An eager DIYer and crafter, Donna enjoys sharing fun and creative tutorials with others so they can learn from her successes and mistakes.
Bows for Every Occasion
From handmade wreaths and hair accessories to a personally wrapped gift, a beautiful bow makes your project look complete.
I learned to build these multi-loop round bows from watching my dad make them. He would often take this extra step to make a big bow for gifts for my mom or wedding presents for the family. These bows always showed the extra time and care he took to make the gift look special.
I often use these bows on wreaths, but you can also use this tutorial to make bows for gift wrapping, hair bands, and barrettes, or to create award ribbons for scouting or class projects.
Choosing Your Ribbon
There are many types of ribbons available for making bows. You can find some ribbons in the gift-wrap section in stores. This ribbon is great for gifts and small craft projects. This ribbon is often self-stick, and you can just moisten the ends to assemble your bow.
Fabric ribbon is available in craft, fabric, and most big box stores. Fabric ribbon is a better choice for making bows for wreaths and anything that will be used outdoors. Generally, I would suggest using hot glue to make a bow out of fabric ribbon. However, with some lighter fabric ribbon, you can use double-stick tape.
Materials for Making a Round Bow
- Ribbon: As mentioned above, there are many types of ribbon, and you should choose the correct type of ribbon for your project. The amount of ribbon you will need will depend on the size of your bow. For a bow that is five inches in diameter or less, three yards of the ribbon should be enough (most ribbon is sold in three-yard rolls).
For a bigger bow, or if you want to add hanging streamers, you will need more ribbon. You can also mix colors and designs of ribbon in your bow, which would use fewer ribbons of each.
- Hot glue: Use this with medium-to-heavy-weight fabric ribbon, or if you're putting your ribbon on something that will be outdoors.
- Double-stick tape: You can use double-stick tape with lightweight ribbon or gift-wrap ribbon.
- Ruler or measuring tape
Building the First Layer of Your Bow
1. Decide how big you want your bow to be. I put my bow on a wreath, so I decided to make my bow five-and-a-half inches in diameter.
2. Cut four lengths of ribbon to create the first layer of your bow. Each length of the ribbon should be twice as long as the diameter of your final bow plus three inches (if you are making an eight-inch or larger bow, add five extra inches instead of three).
Since I wanted my finished bow to be five-and-a-half inches in diameter, I cut each of my lengths of ribbon to be 14 inches (5.5 inches x 2 = 11 + 3 = 14 inches).
3. Turn each length of ribbon so it is face down. Using hot glue or double-stick tape, fold one end of your ribbon into the center and glue it to the middle (see photo above) creating a loop on one end. Try to match up your ends as neatly as possible.
4. Now fold over the other end and glue it in the middle, overlapping the previous end (see photo above). You should fold over this end without gluing to ensure it will give you the bow diameter you want.
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5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for all four lengths of ribbon (see photo above).
6. Take two of your folded pieces of ribbon and place them across the remaining pieces of folded ribbon to create two even crosses (see photo above). Glue these crossed pieces of ribbon in place.
7. Now, take one of your ribbon crosses and place it on top of the other. Place your top cross so that it is at a slight angle from the one on the bottom to create an eight-loop flower shape. Glue in place at the center of your bow.
8. Place this bow layer to the side and start working on your second layer.
Creating the Second Layer of Your Bow
The second layer of the bow is a smaller loop flower that fits inside the bottom layer. If you want, this is where you can change your ribbon to a different color or design. I used a thinner ribbon of the same design for my second layer because I didn't have enough material to make my bow out of the same ribbon.
9. Take the roll of ribbon that you want to use for your second layer, and hold the end; see how big your inside layer should be. I figured my inside layer should be about four inches in diameter.
10. Then, cut four lengths of ribbon for the second layer of your bow. Again, each length of the ribbon should be twice as long as the diameter of your final bow, plus three inches. I cut each of my ribbon lengths to 11 inches.
11. Follow steps 3–6 to fold and create two more ribbon crosses for your bow. On this layer, you want to ensure your ribbon ends are lined up when gluing them in place.
12. Repeat step 7 and place one ribbon cross on top of the other to form an eight-loop flower shape. Glue your top cross in place at the center of your bow layer.
13. Take your smaller bow layer and put it on top of your bottom layer. Position the top layer in whatever way looks best. Glue the top layer of your bow to the bottom layer at the center. Take some time to fluff and shape your loops.
Note: If you are making a large bow, you can repeat the steps for the second layer to create a third inner layer for your bow (this will require more ribbon). This will give your bow a fuller look.
Making the Center of Your Bow
Note: If you are mixing ribbon for your bow, you can use whichever ribbon looks best for the center.
14. Take about three inches of your ribbon and wrap it around your fingers to make a loop that is as wide as it is high (see photo above). Glue or tape the ends together where they overlap and cut off any extra ribbon. You may need more or less ribbon depending on the size of the center of your bow.
15. Glue this loop in the center of your bow, making sure the seam is hidden on the bottom.
16. If you would like to add some hanging streamers, cut two or more lengths of ribbon and glue them to the back of your bow. Trim the ends at an angle to give them a finished look.
Add your finished bow to your project, and enjoy!
© 2019 Donna Herron
Donna Herron (author) from USA on April 25, 2019:
Hi Heidi - I didn't know that there was a helpful tool for making bows, but it is easy just to make them on your own. Thanks for stopping by ans commenting. I appreciate it!
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 24, 2019:
Very cute! I have one of those spindle style bow maker tools. Could sort of get a good result. But this looks a whole lot easier!
Thanks for sharing your creativity, as always, and hope you're having a fun springtime!