Learn to make these traditional no-sew Christmas ornaments with ribbon and fabric. Add a modern flair with bright, fun fabrics, ribbons, and buttons.
As part of my red and white Christmas ornament project, I found several ideas for no-sew ornaments with folded ribbon and folded fabric. This technique – which has been around for decades – has stood the test of time because they are so pretty, easy, and fun to make.
The supplies used for these ornaments were:
- 7/8″ ribbon or 1-1/2″ ribbon – I used grosgrain ribbons but satin would work also
- Scissors or rotary cutter for cutting ribbons
- Ruler for measuring ribbon pieces for cutting
- Dressmaker pins – each ornament used about 175-200 (I used the Dritz box of 750)
- Magnetic pincushion for holding pins (optional)
- Styrofoam ball – I used the non-smooth type with a 3″ diameter
- A ramekin or a rolled up tape measure to stabilize the ornament while working (optional)
- Ribbons for decorating the top with bows and for hanging
- Fabric cut 2-1/2″ square for the folded points (if using fabric instead of ribbon)
- Fabric cut 2-1/2″ to 3″ square, fussy cut if desired (optional for center of each side)
- Christmas buttons (optional)
- Sequins or other embellishments (optional)
Folded Ribbon Ornaments
Here is one side of an ornament made with four different 7/8″ ribbons. I had to figure out what I was doing before I took photos. The next pictures will show completing the other side.
I found the center of the opposite side and pinned a 2″ white ribbon strip.
I learned, from doing the other side of the ornament, that for one of these ornaments with folded ribbon in the center I needed:
- Ten 2″ strips for the center (white ribbon)
- Sixteen 2″ strips for the second round of ribbon (red and white stripe)
- Sixteen 2″ strips for the third round of ribbon (white ribbon)
- Sixteen 2″ strips for the fourth round of ribbon (red and white polka dot)
Note: If a square of fabric is used in the center (see next ornament), only three rounds of ribbon are used)
The ribbon is folded in half, then a pin is placed in the center on the fold nestled into the space where the other points come together in the center. One side is pinned to hold the ribbon in the middle. Another pin may be used to secure the point on the side. Repeat on the other side.
This process is repeated with eight points formed on each the next three rounds of ribbons. Here is a view from the side. Please note how nicely the two sides meet in the middle – because this is the only time it happened while making the next few ornaments!
My first no-sew folded ribbon ornament finished and on the tree!
Wanting to try something different, I used 3″ pieces of 1-1/2″ ribbon with a piece of fabric centered on a 3″ Styrofoam ball. The sequins are from Buttons Galore 28 Lilac Lane Premium Sequins Candy Cane.
Folded Fabric Ornaments:
Next, I tried folded fabric ornaments using eight (16 for both sides) 2-1/2″ squares of three fabrics and a 3″ stryofoam ball. I chose a cute snowman fabric, cut 2-1/2″ square, to fussy cut for the center and added three rounds of fabric squares. A 3″ square for the center would have been better.
Similar to the folded ribbon ornaments, the following number of fabric squares in needed:
- Ten 2-1/2″ squares for the center if folded fabric points meet in the center; only two 2-1/2″ to 3″ squares if the centers are a fussy cut fabric such as the snowman above
- Sixteen 2-1/2″ squares for the second round
- Sixteen 2-1/2″ squares for the third round
- Sixteen 2″ strips for the fourth round (only for ornaments with folded points in the center)
The fabric is folded a bit different from the ribbon. Fold the square in half and half again. Finger press. Open the square and place a dressmaker pin in the center from the wrong side.
Fold in half once. Finding the center, fold each side to the center. If there is a stripe, pay attention to the way the square is folded. I chose the effect on the left.
Here are the first four squares in place. Note that I did not anchor the outer points with pins yet. This cut back on the number of pin used a lot.
Rounds 1-3 are finished – ready for the other side.
Knowing where to start the ribbons on the background fabric so that the folded ribbons meet halfway is tricky – hence the problem of going over the midline on one side. I found I could just trim what I needed to on the second side; the ribbon covers the mistake.
I was on a roll, so I made one more folded fabric ornament with a fussy cut snowman in the center.
Number four is on the tree! These were a lot of fun to make – but I went through hundreds of dressmaker pins!