If I’m being completely honest, I’m the kind of crafter and DIY enthusiast who will happily make almost anything out of just about anything. I take a lot of pride in the fact that I’ve got a well rounded set of crafting skills that include all different techniques, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my favourites or go through phases where I get particularly obsessed with one kind of thing for a while. Lately, I’ve been feeling very enthusiastic about making essentially anything that involves working with softer, more fabric based materials and turning them into something with a little more structure and solid shape. I’m also still in a mushy mood post-Valentine’s Day, so I’ve found myself making a larger number of heart shaped things than usual lately. There’s where this idea of a fun hanging ribbon heart decor piece came from!
Do you love the idea of turning ribbon into an actual decorative shape just as much as I did, if not more? Then I think you’ll be rather pleased indeed to hear that I made several of these little pieces and even documented the process of one so I could share it with other crafters. Check out these step by step instructions complete with photos! If you’d rather follow along with a video tutorial instead of written words, scroll to the bottom of this post to find just what you’re looking for.
For this project, you’ll need:
- A glue stick
- Paper (red, light and dark orange, and multi-coloured)
- Red ribbon
Gather your materials!
Cut the paper strips that the body of your hanging heart will be made of! Turn each piece of paper portrait-wise so the short edges of each become the top and bottom and the long edges of each become the sides. Use your scissors to cut half inch wide strips from each page that are the full length of the piece of paper, from top to bottom. I cut two muti-coloured strips (I chose white paper with pink hearts on it), two red strips, one light orange, and one dark orange.
Arrange your coloured strips in the order you’d like to go in as far as colour scheme goes, from outside to inside. Once you’ve chosen which strip will go where, cut them into descending lengths so you can create the properly sized layers. Leave your very outside strip the way it is, so it stays the full length of the page. Cut about half an inch off the next one so it’s a little shorter, and then a full inch off the third one, and so on until each of your strips, when laid out in order, is half an inch smaller than the one before it. This will help get you the right layered shape because it means each heart you make from each strip will be a little smaller than the one before it, ensuring that it’ll fit inside.
Here’s where the ribbon comes into play! Cut a piece of red ribbon that’s about four inches long. Fold it in half so the two ends meet evenly and the ribbon curves halfway down its length to make a loop. Apply glue to the inside flat surface of the ribbon ends and stick them together flat, so their tip edges line up. This will be what you hang your heart piece from later.
Start with your shortest piece to make the smallest inside layer of your paper heart hanger. First, fold the piece in half, bringing the two ends together and creasing the paper at the middle point where it curves, marking its centre. You’ll make a heart shape by curving each one of these ends inwards and down, so the tip edges stay even with each other but meeting to rest against their back sides instead of flat against each other. Before you glue your heart into place, however, you have to put your ribbon loop in and create your layers so the hearts nest inside one another properly. For now, apply glue to the outside end of one side of your shortest strip, where it met with the other side when you tested out your heart shape. Instead of meeting it up with its other end, line if up with the tip edge of your ribbon loop so the curve of the loop runs along the rest of the strip and the paper sits flat against the ribbon the same with the two ribbon ends sit flat against each other. You’ll finish your heart shape by bringing the other end around and gluing it into place on the other side of the ribbon loop a little later on.
Set your base piece aside and now fold all of your other strips in half so their ends meet and you can make a crease at each half way point, just like you did with your red piece. Next you’ll nest them by size, anchoring them at their centres with glue and leaving the ends loose, starting with your longest strip and working your way to the shortest. Apply glue to the inside of the crease at the halfway point on your longest strip and nestle the crease of your second longest strip there, sticking it into place. Then apply glue to the inside of that strip’s crease and place the third longest strip there in the same way. Continue this process until all of your strips besides the smallest one that you already glue to the ribbon are layered together according to size. The very last piece that you fit onto this layered shape will be the smallest strip that you already attached a ribbon loop to; you’ll stick that on the top so it sits at what will eventually be the centre of the heart.
Start creating one side of your layered heart’s rounded top shape and giving the shape some structure! I started with the side that did not already have the ribbon loop attached to it. Bend the free side of your shortest centre strip in and upwards so you can apply some glue to the tip edge on the side that was facing down towards the other strips it was layered on top of. Holding that piece in place, bend the strip underneath it upwards as well and stick it down against the first strip so their very ends meet evenly at the edges and the two sit flat against each other. Because the second strip is a little longer, it will bend away from the first a little, leaving some curved space between the two. This will be part of what helps make your structured heart shape. Now apply glue on the side of the second strip that isn’t stuck to the first and bend the third strip in the layers up the same way to meet the edge of the second one, creating the same kind of space. Repeat this process with all the strips on that side until all their ends are gathered evenly together and you have a tapered bundle that sort of blooms outwards from that point.
Repeat the strip layering process that you just did on your first side once more on your second side. Your loop is already there to mark the shape you’ll eventually create, but you’ll be able to slot your strip ends down close between the first central strip and the ribbon for an even centre and build from there. Now your second side tapers and blooms the same way as your first.
Step 9 :
Bend and turn the gathered ends as one on either side so their underside (the unglued side of your longest strip that you stuck in place last or the side with the ribbon attached to it) meets up with and sits evenly against the ends of the other side. You should see the tapered pieces pointing downwards to make the centre tip in the top of your heart and the loop pointing upwards. The strips and curved spaces between them, however, will create the rounded shapes on either side that make up the top of your heart, while the layered creases below give you the heart’s bottom tip.
Just in case you’d like to try this project out for yourself, here’s a fantastic tutorial video to help you!