Monday, October 3, 2016

How to Make Button and Ribbon Bow Custom Hair Elastics

Today we're sharing the scoop on how to make easy custom ribbon, bow, and button hair elastics. Fun little ponytail holders (or barrettes, pins, buckles...) are so easy to make and are a simple way to add a cute little extra to any outfit.  With a few minutes and inexpensive supplies, many of which you may already have in your craft stash, you can whip up a new accessory in exactly the colours to match any outfit. Easy peasy!  Hair elastics often break or go missing, so you can feel good about creating something cute that doesn't take a lot of money or effort to leave you heartbroken if/when that happens. These colourful little lovelies were created for one of my nieces and match her new winter clothes. :)  Since they'll be visiting from overseas, all of these bows are lay-flat designs to be sturdy and travel-friendly.

To make your own double lay-flat bow elastic with button accent, you will need ribbon, coordinating (or contrasting) thread, a hair elastic, a complimentary button, and basic sewing supplies. 
  • Cut a piece of ribbon each just over double the desired width of your bow, and a second just piece just slightly shorter.  My ribbons were cut at 5" for the bottom bow and 4" for the top on all of the bows shown.  Tip: If you are using a fray-prone ribbon, you can carefully seal with a lighter or use fray check on the raw ends to reduce fraying whilst assembling, if you wish.
  • Mark the center point of each ribbon. Fold the end of each ribbon, right-side-out if applicable, to just past the center point to form two loops, slightly overlapping at the center.  Ensure the overlap is ribbon width, or smaller, so that all ends will be covered later when you wrap the center. Pinch to hold.
  • Layer the folded ribbons raw-ends in. Sew a few stitches through the center to secure the loops at the overlap point.  This will hold your ribbons neatly together while you continue sewing additional elements.
  • Sew an elastic to the back center, stitching all the way through your overlap point for a strong bond.
  • Cut a piece of ribbon for your center band that is approximately four times the width of your looped ribbon.
  • Position this piece at the front of your bow, offset so that one free end is longer (roughly 2x) than the other (roughly 1x).  The offsets are because these will be wrapped so that the short end is sewn to the back and then the longer end folded and sewn on top for a neat finish. Tip: If in doubt, go a little longer. You can trim later before securing the back, if needed, but you can't make it longer.
  • Sew a few stitches through the center to secure the loops at the overlap point to ensure that your ribbon is fixed squarely, then position your button.
  • Sew your button into place using whatever stitching pattern you'd like for style.
  • Fold the short end of your center ribbon over the back and sew through to secure.
  • Fold the longer end of your center ribbon under on itself to hide the raw edge. Fold again over the back and sew through to secure.  Tip: Be careful not to mess up your button pattern whilst sewing through.  This may require you to go up/down through the same hole on the front face if you've used an "X" pattern like my example shown.  Knot carefully in a low-visibility location, such as behind the button if feasible.
From those basics, you can make any number of variations -  your imagination is the limit! The examples shown in this post include offset loops, a layered circlet of loops, extra layers, and the no-button alternative of sewing everything except the center ribbon, which is glued in the same manner.  For those of you wondering about no-sew options, yes, you can glue everything instead of sewing. It can be just as pretty but not as strong/secure since your ribbon will hold the elastic - if glue is your plan, consider double wrapping the center so the ribbon can be a little extra secure.

For the easiest possible DIY elastic, you can use a large-hole shanked button and simply loop the elastic through the shank.  Big standard buttons work nicely as well, with just a touch extra effort. Simply knot your thread around the button hole and use a needle to "sew" wrapping the elastic in thread to secure it to your button.

Christmas is coming and now's the perfect time to get a head-start on your holiday pressies. We'll be giving you a peek at some of my own holiday DIYs over the next few weeks. I have a few more custom kid's crafts prepped for posting and some fun crafts for other ages on your holiday list as well. Stay tuned and happy crafting! 

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