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Be Green: Cheap DIY Newspaper Bows

Updated on November 1, 2018

Traditional ribbon bows can be extremely wasteful, especially around the holiday season. While gift wrap can occasionally be recyclable, plastic-y gift bows are often tossed in the trash, especially because they easily smush in storage and lose their sticky application. Making your own bows can be a cheap and eco-friendly alternative.

It may sound difficult to make your own bows, but it's actually extremely easy! I've been making my own for several years and I ALWAYS get compliments on them. In fact, a lot of people want to hold on to them because they are so adorable (who does that to your store bought ribbon bows?)

Make your own newspaper bows to add a personal touch to every present.
Make your own newspaper bows to add a personal touch to every present.
DIY Newspaper Bows: Steps 1-3
DIY Newspaper Bows: Steps 1-3

You'll Need:
Paper Cutter

I like to use ads and the Sunday comics because they add a pop of color to my usually neutral wrapping paper. These bows look great on packaging paper (shown in photo, from the Dollar Store) or more newspaper! Wrap your gift in black and white text newspaper and add your colorful newspaper bow for an adorable combo.

Step 1: Select your newspaper and start cutting into 1-inch strips.

Step 2: Collect a grouping of various colors. I'm using black and pink, but during the holiday season I typically save up all the red and green Sunday comics from the year.

Step 3: Cut your 1-inch newspaper strips in half. At this point, your newspaper will be in about 1 x 5 inch strands.

DIY Newspaper Bows: Steps 4-7
DIY Newspaper Bows: Steps 4-7
DIY Newspaper Bows: Steps 8-11
DIY Newspaper Bows: Steps 8-11

Step 4: Pick one strand and bend in half. Be careful not to actually fold the newspaper or you'll lose your poofy bow look.

Step 5: Bend an opposite colored strand and place on top of the first strand (as shown), holding the strands in place with your thumb and pointer fingers.

Step 6 & 7: Continue building your bow until you have evenly spaced strands all the way around. Remember to alternate colors.

Step 8: Place one or two staples in the middle to secure the strands.

Step 9: Make sure your bow looks good. If you'd like, you can add another layer on top but I've found with this version a second layer becomes too heavy and you lose the poof.

Step 10: Cut off a portion of another strand and curl around to form the center of your bow. Tape to secure the curl.

Step 11: Tape your curl to the rest of the bow.

Play around with sizes and colors. I prefer a smaller, miniature bows with 1/4 inch x 2 inch strands but the larger bows have more uses - especially with large, Christmas presents.

If you choose to make miniature bows, you'll need double sided tape to secure the newspaper strands (unless you have tiny fairy fingers) and a staple isn't necessary to complete the bow.


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