How to Buy Affordable Ribbons on eBay

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How to Buy Affordable Ribbons on eBay

Many home crafts and decorations require the use of ribbons, and many households stock ribbons for use with wrapping gifts for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. Unfortunately many ribbons, especially high-quality ribbons, can be incredibly costly. Many buyers find that shopping for their ribbons on eBay is likely to save a substantial amount of money compared to retail purchasing, and that eBay's ribbon selection may even outstrip those of local retail stores. And buying affordable, high-quality ribbons on eBay is easier than one might think.

But there are many different crafts, hobbies, and tasks which all require ribbons, and more types and varieties of ribbons than can easily be recounted. Buying ribbons specially made for specific tasks can help save shoppers the headache of buying ribbons which refuse to knot into bows or which begin to fray shortly after being sewn. Those intending to purchase ribbons on eBay should first determine what purpose the ribbons will be used for, then decide the types of ribbons they want to purchase, and then the length they need.

Determine the Purpose for Ribbon

Different types of ribbons are each suited to different things. For example, some ribbons are better suited to applications with fabric and sewing, while others are manufactured with bow making specifically in mind. Individuals who do not do the proper research may find themselves trying to tie bows with fabrics made to resist knotting or folding. Looking through eBay's categories or refinement options in a search helps shoppers determine which ribbons to purchase for specific purposes.

Bow Ribbons

Those who intend to purchase ribbons specifically for wrapping packages or fashioning bows should consider purchasing specially fashioned bow-making ribbons. Bow ribbons are typically supple and soft, and manufactured with ease of knotting and folding in mind. Most bow-making ribbons are found in various types of satin or taffeta, and they are offered at somewhat longer lengths than other varieties of craft ribbon. Bow-making ribbons can be found which feature various different types of embellishments.

Sewing and Fabric Ribbons

Sewing and fabric ribbons, because they are generally meant to be washed or used on garments, are usually more expensive and of higher quality fabrics than bow-making ribbons. These may be made of cotton, silk, or synthetic blends, and are generally thicker and stronger than other varieties of ribbons. Their seams are also manufactured to be more secure, and are thicker and stronger so that the ribbons stand up to the test of time and wear.

All-Purpose Craft Ribbons

All-purpose ribbons are generally cheaper than sewing or bow-making ribbons, and can be found fashioned from a wide variety of materials and with a nearly countless array of embellishments. Craft ribbons are generally found in the smaller range of lengths, and shoppers should ensure that they find ribbons in longer lengths to get the best value out of their purchases.

Determine the Type of Ribbon to Buy

There are many types of ribbons available to modern consumers, manufactured from everything from synthetic fibres such as nylon to ultra-fine natural silks and satins. Shoppers should be aware that certain varieties of ribbon can be vastly more expensive than other varieties.

In general, ribbons are divided into categories based on their fibre type, their hem type, and whether or not the ribbon itself features any embellishments. Shoppers concerned with price and finding the most affordable ribbons possible on eBay, should look for synthetic ribbons with relatively few embellishments.

Ribbon Fabric Types

There are thousands of different fibres used to manufacture ribbon fabric, each with their own unique properties. When deciding what type of fabric to look for in ribbon, shoppers should consider the ribbon's strength, opacity, texture, and overall appearance. The eBay website makes it easy to filter a search to include only ribbon of a specific fabric type.

Polyester Ribbons

Polyester ribbons are by far the most common, because polyester is a synthetic material and therefore easy and cheap to manufacture. Polyester ribbons are soft and strong, generally very lightweight, and do not typically fray once cut. They bend and knot very easily, and tend to keep creases made in them, making them ideal for bow making.

Organza Ribbons

Organza is a very fine, sheer synthetic material which is used to fashion very light, transparent fabric. Organza ribbons are rough to the touch, however, making them pleasant to see but not to handle. Though organza ribbons create beautiful bows, they should not be used in sewing projects meant to be washed. Many manufacturers have begun blending organza with other materials, such as satin, to make it softer and more pleasant to touch. These blends may be somewhat more expensive than either material on its own.

