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How to Make a Simple Decorated Headband

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As everyone already knows, I live in Hawaii. It’s beautiful and awesome, but getting things can be difficult.

Recently I wanted some headbands for a project, but all I could find was super wide ones for about $5 each, which seems a bit much for a plain plastic headband. I got on Amazon and ordered some headbands and, admittedly, I didn’t break out my ruler…so they’re a little narrower than I’d imagined. I knew they’d be narrow, just not quite this narrow. If you’ve ever tried wrapping a very narrow headband in ribbon, you know it can get a bit tricky! I experimented a bit and found a way to make it work, so I decided to share how to make a simple decorated headband in a way that’s especially helpful for narrow headbands.

How to Make a Simple Decorated Headband

I went with a steampunk theme because I have lots of appropriate goodies thanks to my Mainland craft store run in September, but you can make this any theme you’d like! The headband decorating tips in this tutorial will help you create an attractive piece, no matter your theme.

Materials needed for a decorated headband

  • A headband! I used one from this package on Amazon. It’s about 3mm, or 1/8″, wide
  • Ribbon – slightly wider than twice your headband’s width. I used 5/8″ ribbon
  • Hot glue gun/glue sticks. Low temp is likely to burn you, but high temp is much more durable
  • Findings – grab anything that inspires you! You don’t have to include it all in the finished project
  • Scissors
  • Lighter or FrayCheck/FrayLock or other anti-fraying product
  • Wire cutters – optional

How to make a simple decorated headband

1. Cut a piece of ribbon so it’s slightly longer than the outside of your headband.


2. Carefully singe one end of the ribbon to prevent it from fraying, or use an anti-fraying product.


3. Fold the ribbon in half and crease it with your thumbnail. The is optional, but helpful!


4. Heat your hot glue gun and protect your work surface (I like to use a Teflon craft mat, though I didn’t pull it out for this set of photos because it’s well used and unsightly!)

5. Align the singed end with one end of the headband. Apply a thin bead of hot glue to about 1″ of one side of the headband, then press the ribbon in place, trying to run ribbon’s edge along the edge of the headband. Because the 5/8″ ribbon is slightly wider than twice the headband’s width, I let the ribbon stick out ever so slightly. Paying attention to the crease, if you made it, can help you keep the ribbon lined up correctly.


6. Allow the glue to cool for 20-40 seconds, then apply glue to another 1-2″ of headband. Continue working all the way around, applying ribbon to only one side of the headband for now. (Trust me on this one! I tried gluing both sides at once and it was way more difficult to keep the ribbon lined up and looking nice.)


7. Once you get all the way to the end, start back at the singed end of the ribbon and repeat the process, this time gluing the other half of the ribbon in place.

glue ribbon all the way to the end

8. Carefully cut the ribbon so it is just a hair longer than the headband, then singe the ribbon to prevent fraying.


9. Now you’re ready to get decorating! I highly recommend a “dry fit” of the elements you plan to use in order to see how everything looks and check positioning before gluing it all down.

dry fit decorations in place

10. If you have any charms with a loop for stringing them on a necklace, bracelet, etc., you can frequently snip the loop off with a pair of wire cutters:

snip-rings-off-charms ring cut off charm

When planning your headband, remember that:

  • The decorative elements do not need to be symmetrical or smack in the middle of the headband. In fact, I love having the items more on one side or the other instead of right in the center!
  • You can layer elements for more interest (for example, I put a small gear on a larger one and my starfish charm on another gear)

11. Apply each finding with hot glue. Make sure to use enough that the item will stay in place, but not so much that the hot glue squishes out everywhere and looks funky!

easy steampunk headband

And there you have it! A super easy decorated headband. It’s simple to add a decorative touch to any outfit or costume in just a few minutes with some basic crafting supplies. =)

How to Make a Simple Decorated Headband

Even though my headband is steampunk-y, you can use this same technique to create a headband for basically any occasion or holiday. Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, or just any day you want to wear something new and different!

Do you ever create a piece of jewelry or adornment just for a specific occasion?


{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Julie October 16, 2016, 22:27

    Super cute!! It’s funny that you’re all about the steampunk at the moment..! The new boyfriend is potentially moving to Oamaru, NZ where there is a massive steampunk scene there!

    • Natashalh October 17, 2016, 07:44

      I’m so full of contradictions. I really like beachy and nautical things, but I also love sugar skulls and ‘goth’ kind of things. I guess I like steampunk because it feels like an intersection of the two!

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