How To Create Custom Ribbon

Fast, easy, and cheap!  (Minds outta the gutter, this site is PG!)  I’m talkin adding a little somethin somethin to your gifts.  Yes, I know – we can all wrap fabulous gifts.  You guys are crafty!  But, sometimes it’s nice to do something a little different.  My sons 6th birthday was this past week (sniff, sniff), and I wanted to make it a bit more personal.  Can my kid read?  Uh, in a nutshell: not.  But, I do believe he is capable of reading more than he lets us in on.  And he definitely can read his name.  Keeping that in mind, combined with  knowing what age he’ll be – here’s a step by step for what I came up with:

Materials Needed:

  • Standard white printer paper
  • Laser printer
  • Ribbon
  • Spoon
  • Rag

1. Decide what message you want to convey, choose font (download if needed), and horizontally flip words.  There are a variety of (simplistic) programs which can be used to flip an image.  I used Microsoft Publisher, simply because I love this program.  But, Photoshop, Microsoft Office Picture Manager, and several other photo editing programs have this ability.  Once those steps have been completed, print graphics and cut out. 

Here are the fonts used for each word graphic:

 2. Determine the length of ribbon you will need to wrap the package.  Wrap ribbon around package in the same manner you plan to use when actually adding the ribbon to the gift.  Where ribbon meets at top, pull tight where it will be tied.   

 Place graphic about 1.5″ away from where knot will be when tied.  This will ensure the letters of your graphic do not end up hidden in the knot.  One inch down from bottom of graphic cut ribbon.  This should allow enough room to cut end at an angle if desired.

 Place ribbon and graphics on surface tolerant of chemicals (I use some scrap wood).  Lay graphic on top of ribbon where you want it placed – ink side down.  Apply Citrasolv to rag, and swipe across paper.  Make sure you are steadily holding paper in place from this point on.  Use a spoon to transfer graphic to ribbon.   Wanna know howI got so smart?  Go here.

Citrasolv Tips:

  • If length of your graphic is long, you may want to complete a small section at a time.  This will help prevent ink from bleeding into places it shouldn’t.
  • When applying the Citrasolv, less is more.  Apply too much and ink will bleed.  You can always swipe the paper again with the solvent. 
  • If area the Citrasolv has been applied to seems a bit dry before you get there, swipe it again. 
  • I have found that using a rag is best.  I have tried a small artist brush, and it simply discharges too much liquid too quickly.  Ink bleeds, and image is not crisp. 
  • Use a spoon.  Really.  I tried other blunt objects that were more readily available – not the same.  It’s gotta be a spoon.  Use the back of the spoon in small circular movements.  This helps solvent absorb into ribbon, so ink is soaked in and not sitting on top.  Then use side of spoon and go over entire surface area as you would on a lottery ticket.  There should be a visible difference between areas adhered to ribbon, and areas which have not. 
  • Small circular movements help prevent visible transfer lines.  If you simply apply in a vertical motion, most likely you will end up with vertical stripes in your image.
  • Put some muscle into this!  Do not worry about doing damage to the paper.  It probably won’t happen, and if it does it won’t be until after the surface has been gone over a few times and by then the ink should already be transferred. 
  • It is suggested to tape paper and ribbon down to prevent movement.  This wasn’t particularly helpful for me.  I found using pointer finger and thumb to hold a small area tight worked best for me.  This should allow for about a 4″ area to be worked on at a time.
  • It is also suggested to use an iron after applying with spoon.  This is not necessary, but does allow it to dry faster.    

 Image after it’s been transferred.  I also believe the fonts with more fine lined scrolls are a bit trickier than their broader counterparts.

 Wrap gifts with newly personalized ribbon.

 Fun and festive, I believe it ups the flair factor.  Plus, if you’re re-gifting {uh…which I NEVER do ;)} the recipient will never know.

 Can also be used in place of a card, saving you $!  (Sorry, personal issue.  I believe $4 per card is highway robbery, and would rather apply that money to the value of the gift.) 

You’re done!  How easy was that?  How long did that take?  Most likely less than 10 minutes – even first timers.  The special person receiving this gift will think you’ve gone to far more trouble than you did.  (Ignorance is bliss!) :)

Added bonus:  ribbons can be used in scrapbooks for milestone occasions, or any occasion worth scrapping about.

 Hope this helps you make someone feel special.


Like to party?  Me too!  Come with me – here’s where I’m headed to this week:

Craft Schooling Sunday Keep It Simple Sundays Nifty Thrifty Sunday Creative Bloggers Party and Hop Sundae Scoop Not Baaad Sundays Sunday Showcase Party Think Pink Sundays Motivated Monday DIY Showoff Round Tuit Made By You Mondays Market Yourself Mondays Penny Pinching Party What I Made Wednesday Show and Tell Success U Wednesday  

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