How to Make Ribbon Stiff

Written by erin griffith
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How to Make Ribbon Stiff
Make your ribbon nice and stiff, using starch. (ribbon image by Dana nicolescu from

Don't get caught with a droopy bow. It's easy to stiffen a ribbon for decoration, wearing in ones hair, or wrapping a present. There are a number of ways, and it's fun to experiment on different types of ribbons with different stiffening techniques. Traditionally, fabric and ribbons were made stiff by dipping in liquid starch, but this process can be messy. Spray starch is easy and dries more quickly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ribbon
  • Spray starch
  • Hairspray (optional)
  • "Stiffen Stuff" (optional)
  • Microwave (optional)

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  1. 1

    Iron or lightly steam your ribbon on a low setting, to remove any wrinkles.

  2. 2

    Lay the ribbon on a flat, easy-to-clean surface. The bathtub or kitchen counter works well for this.

  3. 3

    Spray the starch all over the ribbon. Let it dry for 15 minutes.

  4. 4

    Turn the ribbon over and spray the other side.

  5. 5

    Allow the ribbon to dry completely, before shaping it. To speed the drying process, zap the ribbon in the microwave (but be sure your ribbon is microwave safe with no metallic threads). You also can speed the process with a hairdryer, but a microwave creates the stiffest results.

  6. 6

    Bend the ribbon into whatever shape you like. If you'd like, you can apply a light finishing touch with heavy-hold, aerosol hairspray.

Tips and warnings

  • Stiffening spray and starch is water soluble, so if you're unhappy with your ribbon's shape, soak it in water for a bit, let it dry and reapply the starch.
  • Clean up your bathtub or work area with soap and water.

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