How To “Bow Like a Pro”

As I promised when I shared the DIY Candy Bouquet information, I want to share how to make a basic pinch and twist bow to dress up your projects. While there are many types of ribbon that will work, my favorite type to use is that with wired edges. I find it easier to work with and fluff up after making the bow. If you have another type of fairly stiff ribbon it may also work, but I am a fan of taking the easy route when I can, so it’s wired edges for me!

How to Make a Pretty Bow

Learn how to make pro-quality bows to add to your projects. | A Chat Over Coffee

What you’ll need:

  • Ribbon, preferably with wired edges. How much you’ll need depends upon how big you’re making the bow. I used about a yard to a yard and a half for the four-loop bows for the Candy Bouquets, A two-loop bow will require less. I used a 2” wide ribbon for the Candy Bouquets. You’ll want something wider if you’re making a larger bow, perhaps for a wreath. You’ll want something much narrower if you’re making a bow for a smaller project like a corsage.
  • A few inches of floral wire or another fine gauge wire. Or a twist tie if your bow won’t be too large.
  • A bamboo skewer or floral pick to stick the finished bow into your arrangement.
  • Clear packing/mailing tape to attach the bow to the skewer or pick.

What to do:

bow tutorial 2

Pull out enough ribbon for the streamer, then pinch and twist.

Pull off as much ribbon as you want for the streamer on your bow, plus a bit more so you’ll have room to trim the ends. Pinch the ribbon together and twist. This marks the middle of your bow. If your ribbon has a right side and a wrong side then make sure the right side will be facing the outside of the bow as you continue.

bow tutorial 3

Form the first loop.

Form the first loop of your bow, keeping the right side of the ribbon facing the outside of the loop. I like to hold the ribbon up to my project to get an idea of how large to make the loops. Remember your loop will be about half the size of the finished bow, meaning a 6” loop makes a bow that will end up being about 12” across. Once you’ve decided how big to make the loop, pinch and twist the ribbon in the middle and then hold it next to the first twist as shown.

bow tutorial 4

Form the next loop(s).

Form the next loop, which will naturally be on the other side of the middle of the bow. This is the hard part for me, because all of the loops must be the same size or the bow will be lopsided. Pinch and twist the piece of ribbon forming the second loop at the middle and then hold the twist next to the other twists. Continue forming loops, pinching and twisting the ribbon in the middle of the bow, until the bow is as large as you want it. I’m stopping the sample bow with just two loops because I finally figured out it is a nice size for my Candy Bouquets.

bow tutorial 5

Secure the middle of the bow with wire (or a twist tie).

Wrap a few inches of wire or a twist tie around the middle of your bow where you’ve pinched and twisted the ribbon. Twist the wire tightly to hold the ribbon securely in place.

bow tutorial 6

Fluff the bow if you want to check the size…or just admire your work!

I fluffed up my bow at this point because I think they’re pretty. If you aren’t sure you made your bow the correct size for your project then you might want to fluff it up and check the size before you cut the ribbon. But if you’re okay with the size then it really is more practical to wait until the bow is on the skewer to fluff it up. If you look at the Candy Bouquet how-tos you’ll see that I added the skewer before fluffing the bow in that picture.

bow tutorial 8

Trim the ends of the ribbon.

Pull the ribbon tails smoothly down, line up the edges, and fold the ribbon neatly in half from top to bottom, matching the wired edges, with the shorter tail on the outside where you can see it. Trim the ribbon to your desired shape.

bow tutorial 9

Put some tape on the skewer…

Put a piece of packing tape on the end of a skewer with a bit of tape hanging over the end of the skewer.

bow tutorial 10

…fold down the corner…

Then fold the tape down at an angle.

bow tutorial 11

…and attach the bow to the skewer.

Keeping the end of the skewer as close to the middle of the bow as possible without getting the bow caught in the tape, tape the wire (or twist tie) to the skewer.

bow tutorial 12

Add your professional-looking bow to your project. Smile. You did it yourself!

Fluff your bow and add it to your project.

Of course you can skip the skewer and use the bow to decorate wrapped packages or a wreath or anything else that needs some pretty ribbon to dress it up. I would love it if you’d share pictures of your bows and fun projects on my Facebook page or Twitter feed!

To what sorts of projects will you add ribbon and bows this Christmas?

I moderate comments manually but will get them posted as quickly as possible. Please keep your comments kind and if you must disagree please do so without being disagreeable. Rude or inappropriate comments will obviously not be published.

8 responses to “How To “Bow Like a Pro”

  1. Pingback: DIY Candy Bouquet | A Chat Over Coffee·

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  3. Pingback: How to Make a Basic Silk Corsage (DIY & free printable card)) | A Chat Over Coffee·

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