Here are DIY instructions on how to make the perfect burlap bow! It’s an easy project for weddings, parties and mantels. Decorate with a burlap bow.

burlap bow on a mantel with flowers decorated for spring

Yesterday I  bought Bok Choy.



I know that has absolutely nothing to do with how to make a burlap bow….but I really like to work my Bok Choy purchase into conversation.

You see yesterday I started trying to eat healthy.


It’s a big stretch for someone who eats gas station pizza and Pringles and the leftover piece of Chicken McNugget and two french fries from the Happy Meal.

But the thing about me is I just can’t do anything half-way.  So I deleted the gas station number from my phone kissed the Pringles can goodbye and filled my grocery cart with carrots and celery and cucumbers and lettuce and tomatoes and zucchini and apples and oranges and bananas…..

….and Bok Choy.

I have no idea how to eat it.  I have no idea how to cook it.  I just really like to say it and talk about it and mention casually to random people in the aisles of Wal-Mart that I’m buying it and talk about it while I’m teaching you all to make a burlap bow.


What type of burlap ribbon is best to make bows with?

This completely depends on what type of bow you are interested in making.  For example, in this tutorial, we will be using a large 5″ wide ribbon to make our bow.  The larger the ribbon you use, the larger the bow.  The larger ribbon also takes less time to create the bow.  You get more impact with a single large bow than several smaller bows.

Where is the best place to put the burlap bow on a wreath?

I like to place my bow on the bottom left-hand side slightly off center.  If the wreath were a clock, the bow would be at 4:00.  There’s really no wrong place to put the bow, that’s just my personal preference and where I’ve always placed it.

How many bows can you make with a spool of ribbon?

Most ribbons come with between 6′ and 10′ on a spool of ribbon.  I used half of a spool to make this bow or about 4 1/2′.  If your bow is smaller, you will use less ribbon per roll.

What are some ideas to decorate with burlap bows?

I have so many different ideas on my site on how to decorate with burlap bows.  I’ve used them on a wreath (see above) and decorated a mantel (see above).  One of my favorite ways to decorate with burlap bows is to wrap them around a few stems of pine cones and hang them up instead of a wreath.  I’ve also printed my own burlap ribbon with Christmas lyrics and decorated with it for Christmas.

Where is the best place to buy burlap ribbon?

I buy my burlap ribbon at the craft store.  You can also order it online from etsy or other online sellers.  Burlap bow comes in a variety of patterns and textures and colors to use for any home decor design scheme.

Can you make your own burlap bow?

Yes.  I do this all the time.  Simply cut strips of burlap and then fray the edges.  This ribbon isn’t as strong as purchased ribbon with a hemmed edge, but it’s a great cost-effective alternative if you are creating a lot of bows for an event like a wedding.

burlap ribbon and supplies to make a burlap bow

How To Make a Burlap Bow

(otherwise known as what I was doing instead of cooking Bok Choy)


burlap ribbon

florist Wire


spring mantel with burlap bows and linen chairs and an antique table and flowers

Step 1:  Find your ribbon

I know.


  1. I added this step because there are so many different types of burlap ribbon.  I had no idea how many different types there were until I asked where the burlap ribbon was and they pointed me towards an aisle.
  2. There are wired, non-wired, big, small, medium, printed, and colored burlap ribbon.  The burlap ribbon makers are working overtime.
  3. For this project, I selected a really big ribbon with a small print on it.  I love this print.  It gives a little texture to the ribbon and makes the bow a little more interesting.  You can’t go wrong with polka dots, either.
  4. The bigger ribbon makes it so much easier to make a bow that’s fluffy and the bow also looks so much harder to make than it actually is.

