Great Ribbon Decorating Ideas for Christmas

I’ve always had a love of textiles and trimmings and with the festive season upon us, I thought I’d share with you some great ribbon decorating ideas for Christmas.

Jane Means ribbon

Ribbon by Jane Means

Aside from the very obvious way that ribbon is used lavishly, luxuriously and in flamboyant, festive ways to wrap gift boxes at Christmas, it is an extremely versatile product that can be used all over the home to assist in the creation of an embellished and decorated Christmas.

 

What about selecting three or four colours to compliment your personal Christmas pallet and, instead of the traditional paper chain, making a ribbon chain or garland instead…  Ribbon widths can be uniform or you can mix widths and fabric types.

 

Baubles are beautiful on a tree but showering your Christmas tree with hand tied bows, large or small, or twirling wide, wired ribbon around and around your tree is beautiful if you wish to soften the style of decoration.

 

Wreaths with an abundance or red ribbon are seasonally enhanced and very appealing.

Ribbon wreath

Image Courtesy of Clifton Nurseries

Banisters and dining chairs need not go undecorated at this time of year.  Drape or wrap an evergreen garland from top to bottom of your staircase banister and dress with bows and hanging, curled ribbons, along with other festive decorations.  Dining chair backs, tied with a large ribbon with a snuggly held candy cane, place name ‘gift tag’ or prettily wrapped table gift are a practical addition to Christmas table settings.

Sophiasdecor

Image courtesy of Sophias Decor

If the pictures around the walls of your home appear neglected in terms of Christmas decoration, then embellish one top corner of random frames with a sprig of holly, tied with copious lengths of ribbon and secure with easily removed, non-damaging sticky tape.

 

Tall candlesticks are another seasonal decoration where snuggly tied bows and draping ribbons can add elegance.  An embellishment at the candle base and some well chosen satin or velvet ribbon on either one or a grouping of candles will enhance a table setting or fireplace and add that cosy Christmas feel that we all love.

Bauble ribbon

Image courtesy of Red Online

Light fittings are often designed in such a way that they lend themselves to being transformed into Christmas chandeliers.  With the addition of fine thread-suspended baubles, draped evergreen garlands and lots of twirled, tied and curled, hanging ribbons, a dramatic chandelier can quickly be created.  This can add an effective centrepiece to any room and is a great suggestion for light fittings that are positioned over dining tables.

Recycled crafts

Image courtesy of Recycled Crafts

Wherever evergreen garlands are hung, draped and displayed for Christmas, attaching randomly positioned, ribbon tied bows with a little florist wire always adds subtle, seasonal detail.  Bow-decorated, garlands, sit beautifully along fireplaces and window sills, fit, grandly from floors to ceilings in room corners and, when draped and equidistantly clipped, embellish seasonal table edges to perfection

I always love to see new creative used for ribbon, especially off cuts and roll ends. Feel free to share your ideas with us on Instagram and Facebook…we’d love to see your photos.  x

Categories: Christmas, Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Make Ric Rac Flowers: DIY Craft Project

ric rac flower tutorial

I love the quirky look of ric rac and after lots of requests, I finally decided to stock it a couple of years ago. For me it is not an ideal ribbon choice in gift wrapping as I haven’t mastered how to tie a bow with it yet.

ric rac sets

With Valentines Day approaching I decided to try something new, and the great thing is that you can make these super cute flowers, just by using a small length of ric rac.

This was the first time I had a go at this and used approx. 80cm of trim

red ric rac copy

Ideally you will need a sewing machine, or you can hand sew instead.  You’ll also need a needle and thread.

 

With your 80cm length fold it in half in the centre

ric rac project

 

 

Lay the ric rac like this and you will need to either hand stitch ot machine stitch all the way along one edge.  This will hold the 2 layers together.

ric rac red

Start with the 2 rough ends (not the folded in half end) curling them very tight to form the centre of the flower.

ric rac idea

As you go along hand stitch underneath to keep the flower together (pins may help)

 

When you get to the end you may want to cover the base with a small piece of felt with a glue gun.

ric rac rose

You can them add it to a gift, headband, or piece of clothing with a safety pin

pink ric rac flower

Or how about adding it to a necklace or make it in to a funky ring?

