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Ribbon Bows: A DIY How-To!

We have hit a record here that no one should ever have to hit: Hazardous Air Quality, never before seen in our state.  Smoke from fires in Canada are being ferried down the Columbia River, settling in Southeastern Washington like a wool blanket fort.  Even inside, you smell smoke.  If you didn’t know any better, you’d say there was a wildfire circling your home, threatening to burn it to the ground.

Warnings have been sent out, urging people to stay inside, recirculate your air, wear masks as much as possible, and even go to public places that have air conditioning if you do not, seeing as we’re still in the 95+ degree weather portion of our season.  We have not seen a clear, blue sky the entire month of August, but this was much worse than that, much worse than just gray skies; it feels like we’re being buried alive in ash and misery.

With outdoor conditions being with they are, I thought I’d work on some crafting and decorating indoors.  I had a few extra supplies lying around from other projects, so I thought I’d make a new “wreath” for my front door, along with a DIY Ribbon Bow.

I learned how to make these Ribbon Bows while working at a craft shop in High School, from our floral manager.  I have since made many different bows for all different uses: gift wrap, floral arrangements, wreaths, and even Christmas tree decor.  They are the same basic steps, made customizable by the width of ribbon you choose, and the size of bow you desire.

Simple supplies.  Simple step-by-step instructions.  Beautiful bows every single time.  Let’s get started.


  • Ribbon
  • Craft Wire
  • Scissors
  • Two Hands

Ribbon Tip:  These bows do not require you to use wire edge ribbon, but I would recommend it.  The wire will make the bow easier to form, fluff, arrange, and keep looking great if you do use it.  You can also double up on coordinating ribbon, using a wider ribbon behind a thinner ribbon.  When I do this, I like to use wire edge ribbon for the wider back ribbon, and a satin or grosgrain ribbon (wire free) for the front, thinner ribbon.  The wire back will help keep the wire-free ribbon in place, and will make it much easier to fluff and arrange the bow without too much wire.  No matter the ribbon, the steps are all the same.


Before grabbing your ribbon, cut a 12″ piece of your craft wire, bending it in half slightly.  Set aside

Circle or loop the end of your ribbon, gathering and pinching the end between fingers.  This will be the exact center of your bow.  Each loop you make after this one is going to get a little larger, so don’t make the loop too big.  My rule of thumb is the smaller the ribbon width, the smaller the center loop.

Still pinching the center of your ribbon loop, twist the tail of the ribbon once.  This step is especially necessary if you have chosen a ribbon with only one patterned side.  

With the ribbon twisted and pinched between your fingers, loop the ribbon just slightly bigger than your center loop and gather between your pinched fingers, careful not to let go of the other gathered and twisted ribbon.

Repeat the twist again, making sure to continue pinching, and make another loop, the same size and width as that second one.  

You want to have the center loop, then two the same size just slightly larger, then another two just slightly larger, and so on, so you have a perfectly symmetrical bow.

Notice that I am now pinching the twists on top of the next twists, on top of the next twists.  You want to always make sure to keep the twists and loops tight, so that they don’t come loose.

You are now able to kind of step back and gage if you have enough loops for your project, realizing that the larger the loops, the larger the finished bow size.  Also, the more loops and layers, the fuller the bow.

In addition to the the center loop, I always try to have an odd number of layers.  So, I make the center loop and then do 4, 6, 8, or even ten layers of equal size loops on either side of the center loop, bringing the total number of loops to an odd number.  Odd just looks more complete, in my opinion.

Once you have the size you want, we’re going to determine the size tails you’d like on your bow.

Still holding the bow, bring the tail of your ribbon into a wide circle or loop, gathering the ribbon length in your grasped fingers.

For picture purposes only, I’ve made a massive tail.  It’s always easier to cut them down, but impossible to get them back if you’ve made them too small.

Grab that 12″ cut piece of craft wire that you’ve slightly bent in half.  Push one end of the wire through the center loop, and the other end of the wire threading under your gathered bow loops.

Tightly twist your wire, pulling and tugging, twisting four or five times, to really secure the ribbon.

Once you’ve secured the ribbon between your tightly twisted wire, cut the tail of the ribbon off, close to the underside of your wire-secured bow.  Do not cut the secured ribbon, but the extra ribbon tail that is still attached.

From the bow, gather your massive tail loop down until you find the center.  Cut that loop to make two equal-size tails.

As a finishing touch to make a decorative tail, gather the ribbon like so, with the patterned front facing up and the wire edges gathered behind.

Bringing the wire edges to the outside, cut from the outer wired bottom-edge at an upward angle.With both tails cut, you are now ready to fluff and arrange your loops.  With the wire secured around the bow, you don’t have to worry too much about moving them around, just do not tug and pull the ribbon to try and make the loops bigger.  Fanning them out and arranging them into a nice bow shape is fine, but the loops are set at their current size once you’ve secured the wire.

That’s it!!  You are now ready to attach it to your project with the tails of the craft wire.

See the cut, decorative tail ends? I love that little finishing touch.

I’m not sure how many friends will see my new “wreath,” since we’re all hunkering down until the smoke clears, but I am thrilled with how this turned out.

I love the tastes, smells, temperatures, and colors of Autumn, don’t you?!


Happy Fall, Ya’ll!