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Top Tutorials for Making Gift Bows and Other Gift Toppers

Updated on December 19, 2014
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Handmade = Affordable, Different, and Personalized

This page highlights my top 5 favorites plus nearly 50 other tutorials for paper gift bows and gift toppers. I hope you find a paper topper that suits your needs!

When I give a gift, it is really important to me that the person getting the gift feels that I have spent time on it - picking out the right gift as well as wrapping it personally for them. However, I don't like the bows and ribbons I find at department stores and I usually don't have much time to dedicate to personalizing gift toppers. That's why I curated this page - to collect as many tutorials and instructions for handmade paper bows and other gift toppers as possible for an easy reference guide.

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Choosing Tutorials for This List

As I mentioned above, I don't have a lot of time for making bows or gift toppers, but I do like to set aside an open day in my schedule every 6 months or so to do paper craft. It relaxes me and I can restock my supply of bags, bows, and other toppers for gift giving. Because I don't get to do this very often, I have a few other criteria for the projects.

  1. They should look like I really spent some time on them, even if they're pretty easy.
  2. They should either cost very little to make or be free (reused materials like newsprint, book paper or magazine paper).
  3. They should not require any or many specialized tools - just a few essentials like a paper cutter, bone folder, and adhesive.
  4. They should catch my fancy, so they're fun to make. If I don't enjoy making them, I don't bother.

So, it was with these criteria in mind that I created this page. I hope you can use the designs too!

Traditional Bows

A Traditional Gift Bow with Flair

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Sometimes you want a traditional gift topper, but that doesn't mean that it has to look plain or boring. You can have your cake and eat it too... I made a beautiful bow out of my favorite paper in minutes. I like to use simple craft paper to wrap a gift with an eye-catching scrapbook paper bow for an accent that will get oohs and aahs.

I love this paper bow tutorial from Almost Never Clever.

Basic Kraft Wrapping Paper

Pacon 5850 Kraft Wrapping Paper, 48" x 200 ft, Natural
Pacon 5850 Kraft Wrapping Paper, 48" x 200 ft, Natural

I love Kraft wrapping paper! It's practical for lots of different kinds of packaging, but more importantly, it's a natural, "plain" brown that highlights my handmade bow and lets it really take center stage. Kraft paper is a must have for my Christmas wrapping!

 

Variations on the Traditional Paper Bow Above

This traditional bow tutorial is a slight variation on my favorite bow above. This page shows the bow made with magazine paper and also a sample with old map paper.

And another of basically the same tutorial if you want to see the bow made with wrapping paper.

Here's a little bit different tutorial to make a very similar bow. However, this one is a traditional bow using brads and two-side paper... a very nice touch.

Traditional Bow Tutorial

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A Super Simple Paper Bow

Sometimes the simplest designs are the most perfect. This Super Simple Paper Bow tutorial shows the bow as being for a handmade greeting card. Go ahead... make it bigger and bolder to fit the package you are wrapping. Make it work for you.

Fiskars Trimmer Cutting Replacement Blades, Style G (195960-1001)
Fiskars Trimmer Cutting Replacement Blades, Style G (195960-1001)

Trim a lot of paper with your Paper Trimmer? When my blade gets dull, it doesn't cut smoothly and makes my paper projects take longer. Replacements are very important!

 

Shop for your Basic Paper Craft Supplies - on Amazon

Fiskars 12 Inch SureCut Deluxe Craft Paper Trimmer (152490-1004)
Fiskars 12 Inch SureCut Deluxe Craft Paper Trimmer (152490-1004)

The Fiskars paper trimmer makes easy work of cutting paper strips, an important part of several of the traditional bow designs.

 
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Wrapping Paper Curly-Q Bow

Make decorative Curly-Q Bows with this simple tutorial.

Hint: It works great with other kinds of paper too. I've used newspaper, magazine, calendar and other kinds of paper for this one.

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Paper Spikes Bow

This Paper Spikes Bow tutorial creates a truly unique bow that suits its name because of all of the clever and cute spikes all over it.

This page also shows a simple strategy to create perfect paper circles if you don't have a circle punch from the craft store.

Elegant Bow Video Tutorial

Two-sided scrapbook paper (or magazine or calendar or whatever you want to try) make an elaborate looking decorative bow. If you want to see the text and photo tutorial for this same bow, click here.

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Loop-de-Loop Paper Bow

Newspaper is transformed from flat and lifeless to full, fun, and fresh with this super easy Loop-de-Loop Paper Bow photo tutorial.

Fiskars Recycled 8 Inch Straight Scissors
Fiskars Recycled 8 Inch Straight Scissors

I love a good pair of scissors for almost every room in the house. I like to be able to find them when I need them. And Fiskars stays sharp longer than most.

Fiskars scissors are excellent for craft and paper projects!

