Large, decorative bows are a wonderful finishing touch for wrapped presents, holiday wreaths, and they even make great Christmas tree toppers. Just looking at their intricate folds is like a present in itself, but buying new ones each and every year can get expensive. Lucky for you, they’re not at all difficult to hand-make, even for the occasional crafter. If you want to learn how to make a large bow with ribbon, read on for a simple tutorial.
Materials You’ll Need
The only materials you’ll need for this project are a pair of scissors, a spool of wired ribbon (in your preferred color, pattern, and width), and something you can use to create a tight, yet discrete knot at the center of your ribbon.
A few options to help you tie the knot include a 20-gauge floral wire, a twist tie, or a pipe cleaner.
Choosing the Right Ribbon
Before you pick out just any ribbon at your local craft store, you have to determine how large and how full you want your bow to be. If you choose a ribbon that’s only ½ inch wide, but you want to create a bow that’s a foot or even six inches across, you’re going to have to create a lot of loops to fill it out. A lot of loops means a lot of extra ribbons.
Another downfall of using ribbon that’s too narrow for your desired bow size is that your loops will become floppy. To create a full bow that can hold its shape large scale, you’ll need to use wired ribbon that’s at least 1 ½ inches in width.
Now that you have all of the materials you need on hand, it’s time to tie your bow! Don’t trim the ribbon from your spool too early, as it’s important that you keep your ribbon intact until you’re making the finishing touches.
For the first step, unravel 12 inches of ribbon from your spool, creating your bow’s first tail. Once you have it roughly measured out, pinch the ribbon between your index finger and thumb to hold your place. As you move on, continue to unravel just enough ribbon from the spool so that you have enough material to work with, but your work space isn’t overwhelming.
Creating Your Center Loop
Now that you have the first tail of your bow measured out, it’s time to make the first loop, which will be your bow’s center. Create a three-inch loop at the top of your 12 inch tail, using the excess ribbon that’s still attached to the spool. Pinch and twist your ribbon, sealing it off (thanks to the wired edges.)
Plenty of Loops
Once the center loop is twisted nice and tight, it’s time to create two more. For a nice full look, make your next loop about an inch longer than your center loop. Tuck the ribbon under the center loop and pinch it. If your ribbon is patterned, make sure the patterned side is always showing on the outside of your loop. Make the third loop the same length as your second loop so that both sides are symmetrical.
A nice, full bow should have at least four sets of three loops—done exactly like the set of loops above—and each set should be slightly larger than the last. However, the amount of loops in your bow is entirely up to you. Do a trial run to discover your own preferences.
How to Seal Your Bow Off
After you’ve made all the three loop sets you want, give your bow a final twist. Next, unravel roughly 12 more inches of ribbon from your spool to create the second tail (while continuing to firmly pinch your bow.) Now it’s time to trim your ribbon.
To seal your bow off, take your pipe cleaner or floral wire in hand and put it through the hole of your center loop. Pull it down underneath all of the loops you’ve been pinching and give it a good, tight twist. If you’re attaching your bow to a garland or a wreath, you can use the excess pipe cleaner/wire to do the trick. If not, you can simply trim off the ends after your bow is sealed.
Arrange and Fluff Your Bow
Now that you’ve sealed off your bow, it’s time to make it look like a million bucks. Simply arranging and fluffing your loops by twisting and pulling them in opposite directions will help you make a well-rounded bow. If it’s messy at first, it’s okay—just keep working it. Don’t forget to place your fingers inside each loop and expand the inner cavity so that the loops better fill out your bow. The wired edges of your ribbon will help them hold their shape. You can even store your bows in a container and revive them with a little fluff and pull next season!
Go Try It Yourself!
Now that you have all of the instructions you need, go grab your favorite ribbon, your trusty pair of scissors, and get crafty! With a little bit of practice, you’ll be an expert at making bows out of riboon in no time.
Marian Sparks is a freelance writer and ribbon crafts enthusiast from Los Angeles, California. Combining her passion for all things scrapbooks, crafting, and ribbon, he enjoys publishing informative articles for avid readers around the world.