Photo courtesy of thecraftingchicks

pastel ric rac

Photo courtesy of Craftgawker

If you have any other great uses for ric rac we would love to hear from you

Also don’t forget that I will be gift wrapping and doing lots of crafty projects live on Create on Craft TV (channel 36) on February 27th at 4pm

white red gift wrapping

Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Projects & Demos, Spring, Valentine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to tie the perfect bow in gift wrapping

One of the most asked questions I get asked on our gift wrapping workshops is “How do you tie the perfect bow?”.  We all have our own way of tying a shoelace or a bow and through my experience of teaching gift wrapping, I’ve found it’s very hard to change your technique after tying the same bow all of your life

tying a bow

I did a day skipper sailing course several years ago and thought the knot tying part would be so easy.  To my horror I failed my knot exams and was all fingers and thumbs. Although I had to resit the exam, it gave me food for thought and made me realise that many people will struggle to tie the perfect bow.

 

I have seen so many ways of tying a bow and my advice is to use the same technique that you’ve used all of your life with a couple of changes that will help you enormously.  Many of us tie a loop at a time, however some will form 2 loops and tie them together (known as the bunny ears).  During my workshops I have seen many different techniques and everyone can tie the perfect bow.

the perfect bow

The ideal bow should resemble a perfect angled letter ‘X’ so it is a good idea to imagine this X and follow the outline as you are tying your bow.  The 2 loops should be at 10 and 2 o’clock and the 2 tails should sit at 8 and 4 o’clock.

ribbon bow

The critical point is the part just before you pull the bow tight. Take a pause and look at the outline of your bow.  This will give you a chance to re arrange the bow so the loops and tails are in the correct position. If your bow looks messy or out of proportion, if you rush ahead and pull the bow tight it will still look a mess and out of proportion.

Turquoise ribbon

Another helping hand is to choose a double sided ribbon that has the same finish on both sides. Many of my students say that tying a wired ribbon is a lot easier. If you are working with a printed ribbon like this turquoise spotty design, ensure that you twist the ribbon to the correct side as you tie your bow.

For lots more bow techniques and gift wrapping projects, grab a signed copy of my new book ‘giftwrapped

Happy bow tying!

 

Categories: Projects & Demos, Ribbon, Tips + Techniques, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gift Wrapping and DIY Craft Projects for Halloween

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If you’re heading off to any Halloween parties this season, here’s a really clever decorating idea.  I have chosen some Orange tissue. To add depth and luxury to the gift wrapping, I have pleated the wrap and you can find out how to do this on page 48 of my new book Giftwrapped 

jane means orange wrapping

 

I decided to mix two ribbons together, a black stitched grosgrain and a narrow saffron stitched ribbon.  These can be stuck together using Double Sided tape.

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halloween gift wrapping

 

To add some extra fun I found a tub of plastic toy spiders and these are great.  They are inexpensive and can be tied on with ribbon or added in to a hamper. If you have a basket of sweets for trick or treaters these too can be added as an extra decoration.

rolls of orange tissue

For Halloween it’s a good idea to make some easy decorations with tissue. (You will love our tissue as it’s not in packs but rolled so you get crisp sheets without any creases)

orange tissue pom pom

To decorate your home or party you can make some tissue pom poms.  They are quick, easy and inexpensive and I have just used a single sheet of tissue to make the pom pom above. Find out how to make your own DIY Tissue Pom Pom right here on my blog.

The orange stripe paper bags also make great favour bags or for bagging up sweets for trick or treat callers

 

 

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Here I have made my own gift bags with wallpaper and teamed it with some rich copper wired ribbon and dried orange slices, perfect for Autumn gifts.

