How to Make Ribbon Bows

How To Make Ribbon Bows
How To Make Ribbon Bows

During the holidays, ribbon bows are everywhere…on wreaths, doors, trees, packages, you name it. You can buy them from some stores, but they come in basic colors and sizes. When I was a floral designer, a big part of our job was creating custom bows from ribbon for customers, so they could pick out just the right colors and size for their holiday project. Our fingers definitely hurt by the end of the season, but it was worth it. Why have basic, run of the mill, when you can have something custom and beautiful! I am going to show you how to make 2 types of bows out of ribbon: a Pompom and a Flat bow.  Let’s start out with the simpler of the two:  the Pompom.


Supplies needed for making ribbon bows
Supplies Needed For Making Ribbon Bows

Ribbon Bows

What You’ll Need (For Both Types of Bows):

NOTE:  These bows can be made with ribbon that does not have a wire in the edges, but it is a LOT harder to create and shape.  I would not recommend it, especially if you are a beginner!


Pompom Bow

1. Cut the length of ribbon for the tail of the bow and set aside.  If you cut the tail first, you don’t have to worry about having enough ribbon left at the end for it.

Cutting tail for bow
Cutting The Tail For The Bow

2. Take the end of the ribbon, about 1″, bunch it together between your thumb and forefinger and twist.  This will be the center of the bow.

Creating center of bow with twist
Creating The Center Of The Bow With A Twist

3. Make a loop, putting the ribbon on top of end between your thumb and forefinger and twist.  The length of the loop determines how big the bow will be (its the radius), so now is the time to adjust if you don’t like the size.

Making first loop of bow
Making The First Loop Of The Bow

4. Make another loop, the same way as the last one, in the opposite direction.  Be sure that the 2 loops are the same length or the bow will be lopsided.

Creating second loop of bow
Creating The Second Loop Of The Bow

5. Continue to make loops until each side of the bow has 5 loops (or more if you want it fuller).  Yes, your fingers will probably be a bit sore by now, but you’re almost finished!

Making all loops for bow
Making All Of The Loops For The Bow

6. Make one last loop in the center.  The ribbon should loop over the top of your thumb, rather than to one side.  Cut the ribbon with a scissors, leaving about 1″ overlap in the center.

Creating center loop of bow
Creating The Center Loop Of The Bow

7. Insert the wire through the center loop of the bow and pull the ends to the back.  Twist with your hands, then use the needle nose pliers to twist the wire nice and tight.

Securing Bow With Wire
Securing The Bow With Wire

8. Pull the loops apart and shape.  This is why having wire in the ribbon helps.

Shaping loops of bow
Shaping The Loops Of The Bow

9. Add the tail to the back of the bow and secure by twisting the floral wire.

Adding tail of bow
Adding The Tail Of The Bow

10.  There are 2 ways to finish the tails:  with a V-shape or slanted cut.  To make the v-shape, fold the ribbon in half and cut on an angle where you want the tails to end.  Cut the other tail to match.

Finishing Tail Of Bow With V Cut
Finishing The Tail Of The Bow With A V Cut

11. If you are want the slant cut tails, cut the tails at an angle.  TIP:  If you are unsure which type you want, cut the v-shape first.  You can always cut the slant shape from the v, as I’ve done here.

Finishing Tail Of Bow With Slant Cut
Finishing The Tail Of The Bow With A Slant Cut

12. When you are finished cutting the tails, it is good to slide the end of the ribbon back a bit and cut the wire.  This will keep all hands, big and small, from getting poked.

Cutting wire off end of bow tail
Cutting The Wire Off Of The End Of The Bow’s Tail
RELATED POSTS:

Flat Bow

1. Follow steps 1, 2, and 3 of the pompom bow (Cutting the tail, Twisting the end of the ribbon 1″ in, Make your first loop.

Creating Center Of Bow With Twist
Creating The Center Of The Bow With A Twist

2. Unlike the pompom which is shaped at the end, you will shape the flat bow as you go.  Make 3 loops on each side of the center, shaping them like a fan.

Creating first loops of flat bow
Creating The First Loops Of The Flat Bow

3.  For the next layer of loops, make 2 loops on each side of the center with a shorter length than the original 3.

Creating second layer of loops for bow
Creating The Second Layer Of Loops For The Bow

4.  For the last layer of loops, make 2 more loops on each side of the center with a shorter length than the last 2.

Creating last layer of loops for bow
Creating The Last Layer Of Loops For The Bow

5. Make a small loop in the center and cut the ribbon with a scissors, leaving about 1″ overlap in the center.  Place the wire through the center loop and twist securely in the back with the pliers.

Making center loop of bow and securing with wire
Making The Center Loop Of The Bow And Securing It With Wire
Finished flat ribbon bow
Finished Flat Ribbon Bow

6. Add the tail and cut to desired shape and length.

Finished flat bow on wreath
Finished Flat Bow On A Wreath

Add your bow to a wreath, tree or other decorations OR make a present really stand out!  I hope this inspires you to take another look at the ribbons section when you are out shopping.

Have fun and happy holidays!!    Nikole
For more fun holiday DIY projects:
How to make ribbon bows
How To Make Ribbon Bows

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