Ribbon Reinvented: New and Improved Uses for Ribbon

Studio 5 Contributor Kiersten Blanchard reinvents ribbon for a variety of new uses.


Napkin Rings

Remember the hours you could spend weaving lanyards at summer camp? These braided ribbon napkin rings are just as delightful and simple to make. Practice with one ribbon first, until you become familiar with the pattern. Then follow these instructions for a chain.

Need: 2 grosgrain ribbons, each 2 yards long, in complementary colors

1. Hold the ribbons together at the halfway point; the color facing you will become the inside color of the chain.

2. Cross the ribbons right sides over left to make a loop, then slide them back through the loop to make a slipknot.

3. Pick up the ribbons on the right side, and, folding them together, pass through the loop, making a new slipknot.

4. As you progress, you’ll notice that the loop will always tilt to one side or the other. Pick up the ribbons on that side, fold them, and pass them through the new loop. Continue the process, back and forth, straightening and tightening the ribbons as you go.

5. When you have made a chain that is about 7 long, pull the ends of the ribbons all the way through, and cut them off at a length equal to the width of the ribbon. Tuck these tabs under, and tack down with a needle and thread, making sure to pass the needle once through the whole braid to strengthen it. Now stitch the two ends of the chain together to create a napkin ring. With longer lengths of ribbon, you can also make cute headbands for little girls, too.

Party Favors

With little or no sewing, ribbons are transformed into miniature sacks for sugar candies.

Need: Wide (or tubular) sheer ribbon

1. Tubular Ribbon: knot one end, fill with candies, and knot again, trim with decorative scissors
2. Wide ribbon: folded in half, sew up the sides, and cinch with satin cord, trim with decorative scissors.

French Memo Board

Organize your snapshots, notes, and other memento in style. A patterned background is highlighted by criss-crossing ribbons and accented by buttons. Simply slip your items behind the ribbons. Requiring less than $10 and 30 minutes, this project will make organization a lot more simple…and stylish.

You can use an array of items to create your memo board depending on what you’ve got handy or how much you want to spend on supplies.

Need: 2’x2′ plywood (11 or 15/32nds thick)
2 ½’ of fabric in desired print (a few inches shy of a yard)

2′ Quilt batting

Seam binding or grosgrain ribbon (approximately 4 yards for a 2’x2′ board)

Decorative buttons

Wire cutter

Staple gun and staples

Glue gun and glue sticks

1. To begin, cut the fabric so that it is square. It will be 30″x30″Cut the batting to a 2’x2′ square.

2. Lay the fabric, quilt batting, and board on a flat surface, layered in that order, with the back of the fabric facing up.

3. Pull the fabric tight over the edge to the back of the board. Staple the fabric to the back edges of the board. Staple all sides in the middle first, and then proceed to staple the rest of the sides down. You can just trim the excess fabric off once you’re done stapling the fabric to the board.

4. Cut two ribbon pieces a few inches longer than the distance from corner to corner diagonally. Wrap one end to the back, and staple in place. Stretch the ribbon taut to the opposite corner, wrap the end to the back, and staple. Repeat with the second ribbon, forming an X. Add four more ribbons parallel to the first ones, stretching them taut from the mid-points of each side and stapling them on the back

5. Insert a staple at each ribbon intersection. Remove the button shanks, using the wire cutter. Using the hot glue gun, attach the buttons at each ribbon intersection, hiding the staples.

Satin-Trimmed Cake

With a little satin ribbon, sleek round cakes are at once both classic and modern. A band of ribbon encircles the cake, secured with piped royal icing. Complete the look with fresh flowers.

Need: Ribbon of choice (long enough to wrap around your cake and overlap a little)
Round cake
Royal icing
Decorator’s bag, coupler, and round tip (I used Wilton No. 3

1. Frost cake, putting a layer of frosting between the two layers. For a smooth finish, be sure your frosting is the right consistency. Smooth out imperfections by allowing the cake to sit for 10 minutes after frosting it, then put a small piece of wax paper over the cake and gently smooth it with your finger.

2. Wrap the ribbon around the base of the cake. Pipe a small line of frosting to hold the end in place. You can also secure the ribbon with a small pin; just be sure to remove it before serving the cake.

3. Hold the tip of the icing bag perpendicular and just above the surface of the cake. Pipe connecting dots around the cake on the top and bottom of the ribbon. Decorate the top with fresh flowers. (Squeeze a large dollop of icing onto the center of the top to help hold

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