Knowing your ribbon
Choosing the right ribbon for decorating or gift-wrapping projects makes all the difference between a memorable presentation and a "tear the wrapper off" packaging. If you've ever admired a beautiful packaging or lingered over the ribbon display stand at your local Hallmark store, then you probably know first hand the attraction beautiful ribbon has. There are literally millions of designs and colors - not to mention the material they're made from - of ribbon. However, in spite of this wide range of styles, they can be sorted down to a few general categories. It is important to note though that some ribbons are difficult to classify due to the fact that they share at least two or more different characteristics. This doesn't mean that they would not be appropriate for packaging or decorating projects, quite the contrary, but in cases of "hybrid" ribbons such as these, all you would need to do is make sure that the ribbon is an appropriate one for your project. Moving on to the general categories of ribbon:
- Satin Ribbon: This ribbon is the one most people associate with when they hear the word "ribbon". Characterized with a smooth, silky, and shiny finish on one side and a matte finish on the other side (considered to be the "back" side) , you'll probably find satin ribbon to have the widest range of colors and sizes. This ribbon is used for both decorating and garments. A good guide for satin ribbon colors and sizes can be found here.
- Brocade Ribbon: This wide and heavyweight ribbon is distinguished by repeated decorative motifs. Brocade ribbon is woven, and usually very rich in jewel tones. Brocade ribbon is very popular for home decorating projects and can usually be purchased by the yard rather than per roll.
- Double Faced Ribbon: Unlike satin ribbon, this ribbon has the same smooth, silky, and shiny finish on both sides. This ribbon is also used quite effectively with garments and packaging.
- Feathered Edge Ribbon: This ribbon has the fibers along both edges of the ribbon pulled out into a consistent pattern of equal sized loops. The looped edges make the ribbon appear slightly wider than it is.
- Organza Ribbon: Also known as Chiffon Ribbon, this ribbon is sheer - almost transparent. The wonderful thing about this ribbon is that the color shades change at different light angles.
- Wire Edged Ribbon: This ribbon has thin wires woven into the edges of the ribbon (almost any kind of ribbon can be wire edged). Naturally the wires inside the edges are not visible. The greatest advantage of wired ribbon is that it can be shaped and hold a specific shape. The flip side though with this ribbon is that it is not washable at all - its usage is strictly decorative.
- Plaid and Gingham Ribbon: This ribbon has the checkered pattern woven into the ribbon which makes the pattern visible on both sides.
- Metallic Ribbon: This ribbon is created, quite obviously, with metallic threads covering all or just some parts of the ribbon.
- Jacquard Ribbon: This ribbon has a repeated pattern woven through the length of the ribbon. This makes it a bit of a thick ribbon due to the numerous threads used to create the pattern. This ribbon is usually single faced.
- Grosgrain Ribbon: Grosgrain ribbon is a robust ribbon that unlike satin ribbon, has a matte finish. Grosgrain ribbon is characterized by having vertical ridges running across the ribbon.
- Velvet Ribbon: This ribbon has a soft velvet finish on one side and flat woven underside. Very elegant and more recently available in the market in a wider range of colors and sizes.
- Personalized Ribbon: This ribbon has a custom or generic (such as polka dots) printed on it. Personalized Ribbon is usually made with satin, grosgrain, or organza ribbon. All the above kinds of ribbon can be purchased at your local crafts store or a well established