Three Ways to Make a Bow

Adding the perfect bow to a craft project completes your creation beautifully. They also take a beautifully wrapped gift to the next level. And who doesn’t love it when someone has taken the time to handmake something for them?

The types of bows that you craftily make will depend on the project you need them for.

Making bows is fun as you can use so many different types of ribbon, you can vary the width of the ribbon for added effect, Or, if you’re looking for a fabulous tree topper, you can go all out and make a sparkly festive bow. Christmas bows are a lot of fun to make, especially if you have children or grandchildren in the house and you need to keep their little hands busy!

So, pull out your craft kit, let’s get straight into it, and take a look at three DIY bows that you can make in just a couple of minutes but will have that WOW impact that you’re going for.

There are so many different ways to make a bow, but I am going to show you three different bows that you can make in an afternoon.

Here are three easy bow tutorials:

For those who prefer step-by-step visuals, please go ahead and click here to watch the video tutorial.

Bow Number 1: The Simple One Loop Ribbon Bow

This is the simplest of the three bows and even though it’s simple, it’s still a fun DIY activity that you can funk up with your choice of materials.

This is a two-loop bow that doesn’t require any sewing.


2 x strips of ribbon – to work out the length of the ribbon, take the size of the loop that you want (usually half the size of the bow you want), and multiply it by 8 / 8x it. The second strip needs to be 7 – 9 inches long.

Thread, twine, florist wire, or a pipe cleaner

Sharp scissors

Hot glue gun and glue sticks


Lay the ribbon in front of you with the two ends pointing toward you, forming an arch, like the shape of a rainbow.

Take the right side and fold it over the left side, to make the awareness ribbon shape.

Now tuck the top of the arch underneath the back, so it’s no longer an arch shape, but the back piece is now straight across, and your two loops are starting to form.

Take the material at the crossover point and the piece of material at the back and scrunch them together into a center. Gather and scrunch, gather and scrunch.

Fashion it into the shape of the bow that you want, and try to make the loops and the end an even size and even length.

Take a piece of thread or twine, or even some floral wire or a pipe cleaner, and wrap it around the middle of the bow. Wrap it around two or three times and pull it tight.

Snip off the loose ends to keep it neat.

Thread does work well because it is thin and won’t ruin the final look of your product, and you can slide it across to fit exactly where you want on the bow.

Now we’ll add one more piece of ribbon to finish off the bow.

Take another piece of material, 7 – 9 inches long, if it is too thick, fold the sides in until it’s narrow enough to fit around the center of the bow. This piece of ribbon doesn’t have to match the previous ribbon if you want your knot to be coordinating instead of matching.

Wrap this piece of ribbon around your fingers to tie a knot.

This knot does not need to be super tight. Place the knot the way you like it over the bow, and then wrap the two ends around the back.

Take your hot glue gun and glue the ends to the back of the bow.

Be careful with the hot glue as the heat can go straight through the material and burn you.

Make this neat by snipping off the end and gluing down any straggling bits of material.

If you prefer to tie this to something, a gift, or a wreath, don’t snip the ends. Keep them long, the longer the better, and the easier it will be to tie so you might want to make this piece longer than 9” if that’s what you want to do.

This is a simple bow but can change the look of anything that it is attached to.

Now, you can leave this as it is, or you can fold each tail in half and snip the ends of the tails to make dovetail ends.

This is the end of bow tutorial number one. Let’s move on to number two!

Bow Number 3: The Faux Bow

I also sometimes call this one the False Bow. This is an easy bow to make and works well with farmhouse signs, lanterns, or even tie around certain gifts.

Just follow my simple steps below, and you’ll soon have created enough gorgeous, handcrafted bows that will add the perfect finishing touch to just about anything.

For this bow, you can use as much ribbon as you like. Mix it up a little in terms of color and texture to create something unique and impressive.

Look for gingham ribbon, burlap ribbon, satin ribbon, lace, and anything unique that will add some pizzazz to your bow. If this is to go on a gift for a friend, choose a color scheme to add a personal touch.

In my video where I demonstrate how to make this particular bow, I have chosen to use five types of ribbon. And they’re all different.

Measure how wide you want your finished bow to be.

Cut two pieces of each ribbon, both as long as the width that you are needing.

If you’re following my tutorial, you’ll end up with 10 pieces of ribbon, all the same length.

Now you’re going to decide how you want to lay them. Make an X with the two largest pieces that are the same, and lay them in the order that you want them to be. Make sure the right side of the ribbon is facing upward.

Don’t stack them directly on top of one another, but rather lay them slightly off from one another. This is not supposed to look neat and perfect.

Now let’s do as we have done for every bow, start to gather the ribbon in the middle, where the crisscross happens. Gather and scrunch, gather and scrunch.

Now we need to tie the ribbons together across the center.

As I’ve mentioned previously, you can use thread, a florist’s wire, a pipe cleaner, or even a zip tie! In this tutorial, I have used a pipe cleaner as I already know that I am going to be attaching this bow to a lantern.

In the previous two bows, we have taken another strip of material and made a knot around the center to pull it all together. You can do that for this one also but let’s be a little different.

