The Definitive Guide to Perfect Bow-Making
How to Make a Bow from regular ribbon or wired ribbon for wreaths, baskets, weddings, gifts, and more with a short How to Make a Bow Video further down in the post.
When I was growing up, my Grandmother lived with us in the guest apartment above the garage. She moved in when I was 8-years-old and lived with us until she passed away a few days after my 16th birthday.
Looking back, it was wonderful to have her with us. I have so many special memories and among them were her bow making skills.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for 15 MORE beautiful Christmas Ideas for everything from decorating to entertaining and more!
The Perfect Bow
My sister got married when I was 9 and I was a junior bridesmaid. My dress was gorgeous with a HUGE satin ribbon that tied in the back.
The wedding day was busy, of course, and I remember my mom sending everyone over to Grandma’s apartment to have our bows tied.
Grandma’s bows were always perfect whether little or big and gift wrapping, well, she took that to a whole nother level.
It’s memories of the little things that I seem to recall most and that stay with me to this day and it’s those things that I like to share. I think in some regards the mentoring of people-to-people, one generation to the next, the passing down of skills, isn’t what it used to be because of the Internet (good and bad) and so one of my goals is to share these little things, these nuggets here on The How-To Home.
The Secret – How to Make a Bow
My secret for making perfect bows every time is a simple DIY Bow Maker. With a few supplies and tools, you can make what I’ve been using to create perfect bows for every occasion for years now.
First things first – let’s start with the bow maker board.
How To Make a Bow Maker
*affiliate links have been added to this post for your convenience
2 x 4 wood scrap at least 17 inches long
If your wood scrap is larger than 17 inches long cut to size.
Find the center lengthwise of the wood (8.5 inches) and mark a straight line down the center, top to bottom.
Mark 1.25 inches down from the top and up from the bottom.
Using your 3/8 inch drill bit start drilling at the marks you just made inward (the point you marked will be the outermost side of the drill hole).
Drill two holes the same depth but DO NOT go all the way through the wood.
Make sure your dowels fit snugly into these holes. If they don’t, you can add some wood glue to keep them in place.
Mark one inch increments from the center point outward for a total of 8 inches to the right and left of center.
- Start with a good quality ribbon. I prefer to work with wired-edge ribbon but that isn’t necessary.
- Cut a length of florist’s wire approximately 12 inches in length and place between the dowels.
- Leave about an 8″ tail on one side of the ribbon. Place ribbon between dowels pinching and twisting at the center point.
- Make a loop to the 5″ mark, turn the ribbon back toward the center, pinching and twisting at the dowels. Continue doing this 6 times total on each side.
- After you have 6 loops on each side make a 1 to 1.5″ small loop for the center of the ribbon.
- Push the ribbon tightly down between the dowels, grab your wire and loop tightly around the top of the ribbon.
- Slide the bow out from between the dowels and secure the wire around the back of the bow.
- Start fluffing each loop until your bow is to your liking.
This bow is great for wreaths like the one above….
or this White Christmas Wreath I made a few years ago…..
Once you get the hang of making these, you’ll be making them for everything.
You can use longer loops or shorter loops, thicker ribbon or thinner ribbon to create the look you want.
Ribbon Buying Tips
I like to stock up on the thick wired ribbon when it’s 50% off of more from the craft stores. I then use the ribbon to make bows for the Christmas tree, gift wrapping, wreaths, the dining room chair back, just about anything that isn’t moving gets a big old bow on it. Wired ribbon will hold it’s shape and have a firmer look but beautiful satin ribbons work well also. They are a little more relaxed and you’re not going to get a big poof but wide satin ribbon has such a beautiful, vintage look to it, that sometimes, that is exactly the look you want. Make less loops and keep the length of each loop somewhat shorter. The finished bow will have a beautiful, shabby chic look and feel to it.
If You’d Rather Buy…..
If you just don’t feel like making a bow maker board on your own, you can totally buy one. So many times, I see an awesome idea for a DIY on Pinterest and then get real with myself and know I’ll never make it….so I search for something similar and just buy it.
This Bow Maker is very versatile with lots of different bow options but if you’d rather purchase a bowmaker than make your own, I’ve listed a few options for purchase below: