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How to Make a Ribbon Bow

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a clock wreath and asked if anyone would like to know how I made the bow for the wreath. Many of you wrote to me saying, yes, please. I have the bow making post for you today.

I have made quite a lot of bows in my life having worked in retail display where everything in the store during the holidays was embellished with a bow – trees, wreaths, garlands, and gift boxes. I have made hundreds. Literally of all types, colors, sizes, and in 3 different ways – Multi-loop, 3-Piece with a stapler, and the Easy “M”.  While I can make one with my eyes closed, I know that not everyone knows how to make one using ribbon and adding wire so that it can be easily attached to wreaths, garlands, gift boxes, and more.

Make-the-perfect-bow-extra-special

I am going to show you the steps on how to make a basic 2 loop bow using the “M” method. I bought the ribbon at TJ Maxx.

What-type-of-ribbon-to-use-to-make-a-bow

The Easy “M” is my “go-to” bow and works with any kind of ribbon, but best with wired ribbon.

How to Make a Ribbon Bow Using Only One Length of Ribbon

How-to-make-a-bow

supplies needed: 

  • 52″ of ribbon
  • 12″ florist wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Sharp scissors
 

The-M-method-used-to-make-a-bow

1. Make a loose “M” shape with ribbon.

How-to-make-a-bow-out-of-ribbon

2. Cinch each side to start to form loops.

Bow-making-tutorial

3. Hold each side with your hands where you cinched ribbon.

Wired-ribbon-bow-making-step-by-step-tutorial

4.  Cross loops and put one through the opening under the crossed loops – just like the way you tie a shoelace.

easy-way-to-make-a-ribbon-bow

5. Once one loop is through the opening, pull both loops to tighten knot in center. It will look like this.

This is the step where most people not used to making bows think they have failed Bow Making 101 and give up.  Don’t ! You just need to primp a little now.

How-to-primp-a-ribbon-bow

6. Lay bow right side up on a flat surface. Hold tails and pull one loop at a time to make them even. Place your fingers in the inside of a loop to add fullness. The wire in the ribbon will help you shape each loop.

Bow-tutorial

7.  Pull the loops at the same time to tighten knot. Twist loops if needed to get them straight and even with each other.

Bow-making-101

8. This is the most important step.  Put your index fingers under knot to pull and straighten the knot. Pull the edge of ribbon to the each side of knot.

how-to-make-a-classic-bow-with-ribbon

9. After you primp, it should look like this.  A dimple should be in each loop near the center knot.

How to Attach Wire to Bow To Hang

How-to-attach-a-bow-to-garland

1. Turn bow face down. Thread one end of a 12-inch long piece of wire under and through the back of the knot.

Attaching-wire-to-a-bow-so-you-can-hang-it

2. Center wire and twist wire against knot to secure.

How to Trim Tails of a Ribbon Bow

How-to-notch-the-ends-of-a-ribbon-bow

I like to notch the ends of the tails into an inverted “V” shape, but a simple angle cut looks nice also.

1. Fold end of tail in half lengthwise and cut on an angle from the outer edge to the folded edge of the ribbon with the sharpest scissors you have.

How-to-make-the-perfect-bow2. Unfold the ends and flatten with your fingers to smooth.

 

TIP:  To make the wire edge of ribbon smooth, run the wired edge through your thumb and index finger to smooth and get kinks out.

 Variation:  Add Multiple Tails to add Fullness to Bow

Variations-on-bow-making

1. Determine the desired length of the new piece of ribbon, double that measurement, then cut.

The-perfect-bow-tutorial

2. Find center of cut ribbon and place it over the wire on back of bow.  Twist wire to secure.  Cut tails.

Gift-box-with-ribbon-bow

Christmas-gift-wrapping-idea

To add some bling to your bow pin a brooch style pin on the knot as I did in the first photo of this post.

The more bows you make, the better you will get at making them. Soon you will even be able to do it with your eyes closed.

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  • I don’t have a post on making multi-looped bows, but found a good one, here.
  • Would you like to learn how to make a bow with 3 pieces of ribbon and a stapler?  You will find the tutorial in this post: How to Make the Perfect Bow

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14 Comments

  1. Really enjoyed this tutorial. I don’t remember this technique for adding the additional tails. I will definitely try it!

    1. Hi Tammy – That is what makes DIYing so much fun – you can add as many tails or embellishments to your bows as you like or think your project needs. :-)

  2. Perfectly timed ribbon tutorial, thank you once again for sharing. Merry Christmas to all.

  3. I am one of those that would have given up before primping! Once again, great tutorial! Thank you!

  4. Nice! Do you know how to make a bow from tulle? They’re pom-pom looking. I love your blog and it is one of the few that I take time to read in my email. You are so very talented and have a gift for teaching.

  5. Hi Diane, Great tutorial. It helped me figure out a mistake I’d been making. Thanks for sharing your expertise and creativity with us! Merry Christmas!