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How to Curl Ribbon with Scissors

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Old 06-21-2019, 08:47 AM
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Default How to Curl Ribbon with Scissors

Whether youíre wrapping a gift, putting up party decorations, or working on a craft project, a bouncy bundle of curled ribbon can be the perfect finishing touch. To create one, youíll just need a few strands of plastic curling ribbon and a pair of craft scissors. The technique involves firmly and slowly pulling the scissor blade along the underside of the ribbon. Snip off a few lengths of practice ribbon to try it out and soon youíll be impressing friends and family with festive, handcrafted ribbon curls.


EditCutting Curling Ribbon
  1. Purchase a roll of curling ribbon. You can find plastic curling ribbon in most craft stores and gift wrapping aisles. Itís typically available in large spools of wide ribbon. Smaller rolled bundles of wide ribbon are also available.
    • Curling ribbon can have a smooth or crimped texture.
    • Narrow curling ribbon intended for gift wrapping sometimes comes in shiny or metallic holiday colors.
    • Fabric ribbons canít be curled with scissors.[1]
  2. Measure out a length of curling ribbon. When youíre practicing, experiment with different ribbon lengths to see how short theyíll get once curled. If you want to create a specific length, measure out more than you think youíll need. As a rule of thumb, an uncurled strand of ribbon should be 3 to 6 times longer than the final curled strand.[2]

    • Start with longer strands if you plan on making tight curls. For loose curls, you can use shorter strands.
  3. Cut the ribbon. Use craft scissors to cut the ribbon from the spool. Itís ok to cut narrow ribbon straight across so that the ends are squared off. The blunt end wonít be noticeable once youíve finished assembling a curly bundle. But you can cut the ends of wider ribbon on a 45-degree angle to create an attractive finish.[3]
    • You can always go back and trim the curled strands of ribbon. This way you can make them shorter, or you can give them a different edge finish.
EditPositioning the Ribbon and Scissors
  1. Identify the natural curl of the ribbon. If your curling ribbon came on a spool or a rolled bundle, it will instinctively curl in one direction. Determine which way itís curling and plan to add curls in the same direction.
    • For instance, if the ribbon was rolled around a spool in a clockwise manner, it will form a loose clockwise curl even when you cut it off. But if you flip it over, it will have a counter-clockwise curl.[4]
  2. Grip a strand of ribbon in your non-dominant hand. Whether your ribbon is already tied onto a gift box or if itís a loose strand, firmly grip the base of the ribbon with your index finger and thumb.[5] Use your non-dominant hand for this, so your dominant hand is free to manipulate the scissors.
    • If youíre right-handed, hold the ribbon in your left hand and the scissors in your right hand.
  3. Hold an open pair of craft scissors in your dominant hand. Carefully separate the blades. Grip your hands around the handles as well as the pivot point to keep the scissors open and stable. Position the scissors parallel to the floor or table, and make sure the blades are pointing towards your non-dominant hand.[6]

