Saturday, December 8, 2012

Quilted/Folded Ribbon Ornament Tutorial

I love these ornaments because the possibilities are endless.Changing the ribbons used or your spacing can create completely different looks. 
They may look extremely complicated but truthfully they aren't. They just take some time and patience.
I was taught to make these using fabric. I took it a step further and decided to use ribbon so I could eliminate a few of the prep steps. Search the internet for quilted or folded fabric ornaments if you would like to try your hand at doing it that way.
List of supplies:
1 1/2" Ribbon - It's up to you how many you want to use. I recommend a minimum or two. A dark and light or contrasting color. I prefer to use wire edged ribbon but it is not a necessity
Styrofoam ball- I have used 3" and 4"
Ruler- I used a seam gauge  but one of those clear true grid rulers would probably work great.
A ka-jillion straight pins. I would use the cheapest kind you have. They hold it together and you never see them. 
Iron - To use if you are using non-wired ribbon
Decorative pins
Cup - I used a regular Coffee mug to hold the ball while I worked on it. Other wise it rolls.
Glue - I didn't use any... Doesn't mean you can't.

Prep stuff:
If using 1 1/2" Ribbon, cut all of your pieces to 3". Now I haven't figured out the rhythm or reason for it but some ribbons are better at 2 7/8". This is not one of the parts you need to be crazy precise about. You need (8) 3" pieces for the centers of the ornament. You then need (16) 3" pieces for each layer after that. This covers both sides so DON'T double it.
For my example I am using a 3" ball with one layer. I am doing a shadow effect though so I am cutting out as many pieces as if I was doing two layers. The difference is the spacing between the pieces and the order that I place them.

Before I start, I cut out all of my pieces and form them into triangles, especially if the ribbon doesn't have a wire edge and I need to iron them.

Step One:
Your first step will be to form your center. Take 4 of the center pieces you cut out. I place my first pins on the inside of my triangle pieces. You can than fold back the flaps and your pin is hidden.

For your first triangle piece just pick a spot. This is the only one that is that carefree so ENJOY it.

Now add the remaining three pieces around the first.Using your ruler make sure Your lines match up. Think of these lines as the 8 points of a compass. If they are off or they get off later, you will be able to tell in the final product.
You can use fabric, a picture or whatever you want for your center piece. But your 8 points are crucial. You will have to mark them somehow if you use another method for your center.

Next You will be pinning down the ends of your triangle. Because you are pinning this to a sphere shape your ends will begin to overlap. This is okay and you can usually save a few pins in these steps just make sure your main lines near the center are straight. The ends will be covered by the next layers.

If you're going to add any embellishment to the center add it now. For the charms I added I threaded the charm onto a smaller ribbon that I cut longer than the box shape that was formed in the above step. Put pins at both ends of the ribbon and pinned it to the East and West points, (remember the compass). 

Step Two:
Now we begin the second layer. Take 4 of your second layer pieces. Put your first pin into the point like you did above. Pick a measurement... This is completely up to you and what you think looks good. For my demo I used a 1/2" measurement. The ornament with a "S" uses a 1".

Accurate measurements are everything. Even if you are 1/16th" off  you will quickly be able to tell. This ornaments beauty comes from its symmetry so try to keep your measurements the same along with your main compass lines straight. This is where the patience part comes in. Beauty of it though is you only have to take a few pins out to be able to fix the mistake.
For the shadow effect I mentioned about you will add your next layer or color atop the one before, before adding the next 4 pieces. The next layer is also only 1/8th of an inch away. In my mind I saw these two pieces as one even if I did have to add them separately.

If you don't want the shadow effect simply add the next 4 pieces of this layer.

I wanted to show what I meant by overlap, at the end of step one.  It gets worse the more layers you go. But its okay! This will all be hidden!

And TA-DAAAAAAAAAA you are finished with your first side. Now you just have to Rinse and Repeat...

Step Three:
Well... okay you have to mark the center of the other side before you can start pinning. I use a flexible measurement tape for this step. I measure all the way around and split that number in half, (in my case it was 4.75"). Placing one end on my starting point from the first side I measure out 4.75" and mark it. I try to get this measurement as accurate as possible so I do a few lines from different angles all starting from the same starting point. You now have your side two starting point. Follow steps 1-2 again.
Back of one of the above ornaments
Step Four:
Side two is finished. Now we get to cover the icky bottoms of our last layers. I am sure there are different methods for this also but this one is how I do it. I use two of the ribbons I used in my ornament and a extra smaller width one. I pre-measure the two wider ribbons to go around the ornament plus an inch. The smaller ribbon just needs to be long enough to form a loop wide enough to hang, plus two 1-2 inches.
  • Fold your smaller ribbon in half length wise.
  • Fold one of your wider ribbons in half width wise. Iron if it is not wire edged.
  • Line all the ribbon ends up and place a pin through them to keep them aligned. 
  • Find your North compass point of your ornament. Line up and pin your ribbon stack 1/2" to one side of this point.

Now treat each ribbon separately  The bottom most ribbon will be pinned straight down the center all the way around the ornament.  Leave a little bit of the end free we will finish it later. You could glue it here. I tried it and hated how it looked.

For the ribbon you folded in half, Pin down the inside of it, all the way around the ornament except the last little bit. Then fold the ribbon back over the pins.

The last part of this step is to make sure the ribbon loop is free and fold over the raw edges of the two other ribbons and pin.  Make sure this fold over line matches up with your North points or the ornament will hang lop-sided. These are also the only pins you can see on my ornament But if you don't like how that looks you can try glue. 

Step Five:
Hang on Christmas tree and Enjoy!