How To weave a ribbon fish

I used to make these ribbon fishes with my Mom when I was a kid. I'm a little flabbergasted as to how I was able to do this at such a young age, because trying to make them again now took me more than a little while to figure it out. But alas. after a few failed attempts it got figured.
Be warned this is one of those simple yet complicated crafts, but if you are a visual person, the photos should lead you down the right path.

Choose your ribbons.  If using two different ribbons, try to use ribbons with the same weight, thickness and width. Here I used grosgrain and silk at 1" wide. If you use paper or plastic the fish bodies will actually puff up.

Cut ribbons to length. For 1" wide ribbon, cut to 28" in length. You will need less for smaller width ribbon and more for wider.
Take ribbon 1 and make loops as below.
Take ribbon two and weave under and over loops as below.
Take right end of ribbon 2 and weave under right end of ribbon 1, and over, as below.
Take the same ribbon end, weave over left end of ribbon 1, and through loop.
 Tighten the weave.
 Keep tightening and adjusting until you have this. You can stop here and trip the ends if you want a small fish.  For a big fish, keep going.
Rotate the fish so all the ends are at the bottom.
 Weave ribbon 4 over 3.
 Weave ribbon 1 under 2 and 4.
 Fold ribbon 1 up over 4 and 2.
 Weave ribbon 2 up over 1, and under loop of ribbon 3.
 Tighten the weave.
Flip the whole thing over.
 Fold bottom right ribbon up.
 Weave bottom left ribbon over and under the next loop.
 Tighten the weave.
 Rotate the fish, the body is complete.  At this point you can add the tail on separately with an other piece of ribbon. Or keep going and use two of the fin ribbons to make the tail.
 Take a bottom fin ribbon and tuck in around and into the body of the fish, and guide it so that it comes out the tail end.
 Tighten it.
 Take one of the top fin ribbons and do the same as before, tuck it into the body and make it come out where the tail should be. There's no wrong way to do it.
 Almost there!
 Snip off the tips at an angle to make it look purdy.
 And Voila!
You can use the fish as an ornament, put it in a frame, glue down the ribbons and sew it on a pillow, on clothes, on bags, make hair clips... ... My fishies ended up in the bathroom.
Blub blub.


  1. Thank you! I used to make these when I was little with my Aunt Gladys (happy tail) I kept trying to remember and could only ever get to the first weave step. Can't wait to try again with these awesome step by step photos

  2. Thank you for this tutorial with great pictures! I included a link within today's round up! I can't wait to get my hands on my ribbon stash & make a few of these fishies!


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