Hair Bows Lingo

 By: Jessica Furtney
Makers of hair bows have to quickly learn that there are different widths of ribbons. The width is the length across the ribbon. The more common widths used are 1.5", 7/8", 5/8", and 3/8". Some the lesser used ones are the really wide ribbons in 2.25", which make a really large and thick hair bow. Sometime ribbon factories make ribbon in 1" widths. This width is very close to the 7/8" and is sometimes hard to tell the difference. Ribbon manufacturing companies can come out with their own unique widths, but generally, these are your only options.

The 1.5" width is a good ribbon width to start with because there is more to hold and work with. The 7/8" or 5/8" widths are good for making center knots for the bows. The 3/8" is a nice width for very little bows or they make a nice center for a larger hair bow. I would not suggest knotting a 3/8" width ribbon unless it was for a very tiny hair bow, or you are placing it on top of a 7/8" or 5/8" width ribbon and then knotting it for a fun look.

Some ribbon makers like to use wood burning tools for what they call "heat sealing" their ends. Most grosgrains will melt at very high temperatures, and that is simply all bow makers mean when the say their ends are heat sealed. There are now other tools being made just for sealing off ribbon ends to keep them from fraying, and several ribbon web sites are now offering them to their online customers for making hair bows.

Another popular way to keep your ribbon ends from fraying is by applying Fray Checkā„¢ or any other brand to the ends of your ribbon. It is a liquid that, when dry, will harden and not allow the ends to fray. These products can be found in any craft store. Be careful when trying out different brands because some will leave a mark on the ribbon and not dry clear. You do not want to apply so much though that it drips off the hair bows or leaves a runny mark down the ribbon.

Then there are the hair clip or hair fastener options for hair bows. The alligator clip looks like an alligator's mouth when it opens and closes. It generally has no teeth on this style of clip. They do however come in double pronged and single pronged. Single pronged is nice when you are going for the least heavy and bulky, and double pronged is nice when you need that extra prong to hold it in the hair.

A French clip is the kind that you squeeze two prongs to release if from the closed position, and will spring open like a mouse trap because of the tension it is under by the semi-loose bracket on the inside. That bracket is in the shape of a crescent.

Probably less common, are the plastic clip or barrette and a snap, which some makers of hair bows use, and they are pretty simple in nature and are plastic or metal so to give you the lightest possible weight on finished hair bows.
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