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Give simple brown paper boxes some jazz by adding lengths of  vibrant orange ric rac.  This will look great teamed with a black paper too.

halloween ribbon sm

Finally here’s the chance to win a pack of our very own British made 1″ wide Halloween ribbon. Just leave us a Halloween comment in the box below telling us what you would use the ribbon for (we love hearing your ideas!)

The winner will be chosen on Tuesday 28th October

Good luck folks x

 

ps. On my next blog post I will be sharing photos of my forthcoming giftwrapped book launch in London for the industry and press.
Don’t forget you can grab your own pre publication signed copy with a 10% promo code (see my previous blog post).

 

 

 

Categories: Halloween, Inspiration, Projects & Demos, Ribbon | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Gift wrapping awkward shapes with a tailored ribbon bow

We are often faced with gift wrapping awkward shapes, and something that has always been a challenge is tying a bow around something fragile or flexible

 

gift wrapping biscuits

If you tried to tie a bow around a silk scarf wrapped in tissue, or a pile of delicate biscuits, it would crumple up and be hard work to tie, so here I am going to show you a simple and effective ‘tailored ribbon bow’ technique using some classic Black stitched ribbon.
Black stitched ribbon
It is really popular with mail order companies as it travels extremely well and you only need to use a minimum amount of ribbon.
Jane Means Gift Wrapping
To make this bow you will only require a reversible ribbon and some Double sided tape. In this DIY project I am going to add the bow around a gift voucher placed in an envelope
You will firstly cut a small piece off the end of the roll and this will need to be approximately three times the width of the ribbon (if your ribbon is 1 cm wide you will need to cut off 3 cms). Add double sided tape along this small piece that you have cut off.
Black stitched ribbon project

 

Next you need to add a small piece of double sided tape at the end of the roll.  You’ll now need to roll the ribbon into a circle and stick so it now looks like a figure of ‘9’
Black ribbon DIY bow project
Squeeze the circle and add a small sticky piece in the centre, sticking the sides around the back.
Finally you will measure your ribbon by going around the item ensuring there is a slight overlap of approximately 2 inches (5cms).
grey stitched
You can also add more than one bow to give an eye-catching and luxurious effect.  Here I have pleated the paper Japanese style.
bow ribbon belt
And I love the simplicity of this white leather bow belt, such a timeless piece.
pastel gift wrapping
I’ve decorated a Mother’s Day gift in scented floral drawer liners and added some lace along with this simple bow to give the gift wrapping a chic statement.
cake bow
This is also a great technique to decorate a cake, and here I have layered a couple of ribbons for a dramatic effect for the forthcoming Cake and Bake Show I will be exhibiting at in October.
Gift wrapping cupcakes
I hope that you have great fun making this bow and please pop by and say hello if you’re at the Cake and Bake Show, I will be there making an odd appearance!
cakebakeshowlogo

 

Categories: Inspiration, Luxury Wrap & Stationery, Projects & Demos, Ribbon, Tips + Techniques, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Creative Ribbon DIY Project: Covering a Stool

I’ve always had a love for upcycling and there’s nothing more I enjoy than doing up an old piece of furniture. Many years ago I did a furniture restoration course but sadly due to work commitments I have very little time nowadays to do these hobbies.
We have an old stool that we use for our exhibitions which you will find us perching on at the end of the day and I decided it needed some TLC
DIY stool
I wanted to give it a creative finish and somehow incorporate ribbons, so I dusted down the sewing machine and got to work…
ribbon tea towel
I decided to cover the seat pad and back support using an old linen tea towel as a base and remnants of ribbon
ribbon unscrew stool
Firstly I unscrewed the seat pad (making sure that I didn’t lose any of the screws)
ribbon seat
I cut the tea towel in a slightly larger template.  I then arranged my ribbon remnants on top of it
DIY ribbon project
When I found a design that I liked, I took a photo of it (unless you pin the ribbons in place they will probably move whilst you are using the sewing machine)
 ribbon red sewing
One by one I then stitched the ribbons on to the tea towel with my sewing machine, trying to keep my lines straight.
ribbon back
I then unscrewed the back support and cut my tea towel into a slightly larger template
ribbon blue sewing
This time to make it a bit more quirky I decided to use an alternative colour of ribbon.
I then stitched this on with the sewing machine
ribbon stool
To help with the covering process, I used double sided tape to keep the fabric in place
ribbon seatpad
Finally I screwed the pads back in place…and voila I have a creative ribbon stool.
ribbon chair
At the end of a long day on our feet, we can now perch on an elegant stool which reflects our brand and creativity.
ribbon creative stool
If you have used ribbon in any similar projects we would love to hear from you…
DIY ribbon stool
Categories: Inspiration, Projects & Demos, Ribbon, Tips + Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A summer photo shoot

