How to Make DIY Cancer Awareness Ribbons: Step-By-Step


Cancer awareness ribbons are a simple way to show support. Developed in the 1970s as a way for military spouses to support their partners overseas, these ribbons are used for endless causes today. Cancer ribbons, in particular, encourage awareness, early detection, and research. 

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While you can find countless ready-made cancer ribbons online for all types of awareness, you can also easily make your own. This makes a great memorial craft, and it’s easy to create several at once to hand out to loved ones. 

How do you get started? In this guide, we’ll share how to make DIY cancer awareness ribbons step-by-step. No fancy skills or expensive craft equipment necessary. 

What Is a Cancer Awareness Ribbon?

First, what exactly is a cancer awareness ribbon? You’ll see them mentioned in books about cancer and online, but you’ll also see them in-person at cancer fundraisers. They’re especially common during cancer awareness months. 

A cancer ribbon is a simple loop of ribbon that’s worn usually on one’s shirt as a way to show support. Cancer ribbons help spread awareness in a simple, mindful way. They’re a call for more awareness, research, and funding. 

There are a large number of cancer awareness ribbons out there, and more are created each year. Every color stands for something unique, allowing the wearer to express themself in a subtle way. To those familiar with these different meanings, this is a powerful sign of support and understanding. 

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Common cancer ribbon colors and meanings

Before you begin making your own DIY cancer awareness ribbon, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of what some of the most common colors mean. As mentioned above, each color symbolizes a specific type of cancer.

Some are more versatile, but it’s important to know what you’re supporting when you choose a specific color. Here are the most common colors and the causes behind them:

  • Pink: Breast cancer
  • Red: HIV and AIDS 
  • Orange: Kidney cancer or leukemia
  • Peach: Endometrial cancer
  • Yellow: Bone cancer
  • Gold: Childhood cancer
  • Emerald: Liver cancer
  • Teal: Cervical cancer
  • Blue: Colon cancer
  • Light blue: Prostate cancer
  • Lavender: All cancer
  • Gray: Brain tumors and brain cancer
  • White: Lung cancer
  • Black: Melanoma and skin cancer

When is it appropriate to make a DIY cancer awareness ribbon?

When should you consider making a cancer awareness ribbon? While there are no rules, there are some times when it’s a good idea to wear a ribbon to show your support. While you can support those experiencing cancer at any time, it’s common to wear these ribbons when:

  • Attending a funeral for someone who passed from a specific cancer
  • Participating in a fundraising event
  • Competing in an athletic challenge (run, walk, race) for cancer
  • Supporting a loved one with cancer
  • Sharing your own experience with cancer
  • During an awareness month

Cancer research and support are relevant and important no matter the time of year. Remember that you never need a reason to wear a DIY cancer awareness ribbon. This might be something you wear on your clothes, attach to a bag, or hang on your home. 

What You’ll Need to Make a DIY Cancer Awareness Ribbon

Before you begin, make sure you have everything you need. This is one of the easiest crafts to make from home, and you’ll only need a few simple things. Odds are you already have these in your home. Otherwise, you can find them at any basic craft store. 

  • Colored ribbon: Make sure your ribbon is in the right color for the specific form of cancer you’re supporting. A thicker ribbon is best, but you might want to experiment with different thicknesses and sizes. 
  • Scissors: You’ll also need scissors to cut the ribbon to the right size. These do not need to be any fancy type of scissors. Fabric or paper scissors will work just fine.
  • Glue (optional): If you’re not using a safety pin to place the ribbon on your clothes, you’ll need a way to hold the ribbon in place. 
  • Magnet or pin (optional): If you want to adhere your ribbon to your clothing, you’ll also want a sticky magnet or pin so you can add your ribbon easily. 

Steps for Making a Cancer Ribbon

When you’re ready to create your DIY cancer ribbon, follow the steps below. There are also handy video walkthroughs online to help you visualize this process. If you can tie a basic knot, you can make a cancer awareness ribbon of your own. 

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1. Cut your ribbon

First, cut your ribbon to the size you’d like. There are no strict rules on how large or small it should be. Most ribbons start at around 5”, but you might want to experiment with larger or smaller sizes to find exactly what works best for you. 

If you plan to adhere your ribbon to a pin for clothing, make sure it’s at least 4” to simplify this process. If it’s too small it will be hard to pin it on securely. 

2. Create a loop

Next, fold your ribbon over on top of itself to create the classic loop shape. This means there is one large loop with two streams of ribbon underneath. 

Many people think they need to tie the ribbon here, but you’ll actually want to glue it or pin it to make it stay in that shape. If you’re not pinning the ribbon to yourself, you can apply a small bit of glue, like hot glue, to make it stay. That’s all there is to it!

3. Pin the ribbon to your clothes

If you’re not using glue and you would like to pin the ribbon to your clothing for an event, use the pin to hold the loop down. Yep, it’s that simple! From there, you can put the pin on your clothes, a bag, your car, or anywhere else that makes sense for you.

When you’re done wearing your ribbon, remove the safety pin and it should go back to its normal shape. You can hold onto this for later or just leave it as-is. This is a really simple project anyone can do.

What to Write On or Put On Your Cancer Ribbon

If you’re looking for a way to take your pin to another level, you might consider adding some extras. You can add accessories, messages, or other meaningful tributes to make this a more personal DIY.

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Inspirational quote

If you have enough space on a larger ribbon, this is a great place for a message. You can include positive messages for cancer patients, encouragement, or just words of wisdom. These add an uplifting spirit to anyone who spots your DIY cancer awareness ribbon. 

Glitter or gems

For something more attention-grabbing, adding glitter or gemstones is a fun way to step up your cancer awareness ribbon. This is a simple craft idea, and you can easily use glue to adhere your accessories. 


Another personal idea is to get the signatures of your loved ones, healthcare providers, or others affected by cancer. This not only puts names to the disease, but it means you carry them close when it matters most. If you can’t get in-person signatures, write the names yourself.

Hand-drawn designs

Last but not least, add your own hand-drawn designs. You can use a complimentary colored pen or marker to add to your ribbon with special extras. Things like hearts, stars, and lines are easy for anyone to make regardless of artistic skill. 

Show Your Support with a Ribbon

A DIY cancer ribbon is the easiest way to show your support for those going through cancer. Cancer affects everyone, from patients to families. We all know someone who has been affected, whether they lost a spouse to cancer or they received a diagnosis themselves. Though cancer can be unbelievably challenging, it also brings people together towards a common cause. 

Regardless of how you choose to show your support, a DIY cancer awareness ribbon is a simple craft everyone can do. Whether you’re attending an event, creating something to sell for a fundraiser, or you just want to be there for those you love, these simple ribbons carry a huge meaning. 

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