 
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Origami Paper Bow

In just a few quick steps, you'll have a clever Origami Paper Bow in all of the beautiful patterns that Origami Washi Folding Paper has to offer.

One great thing about this bow is if you travel with your packages, this one can be pressed flat and "re-fluffed" when you get to your desitnation for easy stacking of boxes.

Homemade Paper Bow
Homemade Paper Bow | Source

Homemade Paper Bow

This is one of the quickest, simplest patterns I've seen. Made from a single square of paper, you'll have a beautiful bow in minutes. Just click here to see the tutorial.

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Paper Bows With Frills

Use any paper you like for this Frilly, Curly Paper Bow. The tutorial features clear instructions and nice pictures for a fun and quick project.

Paper Flower Gift Toppers

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Kusudama Flowers

Here's a set of instructions for making individual Kusudama flowers.

I love this simple pattern that starts with five 3x3 inch squares of paper. A few folds and some dots of adhesive later... you have a gorgeous flower with a touch of class.

If you click through the links, there is a second tutorial for how to use Kusudama flowers to make a Kusudama ball (like the one shown here) for a hanging decoration.

Or make half of a Kusudama ball for an elaborate-looking gift bow.

Kusudama Flower Tutorial - In case you need to see it...

Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive Refills, 3 Pack (62207)
Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive Refills, 3 Pack (62207)

Why buy a whole new cartridge when you can get refills for less? Tombow makes it easy.

 
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Cute Paper Flowers

I know I said I didn't want to choose patterns that required special tools, but this Cute Flower Tutorial makes a circle cutter seem completely worthwhile. Judge for yourself. And since I bought a Martha Stewart Circle Cutter, I use it for so many other projects, including my Drink Coaster Mini-Album.

Hint: If you don't want to buy a circle punch, just trace something round and cut your own circles. This has the added benefit that you can make your flowers any size you like.

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Pop-Up Blooms

Simple materials layered into Pop-Up Blooms. This crafty author uses magazine paper for the many layers of flower. What will you use?

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Double-Fringed Flowers

These Double-Fringed Flowers look complicated, but they're really simple. A few steps and you have a fresh-looking flower that looks like it took much more effort to make.

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Quilled Paper Flowers

Quilled Paper Flowers look like asters and they're so easy to make. If you make nice even cuts, you don't need the quilling tool mentioned in the pattern.

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Paper Fan Flower

Scrapbook paper and a decorative brad make a sweet and simple Fan Flower.

A similar-looking flower using a different strategy... A free printable pattern page is included in this 3-D Paper Flower tutorial. A little folding, a decorative center and your flower gift topper is complete.

These patterns could be turned into a rosette or awards ribbon just like in this tutorial for a Funky Rosette.

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Cupcake Paper Carnations

Use cupcake liners for sweet, carnation-shaped gift toppers.

Click here for the tutorial.

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Wax Paper Flower

This Wax Paper Flower takes the prize for the most delightfully surprising bow - made of wax paper. Who knew?

Scroll about a third of the way down the page to find the tutorial.

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Junk-Mail Poinsettia

This Junk-Mail Paper Flower (or bow, depending on your perspective) rivals the Kusudama for my favorite flower gift topper, for entirely different reasons. Seriously! Check this one out.

Paper Critter Gift Toppers

Birds of a Feather...

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I love birds and especially owls. 3-Eyed Bear offers these cute bird and owl printable patterns plus a bunch of others. Print, cut apart, and assemble according to the simple numbered tab order. Bird friends make fun gift toppers for both children and adults.

The drawback to this pattern? You can see the dotted lines for folds. I plan to use the pattern on my own paper in the future and decorate them myself.

Origami Owl

Origami Paper

You certainly don't have to use origami paper for these projects, but it is designed with origami in mind and comes in so many fun patterns it's worth it.

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Woven Paper Bird

This crafty Woven Paper Bird will look amazing on the top of your next gift!

If you enjoy paper weaving, visit my Weave Your Own Paper Basket tutorial.

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Hoppin' Up Paper Bird

This ultra-simple Hoppin' Up Paper Bird pattern can be dressed up or dressed down according to your tastes and creativity.

Start with the simple tutorial and see where you can fly from there!

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Paper Bird Ornament

Sometimes, the best gift toppers double as something else - an ornament perhaps. This Paper Bird Ornament uses paper and gets stitched together to hide some of the assembly and to add to the pretty!

The same page also links to a second no-sew tutorial for almost the same bird.

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Lacy Bird

This delicate looking Lacy Bird is made with paper doilies (or lace... you choose). Perfect gift topper for weddings!

Quick Accordion Fold Butterfly

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This Simple Paper Butterfly tutorial is so simple that I have found many patterns for it on children's craft sites. It is no less beautiful for its simplicity and I really love all the possibilities for making it special. Use scrapbook paper, magazine, newsprint, sheet music or whatever strikes your fancy. The body can be made of pipe cleaners, ribbons, beads... I've even seen one made with a wooden bobbin body... let your creativity shine through.

