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How to make a Bow out of Ribbon

Updated on September 11, 2017
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Emma wants you to get the most out of your holidays all throughout the year and loves to help you come up with new holiday traditions.

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.

How to Make 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

Easy to Make Curly Ribbon Bows

Curly ribbon makes for quick and cute gift-wrap accessorizing. 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. The video below shows you a simple way to make your curly ribbon bows.

Curly Ribbon Bows

Curly Ribbon Assortment

Ribbon Assorted Pack of 12
Ribbon Assorted Pack of 12

This is possibly overkill, but this assortment has 12 different colors and I'm sure you can find plenty of other ways to use cute curling ribbon... they make great hair bows as well!


Big Ribbon Bows

Photo by:
Photo by:

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 or a Mercedes Benz.

However, big ribbon bows like these make really great home decorations during the holidays and don't really cost that much to make. Also, you can create your bows in different colors to match the holiday, such as black and orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas or Blue and Silver for Hannakuh.

Big bows 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

© 2007 Emma


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    • profile image

      Amanda 5 years ago

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

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      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!

    • RetailRich profile image

      RetailRich 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      mary 6 years ago

      u can make a bow of cloth:)

    • profile image

      Tina 6 years ago

      This is so hard

    • embitca profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Boston

      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.

    • profile image

      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?

    • profile image

      aga 6 years ago

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

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      jovanna 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Leighann ;D 6 years ago

      Haha Thanks!

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

    • profile image

      chloe 6 years ago

      how do you make a bow for your hair?

    • profile image

      susan 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      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?

    • profile image

      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!

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      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(:

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      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!

    • Hendrika profile image

      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.

    • profile image

      michelle 8 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

    • profile image

      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,


    • profile image

      Jef 9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      xcntrc 9 years ago

      This site is helpful :) thanks

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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.

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      Abhinaya 9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      sherry 9 years ago

      how do you make a bow for wreaths