I discovered korkers a while back, but couldn’t figure out how to make these cute little hair accessories. Finally, I found Korkers and More. This site is a little rough, but it contins great basic directions for making a korker. Using those directions, and adding my own little twists (for example: attaching the bow to a ponytail holder instead of a barrette, according to my girl’s preferences), I have come up with a method that allows me to make korkers fairly easily. They’re a lot cheaper than any korkers you can buy online, and I can make customize them to suit me and my little girl.
Would you like to learn how to make a korker? Well, today is your lucky day! :) Read below for step-by-step instructions.
- Five yards of any fabric ribbon (For me 3/8″ size works best), any combination of colors, or all one color
- Five wooden dowels, size 1/4″ or 5/16″, 18 inches long
- Wooden clothes pins (do not use plastic!)
- Large, flat cookie sheet, or aluminum foil
- Sharp scissors
- Fray Check, or as a last resort, a votive candle (unless you’re a pyromaniac or really desperate, spend two bucks for Fray Check, found in the sewing aisle)
- String, any kind, doesn’t have to match your ribbon, but it’s nice
- Srong tape (duct tape or packing tape work nicely)
- Ponytail holder (hairband)
- Optional, fine grain sand paper
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees, Farenheit. (This may vary, according to your oven.)
- Wind one yard of ribbon around each dowel, securing each end with a clothespin. Wind them as tightly as you can, without overlapping, like so:
- Once you’ve wrapped all your ribbons around your dowels, stick them on your baking sheet. If you don’t have the right kind of baking sheet, cover your middle rack with aluminum foil. Make sure no ribbons touch the heating element! Here’s what my ribbons look like on the sheet:
- Stick the ribbons, dowels, clothespins and all into the preheated oven. In my oven, about 30 minutes at 275 degrees is perfect. Check your ribbons at about 25 minutes. Twist and manipulate the ribbon until it slides off the dowel. If it’s springy and curly, not limp and trying to straighten out, you’re done! Here’s what my finished ribbons looked like:
- Let the ribbons cool, and they’ll hold their curl even better.
- After they’ve cooled enough, it’s time to cut! Get out your ruler, and cut the ribbons into 2.5″ pieces. Do not strecth the curls when measuring.
- When your five yards are all cut up, you’ll end up with 25-30 ribbons, looking something like this:
- Now it’s time to treat the cut ends of your ribbon. You MUST do this, or you will end up with a frayed, ugly mess rather quickly! The easiest, best way is to simply put a little Fray Check on the ends. After 10 minutes, the pieces should be dry and you’ll be ready to make your bow.
- If you’re desperate (because, like me, your two-year-old discovered how to open the oven, and she stuck your brand-new bottle of Fray Check in there, right before you turned the dang thing on to make pizza!) or if you’re a pyromaniac, you could use a candle to treat the ends. I don’t recommend this method. It’s way more time-consuming, and there’s of course the risk of burning yourself, or your ribbons, or, God forbid, your house down! If you’re crazy like me, and decide to use a candle(BTW, you’ve been warned, so I don’t want to hear about any accidents due to you choosing this dumb method!), just hold the ribbon 1/2″ to 1/4″ from the flame, until the end of the ribbon melts just a tiny bit. Here’s me doing it, barely getting burned at all:
- Once the ends are treated, it’s time to assemble the bow! It really helps to have something on both sides of your ribbons before you pile them up, to stabilize things. The last two Harry Potter books work quite nicely:
- Cut your string to about 12″ in length, and place it between the two books, as in the photo above. It helps to use your tape to secure the string to the books. Place the ribbons in layers, centered on top of your string. It works best to do between 8 and 10 ribbons in each row. That means, if you have exactly 30 ribbons, you can do three rows of 10. For this project, I ended up with 27, so I did three rows of nine. Here’s what my first row looked like:
- If you really want to, you can place your bows in a specific pattern, but if you’re new at making korkers, I don’t recommend it. Save yourself a lot of grief and just focus on getting them in there, centered evenly over the string. It’ll look nice no matter what order the ribbons are in. Here are my finished rows:
- Now that your ribbons are all lined up, untape your string, and quickly tie it around the ribbons. If you do it too slow, the ribbons will fall out, and you’ll run the risk of dropping the F-bomb in front of the children (just kidding…I know you wouldn’t do that!). Tie the string tightly; a couple of square knots work nicely. DO NOT cut off the extra string, because you’ll be using that to attach the bow to the ponytail holder! Here’s my tied bow:
- Lastly, tie the bow securely to the ponytail holder of your choice. Again, a couple of square knots work for me.
- You’re done! Stand back and admire your work. If you can get your munchkin to try model for you, send me a pic: chocolatefingerprints(at)gmail(dot)com
- This activity is great to do in small, manageable chunks! They’re also quite addictive. Try it, and you’ll see what I mean!