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How to Make/Tie a Wired Ribbon Wreath Bow the Easiest Way

Updated on May 16, 2013
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Wreath using this tying method.
Wreath using this tying method. | Source

The Easiest way to Make Wreath Bows

For years I've struggled with making bows. My mother, on the other hand, has some sort of magical bow powers that allow her to create the most beautiful bows I've ever seen. I recently told her I wanted to learn how to tie a bow for a wreath I just made and she excitedly told me just how easy it was. Her instructions - like many I've seen online - involved making loops and twisting. After twisting my way through feet of ribbon and creating messes even a mother couldn't be proud of, I decided there had to be a better way.

So here it is - a virtually fool-proof way to tie a bow. You can make it large for a wreath or smaller for a gift. Either way, you are sure to create a bow anyone would be proud of. You don't have to possess three hands to hold everything in place or amazing spacial awareness that lets you create perfect loops. All you need is ribbon, some wire, and a book.

Supplies for Bow Making

  • Wired ribbon
  • Jewelry or florist wire
  • A book (9 or 10 inches long for a wreath bow)
  • Scissors
  • A lighter

How to Tie a Bow

Gather all your supplies before starting the project. First and foremost, you need ribbon, preferably wired ribbon. In case you don't know, wired ribbon has thin wire in channels along its edges. This wire helps the bow maintain its form. You also need scissors, jewelry or florist wire, and a book. Pick your book based on how large you want the bow to be. If you want a large wreath bow, find a book that is 9 or 10 inches long. This book will act as your template for making the bow. You may also want to have a lighter or matches on hand.

There are so many fun wired ribbons to choose from!

Bow Tying Steps

After assembling your materials, you are ready to get started. All of the steps are pictured below, so scroll down if any of the written instructions are confusing.

  1. Place the ribbon's end at the midpoint of the book's cover, as shown below.
  2. Wrap the ribbon around the book. Be sure to wrap securely and neatly, but do not pull the ribbon overly tight or it will be difficult to remove the loops from the book.
  3. Continue making overlapping wraps around the book until you have created as many loops as you would like. I suggest at least five wraps, but no more than nine.
  4. Once you have reached a satisfactory number of wraps, cut the ribbon free from the spool, taking care to cut at the book cover's approximate midpoint. If you want a symmetrical bow with the same number of loops on its right and left sides, cut the ribbon opposite from its starting point. In other words, if you put the ribbon on the book's back cover in step #1, cut it on the front side of the book. Many people prefer bows with an odd number of loops. For an asymmetrical bow, cut the ribbon on the same side of the book. If you placed the ribbon on the book's back cover in step #1, cut it on the back side of the book now.
  5. If you want to make sure the ribbon does not fray and unravel, you can carefully melt the cut edge with a lighter or matches. Do not put the flame directly on the ribbon or it will catch on fire! Simply hold the flame near the ribbon's edge, as shown, and move the lighter back and forth. You should see the ribbon curl slightly as it melts. Alternatively you can seal the edges with a product like Fray Check, or even super glue. If you are not worried about fraying, you can skip this step.
  6. Carefully slide the loops off the book.
  7. Pinch the loops in the middle.
  8. Wrap the pinched middle with your wire and twist the wire around itself like you would a twist-tie on a bread bag. Snip the wire's ends close to the twists and bend them so they lie flat along the ribbon.

Making the Bow

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wide, wired ribbon makes the best bows.Place the ribbon near the book cover's midpoint.Make secure, bot not overly snug, wraps around the book.Cut the ribbon near the cover's midpoint.Carefully use heat to melt the ribbon's edge to prevent fraying.You're just looking for a slight curl, not singe marks!Slide the ribbon loops off the book.Pinch the loops in the middleWrap wire around the pinched middleTwist the wire to hold it securely in place.
Wide, wired ribbon makes the best bows.
Wide, wired ribbon makes the best bows. | Source
Place the ribbon near the book cover's midpoint.
Place the ribbon near the book cover's midpoint. | Source
Make secure, bot not overly snug, wraps around the book.
Make secure, bot not overly snug, wraps around the book. | Source
Source
Cut the ribbon near the cover's midpoint.
Cut the ribbon near the cover's midpoint. | Source
Carefully use heat to melt the ribbon's edge to prevent fraying.
Carefully use heat to melt the ribbon's edge to prevent fraying. | Source
You're just looking for a slight curl, not singe marks!
You're just looking for a slight curl, not singe marks! | Source
Slide the ribbon loops off the book.
Slide the ribbon loops off the book. | Source
Pinch the loops in the middle
Pinch the loops in the middle | Source
Wrap wire around the pinched middle
Wrap wire around the pinched middle | Source
Twist the wire to hold it securely in place.
Twist the wire to hold it securely in place. | Source
Source

Uses for Bows

Wreaths aren't the only way to display your new found bow-making prowess.

