The Cutting Edge: Decorating with Ribbon

A few pieces of trim are all you need to take a tray, rug or mirror from so-so to super.

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Double Time


Add some spice to your sisal with a twist on a classic geometric design.

How to: Using a ruler or tape measure for guidance, mark out your design on the rug with masking tape. Working with one small section at a time, lift masking tape and adhere twill tape to the rug with fabric glue. To ensure straight lines, be certain the twill tape's edges line up with the next piece of masking tape. When you reach a corner, fold the twill tape onto itself at a 45-degree angle and add a bit of glue to adhere the folds to each other. Tip: Lay out the first design with masking tape, affix twill tape and let dry. Next, repeat the process (masking tape and all) for the second design.

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At Your Service


Adorn a tray with a bit of frill to perk up your morning coffee.

How to: Affix trim to both the exterior and interior sides of a tray (ours came from a flea market) using a glue gun or fabric glue.

Tip: To keep a trimmed-up tray looking great, never immerse in water. Spot clean only.

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Fine Lines


Embellish a basic ottoman with stripes for (almost) instant polish.

How to: Before you start, lay trim out on the surface of your ottoman. For a precise design, use a tape measure to ensure proper spacing between stripes. Mark the lines with dressmaker's chalk or disappearing ink (both can be found in sewing supply stores). Carefully glue the trim down, centering it along each chalked line. Finish up by affixing the raw ends of the trim just under the bottom of the ottoman.

Tip: If you use braided or delicate trim, be sure to apply adhesive with a fine-tipped paintbrush.

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Frame Work


Wrapped with ribbon, a mirror can be a beautiful reflection of your style.

How to: Put liquid adhesive on the trim of your choice and place on the rim of a frameless mirror. Wrap the ends around the mirror's edge and glue onto the back side. For a lacey trim, apply adhesive with a fine-tipped paintbrush.

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Trash to Treasure


A trimmed wastebasket runs circles around the rest.

How to: Glue velvet or grosgrain ribbons around the outside of a wastebasket. Choose various widths to create an interesting design.

Tip: For best results, choose a cylindrical basket or one with straight, not angled, sides.

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Fancy Feast


Give an ordinary tablecloth (or runner) the five-star treatment by adding an elegant edge.

How to: Attach trim around the border of the cloth using fabric glue.

Tip: If your tablecloth is machine washable, make sure your adhesive is too.

Trim Tactics

—Match the kind of glue you use to the task at hand. Choose an iron-on adhesive when applying flat trim to fabric. With raised trim, use a hot-glue gun or fabric glue.

—Always apply the glue to the trim, not to the item you're decorating. Be sure to keep a damp towel on hand to mop up any excess glue, and work with small sections to avoid making mistakes—especially when dealing with quick-setting adhesives.

—If the item you're embellishing is machine washable (like a tablecloth), it's always a good idea to wash and dry both the trim and the item before starting. This extra step will help the glue to bond securely.

Originally published in the September 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.