Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How to ... Fray Ribbon!

Hello everyone! Welcome to Stamping 411's How-To Wednesday! Have you ever wanted to do something different with your cards but not quite sure what to do? How about trying the Frayed Ribbon technique -- it's fun, fast and really gives a different look to your projects. Depending on the look you're going for, it can be quite elegant, just plain fun or downright whimsical! First, a quick tutorial on how to fray your ribbon!

Start with Grosgrain ribbon (any size) and cut both edges off square. Gently pull the individuals threads from each end of the ribbon. You will find that one pulls fairly easily and the other will knot up and tangle very quickly. Work from the end that pulls easily and just continue to pull the tiny fibers away from the ribbon. It goes very quickly. Make sure and leave about 1" at the very end that you do not fray -- you will trim this later but it's necessary to keep everything from tangling into an unidentifiable mess! Also, be sure and discard the pile of filaments that you pulled off the ribbon, especially if you have pets! You don't want them getting a hold of this mound of fiber and trying to swallow it -- it would not be a happy day for anyone in your household!

Once you've cut off the connecting thread to the bundle of pulled fibers and discarded them, you can begin to work with the frayed ribbon. You can tie it in a bow, you can wrap a brad around it, you can thread it through a button, you can tie it around a piece of cardstock or embellishment. The possibilities are really endless! In this first sample, I wrapped the prongs of a Rhinestone Brad around the frayed fibers and then from the back, tapped the prongs down tightly with a craft hammer. You want it to be held tightly so that none of the filaments pull through.

In this next example, I've threaded the frayed fibers through a jumbo button (use one with larger holes) and then tied a knot on top to hold it all together. Remember that 1" of non-frayed ribbon that I told you to hold on to at the end -- if you're going to thread it through a button, cut that at a diagonal with a fairly small point and then thread down from the top of the button, across the back and then up through the top and then tie your knot. In either of these examples, you will want to trim the fibers to the desired length (use a sharp pair of scissors for this).

Okay, now are you ready to see some of the projects I created using the Frayed Ribbon technique? Here you go ...

Here's the elegant example! I used Sweet & Sour Speciality Designer Series Papers (3 different patterns) and the Great Friend and Fabulous Florets Stamp sets. Cardstock colors are Pumpkin Pie, Basic Black, and Whisper White.

I used the Floating Re-inker Technique and heat embossing on the flowers, cut them out and popped them up with Stampin' Dimensionals. Other supplies and tools include the Eyelet Border Punch and Rhinestone Brads. I glued the frayed bow onto the card with Crystal Effects. Click on the small image to view it larger.

Next is a cute and whimsical example, using the Extra Large Two-Step Owl and Two-Step Bird Punches.

The DSP is Green House Gala (again, 3 different patterns). The Cardstock Colors are Old Olive, Early Espresso and Whisper White.

I used the Scallop Border Punch, the Big Shot with the Finial Press Textured Impressions Folder, Black Brads (for the eyes), a Jumbo Button, Stampin' Dimensionals and Crystal Effects (to glue down the button). The owl's wings and branches are from the Two-Step Bird Punch and the sentiment is from Curly Cute.

And the final example is just plain fun and funny! Look at this colorful character made from the Pick a Petal Stamp Set. He (or she, I'm not quite sure) just makes you want to smile! Oh my goodness, it's been a long time since I pulled this stamp set out! The sentiment is from the Smarty Pants stamp set.

The Designer Series paper is Beyond the Garden from the Summer Mini Catalog. The cardstock colors are Pacific Point and Whisper White. The glasses were created with the 1 3/8" and 1 3/4" Circle punches (punch the smaller one first and then center the larger one to punch the rings). I used 1/4" Black Grosgrain ribbon for the eyelashes, Flower Brads, Stampin' Dimensionals, Black Stazon and Regal Rose Inks, the Wide Oval and Decorative Label Punches. The bow is created with 5/8" Old Olive Grosgrain ribbon.

To create the eyelashes with this look, the fraying technique is just a little different. You want to cut off one selvage of the ribbon and then pull the short fibers away until you get to the final selvage. Attach to your card with SNAIL adhesive and trim the ends to the desired length.

You know what they say ... "You're never too old to do goofy stuff"! Or, at least that's what Ward Cleaver says!

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial today on the Frayed Ribbon Technique! And I hope you'll come back soon for more ideas at Stamping 411!

If you're brave enough to try the frayed ribbon technique sometime this week, we would love to see what you create! Just leave us a link to your project photos below! Have fun and Happy stamping (and fraying!)


  1. Totally fun samples. My favorite was the floral card but they were all great. Thanks for sharing this fun way to use frayed ribbon.

  2. This is so much fun!!!!!! And you're photos are very helpful. I'm going to try this this morning - see what happens. Thanks for the inspiration!