Just my burlap ribbon .02.

make-bows (2)

Step 2:  Fold ribbon

  1. Decide how wide you want your bow to be.
  2. Fold the ribbon halfway.  The edge will already have a hem on it, so there’s no need to cut it to start.  Just begin folding.
  3. The end of the folded piece of ribbon is where the center of your bow will be.
  4. This half a bow measures between 4 and 5 inches, so my entire bow is between 8 and 10 inches.

how to make a burlap bow steps with burlap ribbon

Step 3:  Continue folding the ribbon

  1. Each time you make a fold make it just a little smaller than the previous fold (as shown).
  2. Cut last fold of ribbon so it ends in the center.
  3. Trim the ribbon where you want it to be and place the rest of the ribbon away for your next bow project.
  4. For ribbon as large as the one I selected, I typically make three folds.
  5. If your ribbon is smaller, you will want to make more folds to make the bow fluffier.

burlap ribbon wrapped with florist wire

Step 4:  Wrap florist wire

  1. In the center of the folds, wrap a piece of florist wire around the burlap.
  2. Tie it off as tightly as you can.  It has a tendency to loosen, so you’ll want to make sure it’s extra tight when you tie it.
  3. Twist the ends together.
  4. Leave the ends of the florist wire hanging.

burlap ribbon wrapped with burlap ribbon in the center of the bow

Step 5:  Wrap center

  1. Wrap the center of the bow with a piece of burlap and fasten at the back of the bow with florist wire.
  2. Make sure you cut it long enough so that the bow has “tails” after you wrap the center.
  3. Trim the burlap bow tails to about 6″ in length.
  4. Cut the ends in a diagonal line.

burlap bow on a spring mantel with vases of flowers

Step 6:  Fluff

This is my favorite part.

This is the part where the bow comes alive.

  1. You twist the folds this way and that until you have the exact look you want.
  2. The wonderful thing about burlap is because it is so thick, it holds its shape really well.
  3. The burlap has a natural curve with it.  Work with the curve, not against it.  You can see the curve in the drape of the end of the ribbon in this picture.
  4. A typical spool of ribbon will make two bows.


Burlap bows really are amazing.

I have them all over the house on wreaths or mantels or vases or pillows or slipcovers.  The best part?  They only take minutes to make.  This is great news if you are planning a wedding or hosting a family reunion or inviting the governor over for sweet tea.  I think the first bow took me about 10 minutes to create, but after that, I could make one in about five minutes.

I’m so glad I decided to eat healthy.  If I didn’t I might have never discovered the perfect combination.

Burlap and Bok Choy.

Me and my new healthy self are going to be the talk of the ribbon community.

For even more burlap inspiration….check out the rest of my burlap projects here.

Here’s a quick video of the project I put together.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Lori H Lori H

    Your mantel is amazing. Thanks so much for the how-to. The bows look hard to make, but now I think I could do it :)

  2. Image for Laura Laura

    I am a very healthy eater (I drink juice I make with dandelion greens every morning), but I have never cooked with bok choy. I do think it is very impressive though that you shared it with random people in Walmart. I bet they are out buying bok choy now too. Love the bows. I've been wanting to make some and now I can. xo Laura

    1. Image for gina gina

      Bok Choy is so great in stir-fry with onions, garlic, broccoli , carrots, red peppers, mushrooms, etc. Add soy sauce and a little ginger and it's better than Chinese take-out!

  3. Image for Jennifer@The Chronicles of Home Jennifer@The Chronicles of Home

    Beautiful, soft and rustic at the same time. Your pictures are always so crisp and the light is even. I feel like I'm always fighting a glare somewhere. p.s. bok choy...maybe saute with a little olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper? Nice and simple and yummy :)

  4. Image for Alice Alice

    HAHAHA, YOU are so stinking funny. I was eating my McDonalds Bacon Egg and Cheese biscuit while reading about your bokchoy. I'll keep my bacon thank you. I do enjoy your wit. By the way, please explain the wooden thing on your mantel. It's cute. Have a lovely day.

  5. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    I perceive bok choy to be an elegant vegetable...just thought that I'd put that out there. I just like saying it...which, evidentally you did too, as you told everyone about it! Your mantle also looks's quite lovely! ;)

  6. Image for Angela Angela

    Your mantel looks fabulous! Can't wait to hear how the bok choy turns out! Wish I could make your hangout today but my daughter's in town for a day of shopping! Have a wonderful day!!~~Angela

  7. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    Your mantel looks great and I love the bows. So simple and pretty with the texture. Bok choy is great sauteed in olive oil with garlic and salt and pepper. Cynthia

  8. Image for Marsha Kern Marsha Kern

    One of my favorite bok choy recipes is- The ribbons are so pretty, love the texture!

