Making a covered hair clip is a great first step toward making a personalized hair accessory. It also requires very few supplies and is good practice for working with ribbon and a glue gun together. Expect to mess up at least your first clip (my first clip I completely glued together), but that’s okay, because practice makes perfect!
The first thing you need is your supplies. There are various types of hair clips but for this project I am using a double-pronged clip (also known as an “alligator clip”). You also need 3/8ths inch grosgrain ribbon. Silk ribbon would work here, too, but I’ve found grosgrain to have a neater look as clip covers. Finally you’ll need a glue gun with a high temperature setting (I use the Surebonder HE-750, which does an okay job). You may optionally want fray check to keep the cut edges of your ribbon from fraying.
Cut your grosgrain ribbon at 4.5 inches. If you have fray check, now would be a great time to apply tiny amounts to either end. Open up your clip and slip the ribbon inside, ensuring that the open area between the two prongs has ribbon across the entire length of it. You don’t need to push the ribbon all the way inside, just far enough to cover that open area.
Now it’s time for the glue gun. I recommend using a silicone mat when using one as it makes cleanup easier. Ensure that you have a good flow of glue before you begin applying it to the clip as you need to move quickly once the glue is on there. Also be careful to not directly touch the glue immediately after it comes out or the tip of the glue gun–it will result in 1st or 2nd degree burns!
Add your glue in a straight line down the clip, as shown above, from the bend to the end of the prongs. Fold your ribbon over the top, smooth it onto the glue and try to keep it lined up nicely. This will likely take some practice–the glue will bond quite fast and lining it up is difficult to get right at first. You need to move quickly yet precisely.. practicing lining it up before laying down the glue may help.
Next you will finish the rest of the covering in one swoop. This one requires a touch more quickness than the previous step and can be broken down into parts if you desire, but it is difficult to get glue onto the ribbon once you start wrapping on the handles. As shown above, I put the glue directly on the ribbon for this step. You will then smooth it out on the top and proceed to smooth it out the entire handle portion, with it ending wrapped around slightly on the bottom-side of the clip. This is a bit harder to explain, so here’s a close-up of what it should look like:
You may notice two things here: glue “strings” and the fact that my ribbon extended to the bottom opening. Once I start smoothing my ribbon out on the bottom-side I will usually open it up real quick and get a finger of my offhand to hold it open, just in case there’s some glue that’s going to ooze up from the bottom. The glue strings can be gently tugged off as or after the clip is dry.. if you have a really good glue gun you may not experience glue strings at all.
Now you have a covered hair clip! When I first began making these I would wrap the bottom-side of the clip as well, but it was quite difficult (you have to hold the clip open the whole time while gluing and smoothing ribbon) and really unnecessary since that part ends up completely covered by hair. If you want to give a full clip cover a try I’d love to see your pictures and hear if you have any easy techniques for it.
You’re now one step closer to making a lot of fun hair accessories!