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ScrapBusters: Embellished Ribbon Bookmarks

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At S4H, we save all the beautiful ribbon scraps from our projects. Most of our ScrapBuster bookmarks are made using the gorgeous jacquard ribbon from our friends at Renaissance Ribbons. Because of their intricate designs and rich colors, jacquard ribbons are ideal for making bookmarks. Many kinds of ribbon, however, are suitable for bookmarks, and you may have just what you need in your stash. Velveteen ribbons with vintage rhinestone embellishments make beautiful bookmarks and require no sewing. Grosgrain ribbons in school or team colors are a fun way to personalize, plus you can embellish with custom mascot charms and beads. Ribbon bookmarks are fast and easy to make, especially if you do a bunch at once.

This bookmark is made from ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons where you can find a beautiful selection of ribbon by the yard in their retail shop. It's double sided and finished with an old pendant and a broken earring.

Another ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons.This one is a single layer finished with a dragonfly charm and a component from a vintage earring

Sewing Tools You Need

Other Supplies

The photo above shows a variety of bits and pieces of old jewelry, charms, and beads. Most of us have a little stash of broken jewelry or single earrings that are too pretty to toss. While you can buy these components through jewelry making shops, this project is a great way to use up your one-of-a-kind loose ends. Moms are often a good source for old pieces of jewelry, as are vintage/resale shops.

Necessary 

  • Ribbon remnants about 12" long (bookmarks can be longer or shorter based on your personal preference). 
  • Ribbon clamps - these are readily available on Etsy and are every inexpensive. We bought an assortment of sizes in brass, copper and silver finishes (a pack of about twenty clamps in assorted sizes was $3.50). Ribbon clamps are also available through many jewelry supply and craft stores.
  • Chain nose, or pliers with flat smooth jaws, to close the ribbon clamps (similar to these). We used nylon-jaw chain nose pliersjust 'cause we have them; the nylon jaw is nice but not necessary.
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins (only needed if you are sewing double-sided bookmarks)

Optional

  • Basic jewelry supplies such as jump rings and linked chain. If you don't have these items, they are available online at Etsy as well as in many craft stores and all jewelry supply stores. They are inexpensive as long as you avoid sterling or gold plated components.
  • Junk jewelry, such as broken or single earrings, brooches, charms and beads (junk jewelry is also a good source for reuseable jump rings and chain).

Getting Started

Are your ribbons finished on one or both sides?
  • Ribbon A looks good on both sides and requires no sewing. Cut one 12-inch piece per bookmark.
  • Ribbons B and C have a back that is not meant to be exposed. For a bookmark that is seen on both sides, you will need to back this ribbon with another ribbon. Cut TWO pieces for each bookmark. They don't need to be the same ribbon, just the same width. Printed ribbons may also have an undesirable backside.

Preparing double-sided ribbon

  1. Align your two ribbons, wrong sides together, and pin. If you don't have a Walking foot, you may want to hand baste your two ribbons together along both edges to prevent slippage as you sew.
  2. At your sewing machine, using a Walking foot (if available) SLOWLY edgestitch along both long sides of your ribbon. Leave the raw edges on the ends unfinished; they will be hidden by the ribbon clamp. 
     

Applying ribbon clamps

  1. Find two ribbon clamps that match the width of your ribbon
  2. Insert one end of the ribbon (which may be a double layer) as far as it will go into one clamp.
  3. If you are using metal-jawed pliers, cover the clamp with a piece of cloth to avoid scratching. Then, slowly and gently squeeze the clamp closed. The clamp's little prongs will grab the ribbon so the clamp will stay put. Don't "over-squeeze" or you will crush the clamp, giving it an indented look.
     
  4. Repeat the process on the opposite end.

Adding Embellishments

Most ribbon clamps have a little loop in the center for attaching embellishments such as beads or charms. You can choose to embellish both ends or just one. If you embellish both ends, look for a charm that is flat so it can be closed inside a book without damaging the pages. 

Basic jewelry tips

Jump Rings are the round metal rings that are most often used to attach components together in all types of jewelry. They come in a variety of sizes and are measured in milimeters. For our project, you would use a jump ring in the loop on the ribbon clamp to attach embellishments. Jump rings can be purchased as "open" or "closed" options. An open jump ring can be opened for attaching a charm and then closed. A closed jump ring comes soldered closed and cannot be opened. Be careful to get the right type; they look very similar.

To open a jump ring, rather than pulling the ends apart and stretching it out of shape, genty pull the two ends away from each other in a sideways motion.  It's helpful to have two pairs of pliers for griping, opening and closing jump rings. 

A scrap of simple brown twill tape was embellished with a decorative stitch in black thread. It's capped off with a pendant and charm from broken pieces of jewelry. The Swarovski Crystal was added with a jump ring.

The bookmark shown above and below features several pieces of handmade jewelry I'd done but stashed away in my "not perfect" box. However, they certainly look good enough for the bookmark! The ribbons are both from Renaissance Ribbons.

Even a narrow piece of ribbon can make a sweet little bookmark - perfect for light reading. This ribbon is also from Renaissance Ribbons.

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Comments (7)

Anna Lin said:
Anna Lin's picture

They are so lovely. I haven't ever seen these kinds of bookmarks. It's such a clever idea for a personalised gifts. Thanks for sharing.

Jilly said:
Jilly's picture

Great project!  What size of jump rings did you use?

alicia.thommas said:
alicia.thommas's picture

@Jilly: I used several sizes from 4-7mm. Sizes were chosen based on what had to fit in the jump ring and that will vary based on your choices. I generally use the smallest size that will comfortably do the job -- both in the diameter size and in the wire gauge. As long as you don't go too small, there is flexibility in size. If you don't have a supply of jumprings, they do come in multi-size packs in most craft stores, bead shops, and Etsy. Or you can scavenge off old/broken jewelry you might have saved.

Banderson said:
Banderson's picture

Oh my goodness - I LOVE these!!  Thanks for the tutorial explaining how to add fun hardware to these!

MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

These are gorgeous, though might substitute fringe or something else instead of the hardware dangles.

mwlipari said:
mwlipari's picture

I can't wait to mke these for my book club and as gifts.

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