By Alison July 20, 2005 5 Min Read


Gone are the days when a length of pretty ribbon made an acceptable christmas present, which is  a terrible shame as there is nothing more lovely than a length of ribbon in a gorgeous colour. ( VV Rouleaux makes me want to keel over in ecstacy at the sheer prettiness of it. ) Life, you see, should be lovely, and a length of ribbon is a little strand of loveliness, sent, methinks, from heaven above…

Collecting ribbon is a scrumptiously puttery task- once you are on the trail you will come across lengths of loveliness in the most unlikely places, and very soon you will have a drawer full of tangled bits and bobs just asking to be put to more scrumptious use…

In my experience spools  of truly vintage ribbon (as opposed to relics from the 1980’s) are hard to come by at a reasonable price (particuarly in the UK), but spool ends and sewing box collections are available in abundance, as are trimmings and ribbons from vintage cast offs: however limiting yourself to vintage ribbon, means you exclude some of the newest prettiest ribbons around, and will make you blind to ribbony opportunities as you go about your day…

The first thing to do is to gather all the ribbon you already have. I bet there is more than you think around the house. Choose a pretty fabric lined box  or basket (old fashioned quilted sewing boxes are kind of scrumptious!) or a gorgeous big glass jar (Look out for clear glass apocatherapy jars) and decide how you want to store your ribbon: loose, wrapped around card spools or rolled?  I go for rolled and except for truly precious lengths, (there aren’t many, I don’t do precious!) pin them with a pretty pearly headed pin and then store in a big glass jar: it looks decorative and is easy to see into. Then you have an abundance of ribbon for all manner of deliciously puttery things to do (but do tread the borders of good taste carefully, some so called "ribbon art" is scarily ugly…)

1. Loop short lengths together to make a ribbon chain and drape it up your bannister, or decorate a basket by weaving a ribbon border.

2. Unpick an ugly lampshade and then thread ribbon round and the bare frame to re-invent it.

3. Sew onto the edges of pillowcases or handtowels.

4. Thread charms onto a few lengths then either wear around your neck or dangle from your headboard for good luck.

5. Use as drawer pulls. (Unscrew existing fittings, feed ribbon through holes and tie in a knot on the inside of drawer)

6. Add loops of pretty ribbon to tea-towels to hang them up.

7. Create ribbon "clothes-lines"  across windows and use to peg your kids drawings up.

8. Plait together and use as tiebacks: or find the finest ribbon you can to do the same thing to girly fragile effect…

9. Use to hang keys off wardobes or on peg rails, or as a keyring in your bag (long as you like!)

10. Thread loops and loops of ribbon off a chandelier to soften it. Add twinkly crystals to some…

11. Add ribbon loops to utalitarian objects like dustpan’s and brooms..

12. Tie around the pages of a book to mark your place, or stiffen and use to frame a picture.

13. Make ribbon rosettes or gorgeous ribbon roses ( be very careful and use sparingly: too much and your home will reek reminiscently of peaches and cream and ruched curtains.)

14. Award yourself a ribbon rosette.

15. Make a ritual out of tying your old love letters together, bundling your childrens first drawings or making pretty piles of scrap fabric prettily wrapped.

16. Use a marker pen to write your dearest wish on to a length of ribbon and tie it somewhere meaningful, or wrap it around a special book (Romancing the Ordinary anyone?)

17. Let the kids tie a welcome home ribbon on to a door wreath each evening.

18. Use short lengths as napkin rings.

19. Criss cross inside your larder door and use as your housekeeping bulletin board (Hang your HouseKeepers Creed there!)

20. Wrap around your wrist in the spirit of the charity bands currently popular and use to quietly, and privately, commemorate the memory of a loved one or remind you of a personal goal or promise….

21. Thread an old watch face onto a piece of grosgrain ribbon and wear around your wrist, dangle a pocket watch from a long pretty piece of ribbon, or wrap a decorative ribbon around your waist.

