet ribbons generally have a nice soft touch feel on one side and may be flatter on the reverse. they’re great for adding additional texture to a project.
silk – silk ribbons tend to be made from 100% silk and have a gorgeous soft, silky feel to them. they’re lightweight and can be used in many ways.
securing ribbons to your projects
depending on the effect you want to create, ribbons can either be tied, sewn or stuck to projects. if you’re planning on sticking them, you’ll need to ensure that you’re using the right type of glue for the particular ribbon you have in mind.
for example, an all purpose craft glue won’t work well with chiffon or sheer ribbons (as the glue may show through), so you’ll either need another type of glue (such as silicone or a glue aimed at vellum). alternatively, you could design your project in a way that the area you’re sticking won’t show, for example by gluing at the back or putting an embellishment over the glued area.
ribbons can easily be tied down the spine, or fold, of a card. you can also use a few stitches to sew them into place on cards or scrapbook pages, or to sew together a bow that you want to maintain a particular shape.
another fun way of attaching a ribbon without having to use glue is to consider attaching it with a brad. the brad (which is like a paper fastener) can be stuck through the ribbon and the card or paper and secured on the back. brads are often quite decorative themselves these days, and they can add an extra sparkle or bit of color and you can be sure the ribbon is safely secured without the need for glue.
whatever your project, consider the incorporation of ribbon and enjoy experimenting with the options!