Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

February 22, 2016

Sculptural DIY Ribbon Rose Brooch

Ribbon rose brooch

This winter has been bizarrely (and beautifully) mild for us - the lake never fully froze, so a warm day plus a windy night usually means we wake up to open water, which is a magical sight in the winter!  I'm feeling pretty confident that winter won't drag on because I swear that I can smell spring in the air.

To celebrate spring's imminent return, my Mom and I spent a sunny afternoon crafting and made a bunch of sculptural ribbon rose brooches.  They have me dreaming about gardening and I'm thinking that I might finally do a little landscaping this year to bring our sad lawn in order!  I hope it's as easy as making these faux blooms...

If you'd like to make your own, statement-making ribbon rose brooch, here's how!


Crafts with ribbon

You can make these ribbon roses with or without the stamens - they look cute either way.  It's easier to make one without, so I'd recommend trying one with just ribbon and then once you have the hang of it, make another with the stamens. 

Red stamens for crafting

How to Make Ribbon Roses:

If you're going to add the stamens, bunch them together loosely and then loop the thread and needle through, like so:

How to affix faux stamens

Cut a length of wire edged ribbon.  The length will determine how lush the finished rose is; we used about 50 inches of ribbon.  Similarly, the width can vary; ours range from 1.5-2" wide.  If it's a variegated ribbon, decided which shade will be the inside/outside of the rose.  For the pale aqua one shown below, the white forms the inside of the rose. 

Fold the end of the ribbon over, toward you, so that it over hangs by about 1/2 an inch:

How to make a ribbon rose tutorial

Anchor the stamens by sewing them onto this folded over edge, like so:

DIY ribbon rose steps

Then fold the folded portion of the ribbon in half again, and then once again again, starting to roll toward the left:

Large faux ribbon rose tutorial

Here's a look at these first steps again, without the stamens, so you can see more clearly:

How to make a ribbon rose

Rolling the ribbon this way will form the center of the rose, and hide the tail end.  Once you've started the roll, anchor it onto a strip of buckram with a few stitches.  You can secure with a straight pin to keep it in place while you hand stitch the ribbon.

Uses for buckram
How to make a flower out of ribbon

Tuck the tail of the ribbon underneath and make a few more stitches to start the rose shape:

DIY ribbon flower

With the center of the rose secured, it's time to start shaping the rose.  The first step is to gather the wire so the ribbon becomes ruffly.  This takes some coaxing and you have to work gently.  Pull the wire out from the inside edge of the ribbon and start to push the fabric back along the wire, toward the center of the rose.

Things to make with wire edge ribbon

When you're done, the wire will look like this:

Wire edge ribbon crafts

Now coax the gathered wire around the center of the rose, shaping a loose flower.  Fiddle with the arrangement a bit, until it looks perfect (or perfectly imperfect).  You can make some folds here and there to mimic petals.

DIY ribbon rose

Then simply stitch the ribbon onto the buckram to hold the rose shape in place.  Don't worry about messy stitches - they will get hidden at the end:

Ribbon rose sewn in buckram

When you're done, trim the buckram:

Back of ribbon rose

The finished rose should look like this!

DIY faux rose brooch

To make the back prettier, we've got a plan involving some fancy brass discs but you can also just stitch on some felt and sew on a pin backing.

DIY brooch

And it's that easy!  There are so many different varieties of ribbon roses - and other flowers and leaves - but this is my favorite method because it looks so sculptural.  Obviously I love the aqua, and the tiny pop of red stamens makes it look so retro.  I can't wait to wear this with a summery white dress.  I can't wait for summer, period.

Aqua ribbon rose
Turquoise DIY ribbon rose

We made a teal version too, with black stamens, which is actually pretty wearable even with winter attire (although my coat crushes it a bit and it requires a bit of re-shaping).  The moodier teal pairs well with my predominantly grey, black, and camel winter wardrobe.

Teal ombre ribbon rose
DIY sculptural ribbon rose brooch
Sculptural DIY Brooch
Sculptural brooch DIY

Although you can use any wire edge ribbon, I think it looks prettiest with variegated colours - the ombre ribbons just add more depth, but that's a purely personal preference.

I quite obviously chose the colours for the two above, despite making a concerted effort to choose something that wasn't aqua.  My Mom has an impressive ribbon stash and I definitely considered some pretty pinks but in the end I succumbed to my turquoise-loving ways.  There was a lot to choose from and I panicked...

If these flowers seem familiar, it might be because my Mom made some to adorn the fabric covered box I made to collect cards on our wedding day.  My Mom made a cluster of ribbon flowers to jazz it up.  My Mom has also topped special gifts with these ribbon flowers, for a thoughtful touch.  She is incredibly talented at making a parcel or gift look beautiful.

DIY flower
DIY Rose

I'm trying to convince my Mom to make these for sale in our Etsy shop because they would be so pretty pinned to bridesmaid's dresses or prom dresses.  We could make smaller flowers as barrettes for little girls.  I even have some super modern home decor ideas for these blooms...  

How to make a ribbon rose


  1. Love these! I remember making roses out of some ivory silk for a corsage and boutonniere for prom. It wasn't ribbon but a narrow strip of silk folded in half. These would be gorgeous added to a sash!

    1. Thanks! Your prom corsage and boutonniere sound so pretty! I'm a sucker for anything silk :)

  2. Great tutorial, thanks. I have a few of them (store bought) that have clips on them instead of pins so it's easy to clip on a jacket pocket or lapel, or even a hat or purse. Something to think about if you're to sell them

    1. Thanks! My mom had made some before with clips but I personally preferred the pin back. This is good market research! We'll be sure to do a mix for folks who prefer the clip option. I appreciate the feedback :)

  3. Gorgeous - the brooch and your close-up how-to photography!

    1. Thank you! My Mom was so patient and made an excellent hand model :) I'm really having a lot of fun playing with my DSLR camera and projects like these are such great practice.

  4. Too cute, these would also make cute napkin rings. I love turquoise/aqua and red combo, it reminds me of a diner.

  5. wow. This ribbon flower is really beautiful. Thanks for your sharing.


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