How To Finish Ribbon Ends

I have been selling Ute’s hand painted silk ribbons (2mm round cord, Silky Ribbon and Fairy Ribbon) since 2004, and the question I receive most is: How do I finish the ends of these silks? And instantly my brain is overwhelmed because there are so many ways!

When I am looking for jewelry inspiration these days, I usually go to Pinterest to see if there are any DIY tutorials or photo inspirations. Here are two of my Pinterest Boards where I save things I like (these are great places for you to start to get ideas yourself).

Marsha Neal Studio Ribbon Jewelry Pinterest Board

Marsha Neal Studio DIY Jewelry Tutorials

There are some physical differences between silk, leather, cord, and other materials that you can use as layers in jewelry design to consider when designing with them (do they hold knots well, do they compress, will you need glue, etc). Some things come with experiencing the nature of these various materials and how they wear over time.

To have your jewelry piece hold up over time, avoid chemical exposure (pool water, salt water, some hand soaps), direct sunlight, sharp edges that come into contact with the material, tight knots in places you want to untie later, etc.

Here is a list of some techniques that I really like to use:
– Overhand Knot (simple – like tying your shoe laces).
– Wrapping using wire, waxed linen, silk (fold over cut ends, looped ends, wire wrapped end with a cone bead to cover it up).
– Stop Bead (silicone lined bead or silicone o-ring).
– Crimp Ends (Glue in, teeth clamp, fold over, large crimp beads).

Marsha Neal Studio Beaded Braid Bracelet Kits (silks are tied to 1mm waxed cotton & itself).
Silks are tied with Irish Waxed Linen (Left and Middle).
Silks are folded over loop end and tied to itself (right).
Necklace design by Staci Louise Smith. Silk is folded over loop end and wire wrapped to hold secure. Great way to use cut parts of silk and Sari Silk as in this piece.
7mm Silicone O-Ring acting as a “Stop Bead”. You can pass the silks through the stop bead either in opposite directions (left) or all through in one direction (right). There are nicer silver and gold beads, but I could not find mine when writing this post.
You should put knots, beads or some other small resist at the end of the silk to keep them from coming back through the stop bead.
These are crimp tubes with loops. These are used for silk cord, leather, cotton cord, satin cord, and anything else that you can press into. You’ve got to use pliers to crimp the middle section to hold the material secure.
These are U-Shaped Fold over crimp ends. Use Flat-Nose Pliers (metal or plastic – without teeth – depending on your material). The silks are laid in place, one side folded down tight, then the other side. Cut excess silk sticking out by the loop.
These are the same sized U-Shaped Fold Over Crimp Ends as above.
This photo is showing the Silky and Fairy Ribbons instead of the 2mm round cords.
There are also Folding Crimps that have teeth to hold the silk in place.
The ends were doubled over at the very end to give the crimp a bit more to bite into.
This is also the type of crimp where a bit of E6000 epoxy comes in handy to make sure that is stays put over time.
If your silk ending has a solid loop, you will need to use a jump ring or a split ring to add closures to it. Here you can see simple lobster claws which then needs another loop to attach to. Keep in mind the ease of use with these closures. Many different options out there – you can even make your own closures.

I will probably keep updating this post as I make other samples, but I am hoping this will help spark some ideas for some basic ways to finish the ends of these silks in jewelry designing.

Sample designs with Ute’s Silky, Fairy and 2mm silks.
Ute’s multi layered silk design (not sure how this is secured in the back. Possibly slips over the head or maybe all of the layers join behind the neck).
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