Wired ribbon is ribbon with pieces of wire worked into it, so that it is more rigid than plain ribbon. Typically, the wires in wired ribbon run down either side of the ribbon, and they are covered by the edging of the ribbon so that they are not visible. Some variants on the design use a single wire run down the middle of the ribbon, for more flexibility. There are a number of uses for wired ribbon, and the material comes in a wide range of sizes and designs as a result. Most craft stores stock wired ribbon, and it can also be special ordered if a particular configuration is desired.
Many people use wired ribbon in gift baskets and decorations, since it will hold its shape once it has been bent. This trait will cause wired ribbon to look neater, as it will not droop as it sits. It may also be used to close gift bags, since it can be twisted shut and shaped into a bow. The ribbon can also be bent into shapes like flowers and used as a decorative feature on craft projects.
Technically, almost any type of ribbon can be wired, ranging from sheer ribbon to dense grosgrain. Some ribbon companies offer both wired and unwired versions of their products, and they may offer wired ribbon in a range of colors and patterns. The wire-edged ribbon is sold on spools, just like regular ribbon, although consumers do need to be careful about crushing the spool and bending the wire out of shape.
Crafters can also use wired ribbon on clothing. The wire will help the ribbon hold its shape when it is used as trim, for example, which can be quite useful. Caution should be used when sewing wired ribbon onto clothing, to ensure that the wires do not protrude and poke the wearer. Sewing wired ribbon onto the outside of a garment and tucking the ends of the wire under can help to prevent unwanted scratches and poking.
In some cases, wired ribbon is designed for outdoor use as well as indoor use. The ribbon tends to hold up better than regular ribbon through events like wedding parties, and the wiring allows decorators to twist it into fanciful shapes. If you do want to use wired ribbon outside, check the packaging to make sure that it can be used outdoors, as water damage can cause dyed ribbons to run or stain in unattractive patterns.