How to make a Bow out of Ribbon

The holidays are coming and if you're thinking a great way to impress is making homemade ribbon bows for the gifts you'll be giving this year, you're right. They look much better than pre-made bows and they are actually cheaper than the pre-made bows.

Once you master the art of ribbon bows, you can easily make a bow in about 30 seconds. I know this is possible because I spent my college years working retail at a children's book and toy store and we were the gift-wrap masters. We also needed to work fast!

Here's instructions for making a variety of different types of bows, from fancy big bows with satin ribbon to the very quick & easy curly bows made with curling ribbon.

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Gift Wrap Bows

For gift wrap bows, you can use ribbon between 1/2 inch and 1 1/2 inches in width, adjusted to the size of your wrapped present. You'll want to cut off about 3-4 yards of ribbon to make it. Essentially all you need to do is keep looping the ribbon back and forth while scrunching it under your thumb until you have as many loops as you want. Then you take another piece of ribbon and tie it off around the center of your loops. However, trying to make a ribbon bow by just reading instructions is difficult, at best, so I've included some videos that show people actually making bows.

This first video is exactly how I make my ribbon bows for presents. If you have a small box, use thinner ribbon. One additional thing that I do that the creator here doesn't mention,is that once I attach the bow to the package I take a scissors and run it swiftly down the tails of the bow. This makes them curl better.

Bows for Gift Wrapping

Curling Ribbon


Here's a curling ribbon assortment with 6 different colors.

Curly Bows-Pastel - Case of 50
Curly Bows-Pastel - Case of 50

If you prefer you can get your curly ribbon in premade bows. Check out the pretty pastel ones here.

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Using Curly Ribbon to Make Bows

You can also use curly ribbon to make bows. Personally, I don't think they look as good, but sometimes you work with what you have at hand and for some reason I always have curling ribbon lying around. These are the easiest gift bows to make because you really aren't making a bow at all. You're just making the curly ribbon even curlier. Just run your scissors blade down the ribbon.

Curly Ribbon Bows

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How big a Ribbon Bow do you want?

The following two videos show step-by-step how to make big Ribbon bows using wired ribbon. Personally, I think bows this size would overwhelm any gift you are wrapping unless you are wrapping a refrigerator. However, ribbon bows also make great home decorations during the holidays and big ones frequently look great on wreaths as well. So follow these tips to make some monster ribbon bows ! You can hang them on your front door with or without a wreath.

How to Make a Bow

More Big Ribbon Bows

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Comments 25 comments

sherry 9 years ago

how do you make a bow for wreaths

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Abhinaya 9 years ago

I am a craft lover and loved reading your hub.Thanks for this.

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SaraSanders2000 9 years ago

To make a good bow you can use a large hair clip sold at your local Sally's Beauty supply store. It looks like an alligator mouth...long with teeth. Just like the ones stylist use to hold back hair when a woman gets a hair cut. It works just like the "Gator Bite" sold on Ebay for $30, but the Sally's clip is only $2. You just make the bow my hand, use the hair clip to hold the center, then while the clip is clamped on the center of the bow get a piece of string and tie the center.

xcntrc 8 years ago

This site is helpful :) thanks

Jef 8 years ago

I like this site, its so easy to follow...Thank you very much... God bless...

Susie Cook 8 years ago

I viewed all of these youtube videos and made Shirley Frazier's bow, the last of the three demonstrations and my wreath bow came out gorgeous. I layered 2 ribbons on top of each other for a tone on tone look, made my folds 10 inches, not 7 as shown, because my wreath is an 18 inch wreath...thanks to Shirley my bow is fabulous. I did have some extra ribbon and made 2 long pieces to hang down on each side of the bow and stapled to the back of the bow. Thanks Shirley.

Merry Christmas to all and be well,


michelle 7 years ago

thanks for your tip on ribbon making because i used your tip to tie a ribbon for a friends present and it looked stunning. thanks a bunch :D

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Hendrika 7 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

I took a course in making bows, but I never really mastered it! Maybe I should practice a little more. Time always seems to be the problem, but I know that is no excuse. Thanks for making me aware once again of how much fun it can be.

Cindy 7 years ago

Shirley, excellent demo. It took me 3 practices, but I now can make beautiful bows. Very easy to do with the wired ribbon. Also discovered when securing with wire to twist very tight so ribbon is actually creased in the center. Thanks again!

Elle 7 years ago

This is amazing!Im fourteen and i've bought a huge present for my family and the wee bows you can buy from the shops just weren't big enough so i wanted to make my own - this is just what i was looking for; thankyou so much(:

Brighteyes 7 years ago

I think this is just great that there are still people willing to take there time and teach people something new and fun that is cheap to do and will bring a smile too the maker and receiver of the bow. Thank you very much!

travis12 7 years ago

I found your site very useful but after the section on making satin big bows, making satin little bows did not follow on! I need to make a small satin bow for a hand knitted toy cat. Can you help?

susan 6 years ago

Really helpful. Quick and easy. Turned out perfect! Thanks! :)

chloe 6 years ago

how do you make a bow for your hair?

Leighann ;D 6 years ago

Haha Thanks!

I've been wanting to find how to make my presents/gifts .... impressive. ???

jovanna 6 years ago

Thank you so much!!! Very useful. I will put this bow on my christmas tree

aga 6 years ago

OKK nice. I'm mak'n a homemade gift 4 my sis

Bequi Anderson 6 years ago

Can these big bows be made using satin ribbon? ive tried it and it's so slippery it just didn't work. is it better with paper or chiffon ribbon?

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embitca 6 years ago from Boston Author

Bequi, textured ribbons are definitely easier to work with than the satin ribbons. I would think that the bow can pull apart quite easily with the satin ones.

Tina 5 years ago

This is so hard

mary 5 years ago

u can make a bow of cloth:)

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RetailRich 5 years ago

Very helpful. The video from Megan Carter was very professional and easy to follow.

Jacki 5 years ago

I have a two year old son, so Christmas is still a lot of fun for him. I always wrap presents a little on the ridiculous side, so I needed to know how to make giant bows. I can't believe how easy it is, thanks so much!

Jacki 5 years ago

I have a two year old son, so Christmas is still a lot of fun for him. I always wrap presents a little on the ridiculous side, so I needed to know how to make giant bows. I can't believe how easy it is, thanks so much!

Amanda 4 years ago

Shirley's bow making tips were extremely easy to follow!! Thanks so much!

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