A handmade bow makes your gifts stand out, plus it adds a personal flair to your wrapping. You can also make bows for wreaths, home decor, and parties. Here are instructions for making a round shaped bow.
Supplies: Scissors, a pipe cleaner (Also called a chenille stem. Use any color that matches your ribbon.), and wired ribbon (My ribbon is 2/3 inch wide and 5 feet long including the tails. But any diameter is fine. The wider your ribbon, the more length you’ll use. Plus, if you want a more or less full bow, make more or less loops, which will correspond with how much length you’ll use.)
Notes: You always want the nice side of the ribbon facing out, therefore as you make a bow, you’ll be making many 180 degree turns with the ribbon. Also, you’ll need to constantly hold the bow loops tightly. If you let go at any point, you may need to begin again at the beginning of the bow making process.
1. Make your center loop: Grab the beginning of your ribbon, and make a small loop for your center. Hold this loop with your thumb & first finger. Make a 180 degree turn with your ribbon right where you’re holding it with your fingers.
2. Make your first loop on one side of the bow. Make a 180 degree turn where you’re holding the ribbon with your thumb & first finger. Make your first loop on the other side of the bow. Make this loop the same size as the first one.
3. Continue making loops…make one on the first side, make a 180 degree turn, then make another loop on the second side. Keep all the loops approximately the same size, although you may decide to make the loops slightly larger as you work toward the back of the bow (as a beginner, I’d recommend making them all the same size though.) Make a total of 7 loops on each side. Then cut your ribbon just a bit beyond where you ended your last loop.
4. Cut a piece of ribbon for your tails. Mine is 12 inches long. Center it where you are holding all your loops.
5. Place the pipe cleaner into the center loop so about half the pipe cleaner is on either side of the loop. Bring the pipe cleaner ends together at the back of the bow. Twist the pipe cleaner a few times against the back of the bow. Make sure this twist is very tight, as this is the only thing keeping the bow together.
6. Here’s what the bow looks like from the front.
7. Now you’ll begin shaping your loops. (For the sake of teaching, I’m going to keep all the loops I’m not using behind my hand and out of the photos, but usually when making bows you’d just leave them off to the sides in their original positions.) Leave the center loop in place. Begin with the first loop on the left and gently move it to the top of the bow. With the first loop on the right, move it to the bottom of the bow.
8. Take the second loop on the left and move it to the left, and the second loop on the right and move it to the right.
9. Take the third loop on the left and move it to the top left corner, and move the third on the right to the top right corner. Next, move the fourth left to the bottom left, and move the fourth right to the bottom right.
10. Move the next ones on each side toward the top left & top right. Move the next ones on each side toward the bottom left & bottom right. Bring the last ones on each side directly to the left & right sides.
11. Straighten out your bow. Make sure it’s symmetrical. If you find a loop that’s a little longer or shorter than the others, you can do a little tugging. If it’s too short, tug to take slack from another loop. If it’s too long, tug on another loop to take slack from the long loop. This takes a little experimenting.
12. Cut your tails at an angle to make them look pretty.
13. Finally, attach your bow to whatever you want with the pipe cleaner. Just twist the pipe cleaner around the desired item to hold it securely in place. If the pipe cleaner ends are too long after you’ve attached the bow to an item, you can cut them shorter with wire cutters (not scissors, you’ll ruin them!)