Tuesday, November 3, 2009

DIY: How To Make A Bow

As promised, here is my super fantabulous Bow Making Tutorial.  Honestly, I'm sure I could whip these out in my sleep after all the bows I've made over the last five years.  And to give credit where credit is due, I learned how to make this bow at work while watching one of the other ladies do it numerous times.  I picked it up just by watching, so hopefully you'll be able to do it with this tutorial. 

This is the same technique I used to make the bows for our wedding wreaths and pew bows.

Supplies you'll need:
Wire - I've been using a pretty thick gauge lately because it's all we have around, but it works best with a thin, flexible wire
Ribbon of your choice - wired or unwired works, but wired is easier to shape, thickness is up to you...I would start with something around 1" for the first few tries, it will be easier to work with.

Mmk...let's get started.  (I'm right handed, if it makes a difference)

1.  Cut a length of wire about the length of your arm.

You can tell here how thick and green the wire is.  I would recommend a thinner, silver wire.

2.  Don't cut the ribbon, you'll work right from the spool so you don't waste any or run short.  Pull out a length equal to the tail you wish to have on your finished ribbon.  Then make a loop towards the left, bringing the ribbon attached to the spool (now referred to as ribbon) back towards the right.  The tail will always be at the front of your loops, and the ribbon will always be behind the loops.  Wrap the wire around the base of the loop.

3.  Now make a loop the same length directly across from loop 1 on the right side, bringing the ribbon back towards the left, behind loop 1.  Secure with the wire.

4.  Make a slightly longer loop on the left, behind loop 1.  You want to point this loop above loop 1.  Bring the ribbon back towards the right and secure with the wire.  Remember to always keep the tail of the bow at the front.

It's hard to tell from this angle, but if you flatten out loop 1 and loop 2, loop 2 is longer.

5.  Repeat loop 2 exactly the same on the right.

6.  Loop 3 will be made on the left identical to loop 2, but will be aimed below loop 1.

7.  Repeat loop 3 on the right side of the bow.

Here's where you should be now.

8.  Loop 4 will be made on the left, centered directly behind loop 1, and it should be longer than loops 2 and 3.  Repeat on the right side.

9.  Loop 5 will be made to the left, above loop 2 at the same length as loop 4.  Repeat on the right side. 
10.  Loop 6 will be made to the left, below loop 3 at the same length as loop 4 and 5.  Repeat on the right side.

At this point I usually stop adding loops, and finish off the bow.  You can continue adding for a larger, fuller bow if you'd like.  Just keep repeating this general idea.

11.  Wrap the wire around a couple times, tightly and cut it off. 
12.  Bring the ribbon from the back of the bow, and drape it towards the front, over the middle of the bow.

13.  Keeping the tail to the right of the ribbon, bring the ribbon towards the back of the bow, going underneath it.  Bring it back to the top and go under where the ribbon is already on top of the bow.

The ribbon under the ribbon will become your left tail when the bow is finished.

14.  Pull the ribbon under ribbon tight, forming a knot at the center of the bow.  Cut the ribbon under ribbon to match the length of the original tail.  Now you have two tails of the same length.  Now play with your bow until all the loops are in the right direction.  The best way to do this is to pull the loops tight in the direction they should be laying.

And there's your finished bow.  As you can see in the picture, the left tail is a little crinkly.  I was working with a ribbon that was very papery in texture and it crinkled easily.  I'm not too concerned about it because you couldn't tell when I finished off the wreath. 

I've had the best luck in the past working with either satin ribbon, or sheer ribbon, and wired ribbon is my favorite to work with because the loops form so well and stay where you want them to.

Hopefully some of you can take advantage of this.  It just takes some practice to get it right, and eventually you'll come up with your own little techniques that work best for you.  If you have any questions, or want some of my directions clarified just let me know!


  1. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing! I love all things ribbons & bows so I know this will come in handy. :)

  2. Awesome tutorial, I'm going to have to think of a reason to make a bow to try this!

  3. Wow, those turned out great! Love all your projects - keep them coming :)


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