Why Do Scissors Curl Ribbon When Scraped?

Birthdays venue or gardens are always colorful with different colors of balloons attached to different colors of curl ribbon as it is mostly used as balloon string. Besides, I know you can still picture how you leaped for joy when your dad presented you with a package with curled ribbon. This curling ribbon can be made either with a ribbon curler or with scissors. Why with scissors? Won’t the scissors cut it into two?


According to Harvard university physicist Buddhapriya Chakrabarti, he said the ribbon curls because the outer layer stretches and, therefore, expands, more than the inner layer that is pressed against the rod or scissors. 

Moreover, “Even when you’re doing it with a pair of scissors, it’s not flat—you’re not pulling it flat”.


Let’s take a deep look into how scissors will do that wonderful work of curling.

How Does Ribbon Curl When Scraped With Scissors?

A professor from the university of manchester named Professor Anne Juel said it takes a certain time for the stress in a  ribbon to relax and the relaxation is what leaves the ribbon curled when touched with the blade of the scissors as the outer part is permanently stretched.


Can I Scrape Both Sides Of The Ribbon?


There is always a right side to scrape when curling a ribbon as a wrong side scraping will not give you the desired result and I will be showing you how to do that.


Method 1

What you have to do is to cut the ribbon and hold it downward, then you will notice the wave of the natural curl, the point where you notice the natural curl is where you should scrape.


It’s unfortunate that most people still end up scaping the wrong side when using method 1 but thankfully there is another method that is easier and that will be explained in method 2. 

Method 2

This is the most simple way to recognize the part to scrape in your ribbon. A ribbon has a dull part and a shiny part, the dull part is the one you will have to scrape as the shiny one has to be outward with the dull one curling inside.


How Do I Scrape My Ribbon With Scissors?

The best way to scrape your ribbon is to place the dull side of the ribbon against the blade of the scissors, press down, and pull the ribbon slowly with a firm grip which will open up the whole layer of the ribbon to the blade causing it to take the curly form.


You must note not to press the dull side against the sharp blade of the scissors too hard to avoid cutting the ribbon instead of scraping it and injuring yourself in the process as you are dealing with a sharp object.


However, a thick ribbon will require that you curl it slower than you will curl a thin ribbon, so there is a need to practice with a strand of ribbon for you to perfect your speed and pressure skills before embarking on the project.

Can I Curl All Kind Of Ribbon With Scissors?


Not all ribbons can be curled with the use of scissors but you can be sure of curling all plastic ribbons which are made of acetate or polypropylene ribbons, and these are mostly used as balloon string for birthdays and to beautify gifts. You can also make use of grosgrain or satin ribbons.

How Do I Know The Kind Of Ribbon That  Will Curl When Scraped With Scissors?

Whenever you see a ribbon that lies over another when dropped a few inches to the ground, that means it can hold shape, thereby producing a beautiful curl when scraped with scissors. 

Can Fabric Ribbon Curl When Scraped With Scissors?


Fabric ribbons are not defined and do not hold shape, therefore, they will not curl when scraped with scissors. However, it can eventually be curled after a certain amount of heat has been applied to it to melt the fibers or a starch solution is applied to it.

How Do I Make Use Of Starch Solution To Curl My  Fabric Ribbon?

Materials Needed.
  • Scissors.
  • Fabric ribbon.
  • Spray Bottle.
  • Cornstarch.
  • Dowel or a pencil.
  • Water.
  • Tape.


  • Get a right diameter of a  dowel or a pencil to use as your curling rod having it in mind that the smaller the diameter, the smaller the curl, and the larger the diameter, the larger the curl.


  • Put a tablespoon of cornstarch powder into a spray bottle with 470 ml of water and mix it until it dissolves.


  • Cut out your desired ribbon length adding allowance as the length will reduce due to the curling process.


  • Use tape to hold down both tips of the ribbon and wind the ribbon around the dowel or pencil.


  • For you to get tight curls, the fabric ribbon has to be closely wound together but must not lay on one another.


  • A longer dowel or pencil needs to be used to produce loose curls allowing the fabric ribbon to be wound leaving reasonable spaces between one roll and another.


  • Make sure the starch is well dissolved in the spray bottle before you spray your fabric ribbon with the cornstarch solution.


  • Soak the fabric ribbon with cornstarch solution by spraying it.


  • Allow the fabric ribbon to dry before removing the ribbon from the dowel or pencil.


  • Remove the tape placed on both tips before sliding the ribbon off the dowel or pencil.


