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Adding Ribbon to Cards
Ribbon is a wonderful material to add to handmade cards. The variety of widths, textures and colors make it possible to coordinate with almost any style of card. Some ribbons even have the adhesive already applied, making the attachment a very quick process. Not only can the use of ribbon provide a beautiful finishing accent, but it can also be used as a focal point. Let's explore some of the possibilities and techniques of using ribbon with card making.
One of the most common uses of ribbon on cards is tied bows and knots. Bows can be created by hand or with the aid of a tool specifically designed for creating bows. There are various bow-making tools available, just complete a Google search to see the options.
To create a hand-tied bow as shown in Card 1, using just your hands and ribbon, I recommend working from the spool of ribbon. This allows for less wastage. Hold the ribbon in your left hand (for left-handed individuals you may wish to reverse), forming a loop between your thumb and first finger and leaving approximately a 1- to 2-inch length below the loop. Wrap the ribbon end attached to the spool around to the left and over your thumb, ending at the right side of the loop. Push ribbon through the front of the center loop where thumb is, creating a second loop at left side. Place thumbs through each loop and hold tails of ribbon in each hand. With thumbs still inside ribbon loops, gently pull on loops and tails adjusting to desired effect. Trim ribbon tails at an angle to the desired length. This is your basic tied bow and can be adhered to your card using liquid adhesive or an adhesive dot.
To tie a ribbon around your card and finish with a bow as shown in Card 2, you may work from the spool or cut the appropriate length for the card. Wrap the ribbon around the card or panel. If the back of the piece is not going to be seen, secure with some double-sided tape at the back. Continue by wrapping the left side over the right and under through center. Gently pull both tails of the ribbon to a vertical alignment with the original left ribbon at the bottom and the right at the top. Place a finger on the center knot and hold. Create a loop with the top ribbon in your left hand. Wrap the bottom ribbon around your thumb and previous loop that you created, ending at the right side. Push the ribbon through the thumb area, creating a second loop at the left side. Adjust by pulling on the loops then tails.
To create the effect of a knot with angled tails, simply tie a length of ribbon around the card or card panel in the same manner as previously mentioned. Omit the loops and cross left over right again and pull ribbon at left side, tightening the knot as shown in Card 3. As with many crafting techniques, there is often more than one way of completing a technique, and this is definitely the case here. There are a couple of additional variations to complete this type of ribbon effect. One such variation is to take a length of ribbon and tie the two ends together creating a knot. A ring has now been formed. Simply cut directly across from the knot to form a length of ribbon with a center knot and two ends. Wrap this around your panel and secure the ends on the back of the panel, then layer to your card.
One more variation is to tie a simple knot in a length of ribbon; do not pull tight. Slip a smaller piece of ribbon into this knot and then pull the knot tight. Adhere in the same manner as above. As you can see, when it comes to ribbon, there are often many variations to choose from. Remember, use the method that you feel most comfortable with. That is the best way in which to achieve success and enjoy the crafting process at the same time.
Another nice effect on a card is just a simple knot. Take a length of ribbon and cross the left over the right. Then gently pull on the left end to tighten until the desired knot is achieved. Finish by wrapping the knotted ribbon around the cardstock panel and adhere ribbon ends at the back. Layer this panel to the card.
If you would like the ribbon to go around the card itself and the spine of the card is in the way, just cut a small slit in the folded edge spine of the card, and slide the ribbon through the slit as shown in Card 4. Tie at the front using one of the methods previously mentioned.
Aside from techniques to tie bows and knots, there are also methods of creating faux bows or flat bows like the No Knot bow as shown in Card 5. This technique is easily created using a 6- to 7-inch length of ribbon, a 1/8-inch hole punch and the surface the bow is being attached to. This No Knot bow is a perfect way to include ribbon on your card without having the bulk. Punch two holes no more than 1 inch apart. Insert your cut ribbon through each hole from the front to the back, crossing over the ribbon at the back and returning to the front by placing the ribbon through the opposite holes. Trim any excess ribbon at an angle.
Another wonderful bow without the bulky center knot is a Faux Bow in which a punch is also used. Robin Arnold has provided a wonderful video tutorial for this Faux Bow. I encourage you to grab some supplies and create this bow along with her while watching the video.
To create texture with ribbon, try gathering the ribbon by hand or on a sewing machine and then attach the gathered ribbon as a strip onto your card. Gathered ribbon may also be coiled to create a flower shape. Pleated ribbon is a beautiful way to bring texture to a card front, and if you don't have any pleated ribbon on hand, make your own. Apply a strip of double-sided adhesive to your card or panel. To create the pleats, fold the ribbon over as you are attaching it.
There are also products such as ribbon slider charms and punches that allow the ribbon to be threaded and attached to the card. You can create your own ribbon slider pieces with the use of die templates and cardstock. To bring in a recycled item to your card making, try using a soda can tab as a ribbon slider; they work beautifully!
Tie ribbon onto a paper clip for a nice accent and attach to your card, or create a tab by folding the ribbon in half and attaching under an element. The possibilities are truly endless.
The use of ribbon with card making definitely adds to the beauty of our creations. It doesn't have to be used just as an accent. It can also take center stage. Ribbon can serve as a focal point by weaving strips in the same manner as weaving paper or using it in techniques that traditionally use paper such as iris folding.
If you don't wish to tie the ribbon onto your card, there are a variety of products that work wonderfully. Use ribbon that already has the adhesive applied. Or try adhesive dots, liner tape, such as Scor-Tape, and one of my favorites, the Xyron sticker maker. All of these products are easy to use and offer beautiful results. There is also the option of stitching ribbon onto cards by hand or with a sewing machine.
I hope that you have gained some insight and inspiration into the use of ribbon with card making. If you are looking for further inspiration and some great step-by-step photos about working with ribbon, check out this new publication, Exquisite Embellishments for Paper Crafts.