How to Decorate Flip Flops with Ribbon

Flip flop season is in full swing in Florida, and decorated flip flops are super hot. There are some adorable flops out there! But I just can’t bring myself to spend a ton on flip flops, so I taught myself how to decorate flip flops. I have made a number of pairs for myself and friends, and it really is easy.

There are ton’s of ways to decorate flip flops, but my favorite is with a little bling and some pretty ribbon. Follow these simple steps and you will have fancy flops in just a few minutes.

Supplies –

  • Flip flops – I like to use Havaianas because they hold up so well season to season, but any flip flop will do.
  • Ribbon – I use 1. 5 inch Grosgrain ribbon.  While you can buy this anywhere, I usually buy in eBay for the best selection and price.
  • Rhinestone Buckles – I use 1.5 round buckles.
  • Cording – thin nylon cording.
  • Craft glue – I like cheap white tacky glue, but anything that dries clear will work. (I buy the $.99 bottle at JoAnn’s.)
  • Scissors – make sure they are sharp so you get a clean cut on your ribbon

The materials above are perfect for women’s shoes, but if you were going to decorate kid’s flops, I would go with smaller ribbon and buckles. Perhaps 7/8 ribbon with coordinating buckle. Also, you are not limited to round or square buckles, I have seen some neat shapes including crowns, paw prints and flowers.

Step 1 – The first and most important step is to attach your buckle to your flops. While it is easy, you want to make sure you do this TIGHT so your buckle doesn’t slip (I learned from experience, when my buckle fell off in public once – oppse). I use approx 12 inches of cording for this step, and what you want to make sure you do is weave the cording back and forth crossing the cording in and out of the buckle bar for a tight tie. It is hard to describe how I do this, so I made a little video of me tying the buckle on.


Step 2 – This is the optional step in the video – glue. You don’t have to glue the cording, if you tie it tight enough it isn’t going anywhere, but I like the extra added security. So I dab on a little glue to the knots top and bottom.

Step 3 – Adding your ribbon. I use approx 11 inches of the grosgrain ribbon for my bow. I like the look of either forking or cutting the end of the ribbon at an angle – it also helps with fraying of the ribbon. (Note, you can heat seal your ribbon ends if you like, but I typically don’t bother because they are so easy to swap out for fresh ribbon.)

Once you have your ribbon cut, just fold it in thirds and feed it through the buckle — as seen in the video.

Fluff your bow, and you are done.

If interested, yes – I do sell these. Contact me through the contact form if you are interested in purchasing a pair.


23 thoughts on “How to Decorate Flip Flops with Ribbon”

  1. Hello!

    This is Cathie with The Buckle Boutique (the website referenced above for buckles). Embellished flip flops are the best! You will find lots of choices on my site.

    Please enjoy 10% off your Buckle Boutique purchase! Just enter the code, sububanmom10. Hurry, this offer ends June 5, 2011.

    Thanks! Cathie

  2. these are so cute! I might have to try this out once our puppy grows out of his chewing on every shoe phase.

    • You don’t really have to do anything. Since the buckle is slightly smaller than the width of the ribbon, once you tuck the ribbon in there it just stays put. It will come out if you tug on it, but for everyday wear it really just stays. It also allows you to swap out ribbon for a different look if you like. 🙂 Hope this helps.

  3. Do you still sell these? I had pair and I LOVED them but the buckle broke and I can’t seem to find them anywhare anymore! 🙁

    • While I am not actively making these right now (too busy with the baby!), I do have a couple pairs on hand. I have a black pair, a brown and a couple pairs of orange and blue (exactly like the ones in the picture). Email me jen at

  4. Hello,
    I loved your idea and wanted to try it, but I’m having a hard time finding the round buckles. I checked Joann and Michael’s but couldn’t find anything. Where did you purchase them??

  5. Hi,

    Is there any special kind of round buckles that I should use (I mean the material) or any kind will do? I bought some round buckles and did what you taught us. But as soon as I started walking and putting pressure on the buckles, the bar broke and the buckle ring fell off. I tried again but the same thing happened. Why is it like that? What kind of buckles I should use instead? is there any tricks while tying the buckles on? Am I doing something wrong?


    • Wow. If the bar broke, I would say you had really pool quality buckles. Mine are some kind of metal. I have made several pairs that I have worn – a lot. (Plus ones for friends and never once heard of the buckle breaking. This is where I bought my buckles –> Good luck.

      • Thanks for your referral. I saw there were 2 types for flip flop buckles. One bigger one, one smaller one. Which one shall I buy?



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