Monday, September 12, 2011

Flower Headbands

Are you addicted to Etsy? I definitely am. It is a crafters paradise. Whether you go there to buy or just browse, Etsy is an endless source of inspiration for craftiness.

Last spring, I was looking at hundreds of beautiful little girl's flower headbands on Etsy, and, I wanted every. single. one. (For my nieces of course. O.K., and a little bit for myself too.)

However, like many families these days, we are on a very tight budget around here. Spending $20+ on even one headband was out of the question. So, how is an aunt to spoil her nieces on a shoestring budget? Why, make it myself of course.

After reading through a few free online tutorials, this is the design that I decided on:

The green ribbon was left over from my wedding and the blue was from a baby shower gift. I really love how the off-white stitching down the sides of each ribbon makes the two really look like they belong together, and the off-white button in the middle (an extra from some garment that I bought at some point) is the perfect finishing touch.

A relative of mine saw a picture of the flower headband that I made, and asked if I could make one for her baby girl. For her, I created this pink polka dot version:

These ribbons don't have a neat history like the two on the previous headband. They were just your standard fabric store finds, but I love them anyway. The button in the center is a hot-pink felt button that I purchased at the same time as the polka dot ribbon. You can find them in little packets in the craft button section of the button aisle at your local fabric store.

Of all the flower headbands I made, however, my favorite was the one that I made as a baptism present for James' little friend, Kenzington.

This headband I made from off-white ribbon to match her baptism dress. Then, instead of using a button as the center of the flower, I decided to hand paint a wooden disc with a light pink cross and her initials. It ended up being the perfect finishing touch to her outfit, for, while I did know that her dress was going to be off-white, I didn't know that her shoes and bracelet would end up being the exact same shade of pink as the little cross I painted. What a lucky coincidence!

If you are feeling inspired by these headbands and would like to make your own, here is how you do it.

Cut 12 pieces of ribbon 1 1/2 to 2 inches long.

Trim the top of each piece of ribbon to a flower petal-like shape.

Using a lighter, gently melt the cut edges of each piece of ribbon just enough to make sure that it won't fray. If you melt the edge too much, it will become brittle and crack when you go to bend it.

Fold over the square ends of each piece of ribbon and, using a needle, thread all 12 petals. After all 12 petals are on the thread, go back through the first petal and tie the ends of the thread together tightly.

Then, fan the petals. It can be a bit challenging to get your petals to stay where you want them, so you might have has to fiddle with them for a while. After the petals are fanned, glue your chosen button in the center. I've found that a circle of hot glue with a large dot of Sobo glue in the center placed on the back of the button seems to work best. The hot glue gives great immediate hold, while the Sobo glue gives better long term hold.

After you make your flower, you are going to need a headband. Here is the tutorial that I used to make my headbands, but I did make a couple of minor changes.

First, Instead of using an anti-fray solution, I just went ahead and gently melted the ends with a lighter, just like I did with the flower petals.

Second, I folded over the ends of the ribbon by a half inch on each side before attaching it to the elastic for a cleaner look.

Last, if you are going to cut your ribbon to 2 inches less than the measured size of the head, and you are going to fold over the ribbon by a half inch on each side before attaching it to the elastic, then you will need your piece of elastic to be 4 inches long. This accounts for overlapping the ribbon and elastic by a half inch on each side when sewing them together.

Happy flower making!

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