Just remember, have fun with it!

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3-D Paper Butterfly

Ultra-simple. Ultra-classy. Make this 3-D Paper Butterfly with the book paper as shown or choose your own paper.

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3-D Paper Lizard

Imagine your gift with this colorful 3-D Paper Lizard creeping across it. Perfect for gifts for both boys and girls.

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Origami Dragonfly

I recommend patience and/or experience with paper folding for this Origami Dragonfly, but the results are worth it. The tutorial includes detailed photos and text explanations.

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Wired Paper Butterfly

A beautiful paper, a little wire, and a few dabs of hot glue and these Wired Paper Butterflies take flight from the top of your gift. As the tutorial suggests, these butterflies also make lovely wall décor.

Paper Folded Butterfly Video Tutorial

This video tutorial quickly and easily demonstrates how a few folds of special paper creates a lovely butterfly to decorate the top of your gift. However, if you prefer the written instructions, click here.

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Origami Frog

I would love to get a gift with an Origami Frog hopping across it. Who wouldn't?

This frog would look so fun in some fresh, spring-patterned paper.

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Whimsical Paper Feathers

I would love to open any gift or package topped with these Whimsical Paper Feathers from Posed Perfection. They would also make sweet decorations for a handmade wreath. They spark so many fun ideas for me!

Paper Stars Gift Toppers

Super Simple Stars

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Super Simple Stars are a very easy pattern for quick gift toppers. Make one, make a constellation of different sized stars... what the heck?... why not make a whole galaxy? All you need is two squares of paper, adhesive and a few minutes, and these stars will brighten up any package.

Add a string to your star gift topper. Then they can hang it after they unwrap their gift. Your friend or family member will thank you!

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Woven Paper Gift Topper

Using any color(s) and as many colors as you like... create a Woven Paper Gift Topper by weaving paper strips to dress up or dress down even the simplest gift wrapping.

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3-D Paper Diamonds

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, and these 3-D Paper Diamonds will be a special handmade example of that. Choose paper that makes these diamonds glitter bright as any gem.

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German Paper Star

Create this 3-dimensional German Paper Star (with one flat side). It makes a perfect and traditional accent to any package.

Lucky Stars Tutorial

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Paper Star Lantern

Sure you could put a candle in this Paper Star Lantern or it's a gift topper that can be filled with candy. :)

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Tissue Paper Stars

I love the idea of one of these colorful Tissue Paper Stars sprawled across the top of a simply wrapped package. Talk about a splash of color!

This website offers patterns for 5 different stars - basic (pictured here), checked, north, skinny and starburst.

What's Your Favorite?

Which of my top 5 is your favorite for gift-giving?

See results
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Think Outside the Box

Wouldn't it be great if your packaging were as much of a surprise and a delight as the gift inside? Lots of people believe it's more fun to give gifts than to receive them. If you agree, fun bows and gift toppers can really amp up the fun for both you and the friend or family member receiving your gift.

And you may just see your gift toppers sprinkled around people's homes or being re-gifted to spread the joy. Happy gifting!!

Link Party Connections

Here are parties and blog hops this page is linked to. Click on any of them to find hundreds more ideas, recipes, crafts, and much more!

© 2012 Monica Lobenstein

What Do You Think? - Will you be thinking outside the box for your future gift giving?

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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      I am now, as we have some important birthdays coming up. What fun this page is. Thank you for collecting all these links and sharing them.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Wow, these are great. I would love to try to make some of these the next time I have a gift to wrap and I will know just where to come for instructions. Thanks.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Very creative! Hope you're doing good business with these crafts.

    • SavioC profile image

      SavioC 4 years ago

      My wife is going to love this. She likes to invent on gift wrapping & this will blow her mind away for sure. Thank You.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      I have absolutely no excuse for not making my gift wrapping stylish after reading this.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Wow, these are all amazing! I love the look of using newsprint and a pretty bow.

    • RosaMorelli profile image

      RosaMorelli 4 years ago

      Love all of these, can't wait for someone's birthday to come around so I can try them out :)

    • profile image

      applejacking 4 years ago

      Paper Kusudama flowers is better than rose as Valentine gift.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      I really like the birds of a feather.

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 5 years ago from California

      Those paper birds are adorable!

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      This looks like a fun project for the kids to dress up packages for birthday parties.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

      These are all lovely! I particularly like the origami owl... what a hoot!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 5 years ago from Iowa

      You've created a wonderful resource. Nice.

    • MoniqueDesigns profile image

      MoniqueDesigns 5 years ago

      I love the flower one, great lens!

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 5 years ago

      wow the owls are adorable, great ideas you have featured here

    • kristalulabelle profile image

      Kristen 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Great ideas! The only one of these I would probably be coordinated enough to make would be the butterfly. :)

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Some very nice ideas here...thanks for sharing!