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How To Make A Bow

Bows are incredibly popular as a decoration, a gift adornment, and a fashion accessory. There are a huge number of different bow types and each is best suited to a different purpose.

This article will take you through a few of the more basic bows made using paper, fabric, and ribbon. 

How To Make A Bow

This is by no means an exhaustive list but should be a good place for you to start. Once you have mastered the creation of these simplistic bows, you can move on to more advanced designs. 

With Fabric

To do this, you will need a section of the fabric of your choice, measuring 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. You will also need a sewing machine or a needle and thread. It is advised that you turn the 3 inch long edges underneath and sew to keep the edges from fraying. 

Fold the fabric in the center, keeping the right sides facing inwards. This means that the backside of your fabric should be facing you.

Stitch along the edges, allowing for a ¼ inch seam. Once this is done, invert the tube you have created so that the pattern is now facing outwards.

Place the seam to the back so you cannot see it on your bow. Bring together the 2 short edges, allowing them to overlap. Pin or loosely stitch these edges together to secure them in place. 

Grab a second small piece of fabric and use this to create a small loop in the center, wrapped around the middle of the bow. 

With Paper

There are many reasons why you may want to make a bow out of paper. They make a super cute addition to birthday cards or gifts and can be recycled, making them much more environmentally friendly than plastic or synthetic ribbons. 

To make a bow from the paper you will need a template to ensure the measurements and proportions are accurate. You will also need some card stock (or whatever paper you wish to use to make the bow from).

Finally, you will need a pencil, a pair of scissors, and some PVA glue

The first thing that you need to do is to find and print off a bow template. Here is one we found from The Knot, that makes perfect paper bows every time. Once you have printed off the template, cut closely around the edge using your scissors. 

Place the cut out template on top of your card stock and trace around the edges using your pencil. Remove the template and cut it out along the lines you have drawn. 

Place a small dot of PVA glue in the center of the bow. Fold over one of the rounded side edges into the center, and press down to secure in place. Repeat this process with the other side. 

Add another dot of PVA glue to the center of the tail piece. Press this onto the back of the bow to attach. 

Grab the small strip of paper and wrap this tightly around the center of the bow. Glue the edges together behind the bow. 

Simple Ribbon Bow

To do this, you will need a ribbon of your desired thickness, a ruler, and a sharp pair of scissors. Silk ribbon, velvet ribbon, and grosgrain ribbon all work very well for this.

The wider your chosen ribbon is, the bigger the resultant bow will be. Your ribbon should measure around 15 to 20 inches in length. 

When you have the ribbon cut to the right size, you may wish to seal the ends to prevent fraying. To do this, hold the cut end of the ribbon over an exposed flame from a lighter.

Run the flame lightly over the ends of the ribbon for a few seconds. Do not hold it still or for too long as this will cause the ribbon to catch fire.

Make 2 loops with your ribbon, adjusting the size until they are as large as you want the loops of your bow to be. This is a good time to make the bow’s tails even too. 

Fold the left loop over the right loop, bringing it around the back and through the hole that is in the middle. 

Pull tightly on all sides of the ribbon to create a firm knot. Gently pull on the loops and tails to adjust the bow to make it look perfect to you. 

Square Bows

To make these bows, you will need a 7 inch square of your desired fabric, as well as 2 rectangles measuring 4 inches wide by 7 inches long. 

Lay the 2 rectangles on top of one another, with the right sides facing inwards. Stitch them together along one of the long sides, leaving a ½ inch seam allowance.

You should also leave an inch of this side unstitched, creating a gap in the center. 

Place this on top of your 7 inch square fabric, right sides together, and stitch around all 4 edges to seal together. Again, the seam allowance should be ½ inch. 

Invert the fabric by pushing it through the opening that you left. Once inverted you will have a perfect square with the pattern facing you.

Gather the square in the center and use some twine or another fabric strip to tie the center and keep the bow in shape. 

Stacked Ribbon Bow

To make this bow, you will need 2 lengths of ribbon, one measuring 10 inches long and the other measuring 7 inches. You will need a sewing machine or a needle and thread.

Grab the longer stretch of ribbon and bring the 2 edges into the center. Use a simple basting stitch to secure the edges in place. You should then repeat this process on the smaller length of ribbon. 

Place the smaller loop on top of the larger one, and stitch to hold them securely in place.

Grab a smaller, skinnier stretch of ribbon and wrap this around the center of your bow. Stitch at the back to secure in place, and you’re done. 

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