Ribbon-Wrapped Glass Blocks

I realized this craft appears to be rather Christmas-y. And, it is. You’ve done well, my friend, in noticing that!

Yes, I do realize that it’s summer. And, I know it’s a little late to be posting about this. BUT…it’s never to early to start planning for what you want to do next year for decorating your home for Christmas or homemade gifts you may want to make and give! (I know it always sneaks up on me…does it you?) And if you happen to have bought Christmas ribbon on clearance, you can go ahead and at least get started on the bow-making process. Finding the lights may be more challenging — but Krafty blocks can be found year-round at Michaels craft store. Of that I am sure.

This craft is rather easy to make — the most challenging part is making the bow…and cleaning up all of the glitter if you choose a glittered ribbon. Once it’s complete, it’s a beautiful way to adorn your home. Perhaps at an entryway, on a buffet table or even on the bathroom counter (it looks gorgeous as the light reflects off the mirror!).

To make this ribbon-wrapped glass block, you will need the following materials (and I recommend getting in this order, at least items 1, 3 and 4 so that you can coordinate and get the appropriate size for what block you choose):

  •  KraftyBlok: the original is 7.5×7.5×3.25-inches and the mini is 5.5× — they also have a rectangle, but I have never used this one, it measures 8x4x3.75-inches
  • Floral wire: I use 22 gauge and this is thick enough to give me a good amount of strength but still be flexible enough to work with using my hands (I also choose silver since it blends it best with most ribbons)
  • Strands of lights: I use stands of 35 for both sizes of blocks that I have used and it works great for both; at Michaels, I have found packs that are all-white, all-blue, all-red and multi-color; I prefer the single-color strands, especially for the ribbons I have chosen
  • Beautifully decorated wired Chrismassy ribbon (the wired is essential if you are new to this and if you’ve been doing it awhile, you understand that this would be a project that would likely look better with wire to help keep the loops fluffed…or re-fluff the more easily following storage): this is the fun part…picking out your ribbon; I generally use a 2-inch wide ribbon on the original block and a 1.5 inch ribbon on the mini block; I also try to coordinate the ribbon with the lights I have chosen (but feel free to get experimental! …that’s half the fun); one roll will do at least 2 and maybe up to 4 blocks, depending on how big you do your bows

Here’s how you put it together:

Your KraftyBlok already comes pre-drilled with an opening in the back and a plastic piece that covers that opening. In the center of that opening, there is a hole. Carefully, you will want to take your scissors or a knife of some kind and cut a slit from that hole through to the side. This will allow you to slip your light cord through in the plastic piece, into the hole without pinching the cord.

Next, take your strand of lights out and stretch them out if they’ve been curled up or are fresh out of the box so that the strand is nice and relaxed. I lay them out and drape them across my kitchen table for a few hours or overnight to help that. (I find that a strand of 35 works just right inside of both of the KraftyBloks. Anything longer for the smaller one would be too much. You could probably fit a strand of 50 lights in the larger block comfortably, but not likely much more.) Once the strand is nice and relaxed, gently feed the strand into the block, arranging the best as you can as you do to try to ensure that lights are relatively evenly distributed and not all clustered in one area. After all the lights have been fed into the block, you can decide for yourself how much more to feed in. Of course, leave a bit of a tail to hang out so that the block can be illuminated. When you’re comfortable with the amount of tail left on the strand, feed the cord through the slit in the plastic cover until it sits in the hole and slide that into place on the block.

Here’s a view of what it will look like from the top

Now, for the fun part! The bow making!

I would be absolutely terrible at showing you how to make the bow. Partially because taking still pictures of yourself when doing a project that certainly requires 2 hands is nearly impossible. And I don’t do video cameras. Period.end.of.statement. So, to help me out with that, I have the link to a few videos on YouTube that I watched to help me with this. It’s pretty simple — but I do recommend taking some scrap (wired) ribbon and practicing a time or two (you can reuse the same ribbon if you don’t tie it up too tight.

This is one of the best videos I have found on how to make a bow for a package, shows the basics steps for making this block look beautiful! The bow-specific tutorial starts at about 1:15, but the first portion would probably be helpful to watch before wrapping the block.
Bow Tutorial from robesondesign

These are 2 tutorials by the same person. I’ll give them both to you and let you sort through them as you see fit. It gives you a great demonstration on how to make your bows.
Bow Tutorial 1 from GoodKnitKiss
Bow Tutorial 2 from GoodKnitKiss

Here’s the essential gist of how I do it:

  • Start with a small loop (this will be your top and will hide all of the turns you are going to make in the middle of the bow)
  • Tie it with a long piece of floral wire, like you would a twist tie, and separate the “stems” of the wire so that they will straddle the loops as you work down the bow
  • From the middle, go out to one side with the ribbon so that it is in the same direction as the small loop you started with, ensuring that the “pretty side” is up and make a loop with it
  • Come back to the center and stop
  • You will notice that the “pretty side” is now facing down, so you want to pinch the ribbon at the center and make a half turn
  • If you would feel more comfortable, you can secure this with the floral wire by taking each piece over top of the half turn so that each “stem” is on the opposite side and then give it a good twist or two (no more — we don’t want too much bulk up there between each layer); this is optional (I tend to do it every few rows)
  • Now that the “pretty side” is right side up again, take it out in the other direction and repeat the same process, bringing it back to the center, pinching it, making a half turn and tying it down with the floral wire if needed :: you have just made your first row!
  • Continue this process until you are satisfied with the number of rows you make (I usually do between 4 and 6 depending on the ribbon and the size of the KraftyBlok)); try to keep each row about the same length between the two loops (I tend to make the top row the shortest and progressively get longer as I work my way down)
  • Once you have enough rows to satisfy you, make your last loop like normal, bring it back and do a half-turn again and ensure you secure all remaining and unsecured loops with your floral wire, and remember to leave the excess of the floral wire, you’re still going to need it
  • Continue to let the ribbon go for a few inches, this will be one of the tails if you desire one
  • Cut another piece of the ribbon that will be approximately the same length (you can adjust it later as you trim the edges of the ribbon to prettify them) and secure it to the under-side of your bow, letting the tail point out in a complimentary direction, using the floral wire
  • Now, it’s time to gently spread the loops on your bow and fluff away (this is really when wire comes in handy!)
  • And to get the bow to stay on the KraftyBlok, I wrap it up like a present with additional ribbon (after the lights are stuff inside) and use the excess floral wire to secure it to the ribbon on the block

    This is probably my favorite — I love the transparency of the ribbon that allows the lights to shine through so well! (This picture does not do it justice.)

This past Christmas, I gave this as a gift to some of my family — and everyone who received it loved it! And those who saw it loved it, too! Everyone thought it was truly original and would add something unique and special to their home. (It does my heart good to see people taking pleasure in things I give them…especially when I spent time creating it for them. :-))

I haven’t done it myself yet — but don’t be afraid to make some for other seasons, too! I think it could be a fabulous year-round decoration that you change out with the seasons (not the bow — the whole block). This transparent black ribbon that you have seen in two pictures, I think, it great because it really doesn’t limit you to Christmas with it’s snowflake pattern. Things that can last longer than the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas season are the way to go if you can as far as I’m concerned.

I hope that between the videos and my brief directions you will be able to make this adorable Christmas decoration! I was so excited with how it turned out. Just remember to be patient with it, and have fun! Let me know how it turns out for you and your plans for this jewel.