Kanzashi is a traditional Japanese hair accessory first used over 1,000 years ago. They can be simple or elaborate, store-bought or handmade, and made from any possible material from plastic to precious metal.
My favorite type of kanzashi is tsumami kanzashi, which includes flower-shaped ornaments made by folding and pinching tiny squares of cloth.
The look of kanzashi has inspired a whole sub-genre of crafting, with plenty of tutorials especially for making kanzashi-style flowers and other ornaments, usually substituting ribbon for other types of cloth. Although there’s definitely a learning curve involved in making teeny-tiny folds that result in elaborate flowers, the materials, at least, are quite accessible: if you’ve got some ribbon scraps in your stash (bonus points if they’re silk), then you, too, can try out kanzashi-style ornaments!
Below are some of my favorite tutorials for making kanzashi-style flowers and other ornaments. If you’ve never thought about crafting with ribbon in this way, then you’re in for a treat!
1. Beaded Flower From Satin Ribbon
Use one length of wide satin ribbon, a cigarette lighter, needle and thread, and a few beads to make this beautiful and elaborate flower.
Add a ribbon bow to any of these other ribbon flowers, or attach it to a clip or headband and wear it on its own.
I love this handmade ribbon flower brooch. Make a matching set for an entire wedding party or Mother’s Day luncheon!
4. Felt Flowers
This flower arrangement uses kanzashi-style methods, but the material of choice is not silk, but felt. Eco-fi felt would be a terrific vegan alternative to silk ribbon here!
5. Folded Ribbon Brooch
Here’s another brooch that has an intricate geometric pattern instead of mimicking a flower.
Most of the kanzashi-style ornaments that you’ll see are flowers, but not all are. Here’s a butterfly!
7. Button-Topped Ribbon Flower
Here’s how you use up all those buttons in your stash!
8. Christmas Tree
This crazy epic Christmas tree looks like it would take a billion years to make by hand. Well… it DOES take a while to make, but the result is worth it!
9. Cockade Flower Headband
This is a VERY fancy, eye-catching headband!
10. Complex Petals
After you’ve made a few kanzashi-style flowers and you’re starting to feel like you’ve got the hang of the craft, try out some of these more advanced petals.
11. Corsage and Boutonniere
When you DIY your ribbon flowers, it’s easy to make a matching set. Take advantage of that by making these heirloom pieces for your favorite Prom-goers!
12. Flower Buds
Your ribbon flower arrangement can look more realistic if you include flowers at various stages of development. Here’s how to add a few flower buds to your project!
13. Fabric Flower Charm
These kanzashi-style flowers don’t only have to go on your hair! This fabric flower can be incorporated into all kinds of accessories.
14. Fabric Flower With A Covered Button
There are a couple of unusual components of this kanzashi-style flower tutorial: you can use cotton fabric instead of silk ribbon, and you’ll be using a covered button for the flower’s centerpiece!
15. Flower-Embellished Hair Comb
Follow the tutorial to make this kanzashi-style ribbon flower, then attach it to a hair comb!
16. Four-Leaf Clover
Here’s next year’s St. Patrick’s Day decoration!
17. Kanzashi-Style Dahlia
Upcycle an old brooch as the centerpiece of this ribbon dahlia.
18. Military Braid
Incorporate this easy ribbon braid into your flower arrangement, or cover a headband with it before adding the flowers.
19. Organza Flower
If you want something super floofy, ditch the silk and instead use organza!
20. Ribbon Angel
Here’s another non-flower kanzashi-style craft. This angel makes a sweet Christmas tree ornament–I should know, because I have three of them on my tree every year!
21. Paper Kanzashi-Style Flower
This tutorial borrows some of the methods used to make kanzashi-style flowers and translates them to papercrafting.
22. Ribbon Flower Headband
I love the idea of putting a kanzashi-style flower on a headband instead of a hair pin. Now you can wear ribbon flowers in your short hair, too!
23. Ribbon Petals
If you know how to make flower petals from ribbon, you can use your own imagination to make all the flowers of your dreams! This tutorial shows you how to make six different styles of ribbon petal.
Imaginary flowers are fun to make, but sometimes you want a flower you can identify. This ribbon flower is most definitely a rose!
25. Calla Lily
Here’s another realistic ribbon flower to make. It’s a perfect spring decoration!
26. Satin Angel
This tutorial calls for a square of satin ribbon that’s larger than what you’ll likely own. Consider substituting stash fabric with a similar look.
27. Scrappy Flowers
Instead of silk ribbon, these flowers call for fabric scraps. Make every petal from a different fabric, and use up all of your scraps in the most colorful way!
28. Tiny Flower Hair Clips
If you’re curious about how small you can make these kanzashi-style flowers, check out the flowers in this hair clip tutorial… and then go get the tweezers to make your own!
29. Twisted Flower
I really love how this tutorial encourages you to consider non-traditional flower colors in your project. The navy and white look beautiful together in this flower!
30. Two-Toned Petals
Stack two interesting colors of ribbon to make two-toned petal combinations.
Do YOU have any favorite ribbon crafts? If so, tell me about them in the comments below!