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How to Make a Bow With Ribbon: Easy Mode

All gifts look better with a beautiful bow. A carefully wrapped box adorned with expertly crafted bows is always an exciting sight on a special occasion. There’s a common misconception, however, that it takes way too much time and effort to tie bows like this. But with the right know-how and materials, learning how to make a bow with ribbon is easy.

In this guide, we’ve got five different bows that are beginner-friendly. Use them for gifts, crafting projects, or adventurous hairstyles.

How to Make a Bow With Ribbon: Easy Mode

Choosing the Right Ribbon

The first step when learning how to make a bow with ribbon is choosing the right material. Ribbons can be made from:

  • Satin
  • Chiffon
  • Grosgrain
  • Satin acetate
  • Cotton
  • Upcycled fabrics e.g. cut from old clothes

Grosgrain ribbon can be quite stiff and isn’t always suitable for intricate, flowing bows. That said, it’s an excellent material for neat, symmetrical bows that need to stay in place. A grosgrain bow will be durable and less likely to fray, making it ideal for hair bows.

Graphic realistic shiny red holiday bow knot

For a more fluid look to your bows, try chiffon ribbons or another soft, light fabric. Always cut the ends at a 45-degree angle to help prevent fraying.

You can also choose between plain ribbons and patterned ribbons, including personalized ribbons. You could, for example, order ribbons with the names of all your gift recipients printed on them. 

Finally, decide on the right color. If your bows are for gift wrapping, consider a color that contrasts with the gift wrap you’ve chosen. Bold color combinations include:

  • Blue and orange
  • Purple and yellow
  • Red and green
  • Black and white
  • Bright pink and light green

Some design apps have a color wheel tool. Simply pick the color of your gift wrap and it will generate an “opposite” color guaranteed to stand out.

Christmas poster having christmas realistic ribbons and bell and typography on skin background

You might choose more classic color combinations instead. Here are some colors that traditionally complement each other:

  • Black and silver or gold
  • Red and gold
  • Red and yellow
  • Yellow and orange
  • Green and blue
  • Different shades of the same color

If you’re using your ribbons for craft projects or decorations, consider your theme. Blue and green ribbons go great with an ocean theme, but so do white and grey. Silver and gold metallic ribbons add a touch of glamor to just about any project.

Once you’re happy with your ribbon fabric and color choices, it’s time to learn exactly how to make a bow with ribbon.

Basic No-Sew Ribbon Bow

This is the ideal place for beginners to start when learning how to make a bow with ribbon. This bow is often used to finish cakes and gifts, but you could also add it to a greeting card. You will need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Grosgrain ribbon 
  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • Fabric glue
  • Double-sided tape

If you’re using this bow on a gift, cake, or other 3D item, measure the length you need then add half an inch. Cut this much ribbon. Wrap the ribbon tightly around the box (or cake) and you should have a half-inch overlap. Use a dab of fabric glue to secure the ribbon to itself.

Celebration gift with ribbon and bow

Cut four inches of ribbon. Lay the ribbon flat and pull one end over so it sits in the middle. Secure with a small piece of double-sided tape. Pull the other end of the ribbon over to create two loops. Secure with a second piece of double-sided tape.

Cut an inch and a half of ribbon. Lay this under the part-made bow so that the bow is horizontal and the new ribbon is vertical. Fold the top end of the new ribbon down over the bow and secure it with tape in the middle. Repeat with the bottom end.

Turn the project over and you now have a neat, super simple bow that you can attach to the original ribbon using glue or tape.

For a 2D project, simply make the bow and stick it wherever you like.

No-Sew and No-Glue Method

Learn how to make a bow with ribbon even more easily!

You can practice this method with any length of ribbon until you have it just right.

  1. Take any length of ribbon.
  2. Make a “U” shape in the middle with the two ends either side of the “U” dangling downward.
  3. Grasp the sides of the “U” (including the downward flowing ribbon) and cross one over the other.
  4. This makes a circle between the ribbons you’re holding.
  5. Pull the right-hand ribbon through that circle toward you.
  6. Pull both sides of the ribbon firmly.

You should now have a classic bow-shape. You can trim the ends of the ribbon, or simply pull the free ends to undo the bow and start again.

Shiny color satin ribbon on white background

Giant Decorative Bow

This is the type of bow you might see in red and white as part of some holiday decorations. It looks incredibly complex. No one will guess that you only just learned how to make a bow out of ribbon! You will need: 

  • A roll of ribbon, ideally inch-wide ribbon but any will do
  • Pipe cleaners in a color similar to your ribbon
  • Fabric glue or hot glue gun
  • Sharp fabric scissors

Take the end of the ribbon. Don’t cut it yet. Make a small loop of ribbon and secure it with fabric glue or hot glue.

Make a new larger loop that finishes in the center. The size of these loops is entirely up to you. Pinch the new loop in place and repeat on the opposite side, then again above and below the new loops. 

Secure all the loops in place at the center of the bow with a pipe cleaner. Put the pipe cleaner through the center loop so it’s invisible from the front, then twist it to secure the longer loops in place. Turn the project over.

Leave a long tail of ribbon coming from the center of the bow. Cut this neatly, then double it back to the center and secure it in place. Cut again to create two symmetrical tails.

Three colorful ribbbons isolated on white background

Use the ends of the pipe cleaner to secure your huge, decorative bow to a door, wreath, or existing display.

Personalized Ribbons for the Best Bows

Now you’ve learned how to make a bow with ribbon, you’ll want to source high-quality ribbons that match your projects. Take a look at Custom Ribbons Now. We offer multiple fabrics and any design you can imagine. Browse the catalog online or simply call us at 1-877-208-2067.

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