Ribbon crafts add plush touch to seasonal decor

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ribbon flower roses adorn a decorative box using the technique of cartonnage.

Colorful flowers and other three-dimensional ribbon craft pieces that are used to decorate boxes and bags have a strong presence when displayed indoors to create a festive atmosphere.

“In Europe and the United States, crafts using ribbons are also called ribbon works, which are used for wrapping gifts and decorating showcases,” ribbon craft artist Reiko Ando said.

Ando, a Chiba Prefecture native, discovered the charm of ribbons and started making ribbon crafts while making flower arrangements and crafts using herbs. After learning the technique from a French instructor, she has been creating her own unique works.

Among the range of various techniques such as tying and pasting, ribbon flowers are eye-catching with their plush appearance.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A rolled ribbon rose is made by creating a core and wrapping ribbon around it to form petals.

Roses are the most common and there are various methods of making them. When making a “rolled rose” using a single ribbon, for example, the tip is folded to make the core, and the ribbon is twisted around to form petals.

Ando, a chief instructor at the Ribbon Craft Association, creates about 20 kinds of flowers in addition to roses, including violas and orange blossoms.

She adorns boxes with ribbon flowers using the technique of “cartonnage,” in which cloth and paper are used to decorate miscellaneous items. She also creates a ball-shaped ornament with which flowers are placed around a spherical core.

Some of her works are designed to match each season, such as trees and wreaths for Christmas.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Christmas-inspired tree and wreath

Ando’s work is characterized by her method of attaching scents, which she devised so “people could enjoy them using all their senses.”

She soaks the core of each ribbon flower in an essential oil from an actual flower, and fills scent bags made of ribbon with potpourri.

Ando mainly uses French ribbons that have wires at both ends.

“Wired ribbons have the advantage of holding their shape when bent, making it easier to create a three-dimensional piece,” she said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A variety of potpourri and essential oils are used to add fragrance to ribbon flowers.

Another advantage of using such ribbons is attaching them together without needle and thread by using double-sided tape or glue, which makes them easy to work with.

“I really enjoy the thrill of seeing the beautiful ribbons come together into the shape I imagined. I hope people enjoy the process of making them,” she said.

Fabulous at weddings

Glittering ribbon crafts are also perfect for weddings.

A bouquet of white-based ribbon flowers has an elegance suitable for a solemn occasion.

“Unlike fresh flowers, these bouquets are popular because they don’t wither, so they can be kept as a commemorative item,” she said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A ring sits on a ring pillow decorated with a ribbon flower.

A ribbon flower is also popular on a ring pillow, which is used for carrying the wedding bands during a ceremony. The design comprises light blue ribbons on a white pillow and provides a neat and clean appearance, and the ring looks great, too.

“Some mothers make ring pillows for their daughters, and I hope they’ll use ribbon crafts to celebrate their daughters’ wedding,” Ando said.