Ribbons and Trims and More!

There are literally hundreds of choices of ribbons and trims – choosing which to use to tie hair bows can be absolutely mind boggling!

Knowing what kind of ribbon work best as hair bows will help to save a lot of frustration.  Use the following guide to help you decide which ribbons to try:

Acetate Ribbon:   This ribbon is usually in the floral department.  While it makes a nice bow for floral arrangements, it may not work as nicely for baby hair bows.  It is stiff and almost paper-like.

Double Sided Ribbon:  Also called Double Faced Ribbon, it is finished on both sides.  Plain  double faced ribbons work great in bows with more than 3 loops, because they will not be as bulky. 

Grosgrain Ribbon: French for “course texture”, this ribbon is woven with small cotton cords resulting in textured ridges.  This is a very popular ribbon for bows and is available in many widths, solid colors, and patterns.

 This is a great ribbon choice for “everyday” casual hair bows.  The course texture makes it easier to handle, shape nicely, and is a great ribbon to use when learning to tie hair bows.  Grosgrain ribbon is usually stiff, and tight folds in the ribbon will result in marks.  I advise using one piece of practice ribbon over and over to learn a certain style of hair bow, and then using a new fresh piece of ribbon for the final hair bow.

Smaller widths of the ribbon (1/4” – 3/8”) are perfect for use in Korker hair bows, or you may also use the narrower ribbons to weave into baby headbands.  These woven headbands are perfect for girls of all ages!

One Sided Ribbon: Also called Single Faced Ribbon, it is finished just on one side.   Sometimes printed ribbon is very dark on one side, and white on the other.  I don’t like the way the bow looks with white patches peeking out underneath, so I prefer to layer single faced printed ribbon with double faced ribbon.  The effect is quite pretty. 

The same applies with ribbons that have embroidered patterns on one side, and unsightly threads on the back.  Don’t avoid them, layer them.

Satin Ribbon:   Available in single and double-sided, satin ribbon is beautiful, usually made from polyester, and is woven like satin.  Satin Ribbon 1/8” – ¼” wide can be used in Korker hair bows.  The 1/8” makes a very pretty woven headband for babies and girls.

Satin Ribbons make very pretty hair bows, and are a good choice when making a dressy or formal hair bow.  Pairing Satin Ribbon with Sheer Ribbon makes a gorgeous hair bow.

Satin Ribbon is available in prints, interwoven with sheer ribbons, and also with feathered or picot edges.  These are fun details to incorporate into your hair bows and headbands.

Sheer Ribbon:  Organdy, Organza, and Tulle are sheer ribbons.  They are fabulous in baby hair bows.  They hold their shape very nicely, and are easy to manipulate.  These are great choices for learning to tie bows.

Sheer Ribbon is available in plain colors, prints, interwoven with Satin Ribbon, and embellished with accents.  It is a very fun ribbon to use in your hair bows!

While Fray Check works on all ribbon types, I like to use a lighter to seal the edges of sheer ribbon.  The Fray Check tends to show a little on the sheer ribbon ends, but a carefully heat sealed edge looks very professional. 

Sheer ribbon is great to use when making Rosettes, layering with Satin Ribbons in hair bows, and making ribbon flowers.

Make sure you experiment with Tulle. If you don’t mind cutting your own strips, tulle is a very inexpensive option.  Tulle is also available with glitter embellishments, sequins, and even prints.  It’s also great to use because it doesn’t need to be finished!

Trims:  Don’t get stuck in the ribbon aisle!  There are so many gorgeous and interesting trims available to use in hair bows and headbands!  I love to use trims in the ribbon headband style, the ribbon weave headband, the Butterfly Bow,  or in the Loopy Bow, or to embellish my bows and clips.  Using trims in your bows is a blast!

Wired Ribbon: Some ribbon comes with a thin wire woven into the edges.  This is very helpful for decorative bows or floral arrangements, but it isn’t conducive to baby hair bows.  If you see a ribbon you like that is wired, you can still use it. 

You can remove the wire from the ribbon:  Cut the ribbon in the desired length for your hair bow.  Carefully push the corner of a cut edge back, exposing the wire.  Try to expose about ½” of wire.  Tightly grasp it with your thumb and forefinger and hold it tight.  Using your other hand, firmly hold on to the opposite end of the ribbon and pull the ribbon away from the wire.   This method avoids putting too much strain on the wire, which may break if pulled too tightly.  If the wire does break, you can carefully poke the broken wire out of the side of the ribbon, and continue removing the wire.

If you are feeling very thrifty, you can roll the wire and save it for making a Loopy Ribbon hair bow, which requires a wire just this size, and just about 1 yard in length!

Enjoy experimenting with different kinds of ribbons, trims, and many other beautiful things you can find in the craft store.  Or you may find a beautiful trim or flower or button around your house that inspires you. 

Bow creating is a form of art – have fun!



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