Bows are the perfect accessory to customize home decor accents. They add a pop of personality and give fresh life to ordinary items. During the Fall and Christmas season, knowing how to make a bow in the decorating world is a must-have skill. So, whether you are a “bow person” or not, I’m going to go over the steps you will need in order to make the perfect bow.
I have made bows for years, and have used all types of different ribbon fabrics/materials, colors, & sizes, but one thing always remains the same: the technique. And since I learned this technique from my mom (AKA Gabbi- to her grandkids), today she is going to show us young pups how to do it the RIGHT way.
***This is my first post for my new category Gabbi’s Corner, where I will share homemaking tips & techniques that my mom has passed along to me from her mom, and that I will continue to pass along to my girls. Family traditions tell a little story of who we are and where we’ve been, and I am excited to share some of our family traditions with you. :)***
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT BOW
STEP 1: SELECT RIBBON
Choose a ribbon material that will retain shape. Good choices are: wire-edged, acetate, grosgrain, sheer or any other material that is somewhat stiff. You want your bow to have “fluff” and look full, and a firm fabric makes it so much easier to achieve a perfect bow. We used a wire-edged ribbon from Hobby Lobby (in the Christmas Section) to make our bow.
STEP 2: CHOOSE BOW SIZE
Determine the size of your bow so that it coordinates with the item/gift you will be using. Smaller items (like presents), might only need 4 loops with a 1″ wide ribbon, but larger items (like a wreath or Christmas tree), might need 6-8 loops with a 3″+ wide ribbon. Of course, there is no rule! If you want a little drama, go BIG…..want a more subtle look, go small. It’s your choice so have fun with it.
STEP 3: MAKE THE TAILS AND LOOPS
Make your first loop to the left side (with your ribbon) and pinch at the end of the loop with your thumb and index fingers. This will be the center of the bow area. Leave extra ribbon (tail one) from your loop – this will be one of the ends of the bow. Make your second loop to the right side, and pinch again in the center. You will now be pinching loops ONE and TWO together. The thumb holds down the top side of the loops, and the index finger holds up the bottom side of the loops.
***If you only want 2 loops, you can skip down to STEP 4.***
***REPEAT LOOPS on each side until you get the look you want*** The size of your loop and the length of the tail are up to you. Having longer tails gives the bow a more casual look, whereas having shorter tails give it a more tailored look.
For this bow we did 6 loops, but the technique works for any number of loops. Now, that all of your loops are done, you can leave your extra ribbon again (tail TWO), but don’t do anything with it yet.
STEP 4: ADD YOUR RIBBON TO TIE IT
We used a small 1/2″ inch gold ribbon for this bow so that the bow will have more “fluff.” If you use a wider ribbon to tie it with, the loops or bow will lie a little flatter- your choice.
Start with lying your ribbon on the top side of your bow (across the spot where you are still pinching it together). You will now take the bottom end of the ribbon and slide it under under the hand holding the bow. The top piece of the ribbon and the bottom end should now be touching (one is still on top of the bow, the other is now underneath the bow). You will make begin to make a “loose” knot with the 2 ends – just using one hand.
Beginners: use a floral wire first before using the ribbon. It will be easier to keep the loops of the bow together so they do not come apart.
Now flip the bow over to the back side while still pinching loops together. Your “loose” knot should be visible-looks like this picture. You can now pull one end at a time until it starts to tighten, and then very quickly use both hands to PULL TIGHT at both ends.
Here is tail two showing also (still connected AT TOP)
This is what the knot looks like from the back side. You can now cut the ends of the ribbon.
*** Make sure to leave enough length on the ribbon so that you can tie it on to whatever you are accessorizing.***
STEP 5: CUT TAIL TWO
Cut at a diagonal to finish it off. You can choose other styles like the inverted “v” cut, straight, or one of your choosing.
STEP 6: FLUFF YOUR BOW
After you have finished cutting the tail, you can now fluff your bow from the top side. You will pull up on each loop separately and gently twist it where it meets the ribbon you tied the center with. This will allow the loops to “come up” or “fluff” so that they face the right way. They should turn inward or outward a little so that they are not lying flat.
STEP 7 : TIE YOUR BOW TO YOUR ITEM
Use the ribbon you used to tie your knot with, to now tie bow onto your item. AND YOU ARE DONE!!!