How to Curl Ribbons

February 9, 2015Allison Murray
Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

I found this ribbon that was too cute to be denied. A pretty salmon-y kind of pink with gold polka dots spied from a distance had to be mine. Jut had to. I snapped up all that they had, and all that another store had as well! I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it but I hoard craft supplies so I figured it didn’t matter in the long run.

And then one day I got a wild hair to curl up ribbons. When I was a kid, back in the 80’s, hair bows were all the rage. The bigger the better. The more unique the better. We poodle permed our little fifth grade heads and then adorned that with the craziest bows we could find that matched our outfits. Heck, some outfits came with the bow already!

One of my friends had a very crafty mother who really liked making hair bows. As a result my friend always had the prettiest around. AND her mother knew how to french braid her hair. I was jealous. Every once in a while her momma would make me one or two letting me look at all of the ribbons and choose what I wanted her to use. And I remember watching her curl the little ribbons to make bows that were just mounds and mounds of these little curlicues. And today, I’m going to show you how to make them!

For this project you will need:

  • Ribbon – I’m using 3/8 inch
  • Wooden dowel – I’m using 1/4 inch (short enough to fit in your oven)
  • Spray starch – heavy is better but I used light as it was on hand
  • Wooden clothes pins (with hinge) – NOT plastic

Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

Take one spool of ribbon and place it into a bowl or sink of water without the packaging. Allow to soak for just a minute or two.

Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

Take the wet ribbon and clip it onto the end of your dowel. Be sure before you start that your dowels will fit into your oven. If they don’t trim accordingly before getting started.

Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

Spin the dowel while holding the ribbon to wrap it around the dowel. At first it’s awkward but soon enough you’ll be a pro and won’t even need to look down while doing it.

Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

Go all the way to the end and then put another clothespin to hold down that end. If your ribbon gets a bit loose while you’re pinning it, all you need to do is turn that pin the direction the ribbon was turning to help tighten it up.

Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

Spray your ribbon down with spray starch. Again, this is what I had and it wasn’t idea. Use heavy spray starch found in the laundry aisle.

Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

And this was SERIOUSLY the best picture I could manage of inside of my oven! With the oven set at 200 degrees, bake your still wet ribbons for 20 minutes.

If you have a whole bunch of dowels  you can keep turning new ribbons while the others bake and swap!

Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

After the ribbons have cooled remove the pin and pull away the end of the ribbon away just a bit. Wedge your fingers underneath that first curl and start to turn the dowel in the opposite direction as the ribbon is wound on. It will start to come off very easily!

Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

I tend to bake mine and toss them into a pile and unwind them all at once. The extra time on the dowel doesn’t hurt them at all. In fact it might actually help the curls be a bit tighter.

Make curlicue ribbon! Secret? You use your OVEN!

Now I was a total idiot and I only used the dowels I had on hand. This pile here took me 5 hours with only two dowels. And that was just plain stupid of me.

After picking up 6 more dowels (they’re only around $0.60 each or so) I was banging out this many an hour. You live and you learn!

Make this adorable curlicue heart shaped wreath for Valentine's Day!

Here’s a little sneak peek at what these curly ribbons were used on! Mr. Max my cat craft assistant approves, and I think you will, too! Check back later to learn about this project over at Mom Spark this week!


Comments (7)

  • Nancy Carr

    February 10, 2015 at 4:41 PM

    Great tutorial. Thanks. I never would have thought of this myself.

  • elaine

    February 26, 2015 at 7:51 AM

    If you don’t have dowels on hand, a package of wooden skeweres would work. Cute idea!

  • Kathryn

    April 2, 2015 at 11:46 PM

    I LOVE this! Please can you tell me, is the oven temperature 200 degrees Fahrenheit or Centigrade?

    1. Allison Murray

      April 2, 2015 at 11:48 PM

      So sorry! Like an American I assumed you would automatically think Fahrenheit because nobody likes that old metric system, anyway now do they? :) Sorry again!

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