  9. Image for Sheryl Mock Sheryl Mock

    Love the mantel display! The colors are so relaxing and comfortable! The chairs in front of the fireplace are gorgeous! I love the idea of the fireplace being a backdrop, instead of the chairs facing it as a focal point!!!

  10. Image for Amber Amber

    KariAnne, So proud you are going "green"! Eating healthy seems to be easier in late spring and summer with all the great things growing. :) You go girl! It'll get easier, promise. Now for that burlap.... LOVE!! We're on pins and needles this week because we will find out if our offer was accepted on the 150 year old homestead. I cannot wait to decorate that place! Burlap will surely be in that homes future! Sneak a prayer in for us, if you can. ;) Have a great week!

  11. Image for Bethanie Bethanie

    My Hobby Lobby must run out of burlap ribbon as fast as they get it in...I stocked up on it the last time I went! My mom calls me the Queen of all things Burlap... it's funny, cuz then she'll tell me about something she's made and she'll slip in there that she used burlap. "Huh? You said BURLAP, mom?!" Between burlap, drop cloths and paint, I can conquer the world!!

  12. Image for Linda Adams Linda Adams

    Hi Karianne, Thanks for the tutorial on burlap bows, they look beautiful with your white roses and etched vases on your gorgeous mantel. Good luck with that Bok Choy - do you ever watch the shows on the Food Network? Joyous Wishes, Linda

  13. Image for Tracy B Tracy B

    The burlap bow is SO beautiful and I LOVE your sense of humor! Your blog is a definite read for me in the mornings! Much better than having to watch the news!!! ;-.)

  14. Image for Diane | An Extraordinary Day Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    Bok Choy. We had it once or twice. I think my husband cut it up and put it in a stir fry. He made it...not me. I don't remember if we liked it or not. We haven't bought it since. Hmmm. Maybe that's because 'he' hasn't made a stir fry in a long time. Hmmm. Let me know if you like it. I might have to ask for stir fry again. With bok choy of course. I LOVE the mantel....the birds...the vases...the flowers...the wooden thing that looks like it has houses on it. Love it all. Wishing you An Extraordinary Day!

  15. Image for Gee Gee

    :-) Luv the bow tutorial. Was just on a site looking at burlap and burlap ribbon. Thinking I need to order some. Pretty mantel ! Once you figure out the bok choy thing let me know. I have incorporated Kale in my way of eating of late. LUV it! Hugs, Gee

  16. Image for Andrea Andrea

    I love a good burlap bow! 1994 was a big year for me and bok choy. That and jicama. They were my university stir-fry staples. In fact, I haven't bought either vegie since the last millenia.....thanks for the reminder. I'm having a hankering for an exotic stir fry =)

  17. Image for Barbara Barbara

    I have an amazing recipe for a Bok Choy salad, I'll try to remember to come back here with the recipe tonight after I get home. Although once you add the toppings and dressing, I'm not sure exactly how healthy it is. It sure is delicious though!

  18. Image for Callie Callie

    Love your beautiful mantle! As for your new healthy eating plan, here's how I use bok choy. I add coarsely chopped bok choy as my last ingredient in a stir fry. It adds a nice green colour and I find it has almost no taste and cooks quickly, so nothing to dislike! Happy healthy eating, hope you have a great day!

  19. Image for Regina Regina

    OK, girl, you read my mind. I was in Michael's in a MUCH larger city than I usually frequent ;) , just last week, and wanted burlap ribbon. That's all I really wanted. Oh, I bought a crochet hook and some yarn for when I decide to try crochet again, but what I REALLLY wanted was burlap ribbon. And I couldn't find any. The moral of the story is - shop local. :) Yours is beautiful! And when you learn how to fix the bok choy, pass along the wealth of info and nutrition!

  20. Image for Thalia Thalia

    I don't even understand how I stopped up here, but I believed this post was good. I don't realize who you might be but certainly you are going to a well-known blogger when you aren't already. Cheers!

