How to make a bow maker

Written by melanie l. marten
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Many craft enthusiasts need ribbon or lace bows for their handmade pieces. Make a bow maker in just a few steps to create any bow you need, from tiny satin ribbon bows for scrapbooks, to giant fluffy bows for holiday wreaths.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Wooden board or plaque
  • 1/2-inch wooden dowels
  • Electric drill with 1/2-inch drill bit
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Paint or stain (optional)

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  1. 1

    Cut the wooden board or plaque so it is about 1-foot long and at least 6-inches wide. If you intend to make only very small bows, or want a bow maker you can slip in a handbag for easy transport, you can make the board smaller. Sand all the edges to make it neat and to prevent ribbon snags when you create bows with it.

  2. 2

    Measure the board with your ruler or tape to find the exact centre. Measure both horizontally and vertically, creating a line with your pencil at the centre lines of each side. Then lay the board in front of you so the longer measurement is aligned horizontally. This will be the position you use the bow maker board in when it is complete.

  3. 3

    Make two marks with the pencil on the vertical centre line approximately 1/2 an inch apart from the exact centre point. The space between the two marks should be about 1 inch apart. Use your electric drill to create a straight hole at each of these marks. The hole should be about halfway through the 1-inch board.

  4. 4

    Measure 1-inch increments out from the centre on the horizontal midline next. Be sure that each pair of marks you make--left and right of the centre line--are equal distances from the centre. This will ensure even bows. Drill the same size holes at each of these marks as you did in the previous step.

  5. 5

    Cut the 1/2-inch dowels into equal pieces approximately 4-inches tall. You should make at least 4 of these dowels, but you may need more if you plan to make more complicated, double-layer ribbon bows. Since dowels are quite long--and inexpensive--create several equal-length dowels for the bow maker project. Sand the edges of the dowel before use. If desired, paint or stain all parts of the bow maker.

  6. 6

    Use the bow maker by inserting 2 dowels in the holes at equal distances from the centre line. Wrap a ribbon or string around both of the dowels and tie a knot around the loops. This will create a simple bow tie. For more complicated bows, insert the dowels above and below the centre dot, loop the ribbon multiple times around the side dowels and secure the centre with a wire or another piece of ribbon.

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