22. Punch holes into photographs and hang individually from lengths of ribbon.

23. Thread loops through little use teacups and hang in your kitchen.

For more fabulous inspiration visit The Ribbon Jar, VV.Rouleaux, or Preppy Ribbon. Find vintage ribbon at Florilegium, Dolls and Lace, and Rose Cottage Textiles,  then go swoon at Nicholas Kniel.

Now go tie yourself a bow.


  1. Susana says:

    Oh, ribbon is definately one of life’s little pleasure’s. Thank you for the great article. I use a periwinkle colored satin ribbon for packaging some of my lavender bath and body products. (Here’s an example: http://www.bellaflore.com/page0006.html You’ll have to excuse my website, as it is still a bit primitive and is going through a major re-vamping!) Also, in the movie 13 going on 30, Jennifer Garner wears the prettiest pink outfit with a ribbon tie on her blouse, and a pretty pink ribbon in her hair. How lovely!

  2. ms*robyn says:

    I swear, I am ahead of my time ! I have been collecting ribbon since I was a little girl & have a drawer full of it. I STILL wear it in my hair, either tied round a pony tail or tied around my head. I LOVE it !!! I sometimes use it to tie packages * although I try to stick to string 😉 ~ thanks for the ideas !!

  3. kali says:

    ooohhhhh!! I love this article…*ribbon ~ a special favourite thing of mine!

  4. Katie Marcell says:

    I love ribbon! I usually always wear my hair in a high ponytail tied with a pretty satin hair ribbon. I also tie ribbons on almost everything. Right now I am wearing a pink ribbon in my hair.

  5. Kylie says:

    These are some great ideas. I also use ribbon on many things. I am a cheerleader so I wear a hair ribbon often as well. I have my hair up in a ponytail with a white grosgrain ribbon tied in a bow right now.

  6. cheerboy says:

    I am a male cheerleader with just below shoulder length blond hair. For practice and competitions my coach said that I have to wear my hair exactly the same as the girls or I couldn’t be on the squad. That means I have to wear my hair up in a high curly ponytail with a red ribbon tied around it in a bow. It is a little embarrasing sometimes and I wish I didn’t have to wear the bow, but I guess we all have to look uniform.

  7. kyle moffett says:

    I am also a guy with long hair. I am wearing my up in a high curly slicked back ponytail with a pretty white satin ribbon tied around it in a bow, with long tails hanging down the sides.

  8. Kyle Andrew Moffett says:

    My name is Kyle and I am a 19 year old boy on a cheerleading squad.I have long blond hair and right now I am wearing my hair up in a ponytail with a red ribbon tied in a bow.

  9. kyle the ribbonboy says:

    Right now my long blond hair is up in a high curly slicked back ponytail with a white grosgrain ribbon tied around it in a bow with long tails hanging down the sides.

  10. Kyle Moffett says:

    Today I have my hair up in a high ponytail and I am wearing a pink satin ribbon tied around it in a bow. It looks cute but maybe a little too feminine although a hair ribbon is required on my cheer squad.

  11. Kyle Moffett says:

    Right now my hair is in a ponytail done up in a bun,with my bangs curled and a white satin ribbon tied around it in a bow, with the ribbon tails hanging down to my ears. There is alot of hairspray in my hair and it looks cute.

  12. rocky minogue says:

    I’m a guy with shoulder length black silky hair.Right now i’m in my cheerleading uniform with a high curled ponytail with a pink satin ribbon tied on it in a bow

  13. monty says:

    I’ a fifteen year old boy and have got long red hair.I’m wearing it in aponytail with red satin ribbon tied on it with long curls hanging

  14. Kyle Andrew Moffett says:

    Yes, I am a boy and I have shoulder length hair. One day some of the girls on my cheer squad decided to curl my hair and see how it would look in a high curly ponytail like they wear it. They did it up and they thought it looked cute. I decided to wear it that way for all meets and practices. They said I might as well wear a hair ribbon as well. So they tied a red ribbon around my ponytail in a bow and even though it seemed a little different at first most people say it looks cute. So that is why I wear a ribbon tied in my hair even though I am a guy.