  21. Image for Erin Erin

    I was a waitress in a chinese restaurant while in high school and college. People often asked, "What is Bok Choy?" because it was in almost everything on the menu. The answer..."Chinese cabbage" I often wonder what to do with American cabbage. Love the bow! And thank you so much for your tutorials from one who has actually conquered the eating healthy mountain (Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon changed our lives!) but has yet to even begin climbing the dull and boring house one.

  22. Image for Diane Diane

    I hope you do better with the bok choy than I did with the kale. You know "kale chips" are so delicious and healthy! I bought it, put it in the fridge, (with the best intentions) then kept moving things in front of it hoping my husband would not ask again, "so what are you going to do with that green stuff", 2 weeks later it found its way to the trash and I feel awful! I have cooked bok choy, you can cook it the same way you cook cabbage, a little olive oil and salt and pepper and stir fry it. Your mantle is awesome, I love your bows and and birds and roses, oh my!

  23. Image for Burlap Luxe Doré Burlap Luxe Doré

    Although I love the whole burlap bow...I am commenting on bok-chop!! I love it as well, and will use it in fresh flower arrangements for weddings and event designs.....better yet eat it, it's so good for you! I CHOP it up the white ends that is in slices for salads, even Chinese salads Asian style, I also do it in stir fry veggies with snap peas and such over noodles, or rice. I love buying any Asian dressings, and making a salad adding bok-choy and mandarin oranges to the salad with a ginger sesame seed dressing yummy! Get creative with it you will be hooked. Thank you for the burlap post it's the new Velvet :) Xoxo Come visit me and my salvage post. Doré

  24. Image for Lynn in FL Lynn in FL

    Karianne- Okay, I must confess, I've never been a big burlap fan. Just not my cup of tea, I suppose. But here's the deal.....with every other blog I follow, I skip right over posts that pertain to something I'm not particularly fond of, you know, to cut down on the HOURS one could spend perusing great blogs (not that I've ever been guilty of that!) But I can honestly say that Thistlewood Farms is the one and only blog I religiously read each and every word of, even the posts on topics that don't necessarily float my boat, like, say burlap and bok choy, for instance! And each and every time, I am rewarded with the smiles you always bring me, or maybe another little something in the beautiful photos (like the little white birds in your burlap bows pics) that DO speak to me, even though the star of the show on that particular post may not...or sometimes, you bring me to tears with your heartfelt stories about your children...or your honesty about your shortcomings. In other words, your blog is absolutely WORTH reading every single word of, burlap, bok choy and all! Just wanted you to know you continue to bring moments of sheer pleasure to my life with each and every post you write! Thank you, Karianne, for sharing bits and pieces of your lovely home and life with us...we southern girls ( or southern grammies, as in my case), just love you and all that you do! Fondly, Lynn in Florida

  25. Image for Amy@StowandTellU Amy@StowandTellU

    Burlap seems to work for almost any time of year, they're just gorgeous on that mantle!! Your bows look easier to make than I thought, and I think I like the fluffing-the-bows part the best, too! Thanks, Karianne ~ Amy

  26. Image for Suzanne of SimplySuzannesATHome Suzanne of SimplySuzannesATHome

    I LOVE burlap bows! Have you seen the GREY CHEVRON burlap ribbon at Hobby Lobby? It's beautiful!

  27. Image for Gina Gina

    I think your manel looks beautiful! Thank you for sharing this tutorial! In the fall, I bought burlap ribbon but it was so wide, I couldn't figure out how to make a bow with it. No matter what I tried, it looked silly. Now I know the answer...thanks!

  28. Image for Tanya Tanya

    Karianne, your mantel is gorgeous! I have never eaten bok choy, or made a burlap bow so I need to get moving :) Thank you for a great tutorial! xo, Tanya twelveOeight

  29. Image for At Rivercrest Cottage At Rivercrest Cottage

    I can't make one of your beautiful bows, but having worked in a chinese restaurant for 3 years during college, I can cook some Bok Choyt! Try making a soup with leftover meat cut thinly in a chicken broth with sliced Bok Choy. Add chinese noodles and other veggies like green onions, water chestnuts, etc. Or stirfry as others have suggested. Bok Choy is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat.