I was utterly delighted when photographer Lyndsey James wanted to pop over to do a feature at the Haberdashery Closet. Her photography workshops caught my eye earlier on in the year as they are designed for anyone who creates or sells small products who want to showcase their work with eye-catching photography.

haberdashery closet ln42ta

I couldn’t wait to meet her and pick her brains. I do a lot of my own styling and photography and we had a morning playing around with ribbons, trimmings, raffia, gift wrap and all sorts of decorations.  I got to work in the studio whilst we chatted away, and the time flew by.

jane means raffia pink

I spoke about how I started in business with the ups and downs I’ve experienced.  So many times I nearly gave up my dream but persisted with the hard work and long hours.  It was great comparing notes with a fellow business woman and we chatted away about marketing, running workshops and creative photography which are huge parts of our businesses.

jane means ribbon lampshade

 

I am always trying to dream up new ways to use ribbon.  So many people who buy from us transform mundane items in to brilliant creations.  I had a go at recreating the ribbon lampshades that Bay Designs do (although my effort is no where near as perfect as theirs) and plan to make a chandelier from wooden bobbins for a future shoot.

jane means ribbon roll

In the Haberdashery Closet you are never short of ribbon and we had piles of pretty trims everywhere.  Currently we have over 10,000 rolls of ribbon in stock and I’m always dreaming up new designs and keeping an eye on forthcoming trends, and new crafty projects.

jane means ribbon shelf

I have a real love for depth and textures and soon pulled out the velvet collection for Lyndsey to photograph.  I love velvet as it seems to have that quintessentially British luxury and royal feel about it.

jane means ribbon stockroom

The stockroom is a huge part of Ribbon HQ, we spend a lot of time in there busy packing up our online and wholesale orders on a daily basis.  I’m often rummaging through the stock when I am heading off to do a show or course somewhere.

jane means tying raffia

Wrapping gifts has always been a huge part of my life and I always left the nicely wrapped gifts last to open as a child.jane means raffia pink

I’ve always said you can add a few small touches to a gift to give it a huge transformation.  Here I’ve made a Fabric Rose just by using half a metre of wired ribbon and you can see the video tutorial on how to make your own.

jane means vibrant pink ribbon

I found this great cake stand from TK Maxx and threaded some of our ribbon through it for a dramatic effect.

vibrant pink ribbon

On the day Lyndsey and I managed to find some biscuits and cakes to go on it. I couldn’t resist a purchase when I popped in to Fortnum and Mason a few days earlier for a meeting!


jane means at work

After lunch I did a few step by step wrapping projects and you will be able to see these on the Lyndsey James blog over the next few months

jane means bow tying copy

Vibrant wired ribbons were being added around luxurious gift boxes, with recycled Christmas decorations being tied in as a feature.  I found these glass heart baubles in a florist in Paris and couldn’t resist them!

jane means bow tying

 

To add extra luxury I decided to layer several ribbons around gifts.  The recipient needs to be very special for this kind of treatment!

jane means lincoln studio

 

Wallpaper remnants, jars of buttons and more decorations were found…I got completely carried away with Lyndsey and her SLR camera clicking away.  She was such a joy to work with that the day was over before I knew it.

jane means papers

One of my favourite decorations are rustic orange slices.  They have that rich citrus smell and look great tied on to rustic and vintage style gifts.  I also love to use old music sheets in my gift wrapping projects.

jane means paper straws

The Haberdashery Closet is always full of quirky products, with some of them that you can try out.  Papers straws in an old milk bottle go down a storm when customers pop in and enjoy a glass of cloudy lemonade.

jane means pink stripe ribbon

One of my favourite products are wooden spools.  I’m a huge collector of anything vintage and I have been lucky enough to source some old bobbins from old silk mills in the UK. They are a great way to display your ribbons even if you only have a few remnants in your bottom drawer.

