Best Ways for Writing on Ribbon – Wedding

Before there’s any misconceptions I am not getting married!! πŸ™‚ However my wonderful sister is and I’ve been trying out a lot of crafts that would be handy to save a few quid (further blog posts to follow!). This blog post came about because a friend of my sister wanted some advice on writing on ribbon as part of her wedding favours.

This blog will save you trying out different pens/paints because I’ve already done it below for you πŸ™‚

I knew straight away that ink/paint would bleed when applied to ribbon. If you’ve ever really looked at ribbon there is a like a grain on the surface which makes it quite difficult to write/paint on.

So the first thing I did was checked online for a few tips and the tip I found was to spray the ribbon with hairspray so that’s what I did. I’m sure there are other/better ways but the aim was a cheap and hassle free way.

What I did was try different pens with and without the hairspray to see which worked best.


Important to note – you need to let the hairspray dry before writing or painting. Also the hairspray makes the ribbon a little stiffer then it would be without the hairspray but no were near as stiff as it would be if you used Mod Podge or Glue.

As you can see I tried 8 different ways. So here is what I tried:

1. Oil Based Sharpie – For newbies, these pens are not the basic sharpie pens, they specifically say Oil Based. They are nearly like paint pens.

2. Normal Sharpie – These pens are the normal sharpie pens you see in Easons etc. (I believe Mr. Price now stocks black sharpies) Was a disaster for writing on ribbon anyway!

3. Oil Based Sharpie WITH hairspray – You can see it’s a hella lota better from ribbon number 1 which is without hairspray. If you take your time and are careful not put too much pressure on the pen I think it could look even better then it does in the picture.

4. Normal Sharpie WITH hairspray – It’s a little better with the hairspray then without.

5. Textile Paint – Keep in mind I am not the best painter and painting on a tiny ribbon doesn’t help!

6. Textile Paint WITH hairspray – Less bleeding with the hairspray but worse painting from me! I would not recommend paint unless you are using a really wide ribbon or you have a surgeon’s steady hand! (and the patience of a saint)

7. Normal Biro Pen – Worked pretty well considering it’s the cheapest option.

8. Normal Biro Pen WITH hairspray – This for me is the winner or them all! Crazy that the best tool is a normal everyday pen and hairspray!

So there it is….I would think that number 8 or number 3 would be the best option but you would have to make your peace with the ribbon being a little stiffer. I couldn’t get the oil based sharpie pens in Easons so I had to purchase them from Amazon –

If you didn’t want to make your peace with stiffer ribbon you could try transfer paper (like for T-shirts). Print off the names and iron on the transfer to the ribbon. Mr. Price sells transfer paper πŸ™‚ Whatever you decide, one thing you will definitely have to make your peace with is the fact that this is no easy task and will take time and patience (and a lot of it at that!) πŸ™‚

If you have any tips for writing on ribbon please share in the comments below.

Lots of crafty love




10 thoughts on “Best Ways for Writing on Ribbon – Wedding

  1. Thank you Ciara – this is very helpful and my best friend and I am extremely appreciate of the effort you went into testing and documenting this. #pendantic people unite!!!! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the suggestions…my friend is running in a marathon and wants to attach ribbons showing her many donors (over 100). We are using a white acetate ribbon (commonly known as floral ribbon) – it doesn’t have a finish like Satin that doesn’t work as well. She’ll be writing on these ribbons, but since there are so many, I am going to take your suggestion and try getting some darker ribbons (navy blue and black), spray them with hair spray and use Sharpie Silver and Gold Metallic Pen Markers…I sure hope it works! I’ll let you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I often visit your blog and have noticed that you don’t update it often. More frequent updates will give your website higher rank & authority in google.
    I know that writing content takes a lot of time, but you can always help yourself with
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  4. Hi, just wondering what kind of biro you used for number 8. Also, does the ink come out when washed or is it permanent? Looking to write sizes on ribbon like tags for clothing but don’t want the ink to run when washed


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