    • You can use any type of straight-bladed craft scissors, but note that sharper metal blades will create tighter curls.[7]
  4. Place the dull side of the ribbon against the blade. Some curling ribbons are glossy or metallic on one side and dull on the reverse. Place the dull side flat on top of the inside of the lower scissor blade. Hold the ribbon down firmly using your thumb on your dominant hand.[8]
    • If your curling ribbon is the same on both sides, thatís ok. Just curl the ribbon in the direction of its natural curl.
    • If youíre following the natural curl of the ribbon, the loose end of the ribbon should be wrapping over and around the scissors (rather than up and away from the scissors) in this position.
    • The glossy side will end up on the outside of the curl and the dull side will remain on the inside.
  5. Extend the ribbon over the scissor blade at a right angle.[9] You should still be holding the base of the ribbon firmly with your non-dominant hand. Above the base, it should be pointing directly upwards. Make sure the horizontal scissor blade is perpendicular to this vertical length of ribbon, and that the rest is going directly over the scissor blade, parallel to the ground or table.[10]
EditCreating a Curl
  1. Pull the scissors up and out along the dull side of the ribbon. Keep the lower scissor blade in contact with the ribbon and maintain a firm grip on the base of the ribbon. Use your dominant hand to pull the scissors up and away from the base. The open blades will be facing towards you as you do this.[11]
    • During this process, you are slightly stretching out the outside of the ribbon and encouraging the inside to shrink in. As a result, the plastic will adopt a curly structure.[12]
    • Pull the scissors out and away from your body as a safety precaution.
    • While you should keep an eye on the blades, refrain from bringing your face too close to the scissors.
  2. Work slowly and with even pressure to draw the blade across the ribbon. Hold the ribbon against the scissor blade with your thumb as you go, maintain a consistent, moderately firm tension. Rather than pulling the scissors in one fast motion, keep your motions relatively slow and gradual.[13]
    • If you go too slow, you might accidentally flatten out the ribbon. Practice with different speeds to find the ideal pace that produces the best curl.
  3. Draw the blade across the entire length of the ribbon. To get an even, one-directional curl, start at the base and pull the scissor blade across the full length of ribbon until you reach the very end. Once you reach the end, release the ribbon and youíll see it spiral up into a curl.[14]
    • For very long strands of ribbon, you can work on curling short segments at a time. Each time, start where you left off.
  4. Repeat the process to get a tighter curl. If you missed part of the ribbon, or if you want to tighten the curl, you can run the scissor blade along the dull side of the ribbon once again. Work in the same direction during a second or third pass.[15] If the ribbon starts to shred or flatten out, discard it and start again with a new piece.
    • By going over part or all of the ribbon multiple times, you may end up with an irregular curl formation.[16] This may not matter if youíre creating a dense bundle of curled ribbons, though!
EditAssembling a Curled Ribbon Bundle
  1. Create a bundle of multiple strands of ribbon before curling them. If youíre wrapping a gift, use multiple strands of ribbon to tie up the box. Secure the ends in a knot at the top. Leave the loose ends long so that they create a voluminous curl. Cut some additional strands to the same length as the loose ends, and tie these over the knot as well to create a fuller looking bunch of curls.[17]
  2. Curl a series of loose strands of ribbon and secure them together. Use 1 color or many colors to create an attractive bundle of curls. After youíve curled them all, line them up parallel to each other. Find the center point and create a single knot there. Or, you can knot them together at one end for a curled ribbon tassel.[18]
    • When creating a knot, you might be worried about ruining the curls. Luckily, curling ribbon is pretty resilient. Once itís been curled youíll have a hard time flattening it out!
  3. Tie the bundle to an anchor point using a short length of ribbon. If youíre attaching the ribbon bundle onto something that has an anchor point of some sort, such as a gift box that already has some ribbon around it, or a gift tag with a hole at the top, knotting is the best way to secure it. Cut a small length of the same curling ribbon and wrap it around both the anchor point and the ribbon. Tie a double knot and trim the ends short. You wonít even notice it![19]
    • Curled ribbons also look pretty dangling from balloons and party chairs. Tie them on using a small length of ribbon in a similar manner.[20]
  4. Attach the ribbon bundle onto something else by taping or stapling it. If youíre attaching the ribbons onto a paper craft project or another surface, place a short, narrow length of adhesive tape over the knotted part of the bundle and secure it onto the objectís surface.[21] Or, you can punch a staple through the ribbon bundleís central knot and the paper.
    • Make sure both of the ends of the staple have gone completely through the ribbon so it doesnít come loose.
  5. Arrange the curls in an attractive design. If youíve used lots of strands of ribbon, you can fluff them around to achieve a loose, bouncy explosion of curls or a tight, orderly arrangement. Tuck different strands of ribbon over and under other ones. Blend together different colors and make sure the glossy side faces out. Hide the loose ends in the bundle, or pull them out and trim them on a 45-degree angle.[22] Most importantly, have fun arranging your ribbon curls!

    • Wind individual strands around your index finger and gently elongate them to re-orient curls that may have gotten twisted up.
EditThings Youíll Need
  • Curling ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Tape or a stapler (optional)

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