  • Use an elaborate bow to dress up a simple gift bag.
  • Use a large bow as Christmas tree topper.
  • Create your own gift baskets by wiring a bow to basket handle.

How to Finish a Bow

After creating the bulk of the bow, you need to make it a knotted centerpiece and tails.

  1. Determine how long you want the bow's tail ends to hang down. For a large bow, tails of a foot or more look good. If you want tails 1' long, cut about 2.5' of ribbon. You can always trim the ends if they're too long!
  2. Find the ribbon's midpoint and tie a basic overhand knot. Simply form a loop and then bring one end of the ribbon through the loop, as shown below.
  3. Carefully tighten the knot, but do not over-tighten it or it will look strange.
  4. Place the knot on the wire-wrapped midpoint of the bow's body, as shown below.
  5. Bring the ribbon's ends behind the bow and hold them securely.
  6. Use your wire to secure the knotted ribbon in place, as shown. To easily attach your bow to a wreath, leave several inches of tail on the wire. This allows you to wrap the same piece of wire around the wreath.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
To make an overhand knot, form a loop. Here, I have the right side of the ribbon crossed over the left.Using whichever end of the ribbon is 'on top' of the loop, bring the ribbon's end through the loop from front to back. Do not overly tighten the knot.
To make an overhand knot, form a loop. Here, I have the right side of the ribbon crossed over the left.
To make an overhand knot, form a loop. Here, I have the right side of the ribbon crossed over the left. | Source
Using whichever end of the ribbon is 'on top' of the loop, bring the ribbon's end through the loop from front to back.
Using whichever end of the ribbon is 'on top' of the loop, bring the ribbon's end through the loop from front to back. | Source
Do not overly tighten the knot.
Do not overly tighten the knot. | Source
Source
Source
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Fanning the loops to finish the bow.
Fanning the loops to finish the bow. | Source

How to Finish the Bow

All that remains is making the bow look, well, bow-like!

Simply separate the loops and fan them out to create your beautiful bow. If you used wired ribbon, you can bend the loops out a little to make them look more full and rounded. You may also choose to pull some loops forward and others back to create a layered appearance.

For added flair, consider using a different ribbon to create the knot and tails - contrasting colors and metallics usually look nice. You can also attach extra ribbons to create multiple tails. If you really want to get creative, you can wrap the book with two different colors of ribbon to create a multi-colored bow.

To make a themed bow, glue an object to the central knot. For example, you could attach a bell, seashell, a jewel, or some other type of charm.

Completed bow.
Completed bow. | Source

The Easiest way to Tie a Bow

And there you have it - the easiest way to tie a beautiful bow. By wrapping ribbon around the book, you can create perfect loops without expensive gadgets, measuring, or extra pairs of hands.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please let me know if you have any questions.

Happy bow making!

Comments

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    • profile image

      summerberrie 4 years ago

      Nice instructions! I remembered learning how to tie these bows. I tied some for a Christmas wreath on year. Never tied one for a gift box. I like that idea! I'll have to start making some for wrapping gifts.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Yes, my mom's presents are always beautiful! She must spend so much time creating bows to put on packages. Thanks for stopping by, summerberrie.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Very nice and easy step by step instructions. I bought a wooden 'bow maker' thingy and I still don't use it because it doesn't work as well as I had hoped. This method looks much better and easier!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Is it kind of like this tower thingy made with a dowel sticking up? Those things confuse me mightily.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you give this bow method a try sometime!

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Yes, that's the one. I was successful making one bow on it! My sister taught me a way to make bows but I forgot how. Something about twisting them. Too confusing. This method looks so much better.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Yep, the twisting method evidently works for other people - that have a secret, retractable third hand!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      Excellent tutorial! And you make it look so easy.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      That's the incredible part - it really is easy! The most difficult thing is arranging all the petals, if you will, so they look good.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 4 years ago from United States

      I'm definitely bookmarking this tutorial! I never seem to make my bows look right. I like your method, and the pictures you provided make the steps very easy to follow. Voted up and sharing!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I was right there with you for years! I love how using a book means you have to really try to make the loops incorrectly. Thank you for bookmarking and sharing!

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      As always... great tutorial with nice photos! I love doing bows...One thing about these type bows I love is that the ribbon can be fairly inexpensive and you can use the bow over and over. Voting up, useful :)

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I always wait for 50% or 40% off coupons at Michael's to stockup on now ribbon! You are correct - these bows can be used over and over gain.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      I think you are very, very clever. Using that book is a genius idea that I think even I could do (I'm so clutzy with DIY projects of any kind!)

      Your instructions are easy to follow too. Thanks. I'm bookmarking this for when it's Christmas. Voting. Thanks so much.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, GoodLady! I'd always thought of myself as not very handy, either, but then I realized I just sometimes have trouble with projects everyone else finds easy until I sort of reinvent them. I may do things differently from other people, but it works for me!

