People often ask me to rebind their Missals (the books that Catholics use at Church), and they always have a special bookmark system of 5 different coloured 1/4" wide, solid-colour ribbons.

Now, I can easily make these bookmarks, but I am having a hard time figuring out what kind of ribbon to get. The ribbon you buy at the hobby stores is too stiff and they slice into the paper of the pages.

I've seen ribbon that was really soft, but I don't know what it is made from or where to get it.

Can anyone give me some ideas?

What I really need is some quality, supple, soft ribbon. I am totally lost as to what to even google for.

  • Is there a traditional material that has been used for these? My first thought is soft satin ribbon.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 30, 2021 at 17:57
  • Isn't the common ribbon from Hobby Lobby just satin? If that is satin, it's not soft enough.
    – bgmCoder
    Jul 30, 2021 at 19:41
  • The packaging should say what material your ribbon is made from. Can you check the package and add that information to your question? If it's actually made from fabric, I would suggest washing a piece of it and see if it gets softer.
    – csk
    Jul 31, 2021 at 0:38
  • Yeah, I don't know about that. I've rebound a missal that's been around for years. Who in the world saves the box to a Missal? The ribbons I have from Hobby Lobby is just common ribbon and I'm not sure about washing it. I'm really looking for some kind of ribbon that is more suitable, but not sure what to look for or where.
    – bgmCoder
    Jul 31, 2021 at 1:44
  • Etsy sellers and tutorials seem to say satin. I don't know what hobby lobby sell, but a lot of satin ribbon can be very soft
    – Chris H
    Sep 15, 2021 at 16:22

2 Answers 2


This is what I ended up getting: a "hand-dyed silk ribbon with woven edge".
It is very soft and supple — just like I wanted. It's actually very mild - no way the edges will slice through old paper. This ribbon was perfect for the job, although rather expensive at $30/spool.

  • Awwwww. I hate accepting my own answer.
    – bgmCoder
    Apr 4, 2022 at 4:06

What you're looking for is actually called "Bible ribbon" bookmark. They come with 5 or 8 colored ribbons, like this example from ChurchSupplyer.com:

enter image description here

The tab can be inserted into the spine of the book and the ribbons used as bookmarks. There are many more examples of that kind in different online shops.

From what I can see, they are all grosgrain woven ribbons. I'm honestly a little supprised that this is used for bookmarks because it has a certain stiffness and doesn't bend along the widths of the ribbon. Notice the ribs across the ribbon:

enter image description here

Another alternative that will probably work is cotton twill tape. This is a sewing supply and it's very supple and soft and easily bent or folded. You'll have more luck finding it in sewing or quilting shops. The only problem could be finding colored twill tape in your required width, because it's mostly only available in black and white. Notice the heringbone pattern:

enter image description here

Satin bibbon, which you can usually find in craft stores, is woven in a different way to make the surface very smooth and shiny. It's also usually rather thin and stiff and I can imagine how easily it can cut the pages.

  • I actually want to make my own markers, which is why I only asked about the ribbon material. I am quite familiar with the cotton tape twill, and that's not quite what I want. I have plenty of the ribbon like what's in the photo you posted - and you're right - it's too stiff, and the thinner ribbon from the same material cuts into the pages. I still haven't found what I'm looking for. I've seen soft ribbon before, but can't find it or know how to find it.
    – bgmCoder
    Jul 31, 2021 at 13:53
  • 1
    It's been a while, but if memory serves, the ones in the hymnals we had at my (Lutheran) church were satin, not grosgrain
    – Allison C
    Aug 3, 2021 at 13:37
  • 1
    Like @AllisonC I reckon satin is more likely. It can be quite soft. The grosgrain I have is all much thicker than bookmark ribbon, unlike a lot of satin
    – Chris H
    Sep 15, 2021 at 16:19
  • Cotton twill is interesting, but that's kind of thick too. I've actually tried it. I wish it came really thin, then it would suit well and be quite nice. But once you've got 5 of those in your book, it makes the book rather fat.
    – bgmCoder
    Sep 15, 2021 at 20:36

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