As I am making a bow for Valentine’s Day lantern, I am using a heart medallion as a great addition to give my bow a little extra oomph. I have already prepped this by painting it, sprinkling it with glitter and letting it dry.

Take your glue gun and glue your medallion, or whatever you have chosen, to the middle of your bow, covering the pipe cleaner. Hold it for a few seconds to make sure it sticks.

Trim the ribbons to be similar in length, and as you know, I love dovetail ribbon ends, so I will do that to every piece of ribbon.

And there you have it!

Easy steps to make a gorgeous, themed bow. You can even use this method to create a themed hair bow for a fancy dress party or another occasion and use the pipe cleaner to tie it securely around the hairband of a ponytail.

Quick, easy, and oh-so-gorgeous!

Now that you know my three go-to ways to make bows, you have the bow that you need for every craft that you want to make. As well as options to pretty up packages, add to hairpieces, or put in a variety of locations to make things pop a little.

Bow Number 3: The Fluffy Bow

This is a fun bow – it’s a puffy bow that is perfect on a wreath or a large picture or gift. This one has a little bit of math involved as you need to figure out what you need for tails and loops.

Let’s use three different ribbons of three different colors, to make this gorgeous bow. It is a good idea to keep your ruler or measuring instrument close by so you get each component just right.

We are going to need three different-sized loops. For the example I made, one was 4 inches long, one was 5 inches long, and one was six inches long.

Start with the overall size you want your bow to be and make the back loop half this amount. Then adjust the other loop sizes so that they will easily let the lower layer(s) show behind them.

In the video tutorial, you will see me demonstrating how to make the 5-inch loop ribbon, but the process is the same for the 4 and 6 inches, just adjust the sizes.

Take the size of the loop that you are making, ie. the one that will be 5 inches in my example. Add double that amount to include the tail. Therefore, you will need to measure 15 inches.

Work with the ribbon upside down, so the ‘fancy’ side is lying face down. Measure out 15 inches, with the end sitting on the 15, and the remainder of the ribbon reel at 0.

A – measuring 15 inches with the ribbon face down
B – fold the ribbon back on itself to a total of 10 inches

Fold the ribbon back on itself to 5, pinch it down, and then measure a further 5 inches to 10.

Hold the ribbon down at 10 inches, and then fold the excess ribbon underneath the 10 inches that you already measured, so you’re folding the ribbon back on itself.

To make it easier to maneuver the ribbon for the remaining loops, tuck the tail portion inside of this loop. Make sure your total loop is still 10 inches.

That is counted as one set of loops or folding.

Now you are going to go around and make another two sets (for a total of three), plus another tail.

Measure out the 10 inch tail

Always ensure you’re keeping the total length of the folded ribbon to 10 inches and keep your thumb pinching the folded ribbon in the middle at 5 inches.

Once you have finished wrapping the ribbon around three times, measure out the 10-inch tail. Snip this off.

Now, still holding the folded ribbon, gently pull the other tail out from inside the folded ribbon. Then wrap the second tail, the extended piece, over the ribbon so they are both lying facing the same direction.

Pulling the tail out
Having the two tails lying out

Now you have to do the scrunch in the middle where you would gather the ribbon together. To do this, accordion fold the center of the ribbon to pull it all together in a small center.

Once it’s scrunched up, take your piece of thread and wrap it around the middle to hold it together. Now your 5 -inch ribbon is complete.

Now go ahead and do the same for the 4 and 6-inch ribbons, just adjust the measurements accordingly.

Take all three completed bows and lay them on top of one another, with the largest at the back and the smallest on the top. Take another piece of ribbon in a complementary color and put it around the middle.

For this center, knot, ribbon, wrap it around your fingers to tie a knot.

This knot does not need to be super tight. Place the knot the way you like it over the bow, and then wrap the two ends around the back of the bow.

Take your hot glue gun and glue the ends to the back of the bow. Be careful with the hot glue as the heat can go straight through the material and burn you. Make this neat by snipping off the end and gluing down any straggling bits of material.

Now to make it puffy!

Start with the largest bow at the back and let’s separate the loops.

Starting with the left side, take the small loop on the inside and pull it up out the top, pull the second layer down through the bottom, and leave the last one in the middle.

Time: 11:29 Inside loop is pulled down

Now do the same on the right-hand side. Make sure with this back bow that you pull the top loopss snugly towards the top of the bow so they stand out.

Do the same with the middle bow, but to get that gorgeous, puffy look, you need to alternate which loops you’re pulling on. So, with that in mind, this time you’ll need to pull the innermost inside loop downwards and fluff it up. The next loop gets pulled upwards and fluff it. And lastly, fluff out the middle loop.

And lastly, the smallest bow on the top. Take the inside loop and pull it up this time, the next one down, and leave the middle loop in the center.

Fluff everything out the way you want it to look, snip the ends shorter, or you can dovetail them, and there you have a beautiful puffy bow, perfect for a wreath, door hanger, or gift this holiday season.

Now you have three beautiful bows to use on all of your future projects.

Here’s a few of the projects that I’ve used these bows on, in one for or another:

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