How to Make Hair Bows With Alligator Clips

Updated July 20, 2017

Boutique-style hair bows are a popular accessory for girls, from infants to pre-teens. With these fully customisable, do-it-yourself hair bows, you can create inexpensive hair accessories to match nearly any outfit. These homemade bows use a lined alligator clip, helping to make them non-slip, while adding to the professional look of the finished bow. Your friends and family will think that these bows were a pricey boutique purchase--and there's no reason to let them know otherwise.

Seal the ends of your 5-inch strip of grosgrain ribbon by quickly touching them to a hot lighter. The ribbon should melt, but not burn. Sealing the ribbon in this way prevents the grosgrain from fraying.

Apply a strip of hot glue to the inside top section of the alligator clip. The design of the top of the clip varies by manufacturer, but it will be apparent which is the top section when you handle the clip.

Position the ribbon lengthwise on the hot-glued section of the clip, making sure it is centred evenly. Do not cut the ribbon.

Place another strip of hot glue on the top, outside of the alligator clip (directly above the ribbon you just glued) and centre the the ribbon lengthwise on the clip.

Continue applying glue and placing the ribbon around the outside of the alligator clip, down to the bottom of the "handle" part of the clip that you press to open and close the clip. Cover the top, side and bottom of the handle. Don't worry about lining the bottom of the clip; you won't be able to see it when it is in the hair. Cut the ribbon.

Cut the 18-inch piece of grosgrain ribbon in half. After cutting it, you will have 2 pieces of 9-inch long grosgrain ribbon.

Seal the ends of the grosgrain ribbons by touching them to a hot lighter.

Find the middle point on one 9-inch piece of grosgrain ribbon. Bring the ends of your ribbon to this middle point and hold them in place.

Fold this length of ribbon in half. Your ends will now be sandwiched inside the ribbon.

Hold the fold by piercing it with a sewing needle or with a small dab of hot glue placed on the inside of the fold.

Repeat this same process with your second piece of 9-inch grosgrain ribbon. When you are finished, you will have two fixed loops of ribbon. These loops will become the bow.

Position the two loops of ribbon, one on top of the other, so that they form an "X" shape. This "X" will be your bow. Once you are happy with the bow's shape, pierce it with the sewing needle or fix it with a bit of hot glue to hold in place.

Cut a length of thread to tie around the middle point of the bow. The middle point is where the to loops of grosgrain meet. Wrap the thread around this point four or five times and secure the thread by tying it on the back side. Cut any remaining loose threads.

Place a dab of hot glue on the middle front of the bow and add your button. The button should cover any unsightly areas created when you tied the bow together.

Put a dot of hot glue on the back of the bow and place it on the outside top of the alligator clip.


You can make bigger or smaller bows by changing the length and width of your grosgrain ribbon.


Use caution when working with hot glue guns; as the name suggests, they get very hot and can burn you.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-inch strip of 3/8-inch grosgrain ribbon
  • Lighter
  • Hot glue gun
  • 18-inch strip of grosgrain ribbon, any width
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread
  • Button
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About the Author

From the Bronx, N.Y., Shannon Lea has been writing social science and art history-based articles since 2000, with works featured on various websites. Lea is currently perusing her Master of Arts in the history of the decorative arts at the Bard Graduate Center, where she is writing her thesis on ninth-century Arab ceramics.