Which Type of Silk Ribbon Should I Choose?

Silk Ribbon Spools by The Lesser Bear Styled by Auburn and Ivory and Photographed by Maria Siriano

I get a lot of questions about which type of silk ribbon clients should purchase. It can be a lot of decisions to make to choose type of silk, width of silk and color, but this post is meant to make some of those choices a little less overwhelming.

What types of silk ribbon does The Lesser Bear sell?

The Lesser Bear sell three main types of ribbon: Crepe de Chine, Habotai and Gauze - all of which are very high quality silks

We also carry Silk Velvet ribbon and hand Crinkled Silk Ribbon

What do these types of silk ribbon look like?

In general:

Crepe de Chine is the thickest of the silk ribbons that we sell. It is opaque and has a slight suede like texture to it. Just a little texture, nothing overwhelming. Crepe de Chine does not reflect back much light, so colors look slightly more subtle.

Crepe de Chine Silk Ribbon by The Lesser Bear on a bouquet by Bear Roots Floral

Florals by Bear Roots Floral | photos by Kate Mannella Photo | Venue Zurie | Blossom Silk Ribbon by The Lesser Bear

Habotai, while still mostly opaque, has a glossy sheen to the surface. It reflects light well, which lends to a lovely play of colors depending on the lighting in your environment.

Habotai Silk Ribbon in Blue, naturally dyed by The Lesser Bear, Bouquet by Old Slate Farm photo by Jenna Powers

Florals by Old Slate Farm | Planning Mari Foster | Photo Jenna Powers | Blue Bell Silk Habotai Ribbon by The Lesser Bear | Venue Warwick Farm

Silk Gauze in mostly transparent and has a more open weave than the other two types of silks. It is lovely on its own as a light and airy ribbon and also pairs well with both habotai and crepe de chine, because it shows its own color and a blended color with the opaque ribbon behind it.

Layer Silk Ribbon by The Lesser Bear, Bouquet by Bear Roots and Photo by Derks Works

Florals by Bear Roots Floral | Photo by Derks Works | Venue Juniper Rooftop | with Silk Ribbon by The Lesser Bear

Silk Velvet Ribbon is the thickest of our ribbon options and is a one sided ribbon. Meaning that one side is thick velvet pile and the other side is smooth.

Silk Velvet Ribbon in Blue by The Lesser Bear, Paper goods by CheerUp Press Styling Auburn and Ivory and Photo by Henry Photography

Paper goods by CheerUp Press | Planning and Design by Auburn + Ivory | Photography Henry Photography | Venue Old Slate Farm | Silk Velvet Ribbon by The Lesser Bear


Our Delphi Ribbon is hand pleated and is a only available in limited quantities or by special order. Each ribbon is naturally dyed and then hand pleated using a specially developed technique.

Delphi pleated silk ribbon by The Lesser Bear Photo by Jenny Has

Photography Jenny Haas | Delphi Silk Ribbon by The Lesser Bear

Which type of silk ribbon should I use?

This is a hard question to answer without knowing about event and purpose for using ribbon. So, I would give the following advice: For bouquets, you cannot go wrong with any of the silk ribbon or velvet ribbon choices. It really depends on the look that you are going for. If you want a more structured bow on your bouquet, you might opt for a wider width crepe de chine silk ribbon, as the crepe de chine has a bit more body to it, and will hold a bigger bow better. If you want a light and airy look and want your ribbon tails to be sure to dramatically blow in the wind, I would opt for a gauze silk ribbon. For a glossy draped bow with long ears, I would choose a habotai silk ribbon.

For wedding invitations, menus, table numbers, etc., again, you can't go wrong with any of the types of silk or velvet ribbon, or you might want to try one of our silk or spun silk ribbon twines. The things to think about when choosing a ribbon for paper goods is the thickness the will fit into your envelopes, if you would like to see through the ribbon (in which case choose gauze) and the width of the ribbon itself. Our ribbons are hand torn and generally cannot be smaller in width than 1/2 - 1/4 inch, though gauze silk ribbon starts to look a little frayed at less than 1/2 inch. If you want a very fine tie on your invitation, I would suggest opting for a silk twine.

For styling, we sell weaver/styling bags, which are a great option for getting a range of colors to work with for a lower price. Many times, if choosing a spool, designers or wedding photographers will choose a thinner width, around 1 inch, and choose a color and silk style that matches the style of the wedding itself.

If you are using your ribbon to hang things, like in a seating chart or a sign:

Seating chart created by Auburn and Ivory with silk ribbon by The Lesser Bear photo by Leigh Elizabeth

Design by Auburn + Ivory | Photography Leigh Elizabeth | Venue The Estate at New Albany | Crepe de Chine Silk Ribbon by The Lesser Bear

 Bride and Groom Signs hanging on chair backs designed by Auburn and Ivory with silk ribbon by The Lesser Bear photo by Ashley West Photo

Design and Planning by Auburn and Ivory | Photography Ashley West | Venue Jorgenson Farms | with Lush Meadow Habotai Silk Ribbon by The Lesser Bear

I would choose one of the more sturdy ribbons like the crepe de chine, habotai or silk velvet, and would choose a width that is strong enough to hold the weight of the items that you are hanging.

If you still have questions as to which type of ribbon to use, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am always happy to give advice.