Ribbons..... they make such a difference to the finished look of a card or other project. Although they are often used as a finishing touch they can be used in many different ways.

Here is a "before and after" and you can see the difference a strip of ribbon makes to this simple greeting card.
 Difference with ribbon

There are many different types of ribbon but here are the ones most often used in card making:

  1. Satin - a crafters favourite. Satin ribbon is opaque, can be plain or patterned, comes in lots of colours and widths and has a beautiful sheen on either one side or both. It is flexible enough for making lovely bows and ribbon roses and being opaque is very useful for hiding the occasional oops :)
  2. Organza - A sheer see-through ribbon, sometimes satin edged, can be plain or patterned and comes in lots of colours and widths. It can be used in many of the same ways as satin ribbon and making flowers from it is very easy as it is slightly stiffened and holds it's shape well.
  3. Grosgrain - a ribbed ribbon, plain or patterned that has a certain amount of elasticity. I think these are particularly cheerful, fun ribbons.
  4. Tulle - soft net used in veils and so on.

The most common use for ribbon in card-making is for bows - did I hear you say you can't tie bows? There are many different ways to hand tie bows just find a method that you prefer and practise. Here is one quick and easy method: 
How to tie a bow 1
  1. Make a loop, hold between the finger and thumb of your left hand, with the tail to the front.
  2. Wrap the other end clockwise around the loop to form a band.
  3. Make a second loop with the ribbon in your right hand and push it through the band.
  4. Begin to pull the loops to tighten. Adjust the size of the loops etc by alternatively pulling the tails then the loops.

If the ribbon is patterned on one side, fold the ribbon over when you take it around the first loop at stage 2.

If you still don't like your bows or you have a lot to make then investing in a bow maker is probably a worthwhile spend as it helps to make bow making easy and quick.

Ribbon can be secured with double sided tape, of which I prefer redline tape which is very strong, glue, make sure it dries clear, glue dots or decoratively with brads, eyelets or pins. Large bows may need a bit more help to stay in place for which silicone glue is a particular favourite of mine or you can use a hot glue gun (with hot glue) on satins and grosgrain but check before using it with organza or tulle.

Apart from making bows ribbons can be woven, twisted, plaited, folded, pleated and twirled. They can be an embellishment or something practical such as the stop on an easel card or they can be the design of the card itself.

Here are a few examples: 

There are many, many ways to use ribbon to add interest to projects. Have fun exploring the possibilities.

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