Satin Ribbons

Satin ribbons are for the most part very similar to polyester ribbons, being that they are cheap and easy to knot. However, they do tend to fray at cut edges, and unlike polyester ribbons may tend to lose a few fibres through use and handling.

Silk Ribbons

Silk ribbons are luxurious, soft, silky, and strong. Unfortunately, they are also typically rather expensive, and like satin, can tend to lose fibres or gently fray once cut. Though the thought of silk ribbons for bows may be an enchanting one, shoppers are encouraged to purchase silk ribbons only for use in sewing projects or garments.

Cotton Ribbons

Cotton ribbons are generally fashioned from mercerised or pima cotton, which gives the fabric its characteristic sheen. These cotton ribbons can be quite expensive, thanks to the treatments the cotton must undergo, and fray easily at the edges once cut. This makes them primarily ideal only for sewing and other fabric crafts.

Ribbon Embellishments

Though the vast majority of ribbons are plain, many feature various embellishments to add visual interest to the surface or edges of the ribbons. Shoppers should be aware that embellishments typically increase the price of ribbon.

Topical Embellishments

Topical embellishments are things like glitter, faux gemstones, and elements which are added to the top of ribbons, typically with simple glues. Topical embellishments are less expensive in ribbons than other types of embellishments, though they are also prone to being less secure.

Woven Embellishments

Woven embellishments are those which are literally woven into the fabric of the ribbons. These can include small charms, fringe on the edges of the ribbons, embroidery, or even special textural designs in the weave such as ribbing or herringbone patterns. One common type of woven embellishment is the ribbed pattern called grosgrain. Grosgrain ribbons are particularly thick and strong thanks to this ribbon, feature reinforced edges to prevent fraying.

Determine What Length of Ribbon to Buy

Determining what length of ribbon to buy is a critical step, because it quite literally determines how much ribbon buyers are getting for their money. Shoppers should take note that most ribbons are produced in rolls of standard sizes. For a quick rundown of common lengths and widths, consider the chart below.

Metres in Length

Millimetres in Width

1 metre

3 millimetres

3 metre

6 millimetres

4 metre

12 millimetres

6 metre

15 millimetres

20 metre

18 millimetres

50 metre

24 millimetres

The vast majority of ribbons are available on 4-yard and 6-yard spools, with ribbons cut to smaller or longer lengths being relatively more difficult to find. For those who use ribbons frequently, spools with higher yardage are likely to represent the best value, as a ribbon's cost does not necessarily rise proportionately to its length.

Buying Ribbons on eBay

Even shoppers who have little to no experience shopping online are likely to find that using eBay to purchase ribbons is quick and simple. Shoppers should head to any of eBay's pages, and look for the search bar. After clicking the search bar, type in the words which describe the type of ribbon you desire. Some good examples are "satin ribbon" and "blue grosgrain ribbon". If you have a good idea of the length of ribbon you need, it can be helpful to type that measurement in. When you have finished typing, press "enter", and eBay will pull up a roster of those items which match your search description. You can then organise these listings based on various qualities such as price and colour.

Contacting an Item's Seller

In the event that you find an item which looks promising, but find that you need more information before completing a purchase, it can be helpful to speak with an item's seller directly. To do so, browse the item's listing page until you find the "Ask a question" link, and click it.


There are many different types of ribbons, and crafters may be surprised to find that different types of ribbons are better suited to some purposes than others. Cotton and silk ribbons, for example, fray easily when cut, and are largely meant to be used in sewing applications, whereas satin and taffeta ribbons are more likely to be used in bow making or to wrap gifts. Determining the end use of the ribbons helps shoppers determine which variety of ribbons to purchase. Some ribbons are even available with different types of embellishments, such as glitter or woven designs, and this sometimes adds an extra layer of visual interest.

Using eBay to shop for ribbons is likely to help individuals purchase even high-quality ribbons at far cheaper prices than can be found at craft stores or other retailers, and in many cases sellers even offer bundled sets of ribbons. And even for those with little experience shopping online, using eBay to buy ribbons is quick and easy.

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