How to Make Gift Bows

Kate Miller-Wilson
bows for gifts

Although there are many lovely purchased bows on the market, it can be difficult to find one that perfectly matches the style, color, and size of the gift you're wrapping. Fortunately, making your own gift bows is easy and fun. All you need are a few basic supplies and a couple of minutes to save money and make your gifts look professionally wrapped.

How to Make a Florist's Bow

bow

A florist's bow is a big, puffy bow that adorns wreaths and floral arrangements. It's a show-stopping choice for a special gift, and it's surprisingly easy to make at home. The width of the ribbon you choose, as well as the number of loops you choose to make, will dictate the fullness of your bow.

Things You'll Need

  • At least two yards of wired ribbon, in your choice of width
  • Florist's wire
  • Scissors

What to Do

  1. Start by making a small loop with the end of the ribbon, wrapping the ribbon loosely over two fingers. Pinch the ribbon at the bottom.
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  2. Right next to where you are holding it, give the ribbon a twist to flip it over. Create a loop in your desired size and add this layer to the spot your are pinching.
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  3. Create another loop on the other side in the same way and then continue adding loops of ribbon. You can make each loop slightly larger than the last for a fun look. You'll need at least three loops on each side.
  4. When you have the number of loops you want, create one big loop with the remaining length of ribbon. Use a 10-inch piece of florist's wire to tightly wrap the area you have been pinching. To tighten the wire, twist the bow around several times.
    bow
  5. The last big loop you made will be the tails of the bow. Cut these in a notch to finish them.
  6. Fluff the bow to give it the desired fullness. Use the wire to attach it to your gift.

How to Make a Pom-Pom Bow

pom pom bow

A pom-pom bow adds a cute, put-together look to any package, and it's very easy to make. One-inch-wide ribbon works well for this bow, but you can also experiment with other widths.

Things You'll Need

  • About two yards of ribbon
  • Florist's wire
  • Very sharp scissors

What to Do

  1. Loosely wrap the ribbon around your hand about eight times. Trim off any remaining ribbon.
  2. Flatten the stack of ribbon and use a very sharp pair of scissors to cut a deep notch through all the layers on each side of the center. Be careful not to slice your bundle completely in half.
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  3. Wrap the florist's wire around the notched area and twist the bow to tighten the wire.
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  4. Take one loop of ribbon and pull it out and away from the others. Give it a good twist. Repeat with all the loops to create the pom-pom effect.
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  5. Use the wire ends to attach the bow to your gift.

How to Make a Layered Paper Bow

bow

You can use any kind of paper for this classic bow, so it's a great way to upcycle old magazines or other scrap items. You can also use scrapbook paper in any color, pieces of wrapping paper to coordinate with your gift, or even photographs printed on regular paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Stapler
  • Craft glue

What to Do

  1. Cut the paper into nine, 3/4-inch-wide strips. The strips can be any length, keeping in mind that the longer they are, the wider the bow will be. Cut about five inches off three of the strips, and about two inches off another three of the strips.
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  2. Pick up one of the long strips and twist the end to form a loop. Bring the other end up to form another loop and then use the stapler to secure the ends. Set this aside.
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  3. Repeat with each strip to create the layers of your bow. When you get to the last strip, set it aside instead of making a loop.
  4. Place the largest loop on your work surface and apply a dab of glue to the center. Press the next loop down on top of it. Add some glue to the center of this layer and continue adding layers of paper in the same way.
    bow
  5. When you have added the last layer, make a small loop of paper out of the remaining strip. Glue the ends together and glue the loop on top of the bow. Allow the glue to dry.
  6. Use double-sided tape to adhere your bow to the package.

More Than Decorating Gifts

Knowing how to make a bow can come in handy for a variety of projects, in addition to wrapping gifts. You can use these bows to embellish a wreath or garland, add visual interest to a floral arrangement, or even make a hair accessory for someone special. No matter how you choose to use them, it's helpful to understand a range of bow-making techniques.

How to Make Gift Bows