  30. Image for Audrey Zumwalt Audrey Zumwalt

    Very helpful tutorial with working with that wide burlap. Thanks. Blessings, Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  31. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Beautiful bow, beautiful mantel!!!...I have a great Bok Choy with Pringles topping recipe!

  32. Image for Shirl' Anderson Shirl' Anderson

    Thanks so much for the how to...I just bought ALOT of glad you gave me one ore idea. LOVE your mantel!

  33. Image for Tausha Tausha

    I love this! I have no idea where I will find giant burlap ribbon and then I need to find somewhere to put the bows-but I will do it. Ps-I found this link for you...cause I love you and I really want you to learn how to cook it. Your welcome! Happy day my friend!

  34. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I've never cooked bok choy either, and I love cooking, especially gourmet. But I love making bows! They really are so easy and look much better than store bought ones. Debbie :)

  35. Image for Adventuresindinner Adventuresindinner

    The bow And mantle are gorgeous. You love book Chou simply stir fried with a bit of sesame oil, ginger, garlic and soy sauce. Throw in a bit of chicken and serve over rice for an awesome quick dinner.

  36. Image for Cheryl in Wisconsin Cheryl in Wisconsin

    Years ago, a friend of mine gave me instructions on how to do this type of bow, they never worked out and that's because her instructions were wrong. So I appreciate your tutorial, I can finally attempt this again and do it properly. She'll probably try to take credit. I am prone to conversations with random people in WalMart also, maybe we've met. And now I'm suddenly hungry for Pringles... my brain picked up on the wrong trigger.

  37. Image for breida @ breida @

    Karianne - Did you really buy bok choy? REALLY? I've never bought it myself - BUT it is absolutely my favorite vegetable right now - from the Japanese place in my town. If I could figure out how they make it - I think i would eat it every night. It's BABY bok choy, by the way. . . I don't know if that makes a difference. . . so0000 what did you do with the bok choy?? -b.

  38. Image for Trish @ Uncommon Trish @ Uncommon

    You may not know how to cook Bok Choy ( I have no idea what that is btw...), but you sure do make a pretty bow and mantel! Best of luck to you on the healthy eating! Take care, Trish

  39. Image for Krystal B. Krystal B.

    Thank you for the bow tutorial!! I used it to make a bow for a wreath I made. It turned out positively lovely!

  40. Image for Caroline Gerardo Caroline Gerardo

    Buy already finely chopped fresh garlic ( it makes my hands smelly so I cheat on this step) 2 teaspoons fresh chopped tiny garlic from the refrigerator case small piece of fresh ginger- peel off the tan bumpy skin with a potato peeler and make tiny slivers with the peeler of ginger about a tablespoon Put a tablespoon olive oil - into sauté pan with garlic and ginger add tiny bit sea salt or whatever salt or Lawry's you like fresh ground pepper cook for 3 minutes Wash and pat dry the bok choy during the 3 minutes and toss into the sauté pan If you like red bell peppers or a specific mushroom you can add them too chopped small and toss around. While the bok choy is still bright green add a tablespoon soy sauce and taste If you like hot add some red chili flakes or a dash of your fav hot sauce. Done in total 7 minutes. Come over I will make you strawberry rhubarb pie. Love the bows. Ever used potato burlap bags for projects?

  41. Image for Laura Laura

    Thank you, KariAnne for the tutorial! I was in dire need for a burlap bow tutorial, and here you were coming to my rescue. I find it so fun when my blog friends are one {or more} steps ahead of me and give me a great tutorial. :) Happy Thanksgiving!!

  42. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Thank you for the diy on making bows from burlap. It looks super simple and yours look amazing. I love the look of your mantel; what I can see of it in the pics. I would LOVE to see a complete pic of your mantel with the flowers and bows and all. I'm very interested in the total look. You obviously have exquisite taste. Wish you lived close by and could come by and give me some pointers.

  43. Image for Pavla Pavla

    Thank you for the tutorial! I also have hard time finding burlap ribbons, moreover with print. Any suggestions? Thanks, Pavla

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