How Do I Curl My  Fabric Ribbon By Baking It In An Oven?

Wound your fabric ribbon around a dowel or a pencil neatly based on your desired curls (either tight or loose) the same way you did it when you wanted to make use of cornstarch solution, and use a wooden peg to secure both tips to secure it.


Put the prepared dowel or pencil into the oven and bake at 120-degree celsius for at least 25 minutes. Allow it to cool down properly before you remove the ribbons from the dowel and that can be done by sliding the ribbons off the dowel or pencil.


Now your curled fabric project is ready for use. However, you must take note to use wooden pegs alone and not a tape or a plastic material as they tend to be flammable.

Can I Curl My Ribbon Without Scissors?


You can either use a ribbon curler or a knife to curl your ribbon but they both have challenges that will certainly not be encountered when making use of scissors.


The possible challenge to encounter when making use of a ribbon curler is the inability to produce a long strand of ribbon without cutting it into shreds and not everyone loves to use short strands of ribbon for their gift package or as balloon strings. I am sure you do not like short strands of curly ribbons too.


A knife can also do the work of scissors but the risk involved in using a knife is not worth it when you can make use of scissors. A knife can easily cut you as its blade is sharper than that of scissors and will not give you the same stability scissors will give you. Besides, it will not give you the perfect curl you desire as you will not want to hold onto it too firmly to avoid being injured.


However, it can still be used when left with no choice but to make sure you do not hold on to it too hard. So, if you will ask me, hold on to your scissors and if you are short of scissors in your craft class, get another one from the store or wait for someone to be through with his or her task.


You can also bake the ribbons and make use of the Starch solution to curl a fabric ribbon.

What Can I use My Curled Ribbon For?

You can use it for birthdays and wedding balloon decorations, decorating gift packages, and also for crafts work.

What Can I Use My Tight Curled Ribbons For?

Tightly curled ribbons can be used to wrap gift presents, balloon string, and also for hair accessories.

What Can I Use My Loosely Curled Ribbons For?

They can be used for craft work or mask material.

Can I Wash My Curl Ribbon?

Yes, but that depends on the type of ribbon you are washing.

You can wash a plastic-based ribbon, grosgrain, and satin when curled but you do not have to wash it by scrubbing it. However, you cannot wash a fabric-based ribbon. 

Can I Uncurl A Curl ribbon With Scissors?


A curl ribbon can be straightened with scissors just in the actual way it was curled but this time the scissors will run through the opposite side of the curling ribbon which will make it lose the curl gradually. However, you need to be careful not to ruin the ribbon in the process.

Can I Curl Ribbon With A Curly Iron?

Yes, although it is not recommended as curly iron is used mainly for hair.


Press your curling iron to the tail of the ribbon and roll your ribbon around the iron making sure a roll does not lie on another roll and wait for 30 seconds before pulling it out, that way you have your ribbon curled without stress. However, the smaller the curling iron, the more the curls.


How Do I Curl Ribbons On Ballon With Scissors?

Curling ribbons on ballon are simple as you do it the way you curl ribbons in your craft class. However, you have to blow your balloon first and wrap the ribbon at the knot end of the balloon with it holding the balloon and dangling down.


Thereafter, get your scissors and place the dull blade part of the scissors on the inside or the dull part of the ribbon, pull the scissors down the ribbon making your curl ready.

Can I Make A Bow Out Of A Curly Ribbon?

Yes, you can.

After you might have made your curly ribbons with scissors, tie 3 to 4 strands of the curled ribbon to make a bow and use the last ribbon(5th ribbon) to wrap it underneath making use of a knot and making sure it is tight.


However, this is applicable when you are making use of 5 ribbons but when making use of 4 ribbons, you tie 3 in a bow-like shape and use the 4th one to tie. In simple words, whatever quantity of curled ribbons you are using, make sure that you leave one to use for holding the bow in shape.


Curled ribbons can be made with different techniques ranging from ribbon curler scissors, starch solution, baking the ribbon, and knives to curly iron but none has been scientifically proven and widely accepted except the tailor’s shears called Scissors which create a curly ribbon perfectly.


However, it has to be done perfectly by putting enough pressure and scraping the right side which is the dull side of the ribbon but mind you, you must not scrape too hard to prevent cutting your thumb on the scissors blade.


To crown it all, do not give up on your first trial as Practice Makes Perfection and you can make use of pieces of ribbon for your practice so as not to ruin the one meant for the craftwork and decoration.