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A perfect bow is the finishing touch on any DIY wreath! I’ll show you three SUPER easy ways to make a bow for a wreath, plus a few extra tips and tricks.
I often get asked for bow making tutorials to go with my wreaths, especially my Faux Boxwood Wreath DIY and my Fall Leaf Wreath. Making beautiful bows is not as scary as some people think, and you don’t need any crafty skills, promise! You don’t even need to know how to tie a bow!
These simple bow techniques are also great for holiday decorating and gifting. Its how I make bows for garland and stairs and even outdoor decorating. These DIY ribbon bows make a perfect Christmas tree bow, either for nestling in the branches, or a tree topper bow. It seems like around the holidays, there’s always something that needs a little finishing touch, and knowing how to make a bow out of ribbon is a great way to add that extra holiday magic.
pssst…if you just want to buy a bow already made, check out this round-up of the prettiest premade holiday bows.
I starting making these bows back when I ran a baby hairbow boutique (Simply Lulu Boutique, anybody remember? lol). I’ve modified it slightly to make bows with tails. But you can also leave the tails off! Honestly, these DIY bows can be used on almost anything!
Supplies needed to make a DIY bow for a wreath
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Pretty important item for a bow! haha There are lots of different types of ribbon out there, but I like using a nice wide ribbon, at least 2-3 inches wide. You can use either wired edge ribbon or regular. Wired ribbon gives you a little more control over the shape of the loops and any bends in the tails. Regular ribbon may be a little droopier or stiff, depending on what the ribbon is made of.
String or Wire
You’ll need a piece of string or flexible wire to cinch the ribbon together. I use floral wire from the Dollar Tree and it works great, or you can also find a spool of floral wire on Amazon. You could even use a twisty tie. Pretty much anything will do, as it’ll get covered up with ribbon. You’ll see. 😉
Hot Glue Gun
Since we’re doing this the easy way, we’ll need hot glue for the finishing touch on our wreath bow. Low or high temp glue gun is fine. I like these basic little hot glue guns from Amazon. Nothing fancy!
There are a lots of different ways to make a beautiful bow, but I have three different easy bow styles/techniques to choose from:
– classic single loop
– double loop
– triple loop (or as many loops as you’d like!)
How to make a simple single loop bow
1. Start by cutting a long piece of ribbon. I typically use about a 1.5-2 yards, depending on how dramatic or floppy you want it. Also, the wider your ribbon is, the longer your ribbon will need to be. This ribbon is 3.5 inches, and I used 1.5 yds. I think 2 yards would have been better though, to make longer tails. For 2 in ribbon, around 1 yard should be fine.
2. Make a loop, like shown. The ribbon on the end will be the tails, so adjust the size of the loop accordingly.
3. Bring the middle of the loop down to where the ribbons cross, and cinch it with your fingers. You may need to adjust the size of the loop, depending on if you want bigger or smaller loops of your bow.
4. Secure with string or wire.
5. Cut a small piece of ribbon for the “knot”. You can fold or tie a knot in it, if desired.
6. Glue knot in place and secure ends on the back. It doesn’t have to be pretty, no ones going to see the back! You can leave the wire or string on, to secure the bow to the wreath, or you can cut them off and when the time comes you can just hot glue the bow to the wreath.
7. Cut the tails as desired, either in a V or at an angle. To make the V, fold the end in half lengthwise and make one angled snip. Ribbon will tend to fray if its cut straight across, unless you seal the edges with a flame or clear nail polish. I personally like the V cut.
Voila! Easy, huh?!
Gah, this buffalo check ribbon is sooo pretty. I used it on my Pinecone Wreath tutorial and just love the cozy flannel finish to it. I bought it from Michaels, its 3.5 inches wide, and they carry it seasonally. But here’s a link to the a similar flannel 2.5 inch buffalo check ribbon from Amazon. I also love this 4 pack of Christmas plaid ribbon, they’re sooooo pretty!
How to make a double loop bow
This technique builds on the single loop bow above, but instead of leaving the tails out, you create two loops to get a little more fullness. This is the basic hair bow technique I use, without the tails.
For this Christmas bow I used a really pretty sparkly plaid 3.5 inch wide ribbon from Michaels. They carry it seasonally, but I found the same extra wide Christmas plaid ribbon on Amazon as well. I also like this classic Christmas plaid ribbon as well, but it is only 2.5 inches wide.
1.Cut your ribbon to desired length. For this 3.5 in ribbon, I used 2 yards for the loops and a little less than a yard for the tails. Make two large loops as shown, with the ends of the ribbon over lapping a little at the very center.
2. Bring the center of one of the loops to the the middle.
3. Repeat with the other side of the bow.
4. Scrunch the center of the bow together. If the bow seems lopsided, adjust the loops on each side. Secure with floral wire or string.
5. Add the tails by bringing the center of a long piece of ribbon up to the center of the bow, and secure it with the wire or string.
6. Cut a short piece of ribbon for covering up the center of the bow.
7. Fold the small piece in half (or tie into a knot like in the b&w bow above), and glue to the back of bow, then bring it around to the front, and around to the back to cover up the wire or strings and give the bow a finished look.
8. Cut tails of the bow at an angle or in a V shape like shown.
Fluff and adjust the bow as desired.
How to make a triple loop bow
This technique can be done with as many loops as you want! I’ve chosen three for this tutorial. You can have all your loops be the same size, or you can have larger loops in the back and smaller loops in the front. The burlap ribbon I used is the classic 2.5 inch wide size. This tan and cream check ribbon is really similar.
1. Decide how wide you want your bow and then double the number to give you how long to cut your biggest loop. Cut two more lengths slightly shorter for the other loops. And cut a shorter piece for the center loop, and a piece for the tails. Glue all the pieces (except the tail piece!) into into a loop shape as shown.
2. Layer the loops to create the bow. I like to put the largest loop in the back and cross the front loops to give it a little more volume, but you could just stack them up and twist them into the right place later.
3. Scrunch the center to create a bow shape. Add in the middle loop and scrunch (if desired, you could also just glue a plain piece of ribbon over the center at the end). Make sure your bow is even. If one side seems longer or bigger than the other, you may need to adjust your center.
4. Use a piece of wire or string to hold the bow shape. You could use the bow just like this, if you want a round shaped bow, or you can continue to the next step to add tails.
5. Scrunch the center of the long ribbon (for the tails) and add it into the rest of the bow. Secure with the floral wire or string.
6. Then clip the ends of the tails, either in a V or at an angle.
7. Lastly, twist and adjust the loops of the bow as needed. I also like to add some bend into the tails of the bow to give it a little movement and personality.
I hope these step by step instructions have been helpful in showing you how to make a bow with ribbon. Now you can confidently make your own bows for wreaths, presents, tree toppers, garland, or anything else you can think of!
I love to see what YOU make! Tag me @thehowtomom on IG or on FB at The How To Mom. If you have any questions, comment or email me, I’m always happy to help! And if after all this, you’d rather just buy an already finished bow, check out my roundup of the prettiest premade holiday bows here.
Make Your Own Beautiful Living Succulent Wreath Centerpiece! Complete video course by Jeannine Romero now available through Skillshare.