If you have seen pictures of my studio, you will have seen that I have a wall with many shelves full of ribbon. Whilst it looks pretty organised in rainbow colours, each ribbon serves a different purpose, and this blog explains how. Below you will find the types of ribbons most commonly used in gift wrapping. There are many more, but this is what I have in my Studio, or what I often seen used by others. It should help you make better decisions on what to use when gift wrapping.
My top 5 most used ribbon types
Organza Ribbon – I have to admit this is my favourite! This shimmery, translucent ribbon can be found as plain, wired, printed, or with satin edges. It comes in many different sizes and colours. The organza ribbon is commonly used with gift wrapping, amongst florists, on clothing and at weddings. The wired ones are perfect for large pom pom bows and when mixed with other sturdy ribbons, they can make a very beautiful statement bow, great for the big special gifts in life. There is something in the shimmer that makes this a beautiful ribbon with a touch of delicacy in its translucent appearance. Another great ribbon for wrapping presents.
Satin Ribbon – It can be found as single-sided satin (smooth and shiny only on one side) and double-sided satin (smooth and shiny on both sides). You can also find printed versions of it and it comes in an array of colours and widths. This is one of the most versatile ribbons and it’s perfect for gift wrapping. Not only is it cost-effective and commonly found, but it also has many possibilities when it comes to finishing off a gift wrap. It’s the everyday version of silk ribbons and one many people use for a lot of crafts and clothing
Grosgrain Ribbon – This type of ribbon can be found as plain or printed ribbons with a distinctive ridge effect on them. Another ribbon that is on my shelves in many different colours and widths as it’s so easy to work with. It can also be printed and personalised and it makes great bows. It is a sturdy and durable ribbon, that is cost-effective, readily available in many craft and fabric stores.
Deco Web – Mainly used by florists, this type of ribbon is more likely to be found at floral suppliers/wholesalers. I use it often with big bows, as it holds its shape when in a bow and it’s available in a good range of colours. It is like it’s named, a webbed effect and helps add contrast to a nice bit bow when used alongside other ribbons. It works great when paired with a wired organza ribbon.
Tulle – a mesh style ribbon with a light airy appearance, tulle is mainly used with clothing but great for gift bows too. It can be layered up around a gift to make a pom pom bow or layered up to be sturdy enough to make big door bows! It can be a little pricy compared to the others depending on size but you can find smaller widths at most craft and fabric stores. Again they are available in so many colours and sizes and some even have glitter stuck to them. I find they work very well with children’s gifts when finished with a bouffy pom pom.
Ribbon types I occasionally use
Burlap/Jute and Twine – a beautiful coarse feel and rustic look when paired with kraft paper. It has a very warm, countryside, rustic feel to it, and is beautiful even on its own. At Christmas time, I like to pair it with dried spices and sliced fruits to give it a nice aroma too! Depending on the size and style, it’s not as soft or easy to manipulate as some of the other ribbons so simple bows only for this one or pom pom bows for some of the softer ones. It’s often sold in most craft stores and brown shades are the most common colours.
Raffia – Not as common as it should be in my opinion, it’s another great ribbon that again can bring a rustic feel depending on the colours used. There are a few different types to choose from, matte, shimmery or frayed. They also come in natural or raffia effect so if you’re using it for eco gifts, be sure to get the right one. I usually use a few strands around a gift and finish it with a big hand-tied bow. One of my favourites for Christmas gifts.
Lace – This can be a love/hate kind of ribbon. Love because it brings a beautiful, intricate finish to gifts, great for events like weddings. Hate, because it is not the easiest to manipulate with bows due to its delicate design but it can be done if paired with other sturdier ribbons. With lace ribbons, you also have to be careful not to rip them when tightening bows.
Paper – great for eco gifts! Make your own bows from the paper leftover from the gift wrap, or use premade Kraft bows and Kraft ribbon. It’s not as strong as the original curling ribbons but it is kinder to the planet and comes in a good selection of colours. These will rarely be metallic or finished with glitter to keep them eco friendly.
Ribbon type I no longer use
Curling Ribbon – This is made of crimped polypropylene, which is designed to curl up when one side of the ribbon is flattened with a knife or the edge of scissors. It’s found in many high street and online stores and it is the most common type of ribbon you’ll find for finishing off a gift wrap usually accompanied with a premade gift bow. They come in many different colours, with shiny, glittery, or matte effects. It’s also used with balloon decorations too and with favour bags. Unfortunately, the polypropylene ribbon is not eco-friendly, however, many companies are now starting to introduce a biodegradable version. I’ve just ordered some from Cards and Gift Wrap to try out so I will keep you posted on it through my social media.
There are so many other types of ribbons, but I believe these are the most common ones. Is there a personal favourite you have or use? Remember fabric ribbons can be reused, I even iron some of mine and have reused many of them. (Click here more information how I reuse them) If they come to the end of their life, you can recycle them with your broken clothes at textile banks. I invested in a huge selection of curling ribbons when I started the business, but I no longer use them due to its recycling status. I am getting through them in my personal life, but haven’t purchased any since 2016. There are eco-friendly ways to wrap presents beautifully which I will go into more detail about in another blog.
Until then, I hope you now know a bit more about the types of ribbons most commonly used in gift wrapping, and if you need any ideas or tutorials on how to create beautiful bows, you can download my Gift Bows tutorial or join me in The Wrap it Studio. Both are virtual learning options. Have fun and don’t forget to tag us in your bow makes.