Grosgrain ribbon is inexpensive and easy to find, but it has the nasty habit of fraying at cut ends. That can make your finished product look cheap -- not to mention it can make the project fall apart. You must protect the ends somehow without changing the look of the ribbon. Here are four ways to stop grosgrain from creating unwanted fringe and fuzz on your project.
Before diving in and applying one of the remedies, test it first. Grosgrain ribbon will react differently depending on the material it's made from. Take a snippet of ribbon and apply a few different fixes to see what happens before you apply the ribbon to your project.
This works quite well for synthetic grosgrain. You aren't trying to burn the ends, but you want to make them melt just enough to seal the ribbon. You can use a lighter or candle to provide the flame; a candle will be more secure because you can set the candle in a holder on a table while holding the ribbon steady in both hands, rather than trying to balance the ribbon in one hand and the lighter in the other.
Don't let the ribbon touch the flame; you're not trying to add a charred color. Slowly move the ribbon toward the flame and stop when the heat makes the ends soft. You'll see the ends of the threads in the ribbon dissolve. This can happen rather quickly, so don't look away. Give the ribbon a few minutes to cool down and harden.
Clear Nail Polish
A classic remedy for sealing pretty much anything, clear nail polish works well when you have time to let the polish dry. Pin the ribbon to something so that the end is suspended in the air. Brush a bit of nail polish along the ends. Don't bring the polish onto the flat surface of the ribbon. Let air dry.
Commercial Sprays and Dips
You can buy sprays and dips that seal the ends but test these first on scraps. Sometimes the ribbon color can change a bit, and you want to be sure the finished product won't have any unintended shading.
If you don't want to mess with heat or chemicals, you can always fold the end of the ribbon over and sew it as if you were hemming it. This can be a bit tough for ribbon ends cut into V shapes, but it works well for plain, straight ends. The tricky part involves matching the thread color to the ribbon color.
If you'd like more solutions for fraying ribbon, visit craft stores and bookbinding supply stores. Grosgrain is used in so many artistic fields that the staff at the stores will be well aware of what works best with the ribbon they sell.