  15. Tracy-cheerO7 says:

    I just want to say I think it’s great that guy cheerleaders are wearing their hair like the girls! We have one guy on our squad, he has long hair just to his shoulders, and during the season he wore it up in a plain ponytail. For state competitions our sponsor decided we should all look the same. He slept in curlers just like the girls and we took them out just before the competition. We did his ponytail in a red ‘n silver bow like the rest of the squad. He looked really cute and the judges must have liked it too cause we got 2nd place!!
    Go Mustangs! Hair ribbons r the best!

  16. Carol M. says:

    Wow, I had no idea that other men were into wearing hair ribbons. For our wedding 2 years ago I convinced my husband-2-be (his hair is just below his shoulder, gorgeous auburn color) to wear his hair back in a blue velvet bow. Since then I’ve started curling his hair in rollers and putting it up with ribbons — usually a simple black or blue bow but occasionally he’ll wear a white ribbon if we’re playing tennis or going to a pool party. He’s gotten used to his bows and I wouldn’t have him wear a boring old ponytail!

  17. Kyle Andrew Moffett says:

    Thanks, I know some people might think it is strange that I wear my hair like a girl but I have gotten used to wearing my hair up in a curled ponytail and I think wearing a ribbon tied around it in a bow makes it look really cute. I like being a cheerleader and everyone else on the squad wears a bow so why not me too?

  18. Robert says:

    Those are good uses of ribbons, aside from wrapping around gifts. 🙂 Anyway, hope you can also check out my site and my groomsmen gift ideas (http://www.executivegiftshoppe.com/ungrgi.html) and let me know what you think of it.

  19. hair woman says:

    People still give me ribbon for x mas, I love it 😉

  20. LeOgAhEr says:

    I Love you girls

  21. Jenny-B says:

    I can see that this thread is a little old, but I decided to make a quick post on it anyway. I was looking around the web for ideas on using hair ribbons.
    I was surprised to see comments from guys who wear ribbons and women who have put ribbons in men’s hair. Personally, I think it’s great too. My boyfriend has long, gorgeous hair that I love to play with and he frequently ends up wearing curls and ribbons too. He’d die if anyone ever saw him, but he let’s me do it to him. He’s just adorable with his hair in curled pigtails tied off with a couple of ribbons.
    Cheers to you brave guys who will have fun with your hair!!

  22. Kyle Andrew Moffett says:

    I am glad to see that no one here thinks it is too strange that some guys wear ribbons in their hair. I am also a male cheerleader and my coach is really strict about us all being in uniform. Since I have long hair I have to wear it just like the girls for all meets and practices. I usually have the girls fix my hair up in a high curled ponytail and then they tie usually either a red or white ribbon around my ponytail in a bow since that is my schools colors. I was somewhat embarrased about being seen with my hair that way at first but I have gotten more used to it. The girls say I look really cute with my hair done like that and apparently some other guys with long hair wear ribbons too.

  23. Lacy from Dallas says:

    I have 5 yr old twins, a boy and girl, both with long blonde hair. and I’ve been tying my little girl’s hair back with ribbon since she was a toddler. About a year ago my little boy asked if he could wear a bow in his hair too, and after worrying it about it for a while I figured, why not? They get lots of comments on their matching bows and I must admit I love doing his hair with pretty bows and barrettes. I’ve gradually begun curling their hair as well, with a curling iron or rollers for church etc. I’m always pleased to see that other boys are willing to experiment with ribbons and ‘girly’ hairdos. Go for it!
    Luv, Lacy

  24. Olivia Zou says:

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  25. stephanie parsley says:

    My 5yr old son has long hair below his shoulders. He is the only boy in his dance and cheer leading class of 18. He always wants to wear his hair like the girls. He cried and cried because I wouldn’t curl his hair and put it up with ribbons. I finally gave in and he is so happy and looks so cute. I curl his hair with sponge rollers he can sleep in, then usually pin his sides back with barrettes or a pretty ribbon, he loves the attention the girls give him. I also let him get his ears pierced. He is a wonderful child even if he is very feminine in appearance. Love Stephanie

  26. Cheryl Lynn Moffett says:

    Hi I am the mother of Kyle Moffett. I noticed my son had been posting on this site so I decided to as well. I have been doing Kyle’s hair up for many years since he was about 5 also. He has always had somewhat feminine features and personality and he has always been small and slender for his age too. He has long beautiful blonde hair that I love to style. There have been times that he wanted to get it cut but I never would let him. He is used to it now though and he is glad he listened to his mother. I enjoy doing his hair before school each morning. Tomorrow I am going to put it up in a high ponytail and I think I will tie a red ribbon around it in a bow and I will also curl his bangs. Some boys look good with their hair in a feminine style and my little cutie is one of them!

