Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bow Making 101

I have posted a few projects that need bows and I will have a few more in the future that will require them as well. I have mentioned that the craft store will make them for you, but it really isn't that difficult to do. In my days of working at Michael's Craft Stores, I made thousands of bows; I even taught a bow making class for a while. 

I have a few recommendations on being a successful bow maker.  First, start off using wired edged ribbon. It holds it's shape and can be manipulated a lot easier than traditional satin. Secondly use a medium width ribbon, one that is 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches wide.  This way your hand won't get too tired holding a cumbersome amount of ribbon. Finally, don't get discouraged. Practice, practice, practice. Remember it's just ribbon and can be done over and over again.


3 yards of ribbon (wire edged preferred)
18 inch length of floral wire about 22 gauge (can be bought pre-cut or on a spool)
wire cutters
sharp scissors

Step one:  Cut about a twelve inch length of ribbon and set aside.  Unroll the length of ribbon from the spool and hold it wrong side up in your left hand with about two inches of ribbon toward you and the remainder away from you.

Step two:  Form a small loop by pulling the end of the ribbon towards you up and away so the right side of the ribbon is facing up (this is the center loop of your bow). Keep this loop pinched in your left hand using your thumb and index finger

Step three:  Now you start making your bow loops. While pinching the center loop in your thumb and finger, with your right hand make a half twist of the ribbon tail so the right side of the ribbon is facing up. Make a loop the desired size you would like. Pinch the ribbon behind the center loop. Repeat this process on the other side (remember to make a half twist every time you make a loop so the right side of the ribbon is always up)

Step four:  Continue making loops until you have an even number on both sides. Using 3 yards of ribbon, you will have approximately four loops on each side about 3 inches long.


Step five: Once you have all the loops, now it's time to attach the tails. Simply take the 12 inch piece of ribbon cut in step 1 and place it on the back of the bow behind all the loops. Finally, take a lenght of wire and feed it through the center loop, pull around to the back and twist to hold the bow together.

Step six:  Manipulate the ribbon loops until the bow is fluffy and desired shape.

tip: if you don't have floral wire, use a pipe cleaner to hold the bow together

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