If you are one of those people who enjoy personalizing your packages for birthdays, holidays, weddings, and other special events, let me share a secret with you for the perfect package topper. It’s called a ribbon rose.
It’s possible to make a your rose out of a variety of ribbons, fabrics, and papers. Those that are done in fabric, however, need to be made from cloth that does not easily fray and that is of a fairly heavy weight. If you prefer to use a sheer or lightweight fabric for some reason, I suggest that you add a starch or fabric stiffner to the fabric. It will make it much easier to manipulate.
Prepare the cloth for use by cutting it into strips between 1″ and 3″ in width and at least 18″ to 24″ in length. Once your strips are cut, you will need to either pink both sides of the strip or choose another method of fray prevention. Some people simply choose to apply a flexible fabric glue to both sides. Others like to apply the glue to one side, but choose a flexible fabric paint or glitter on the side that forms the top part of the rose. All of these options work well as long as you remember to only use flexible materials.
To apply the glue, paint, or glitter lay your cloth strips flat on top of newspaper or other easily cleanable surface. Using a small paint brush, apply a thin line of glue, paint, or glitter very carefully to the outside edges of each strip. Once everything dries, your fabric is ready to make your rose.
I personally prefer to use solid fabrics for my roses to keep them looking more realistic. However, some people like to use prints such as strips, checks, or polka dots. That is a personal choice, so be creative.
For paper roses, it is best to use flexible craft paper. The crinkle paper that comes in what looks like ropes of paper that you unwrap work pretty well. I particularly like the metallics for Christmas presents and anniversary gifts (silver roses for silver anniversaries, gold for gold, etc.). However, it comes in a variety of normal colors and pastels as well. This paper is slightly wider than I normally like to use; however because of its crinkle nature, you have some control over its final size.
If you opt to use another type of paper, you should make certain that it has sufficient flexibility and won’t easily tear as you manipulate it. Otherwise, you may need to apply a very thin coat of watered down flexible glue to the paper to make it more pliable. I personally find this an extra step that takes too much time so I stick to the craft paper I know will work.
Again, cut your paper in about 18″ to 24″ strips, depending upon how full you want your rose to be. Paper roses tend to naturally be a little more stiff than fabric or ribbon roses, so I typically use less length for the roses I make from paper.
My preference is ribbon roses. You can make them from any type ribbon you want, however, keep in mind that the prettiest roses will come from ribbons that are roughly the same on both sides (e.g., satin, grograin, or even simple package ribbon).
Most velvet ribbons are velvet only on one side and a satin like finish on the other. While some people don’t mind this difference, I personally prefer a more uniform look. I will also occasionally chose sheer ribbons with wired edges for stiffness. These make beautiful roses. However, make sure that the wire used is lightweight or you will find the ribbon too difficult to manipulate.
You can use any width ribbon that you want. I find that the best roses are made from ribbons that are at least 1″ in width and no wider than 3″. Anything less that 1″ is very difficult to work with unless you have small or extremely flexible hands and excellent eyesight.
Again, I prefer solid color ribbon although I have seen – – and even made a few – – made from printed ribbons. Again this is simply a matter of personal choice.
Once you decide what you want to use for your rose – – fabric, paper, or ribbon – – the next decision to make is the size and number of roses you want. I typically use at least two or three per package, but much depends upon the size of the roses.
Cut your materials to the appropriate length, if you have not already done so, and you are ready to begin. Taking one end of the ribbon in your hands, fold the ribbon (or fabric or paper) at a right angle with the top up. Now fold it in another right angle but underneath, essentially forming a triangle of ribbon. Do the same thing again, folding the ribbon at a right angle underneath and then another right angle on top. You now have a square of ribbon, fabric, or paper with a slight hole in the center.
Make sure your center hole is not too small or it will be difficult to twist your rose into shape. Also make certain that the center hole is not too large or you end up pulling the bulk of your rose through itself, wasting a lot of materials. It will take some practice to get everything to the right size.
Keep making the folds following the original pattern until you run out of ribbon, fabric, or paper. Now take the tail end of the ribbon (or fabric or paper) which remains on top and push it through the hole in the center of your square and begin twisting. The tighter you twist, the tighter your rose will be. The less tension you use, the looser your rose will be. Once you have the rose to the shape you want, you will have both ends of the ribbon together in your fingers. Secure them with wire, a pipe cleaner, a twist tie, or even tape to hold the rose together.
If your rose is not as full as you wished, then you need to cut longer lengths of ribbon, fabric, or paper. If it is too full, then cut your length shorter. Again, it will take practice to get your rose exactly the way you want it each and every time.
I like to add silk leaves to my roses to make them look more realistic. Sometimes I add buds as well, as I did in the photograph. These can be purchased from any craft store and even a few department stores that carry craft items.
Finally, combine your roses together in any form you want and attach them to the package and you have created something special for your someone special.