Looking for ideas on how to tie a Christmas bow? Here are three of my top bow-making secrets and four different types of bows.
Today I walked through the house counting the Christmas bows.
Guess how many?
Ummm. Nope. Not even close. I counted 47 bows scattered from room to room. And that’s just the downstairs.
I tell you this to prove my bow-making credentials because today? On the 7th day of “12 Days of Getting Ready for Christmas,” we are talking bows. And I have the best bow tutorials.
I went around the house and photographed the bows and showed you how to make them—including three of the SIMPLEST secrets you can use that will immediately make your bows look even cuter.
Are you ready?
Have ribbon–will decorate. 🙂
How To Tie a Christmas Bow
Mantel bow tutorial
I called this mantel bow tutorial, but really? This is your basic bow.
If I say the word bow, you probably thought of a bow that looks just like this.
And in amazing news?
It is SO EASY.
Like extra easy with easy on top.
All you need is my secret tip.
1. Start with your ribbon.
This tutorial works with any type of ribbon, but I like at least a 2″ ribbon to make your bow look extra fluffy.
2. Start by folding it over and over in layers like I did here. The length of your layers will determine the width of your bow.
I like about five to six folds in my bow.
3. Then? Here’s the secret sauce.
I nutch the folded bow in the center on each side.
When you cut into the ribbon make sure you don’t go too close to the center or your bow will fall apart.
4. Tie off the center with floral wire.
You can also use thin gauge wire, too—or even another ribbon.
You just want to make sure the center is cinched tight—this helps your bow to be even fluffier.
5. Then? Pull your bow apart and fluff the loops of the bow.
The notch makes all the difference–you can twist the loops this way and that because of the nutch.
If your ribbon isn’t double-sided, you’ll need to twist one of the sides of the loop to make sure all your ribbon is on the right side.
6. Lastly, I cut an 18″ piece of ribbon and wire it to the center bow to make two tails.
Notch the ends of the ribbon and wire it onto a garland.
// brown velvet ribbon //
Basic tie bow
Remember that ornament that I told you about that my sister made for me in 2009 to commemorate the ice storm with a poem?
So many of you asked for a close-up picture of it, that I took another picture so you could read the words.
And when I did?
I realized I had tied a bow. You can see the brown velvet ribbon here.
This bow is actually harder to tie than it looks. So many times you tie a bow like this and it looks kind of lopsided. It doesn’t lay right.
That’s because you need bow secret number two.
// brown velvet ribbon //
Tie the bow the reverse of the way you normally tie it.
So for example, if you are right-handed and you start with the loop in your right hand and loop the other side and pull it through with your left hand? You know—the kind of bow you make when you tie your shoe.
Instead? Start with the loop in your left hand and loop the other side and pull it through with your right hand–the reverse of the way you normally tie it.
Try it and see.
The bow will lay so much better if you reverse the tie.
Loopy bow for tree
This is a great option if you don’t want to wind your ribbon all over the tree.
This bow looks like you’ve covered the tree with ribbon, bur really? It’s just these mini-bows that you slide onto the branches.
And here’s bow secret number three.
You just need a ribbon and an office clip.
1. Start by looping the bow.
You are going to make 2 loops and a tail with the smallest loop on top.
Then a middle loop that’s a little longer.
Then fold the ribbon and have the tail stick out longer than the middle loop.
LOL. Me, too.
Here’s a picture I took that shows better than I can explain.
See the two loops and the tail at the bottom.
// gold binder clips //
You clip them at the end with a binder clip like this.
Then your mini bow is ready.
You can just tuck them in the tree and it looks like you’ve looped your ribbon all through the tree.
Oversized burlap bow
1. Find your ribbon.
- 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.
- There are wired, non-wired, big, small, medium, printed, and colored burlap ribbon. The burlap ribbon makers are working overtime.
- 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.
- 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.
Step 2: Fold ribbon
- Decide how wide you want your bow to be.
- 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.
- The end of the folded piece of ribbon is where the center of your bow will be.
- This half a bow measures between 4 and 5 inches, so my entire bow is between 8 and 10 inches.
Step 3: Continue folding the ribbon
- Each time you make a fold make it just a little smaller than the previous fold (as shown).
- Cut last fold of ribbon so it ends in the center.
- Trim the ribbon where you want it to be and place the rest of the ribbon away for your next bow project.
- For ribbon as large as the one I selected, I typically make three folds.
- If your ribbon is smaller, you will want to make more folds to make the bow fluffier.
Step 4: Wrap florist wire
- In the center of the folds, wrap a piece of florist wire around the burlap.
- 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.
- Twist the ends together.
- Leave the ends of the florist wire hanging.
Step 5: Wrap center
- Wrap the center of the bow with a piece of burlap and fasten at the back of the bow with florist wire.
- Make sure you cut it long enough so that the bow has “tails” after you wrap the center.
- Trim the burlap bow tails to about 6″ in length.
- Cut the ends in a diagonal line.
Step 6: Fluff
This is my favorite part.
This is the part where the bow comes alive.
- You twist the folds this way and that until you have the exact look you want.
- The wonderful thing about burlap is because it is so thick, it holds its shape really well.
- 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.
- A typical spool of ribbon will make two bows.
// Bowdabra //
And if bow-making seems overwhelming?
I have another solution.
So many people recommend this Bowdabra on Amazon—it has over 6,000 reviews. If you have 47 bows to make like me? This might be the solution.
You can see it here.
Here are a few more bows I made for the staircase.
Remember that garland for fall?
Well, it’s Christmas garland now. I took out the pumpkins and added pinecones and greenery picks and faux fur ribbon and wood jingle bells.
That was A LOT of bow-making talk.
I may or may not have gotten a little bit carried away with all the tutorials. I’m just so excited because it’s Christmas and everything is just so merry and bright.
And just when you thought we were done?
I have an encore.
My amazing friend Leslie from My-100-Year-Old Home has even more bow inspiration today.
disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post.