What Awareness Ribbons Mean & How To Make Your Own

We are all familiar with the small awareness ribbons people wear to show support for a cause that is close to their hearts. These ribbons can help raise important funds for causes that need them the most, like breast cancer research and suicide prevention. But with so many different awareness ribbons out there, it’s sometimes hard to know what they all stand for.

To help shed some light on this, we have created a list detailing the different awareness ribbons and the causes they help support.

Where did it all start?

Using coloured ribbons as a symbol of awareness is not a new idea. In 1979, Penny Laingen’s husband was taken hostage whilst working at the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Iran. Inspired by the song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon round the Ole Oak Tree”, Penny tied yellow ribbons around the oak trees at the front of her house. These ribbons were a symbol of Penny’s desire to have her husband return home safely.

This small act resonated with people across America and soon others were using the yellow ribbon in solidarity during the hostage crisis. Years later, this simple yellow ribbon would inspire multiple new awareness ribbons to be created. These included some of the most recognisable ribbons, the pink breast cancer ribbon and the red AIDS ribbon.

List of other awareness ribbons and their causes:

Pink Ribbon:

  • Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Breast Reconstruction Awareness
  • Eosinophilic Diseases
  • Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis

Red Ribbon:

  • Addiction
  • Alcohol Dependence
  • Blood Cancer
  • Burn Victims
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke

Orange Ribbon:

  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Yellow Ribbon:

  • Bone Cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Obesity
  • Spina Bifida
  • Suicide Prevention

Light Blue Ribbon:

  • Childhood Cancer
  • Men’s Health
  • Movember
  • Pro-Choice
  • Prostate Cancer
light blue awareness ribbon

Blue Ribbon:

  • Arthritis
  • Anti-Bullying
  • Child Abuse
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Colon Cancer
  • Crime Victim’s Rights
  • Education
  • Free Speech – Freedom of the Press
  • Human Trafficking
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Paralysis

Teal Ribbon:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Child Sexual Abuse and Assault
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Food Allergies
  • Gambling Addiction
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
teal awareness ribbon

Green Ribbon:

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Dwarfism
  • Genocide
  • Mental Health
  • Organ Donation
  • Scoliosis

Lime Green Ribbon:

  • Childhood Depression
  • Childhood Mental Health
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Lyme Disease
  • Maternal Mental Health
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Postpartum Depression
lime green awareness ribbon

Purple Ribbon:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Animal Protection and Welfare
  • Chronic Pain
  • Dementia
  • Eating Disorders
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Lupus
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Vitiligo

Black Ribbon:

  • Insomnia
  • Melanoma
  • Skin Cancer
  • Sleep apnoea

Grey Ribbon:

  • Asthma
  • Brain Cancer
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dyslexia
  • Parkinson’s Disease

White Ribbon:

  • Blindness
  • Domestic Violence
  • Lung Cancer
  • Osteoporosis

How to make your own awareness ribbon:

Disclaimer: These awareness ribbons are to be made for awareness-raising purposes only, and NOT for any fundraising activities. If you wish to sell your ribbons to raise funds for a cause, we advise you to first get in touch with the organisation in question and seek permission through them.

Creating your own awareness ribbon is an easy and rewarding activity. You can make them for your own personal use or share them with your family, friends, and work colleagues.

Follow the simple steps below to learn how to create your own.

What You Need:

  • 15cm strip ribbon of your choice. See below for our recommendation.
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Small safety pin

What Type of Ribbon Should I Use?

We recommend using satin or grosgrain ribbon with a 15mm width to create your awareness ribbon. Satin ribbon can add a beautiful shine to your design, and grosgrain ribbon is a more durable ribbon because of its ribbed design. Traditionally, awareness ribbons are made with no pattern on them allowing the colour to be the main feature of the design.

How-To Video:

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Using your scissors, cut a 15cm strip of ribbon.
  2. Take your ribbon by the ends and fold it to create a small loop so that both the ends are crossed at the front and facing down.
  3. Using your hot glue gun, apply a small dot of glue where the two ribbon ends overlap. Wait for this to cool and dry before moving onto the next step.
  4. When the glue has set, apply another small dot of glue on the back of the ribbon.
  5. While the glue is still wet, take your safety pin and place the side with the safety head into the glue. Make sure that the pin side of the safety pin is facing outwards and not down as this will make attaching the pin to your shirt more difficult.
  6. After the glue has set your pin is now ready to use.

At Koch & Co, we have a huge range of tools and accessories to help you create your own awareness ribbons. This range includes over 300+ options of satin ribbon and more. You can shop our range both in-store and online now.

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