crinkled seam binding ribbon & the book of trees

by | Mar 21, 2023 | Artistic Endeavors, Creative Play | 13 comments

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I love how one little bit of inspiration can lead me down a creative rabbit trail.  Such was the case with the “Book of Circles” tutorial offered by Rachel of The Travelling Bookbinder.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: Book of Circles

Right away, I knew I wanted to make a little book with some of my antique papers.  I have a tendency of buying them and then not use them.  I sort of just want to keep them and have them, which means they aren’t really being enjoyed.  I need to frame them, use them in projects, and let go of the idea that they are too special.  Isn’t it funny that we often like to save the nice things and use the not-so-nice things?  So backwards.  Anyway, I pulled out some of my antique papers for this project.

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

Instead of making a book of circles, I decided to make a book of trees.  I’ve been working on studying, drawing, and painting trees, so it made sense to practice some sketches in a little book like this.  Not only will it be practice, but it’ll be creative play, which I need to keep in the mix or I’ll start to take things too seriously.  I have been collecting little bits of trees on my walk, so I will likely sketch some of those in addition to whole trees.  Like the circles, they will be loose drawings in graphite and ink with a touch of green watercolor and ink washes.

winter gatherings | crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

But, for the rabbit trail, I really loved the ribbon Rachel used for her project.  I wasn’t sure what it was, so I started doing some general description searches for “crinkled ribbon.”  Believe it or not, I found the type of ribbon she was using with that simple search!  It is seam binding ribbon that has been dyed and crinkled.  I have found a whole new-to-me world!

I ordered a few colors , so I would have lots of options for this and future projects.

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

In case you’re interested, I ordered , and, just to keep everyone on their toes, .

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

I do need to tidy up the ribbon drawer in my studio now, but it is a happy little mess.

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

So, I’ve put my book together and now I just need to add some sketches.

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

This is the kind of project that, admittedly, feels a little pointless if you’re someone who loves productivity.  But, if you’re cut from that cloth as I am, that’s all the more reason to do a project like this every once in a while.  It doesn’t have to have a point or be profitable.  It’s okay to “waste” a little time on something that is done simply for the enjoyment of doing it.

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

And using pretty antique papers instead of keeping them in a drawer.

crinkled seam binding ribbon | miss mustard seed

(FYI – I used as a backdrop for several of these photos.)

I hope this post sends you down a few rabbit trails of your own…


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  1. Jo Ann Bohannon

    I looked up the book. Did you use copies of pages for the little book?
    I have spool after spool of vintage seam binding. Oh I love this rabbit hole immensely.

  2. Jo Ann Bohannon

    My apologies! In my excitement I misunderstood your post. I read it again and I understand that you used John’s book as your background image.
    It’s a lovely book but your little book is awesome.

  3. Tracy

    I love this Marian! I have a ribbon drawer although quite a bit larger than yours. I save bits and pieces of string and ribbon from presents and packages. Pottery Barn uses a nice grosgrain ribbon on their sheets and duvet sets. Anthropologie uses printed ribbon on purchases. I’ve used so many of these in art projects and wrapped gifts. So fun!

  4. Marilyn Barbeck

    Marian, another shop to check out: She dyes all kinds of ribbon, velveteens, rick rack, tiny pompous and lots more. She is well known in the cross stitch world for finishing supplies.

  5. Bonnie Kilgore

    I understand that it’s not hard to make crinkled ribbon so I’ve bought a couple packs of seam binding. And eventually I’ll get around to making some!

  6. Sandy

    This looks fun along with being lovely!

  7. Teresa Cornwell

    LOVE this post! You always come up with something fun and new for your followers!
    Thank you!

    • Rita

      Love the idea for a book on trees. This has definitely got the wheels turning. I’m going on a special trip next month and want to create a travel journal, but one that hold all the fun bits and pieces. I too have antique papers, lace and silk ribbon from scrapbooking and embroidery projects, so I’ve got a good start. Thank you for sharing. I love all your creative endeavors.

  8. Gayle Stewart

    Your post today hit home with me. Not about the ribbons, although I have a stash of bits and pieces of ribbon, too, but about the papers. I have saved so many old papers. I even have an old oak paper “dispenser “ from a general store – the kind that would often hold rolls of brown paper for wrapping purchases. This one holds two rolls and I have the rolls. One is a pretty imprinted brown paper and the other is a wax paper with a lovely design on it. I keep looking at them, but am always hesitant to use them. You have inspired me to give it a try. Thank you!

  9. Jean E.

    I make crinkled ribbon all the time. I have about 50 100 yard rolls of the Hug Snug binding ribbon. I cut 2 yard pieces, soak them in either coffee or walnut crystal dye for a few minutes then ring out each ribbon and wad it up into a ball and lay it on a mat to dry. When it’s dry, just unroll it and it’s all crinkled. If it’s too crinkled just wet it & wad it up in a looser ball. Or you can iron it flat.

  10. Bonnie Jobe

    I have been crinkling seam binding for quite a few years. Using tea – like berry tea -creates the best “vintagey” ribbon. Have fun!

  11. Suzanne M Benner

    If you go on Pinterest and look up “junk journals” you will find lots of these types of booklets. Some make them to sell, and some just for fun!

  12. Karen B

    This is beautiful. I’ve made similar books for various reasons. I’m looking forward to seeing some of your tree sketches. I’m curious if the color swatches background is a puzzle? If so, I have the same puzzle and it is HARD!


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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