Jane Means Haberdashery Closet

 

If you have a small craft business, great photography is an absolute must and can be done on a tight budget.  I always remember a PR agency in London telling me that advice years ago and it has always stuck.  I always spot poor or dark photography and when you sell online or create your own adverts or marketing material it is so important to have clear photos in daylight.

Lyndsey James photography

All in all it was a fantastic day and I will be hiring Lyndsey in the future to help with our product photography, and hope to enrol on one of her courses soon.  If you have a small craft business, great photography is an absolute must and can be done on a tight budget, with the help of free photography software and apps like Instagram.

Categories: Haberdashery Closet, Inspiration, Luxury Wrap & Stationery, Projects & Demos, Ribbon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Making a handy ribbon dispenser box

ribbon tidy

I’m always having trouble keeping my craft room tidy, and one thing I often struggle with is storing loose rolls of ribbon, which easily get tangled if you don’t pin them

 

craft tutorial

I’m going to show you a really inexpensive and neat idea for ribbon storage and show you how to make a ribbon dispenser box.  This DIY craft project will take you less than 10 minutes

cake box

 

 

You will need a box made of thin card. A good place to get these is from a cake shop or bakery, plus a ruler and hole punch (which I bought from Staples),  and a scrap piece of paper.  Calculate your measurements on your scrap paper and punch out the holes. This will ensure that your measurements are correct and you don’t punch unwanted holes straight in to the box.  Through the holes on the scrap paper, mark the cake box with pencil

craft hole punch

Punch the holes out of the cake box ensuring they are straight and measured correctly (Here I have done a straight line in pencil so it looks neat)

ribbon box

 

Remove any pins from your rolls of ribbon, and one by one thread the ribbon ends through the holes. To make it easier cut your ribbon at angles

ribbon storage

 

Keep adding your ribbons until the box is full but don’t over fill it as the rolls won’t be able to rotate (your ribbons need to move easily inside the box)

ribbon tutorial

 

Close the box up and cut all of the ribbon ends at a slight angle (if you haven’t done so already) as this will stop them from fraying.  You could also have several boxes and colour coordinate them

ribbon dispenser

Boxes can also be stacked on top of each other in a cupboard and this makes great space saving storage.  It’s also a great way of recycling unwanted boxes, and a good way of supporting your local cake shop even if you’re on a diet!

ribbon collage

 

 