      Thanks for bookmarking and stopping by.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Perfect tutorial Natasha!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you very much, unknown spy!

    • LauraGSpeaks profile image

      LauraGSpeaks 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      My Mom can also make it look so easy to make perfect bows, while I have never been able to master it. Thanks to these great directions, I am going to give it another shot this holiday season. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      People always say you turn in to your mother, but it seems we did not inherit a maternal bow-making ability! Best of luck this holiday season.

    • profile image

      Jennifer 4 years ago

      Thank you! I am one of the most craftily-inept people ever and I was successful at making my first bow. :)

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Yahoo!!! Thanks for letting me know!

    • profile image

      Amie2207 4 years ago

      This is SOOOOO easy! Thanks SO much. I couldn't make a bow at all, and tried many different ways. When I did it this way and the bow came out PERFECT... the first time! Yay. thanks again. :)

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks, Amie and Samita! I'm really glad it helped you out and thank you for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Marla 3 years ago

      Thanks so much! Great instructions. I made a bow for my Halloween decorations and now I'm working on Christmas wrapping. Any suggestions on how to attach the bows to a gift package? I've been taping them down.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      I'm glad you like the instructions!

      If you're using a small ribbon to decorate the package, you can simply tie the bow in place by running a small piece of ribbon through the back of that central knot piece. I think that's the easiest way, but tape works, too, if you're not using other ribbon! Other than that, a spot of hot glue or a glue dot can work well, too.

    • profile image

      Emma 3 years ago

      Hey! thank you soo much for these instructions! you've saved us arguing about what to put at the top of the tree as my freshly made bow is now pride of place!! really helpful and simple for someone as un crafty as they come - like me!! :-)

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Emma - that's awesome! We have a bow in our tree this year, too. I'm so glad these instructions helped and thank you for letting me know.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 3 years ago

      I've always wondered how to tie a wreath bow. I've always seen them but I never knew how. thanks for this hub on showing me how to tie a wreath bow. voted up.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! I've tried other ways that just didn't work out for me, but this way makes great looking bows!

    • craftybegonia profile image

      craftybegonia 2 years ago from Southwestern, United States

      Beautiful and very useful, especially for the Holidays.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Yes - and the holidays are coming faster than seems possible! I saw a Christmas magazine an hour ago.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 2 years ago from Georgia

      I found this just in time for the Holidays. Great tutorial. I'm glad I found it because I am always searching for a great bow for gifts. This will do nicely.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! My mom can just whip up amazing bows in no time at all, but I need a few tricks to make worthy bows. I hope this is helpful!

    • Jessica Chiverton profile image

      Jessica Chiverton 2 years ago

      Great tutorial. This looks pretty easy now. Thanks for the tip on using the book.

    • The Ghostwriter profile image

      Peter Yexley 2 years ago from UK

      Very inspirational and perfect timing for Christmas!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much! I'm glad you like it. I really couldn't tie bows at all until I discovered I could wrap the ribbon around a book.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! It is a great way to make those big, pretty bows. =)

    • Juliet Stewart profile image

      Juliet Stewart-Austin 2 years ago from San Antonio, TX.

      Very awesome! I need this.

    • craftybegonia profile image

      craftybegonia 2 years ago from Southwestern, United States

      That is really lovely and it can give such a wonderful, finishing touch to a wreathe! Thank you for sharing.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      I will have to try this. My daughter has made all of the gorgeous bows that are decorating my curtains as tie backs for this Christmas season.

      thank you for sharing.

      Pinning

      Angels are on the way to you ps

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 2 years ago from Hawaii

      That's a cute idea! I bet they'd be great as tie backs.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy. =)

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 24 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Natasha, this was a very crafty and clever hub idea to make your own wired ribboned bow. Voted up!

    • profile image

      debbi 21 months ago

      I just made a beautiful wreath bow..thank you so much..practically effortless and practice will make perfect♡♡♡

    • profile image

      Jackie Pond 20 months ago

      Thank you so much for the easy instructions on how to make a nice bow was stuck on how to make one and I love the idea on using a book to help make the loops.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 20 months ago from Chicago Area

      Beautiful! Sharing this on HP and Twitter!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 20 months ago from California

      This is beautiful!!! Sharing!

    • breathing profile image

      Sajib 19 months ago from Bangladesh

      Indeed bow tying is an art! And to do it perfectly you need to be familiar with that art. Most of us do not know how to tie a bow; just leave the easiest way. For them the author has done a great favor. With the easiest way described in the hub, we can now get the work of tying bow done easily. Just follow the steps described here and it will be done! If you wish you can also learn other ways but to start, the easiest way is the best, isn’t it? Finally, thanks to the author again for posting such a useful hub.

    • profile image

      Beverly 3 months ago

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!! It has always been hit or miss for me trying to make bows. So I googled it, and your way is the easiest and most awesome way! Now I can glue my flowers and put my bow on and my wreath will be done! Thanks so much

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