Free Hair Bow Instructions: How to "print" your own ribbon
If you've got graphic design skills, you can design your own graphics in strips to be applied to ribbon. If, like me, you're a little lacking in that category, there are several graphic artists who sell sheets of ribbon graphics in PDF format that you can print from you own inkjet printer. One of my favorites is Carol, of TicTacTogs -- her designs are amazing and she's already "reversed" the patterns for you, so you can apply them directly to the ribbon.
Inkjet transfer paper, seen below. I picked this up at my local big-box retailer, but it's also available at all craft stores. Purchase the lightweight kind for use on T-shirts. If you print on dark ribbon (which is unusual) you'll need to buy the dark-colored transfer paper. But I usually print on light-color ribbon, so I have this:
You'll also need:
A standard inkjet printer
A sheet of ribbon graphics
A flat, hard surface and possibly a thin, flat hand towel or pillowcase to protect it - nothing fluffy!
Ribbon (usually 7/8-inch ribbon)
Scissors for both paper and your ribbon (I use separate scissors for my ribbon to keep the blades sharp!)
Create a graphics page or buy a page of ribbon designs from a graphic designer. Here are the selections from TicTacTogs (wow, I just saw the sock monkey print; how deadly cute is that??)
Following the directions in the ribbon transfer package, print your sheet on an inkjet printer.
Using your paper scissors, cut the strips apart. My 10-year-old graciously modeled her hands for this tutorial.
Following the directions in the package (which involves removing water from your iron), iron your strips, print side down, onto your ribbon. Don't use an ironing board; use a flat surface and press firmly with a hot iron. You can put a thin cotton hand towel or pillowcase down to protect your surface.
Peel off the paper back, and voilå, you have your own printed ribbon! In this example, it looks like I could have pressed the image a little longer, but my daughter was getting impatient and she was the diva model, after all (grin). When you need to create longer ribbon, make sure you carefully line up your image strips so they match the pattern. Let your ribbon "set" for a day, but after that, it's washable.
Enjoy making your own printed ribbon! Use this for hair bows, key fobs, tags (you can print tags with your child's name and sew the ribbon into their clothing for school), and any other embellishment that requires ribbon!