Ah, I remember the day....
My Meghan was 4 years old. (She's 16 now btw) All the little girls in church were wearing the cute bows to match all their dresses..... I thought to myself: We don't have bows! Do we need bows? Am I supposed to have bows to match all dresses? Am I a bad momma because we have no bows?
Yes, if you know me then you know these thoughts ran through my mind :)
There...I was bit by the BOW BUG. At that exact moment! Gee, Thanks church buddies. You got me hooked. I'm now a bow hoarder! hehe
So, after I determined that WE JUST HAD TO HAVE BOWS I set out on my bow hunt. Oh Boy! This was fun. *not really*
Way back in those days, bows were really only found in the cute EXPENSIVE boutiques. Yes, $12 for a bow that was as flat as a pancake! Umm? WHAT! A FLAT BOW? ;)
Since I was an ebay addict back then I decided to type BOW in the little box instead of my normal "Gymboree". WOW! Bows started popping up. Granted, these were just simple pinwheel styles and TBB bows. Hey, I said this was a long long time ago!
Long story short....After spending $ on bows of all kinds. I thought to myself "I can do this." Yes, I decided I would start making her bows. I was going to make FANCY bows. I was going to ROCK some ribbon. I was going to SAVE some money.
HA! (Says the crafter) Save money? ;)
Now, where do I get the ribbon? What else will I need? Wait, HOW THE HECK DO I EVEN MAKE A BOW?
Easier said than done, people! Back then the only places to buy ribbon was the wal-mart craft section and Hancock fabric (At least for me).
Tutorials? HA! There was no youtube. There were no blogs with tutorials. We were on our own!
So, in this series I will give you tips. I will give you some tips that I only WISH I had in the beginning of my journey. There are so many options out there now!
In today's post I will be sharing a some-what detailed list of the supplies I always like to have on hand BEFORE I sit down to make a bow. I will also be sharing some of my favorite supplies to work with as well as places to purchase these!
Ribbon, of course *The ribbon of choice for making bows is GROSGRAIN. You want to make sure you are purchasing POLYESTER grosgrain for bow making. The Rayon/Cotton blend prevents you from being able to seal it with heat.
There are a several widths to work with (1/8'-3"). The most common widths for bow making: 1.5", 7/8", 3/8"
The two most common brands (favorites among bow makers) Schiff and Offray. Schiff happens to be my favorite as I have mentioned it several times ;) It's just a little stiffer than Offray and easier to fold for me.
Places to purchase ribbon: Craft stores, wal-mart, online....
Some of my favorite places to purchase ribbon:
Ribbon Queen (wide selection of solids and prints) I get all of my SCHIFF solids here!
If you are looking for DESIGNER printed ribbon:
Rollin N Ribbon
Tutu the Moon
Of course, there are SO MANY other beautiful ribbon sellers out there. These are just the ones that I have been working with lately and I love :)
TIP: If you are JUST STARTING OUT and are more or less "practicing" bow styles and techniques then I highly suggest starting with the solid colors. They are less expensive and let's face it: Would you rather have a less than stellar LOOP with your cheaper ribbon or your more expensive DESIGNER ribbon? ANOTHER TIP: Practice new techniques and styles with scrap ribbon!
Believe me....I've went ALL IN with my designer prints before. It's sad to waste such beautiful ribbon :/
Ok, once you have your ribbon here are the other supplies you will want to have on hand :
Barrettes/Clips (Again, there is a huge selection and the most common being FRENCH BARRETTES & ALLIGATOR PINCH CLIPS)
You can find both of these in craft stores but be prepared to pay more than you would if ordering from an online site. You can also purchase alligator clips at Sally Beauty Supply.
Glue Gun - I've been asked so many times regarding my absolute favorite glue gun. To be honest, I haven't found HER yet :/ I have tried many glue guns and each one carries a flaw. The glue gun that I currently use is my Adtech MINI HOT MELT glue gun. I purchased this one at Wal-Mart and believe it or not this thing has lasted for YEARS! The best part? It's $4 *I use a HIGH HEAT glue gun.
GLUE STICKS: Don't forget to purchase glue sticks that match your glue gun's heat (high temp or low temp) You may notice that there are clear glue sticks and opaque/cloudy glue sticks. The clear ones work BEST for me. I never have issues with something coming undone. HOWEVER, the cloudy ones are no good for me. I can glue something and then come along a couple of hours later and just pry it off. This is NOT GOOD! You don't want your customers to be able to PRY their bows apart!
Needle (Blah...I know....I hate sewing too! Sometimes it is necessary though).
Thread: My thread of choice? Upholstery thread (especially if I have to use my needle) Embroidery thread is also great for tying your bows. Both of these can take a tugging and keep on chugging ;) You want a thread that can withstand pulls! Both can be found at Department stores and Craft stores.
Lighter: A lighter is needed for heat sealing. I like to work with the long handled BIC lighters. However, you can use the small ones as well. (They are actually cheaper.) I just have a hard time with those. MY POOR THUMB!
RULER: You will need a ruler to measure ribbons, loops, spikes....EVERYTHING!
Any ruler will do :)
Starch/Fabric Stiffener/Hair Spray: (Optional) A lot of bow makers like their bows to hold shape. NO FLOPPY BOWS ;) We will spray them with one of these options. I prefer Aleene's Stiffen Quik. It's just always been my favorite. Remember: A little does go a long way!
Fabric Glue: (optional) I like to use my fabric fusion pen or Fabri-Tac when I am layering two ribbons together. The fabric tac dries clear and holds remarkably well.
Other items I usually have on hand . . .
pliers (Small jewelry ones are best) If you have trouble pulling a needle through or grabbing pesky loose threads these are GREAT helpers. Tweezers work for smaller thread strings too :)
wood burning tool: This is great when working with smaller width ribbons. It will cut your ribbon and seal it too! GREAT for making ribbon sculptures.
**BE WARNED** This gets SUPER HOT! I like to place mine inside a large ceramic mug as a holder. KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN or clumsy adults ;) lol
clothespins: Great for holding ribbons in place while waiting on them to dry. I also use these when making korker ribbon.
Speaking of Korker ribbon....Wooden dowels! Buy a lot if you plan to make korker ribbons.
Large Salon Clip: Need help holding your ribbon while you crease? Here ya go! Slide this in the middle and sew.
Ball Point pins- I use these as a third hand sometimes. (To hold ribbon together) We will get into that later.
Mini hair straightener WHAT? lol I keep this on hand to smooth out any wrinkles I may have in a piece of ribbon. It works, Try it!
An old towel: (When I spray my bow parts with fabric stiffener) I use the old towel as a drying space.
CUP OF WATER: I usually keep a small cup of water beside me when working with my lighter. You never know when......Well.....POOF!
Silicone glue mat (Silicone baking mat works just fine as well) Set your glue gun on this and when you are finished the glue is easy to remove!
Phew! Can you believe there's even more stuff to add to a bow?
Bottlecaps, Bottle cap images (My favorite places to snag images are Jazzy Caps and I like big freebies blog.) Rhinestones, Lace, felties *Check out Bold Chic Boutique, marabou, ostrich puffs, polymer clay pendants, sequin bows.....
The possibilities are ENDLESS!
Please join me for PART 2 of this series tomorrow :) We will discuss my table set up/assembly style!
Tutorials are coming but in the meantime you can view the original videos on my youtube channel, mommycraftsalot. Just scroll down until you find the one you want to try! I have numerous tutorials posted.
Visit me on facebook : Mommy Crafts A lot
Check out the entire series:
Stacked Boutique Bows vs OTT bows (What's the difference?)
Part 2: The Base bow