Categories: Inspiration, Projects & Demos, Tips + Techniques | Tags: , , , , , ,

Clever ribbon storage and display ideas

 I’m often asked about the various ways to store and display ribbons, especially by craft lovers and shops.
 Whether you have lengths or rolls of ribbon, I have put together a collection of handy ideas.
Loose lengths of ribbon can be wrapped around a piece of card and pinned.  This makes a great filing system and can be done in colour order. We find this works really well when we send our ‘ribbon by the metre’ orders out.
If you are selling or storing pre cut lengths of ribbon, these can be rolled and secured with a band and stacked on shelves.  Although initially it looks tidy, I do find at our shows that this method isn’t suitable so I wouldn’t recommend this to busy shops with a heavy footfall.
In our Haberdashery Closet we have stocked these handy gift tags which are made out of card, and rigid enough to withstand ribbon being wrapped around them.
Storing Pom Pom trim can often be a challenge and here we have used a free standing metal kitchen saucepan rack.
You can also use book shelving units to store Pom Pom from the wall.  I picked this one up from a local charity shop for £15 and painted it light grey.
At most of our trade shows we use a dresser on wheels, which is ideal in a retail environment as it is mobile and free standing and can be positioned in alternative places.  The dresser was bought from Ebay for £25, painted cream in Farrow and Ball.  We also added industrial wheels to the base which were from B&Q.  The base of the dresser is also handy for storing additional supplies.
If you are storing rolls of ribbon horizontally, you will need to add some shelf edging to stop the rolls from falling out.  You can buy inexpensive lengths from B&Q and have them cut at no extra charge. I added the wooden edging with wood glue, and painted it the next day with eggshell paint.
If you haven’t got edging on your shelves, it’s better to store them vertically in short piles to avoid them rolling off the shelves. If you sell ribbons, it’s a good idea to fill any gaps with wrapped boxes or other merchandise.
Luckily I have access to these rustic farm crates from my dads farm, and my mum added some wooden dividers. These make wonderful rustic storage and the natural look of the wood shows the colours off really well.
I also store ribbons in small bookcases with edging on the shelves, and these are lightweight and can easily be free standing on a floor or placed on a table top.
When I’m running courses I will store ribbons in these handy wooden crates or trays which I bought from an interiors shop.
Wicker hampers and baskets make a good alternative for ribbon storage.  If you are selling ribbon, it’s a really good idea to have some display boxes with ribbon that you have good quantities of.  I particularly find hampers are useful as they are easy to transport with ribbons inside.
One of my favourite displays is this one.  I picked up an old gilt frame from a junk shop for the bargain price of £5 as it had no glass or back.  My mum took it to her woodwork class and added a sturdy back template that we had designed and cut some wooden poles for the rolls to slot on to.  We currently use this as a display purpose only as it is hassle removing the poles to access the rolls of ribbon.  This however would be a suitable solution if you sell or use ribbons by the metre.
I picked up these rustic wire baskets at the Country Living Fair.  These are lightweight with the rolls easily visible, and our price tags can be tied on to the basket.
Another alternative is to use a simple glass bowl or vase for displaying rolls, which looks very effective. Here I have used a contrasting colour bowl to highlight the nautical ribbons.
For a Spring photo shoot I used some china from Time for Tea with Elena Alice, and had rolls of ribbon displayed on a cake stand.  It is a very effective method introducing height for the display.
At a Christmas Fair we needed so much storage for ribbons that we combined lots of different displays which worked very well.
I am always dreaming up new ways to display ribbons and will keep adding to this post.  If you have any good ideas please also let me know!
Categories: Haberdashery Closet, Inspiration, Projects & Demos, Ribbon, Tips + Techniques | Tags: , , , , ,

Country Living Scotland Fair

I’ve just returned from a week up in Glasgow working at the Country Living Fair.  My first couple of days were spent dressing the stand.  I was also asked by the magazine to dress the Winter Cabin

Naturally being a Christmas show, I wanted to add plenty of sparkle and decided to create a festive wrapping room complete with a dressed Christmas tree and plenty of decorations.

With only 3 hours to do the feature we decided to fill the area with handpicked items from exhibitors at the fair, and a selection of my own ribbons and trimmings.

We also added rich coloured gift boxes, tied with pretty ribbon and baubles.  Some of them we stacked in piles under the tree to give an eye catching effect.

Our little stand was full of ribbons and trimmings.  We spent hours decorating it in to a creative and quirky feature, and were delighted when the press popped by to take some photos.

I was also involved with the Country Living Craft Theatre where I did daily gift wrapping workshops

The step by step masterclasses were really popular and were often full way before the start time, so it was a race against time to make extra packs up so more people could join in!

I always enjoy my visits to Scotland, and it was lovely to see my regular clients and meet new customers.  I also stayed on an extra day to run a fully booked gift wrapping course at the prestigious One Devonshire Hotel Du Vin.

Despite a nightmare train journey on the way back due to the floods, it was a great week and I’ve already booked my stand for next year.  See you there!

 

Categories: Christmas, Projects & Demos, Ribbon | Tags: , ,
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