How to make decorative bows out of ribbon

Updated July 19, 2017

It takes just a minute, a bit of ribbon, scissors, and a dab or two of glue to make any of these three decorative bows. Experiment using different ribbon colours, widths, textures, fabrics, and styles. Create a formal, flat "Penguin Bow Tie"' with narrow velvet or gift wrap ribbon. For a draping, soft look, try using a wide satin--or a flowing tulle--to make a "Classic Draping Bow." Or, create a fuller, rolling "Wave Bow" using wire-lined ribbon.

Cutting a 4 to 6 inch length of ribbon and bend it into a loop. Overlap the ends, slightly, and glue together. Let dry.

Stand the ribbon circle upright on a flat surface with the glued end down. Flatten the circle gently.

Snip a shorter, second length of ribbon and wrap it around the centre of the finished loop. Flatten the centre, and glue the ends together (in back) to complete the bow tie.

Cut a long length of ribbon (very long if you want the ends to cascade). Find the middle of your ribbon strand and form loops on both sides of the centre.

Tie the loops together by bringing the right side loop up, under, and through the left loop (like tying a shoelace).

Clip the two ends of your ribbon on an angle, or in a "V" shape.

Cut three or four pieces of narrow, wire-lined ribbon in graduated lengths, each at least 1 inch shorter than the last. Bend each length, separately, into a circle. Glue the overlapping ends together so that you have three or four separate circles in graduated sizes. Let ends dry.

Set the largest loop on a work surface, placing it with the glued ends, centred, on the bottom. Press your finger down on the centre of the circle so that you now have a loop on either side. Take the next-smallest circle, and pinch the centre together. Align the second loop so that it is parallel to the first. Place a drop of glue in the centre of the largest loop, and set the next-smallest loop on top of it, centre to centre, and aligned.

Continue attaching the centre of the next-smallest circle to the larger one until all are attached.


Use a variety of ribbon types. Use two lengths of ribbon to complete your bows for a fuller look.


Never leave hot glue guns unattended and use with caution.

Things You'll Need

  • Assorted ribbons
  • Scissors
  • Glue (household or hot glue and glue gun)
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About the Author

Cath Savage is a returning freelance writer with a B.A. degree in organizational/intercultural communication from Arizona State University. She has written for Tempe Magazine, Arizona State University, the Phoenix Zoo, and McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. Inc. Savage says she will 'write everything about anything' but really enjoys pieces about interesting people, places, cultures and workplace issues.