Updated date:

How to line alligator clips for hairbows


So you are interested in making fun, funky, flashy, and even fancy hairbows for your little princess, am I right? Or maybe you are interested in making bows and clips for profit (which trust me, it is possible, I have had plenty of success doing so.) Well my friend, you have come to the right place. I self-taught myself how to make clips for my darling angels and for profit and I am certainly glad I did. My girls constantly receive compliments and it not only makes me proud but it also makes them feel special. At first, I was apprehensive, but once I started I realized I was going to be able to do it, so I stuck with it. I would go as far as to say that I'm pro by now :) So if you want real (easy) instructions check what I have to say out. I will give you step by step instructions with illustrative pictures and all the tips that I have learned along the way. If you can stick with it you'll know how in no time!

First things first

You will need supplies:

A standard alligator clip (you will save yourself money if you buy them in bulk, I buy 500 for around $25 off of the internet)

A hot glue gun (for securing the ribbon to an alligator clip)

A 4&5/16 inch piece of 3/8 in. grosgrain ribbon (grosgrain I have found is the best type of ribbon to use and can be purchased at most craft stores, however, if purchased from the internet from the right websites you can save a lot of money!)

A lighter (for sealing the ends of the ribbons so they do not fray)


Measuring and Sealing

So once you have cut you 4 & 5/16 in piece of grosgrain ribbon (which is done best with a sharp pair of scissors, dull scissors tend to make the ribbon fray) you will need to seal the ends with heat so they do not fray in the future. This step is important to ensure the initial quality of your clip stays true. This step can intimidate many but don't let it, it is actually quite simple. Take one end of your ribbon in one hand and the lighter in your other hand. Flick on your lighter and bring the end side of the ribbon as close as you can to the flame without touching (if it does touch it is o.k. it will not burst into flames!) You should be able to see the end of the ribbon sealing up and looking plasticy. Pull the ribbon away and after you have let it cool run your fingers on the end's edge if it is sealed you will be able to tell (you can even pull at it for an extra measure.)

If you are absolutely not comfortable with sealing your ribbon this way, you can go to a local craft store and ask for a sealing solution (it is usually found in the sewing section.) I haven't personally tried it myself but have heard that clear nailpolish can also do the trick. I prefer the lighter because on some ribbon the fray solution leaves a liquid stain.

Lining up your ribbon properly with the clip

Before you do anything with the hot glue gun you will want to make sure that you have your ribbon and alligator clip properly aligned. To do so you should pinch open your clip and insert the ribbon and stick it in as far as it can go without bending the ribbon, when you close the clip the ribbon should be as centered as possible. You can do this as many times as you need until you get it right. It is an essential step for a perfectly lined clip. When you are finished it should look like this:


Adding the Hot Glue

As you can see in the photo above I have added the hot clue to the clip. You will want to apply a small amount along the length of the clip, if you put too much it will get globby and will not look good. A little bit goes a long way.

Folding Over the Ribbon

Once your glue is applied you will need to work quickly (don't panic though, you should be calm so you can place the ribbon on the glue properly) Since your ribbon is already properly centered you should just pull it over and push it onto the clip by grasping along the entire clip. When you are finished it should look like this:


The Final Step

Now that you have your ribbon glued to the top of the clip, turn the clip over. It should look something like this:


Take your hot glue gun and apply a small amount to the solid portion of the back of the clip:


Simply fold over the remainder of your ribbon onto the hot glue and press down until it is dry, and viola! you have your perfectly lined alligator clip that is ready for further decoration which you will be able to find on my other hubs!



365bows.com on May 06, 2014:

We have a community page where you can list your hair bows for sale or hair bow topics and instructions for free http://www.365bows.com

Michelle Larsson on August 09, 2011:

Thank you so much!!!

Kate on July 23, 2011:

Visit http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mistimade?ref=si_shop

for great bargains!

victpr on November 28, 2010:

idk wat to do on this

Tina on September 18, 2010:

If you have a sallys beauty supply you can get the alligator clips 100 for 5.95 they arent cheap enough on ribbonsandbowsohmy.com but their ribbon is very affordable

infi on July 11, 2010:

Thanks so much for sharing all your information!


Ashlea on April 16, 2010:

Make sure if you use a hi/low glue gun that the glue is on high. If you use the low setting, the glue start to set before you get the ribbon on. Also, I start at the inside top of the alligator clip. Holding it open with my left hand, I run a bead of glue on the upper inside before putting the ribbon on the inside.

Kendra on February 05, 2010:

The glue does not stick for me as well...using a hot glue gun.

Megan on February 02, 2010:

So generous of you to share this. I think I'm going to try my hand at selling them at our local farmer's market this year. (And making some for my little one, as well.) Thanks again for the tutorial!

Cristina on January 11, 2010:

I buy really cheap ribbon from papermart.com. Great ribbon and great prices!

Cynthia on October 04, 2009:

Where do you find adorable ribbon? Do you think the alligator clips you use are really good quality and strong? Thanks so much for sharing all your information!

Brittany on September 26, 2009:

Thank you so much! :)

Joana on July 22, 2009:

Sweet! Thank you! Where can I purchase ribbon and clips at decent prices?

CassieStanley (author) from Sunny Fort Myers, Florida on June 06, 2009:

Hi Leslie,

I like to purchase my alligator clips from http://ribbonandbowsohmy.com/index.php?module=Cata... I think they are priced well and are of great quality!

Leslie on June 02, 2009:

Where do you buy the clips from?

Tweety14kath on January 02, 2009:


karen on October 29, 2008:

I have done that same thing and my glue doesn't stick!! Any tips?

Brooke on July 12, 2008:

Wonderful instructions. Very helpful

toni on June 26, 2008:

thank you for this great tutorial.