  27. stephanie says:

    This is my second post , and I’m looking for advice. My 5yr son will be in a wedding in May , his hair will be about 5in below his shoulders I need ideals on how to have his hair fixed for the wedding, I will for sure have it curled, but what do you think about having it pined up? I have some time before the may gets here and I would love ideals. Thanks Stephanie

  28. Jenny-B says:

    You have an interesting choice to make here. Based on past experience, your son seems to enjoy having his hair done. So he would probably enjoy it. However, I think that there are two other questions to consider. First, do you think that anyone will give him a hard time about his hair if you curl it and pin it up? Other boys his age might make fun of him. The second thing to consider is that you don’t want him to detract from the bride’s day. In other words, if a young boy with his hair curled and pinned up is going to attract a lot of attention and distract people from the real point of the wedding (i.e., the bride), then you shouldn’t do it. But otherwise, why not? His hair sounds beautiful and I’m sure having it curled and done in an updo would look great.
    I’ve actually had these types of conversations with others before. If you’d like to talk more about this, just drop me an email at cosmo.jenn@yahoo.com.
    Good luck,

  29. Lacy from Dallas says:

    Hi Stephanie, I agree with Jenny — you should consider how your son’s hairstyle will go over with the bride and so on. Also, you mentioned he’s in the wedding — is he the ringbearer? The ‘flower child’? His hairdo should really depend on his role in the wedding party. I think curling it is a great idea — why not find out how the bridesmaids are doing their hair and go with something similar? Given the theme of this site, is he up for wearing a hair ribbbon or bow in the ceremony? Beyond that, I’d say go for it, have fun, and let your little boy look smashing with a fun, pretty hairdo! Good luck and let us know how it turns out….
    Luv, Lacy

  30. stephanie says:

    Jenny and Lacy thanks for you help and ideals. My son is very comfortable wearing his hair curled and wearing accessories. Most everyone has seen him in curls and barrettes or ribbons and the are very supportive of him. All of the girls are wearing their hair up with lots of curls. My niece is the bride and she is ok with any style for him, I would also like advice on ear rings for him also he has both ears pierced. I would appreciate any feed back. Thanks Stephanie

  31. stephanie says:

    Lacy I’d love to hear and update on how you are doing the twins hair especially your sons since he is the same age as my little boy Thanks Stephanie

  32. Jenny-B says:

    Well, it sounds like you don’t really have any reason not to go with a really pretty style for him. It sounds like he’d enjoy it, and that the bride approves.
    I don’t think that you mentioned what his role is in the wedding. Is he going to be a sort of boy-bridesmaid or is he serving as ring bearer? If he’ll be a sort of male junior bridesmaid, then I’d suggest coordinating his hair with the other bridesmaids. Or maybe with the flower girl if he’s going to be paired with her. If he’s not part of a group or pair, then I’d say do whatever makes him look great.
    As far as earrings, probably just studs of some sort would be best. He is a boy after all, even if he’ll have really pretty hair. You say his ears are already pierced? If they’re not, I wouldn’t have them pierced just for the occasion. That seems a bit much.
    I have to admit, I’m dying to know what you choose to do. I personally think that more guys should enjoy their hair like many of us women do and not be afraid to have it long, curl it, or use ribbon or other hair accessories. Especially at events like weddings where everyone should look glam!! Your son sounds like a wonderful boy who is already expressing himself at a young age. Just be careful. Help him along, but don’t let him get hurt by his audacity. Keep us updated on how things turn out.

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