The braided ribbon barrettes that were immensely popular in the 1980s have made a big comeback. Braided ribbon barrettes can be seen in some department stores, as well as in some boutiques. These barrettes make unique gifts for both young girls and teenagers. They are easy to create, even young children can learn to make them. Braided ribbon barrettes are excellent ways to express school spirit, or pull an outfit together.
Use satin or grosgrain ribbon to make braided ribbon barrettes. The ribbon should measure no more than one-eighth of an inch in width and should be about a yard long. The ribbon must be reversible so that when you braid it, the color remains consistent. Consider patterned ribbon for an interesting look. If you use a polka dot ribbon, select the second ribbon color to match the polka dots.
Select barrettes that are made with a double bar top, because the double bar helps to create the braid. Barrettes should be no smaller than two inches. Bigger double bar barrettes can be used to make braided barrettes for longer and thicker hair.
Making braided barrettes is fairly simple, and the technique is consistent no matter the length of the ribbon or the size of the barrette.
Before braiding the ribbon, stack the ribbons on top of each other. Also, make sure that when you insert the ribbon through the barrette, you center the ribbon precisely. There should always be equal amounts of ribbon on each side of the barrette.
The weave pattern for making the barrette is weaving the ribbon over the first bar and under the second bar of the barrette. When weaving, make sure that the ribbons are never twisted.
Pull the ribbon taut when weaving, to make the braid pattern uniform. Make sure to place enough ribbon onto the barrette so that it appears tight and the ribbon doesn’t move.
Note that the ribbon does not have to be glued or tied onto the barrette, because the weave will keep the ribbon from slipping.
Traditionally, the ribbon hangs down from the finished barrette. However, you can secure and trim the ribbon depending on the recipient's preferences.
You can also add pony beads to the bottom of the ribbons to provide extra weight and additional decoration, or tie decorative buttons onto the bottom or any other area of the ribbon.
Susan Elliott teaches studio art and creative writing to home schooled students. She is a graduate of Northwest Arkansas Community College and the Memphis School of Preaching Student Wives Program. She has written for Christian Woman Magazine and Virtuous Magazine. When she's not writing, she is painting or making costumes.