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How to Stiffen Hair Bows

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 2

Stiffened hair bows hold shape better and look crisp.

Stiffened Funky Loop Bow

Need to learn how to stiffen hair bows so they don’t fall flat? Many people who make hair bows know what a hassle it is to fluff hair bows up every time you take them to a craft show or event. Online sellers also know that it’s difficult to ship, unless the hair bow is stiffened. These methods can also work for people who just want to give new life to their daughter's hair bow collection. There are several different ways to stiffen a hair bow. I have tried all the listed methods, and I am happy to share my adventures, good and bad. Most hair bow instructions fail to explain or mention this process.

4th of July Spiked Hair Bow

Canned Spray Starch

I have to admit that this method is the cheapest and one of the easiest. However, it doesn’t give the bow a great deal of stiffness as some of the other methods. This is a good method though for hair bows that just need a bit to a medium amount of reinforcement.

Just simply spray it evenly on a fluffed or shape bow, and place in a safe place for it to dry. I used the Niagara original brand. I have used cheaper brands in the past, and they didn’t spray evenly. This brand did not leave any residue on the hair bows and it smells nice as well. 

Funky Loopy Zebra Hair Bow

Liquid Starch

If you can find the product Sta Flo and follow this recipe, the results are great. Make a liquid starch mixture of ½ Sta Flo and ½ water in a spray bottle. Make sure your spray bottle is of high quality. You will want an even mist, not a spray or drippy mess. Just spray it on evenly, and wait for it to dry.

A downfall of this method can be the drying time. However, that can also be an advantage. You can spray your craft item, check on it as it dries, and even reshape or fluff as time elapses. Some crafters even hang their items upside down to get extra fluff and poof.

This gives a nice, crisp finish that smells nice and leaves no residue on a stiffened hair bow. This worked perfectly on the cheerleading hair bows I made.

Ivory Organza Hair Bow

Fabric Stiffeners

Some people swear by this method. However, I don’t recommend it. Not only is it the most expensive, it was messy in my opinion. On all the how to stiffen hair bow methods I tried, this was my least favorite. It basically works the same as the other methods, but cost more than double or triple. If you are not careful, it can also leave residue on the ribbon.


Turtle Boutique Hair Bow

Hair Spray

This was actually my favorite choice to stiffen korker hair bows. I did use a better brand in an aerosol can and not a pump bottle. Aussie is a moderate priced brand that works great and smells great as well.  Avoid using a cheaper brand, especially one that is known for leaving those white flakes on dark hair. I really loved using this on the korker bows I made. Just make sure the bow is at the desired shape before spraying, then spray a gentle mist all over the bow, and wait for it to dry. This method also dries much faster than the others. I do suggest making sure you have sealed all your edges before stiffening the hair bow. The alcohol is flammable, but it should evaporate before the point of wearing.

Mini Korker Hair Bow Set

Oven Method

This method was okay for regular bows when no other method was available. I don’t recommend it for korker bows at all. Mine lost their curl in the oven. You will also have to make sure you are using a polyester ribbon like grosgrain. Cotton and natural fabrics can go up in flames. This method is also only suitable for bows that do not have buttons, glue or trims on them, as they will melt and run.

Place your unfinished, polyester item in a calibrate oven at 250 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. Avoid leaving them in very long, especially for colors that bleed or are light.

Warnings:

  • Again, use caution when placing ribbons in an oven.  Only use polyester ribbons that do not have glue or other trims. Line the racks with foil to avoid stains. Do not overlap items. The colors can run.
  • Always test a mixture or hair spray on an area that will not be seen. I always do this because you never know when a batch might be different. This is very important on dark-colored ribbons.
  • Make sure you spray evenly. Don't allow the product to hit too much in one spot.
  • Again, make sure you heat seal your ends before hand.

Now that you know how to stiffen hair bows, don’t struggle with fluffing and shaping again!

Precut Korkers

Moonstitched Grosgrain Ribbon

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Comments

May 9, 2011 12:22pm
Lynsuz
First off I must say your hairbows are beautiful. Great tips on how to stiffen.
Oct 21, 2011 4:26am
Ddraig
Gorgeous bows here. Fabulous advice also.
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