My process for this has changed lately. Originally, I took cotton twill ribbon and soaked it in fabric paint. Then, I’d heat set the fabric paint, because if you don’t, it’ll rub off on your book! The next step would be to stencil on a decoration, touch it up with a detail brush, and heat set it again. The final step was to cut it to the proper length. It would take from 10 to 15 minutes per ribbon.
I’ve decided to start dyeing the ribbons instead of fabric paint. This should be much, much faster. Here are some photos from the first batch.
Wrapped up the cotton twill in a terrible version of a skein for washing and then dunking in the dye.
For the next attempt, I’m going to get a niddy noddy to create a better skein (which keeps tangling to a minimum).
The rest of the process is rinsing out the excess dye and drying the ribbon. I cut it to length and apply the stencil using fabric paint. Touch it up with a tiny paint brush, heat set the paint, and put a final angled cut on it. The very last step is to apply some Fray Chek and let it air dry. My goal, each time I do these, is to make 25 or more at a time.
Ultimately, I’d make these from linen ribbon, but I haven’t found a reliable source for 100% linen ribbons. Another idea I’ve had is to go in the opposite direction in terms of efficiency–band weaving. It could be a cool way to create a really luxurious and beautiful bookmark without using any paint.