How to Tie a Perfect Bow

woman tying bow on gift

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Overview
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly
  • Estimated Cost: $5

A classic handmade bow can be the perfect touch to top off a package, hang as a festive decoration, or even jazz up an outfit. And making a perfectly balanced and evenly looped bow is not the challenge you might think it would be. In fact, even kids can handle this project (though an adult might want to manage the scissors if your children are young), and you will be done and ready to use your bow in a matter of minutes. 

A benefit to crafting your own DIY bow is you can make it in any color and pattern of your choice. That way, you can match party themes, coordinate with gift wrap, or simply have a bow in your favorite color. Plus, purchasing ribbon is much more cost-effective than buying a pre-made bow or having a professional wrap your gifts. And you can create the bow in the exact size you need for whatever the application may be.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors

Materials

  • Ribbon

Instructions

  1. Cut Your Ribbon and Create the Loops

    First, use sharp scissors to cut your ribbon. Select a length of ribbon that will be long enough for the size of bow you want to create. In general, ribbon that is at least a foot long is recommended for an attractive bow, but you can make something larger for more impact too if you wish.

    Next, find the center of the length of ribbon. Create two evenly sized loops on either side of the center, leaving some excess ribbon hanging down as tails. Some people refer to this as forming bunny ears in the ribbon.

    Forming the loops of ribbon for a bow
    Debbie Colgrove
  2. Tie the Loops

    Cross one loop over the other to create an X shape. Then, fold that loop behind the other one, and bring it back forward through the opening in the center. Make sure that you are firmly holding the other loop during this process. Finally, pull on both loops to form a knot.

    Folding ribbon loops over each other
    Debbie Colgrove
  3. Adjust and Smooth the Bow

    Pull the ribbon tails to shorten the loops and adjust the size of the bow while holding onto the center knot. Likewise, pull the ribbon loops to make them larger and to tighten the knot. Keep adjusting until the proportions of loops versus tails are according to your preference.

    If you still do not like the look of your bow, you can always pull on a tail until the center knot comes loose and start the process over. You might want to do this if your loops ended up off center, and you can't seem to get the proportions even.

    Then, if necessary twist the center knot, loops, and tails of the ribbon, so the right side (the side with the best color and/or pattern) faces outward. Finally, smooth the bow, so it lies flat.

    If you wish, you can cut an angle or a V shape into the edges of the tails for a more refined look. You also can trim some length off of the tails if you decide they are too long for your taste.

    Finished ribbon bow
    Debbie Colgrove