Ribbon Bow How To
Single prong alligator clips
Needle and thread
Types of Ribbon: There are lots of different kinds of ribbon out
there, but primarily grosgrain ribbon makes the best hairbows. If you
want something fancier you can use velvet, satin, or sheer and do all
right. Wire edged ribbon and some of your really cheap craft ribbons will
not work. If it says it's washable you are probably ok.
Size of Ribbon: The width of your ribbon depends a lot on the
size of your bow. For the small infant hairbows, 3/8" to ½"
work best. Toddlers will be 7/8" or so and the bigger girls 1-1 1/2".
With the 7/8" ribbon and up you may also need a short length of 3/8
- ½ " for your center. As a guide about a yard will get your
7/8" ribbon a bow with 3 loops on each side and tails. I prefer to
buy by the spool because you can always go back and mix in other colors
and have a completely different bow.
Clips: You can use about any type barrette to attach your bow,
but for younger girls' very fine hair, regular barrettes will not stay
in. I've had my best luck putting their hair up using clear plastic rubber
bands and then clipping the bow in with single prong alligator clips.
You can find these at your local beauty supply store. They are less than
$5 for like 100.
To fold your bow:
Leave you ribbon attached to the spool and have a threaded needle ready.
Leaving about a 3 inch tail, fold a loop under the tail
- Fold a second loop over the tail
- Then behind, then in front, fanning your loops out so that they are
not stacked on top of one another, until you have 6 loops total. This
takes practice to get your loops all of the same size and looking right.
- At this point, cut your ribbon from the spool leaving a 3" or
so tail. If you are making a pair of matching bows, let go of your loops
and cut a second piece the same length as the first, then start folding
your loops again. This is the easiest way to get your two bows the same
- Here is where you can make additions to your bow (see below).
A second layer, lengths of ribbon for color, or corker ribbon. Stack
them on top and hold the center.
- Without letting go of your bow, take your needle through the
center of your bow.
- Wrap once around your bow and any additions, then gently pull until
tight. It should gather by itself some, but you may need to help it
as it is pulled tight by pinching the top and bottom together, letting
the middle buckle up slightly. Pull as tightly as you can without breaking
the thread, this will be difficult if you have a lot of additions. Continue
wrapping thread around a few more times. Then bring your needle from
the back up through the center and tie it off.
- Which ever side is the prettiest is the front of your bow. Cut your
ends either diagonally or in V, then put frey check on your ends.
- Choose your center, I will give instructions for a plain center as
the others go on the same way.
- Take a piece of 3/8 or 1/2" ribbon and tie it in a knot on the
back of your bow. Leave the ends hanging and cut to length and end shape
of your other tails, apply frey check.
Bow Centers: The center of your bow can make or break the look
of your entire bow. You have several options for your center:
- a plain center, where you tie 3/8 or 1/2" ribbon around
leaving a smooth center
- a knotted center, where you tie a loose knot in the center of a 6"
piece of ribbon and place the knot in the center of your bow
- a decorative center, where you glue just about anything to
the center, decorative buttons, wood cutouts, ribbonwork flowers
just use your imagination. If the object you choose does not provide
enough coverage, you may want to do a plain center, then sew or glue
your object to the top.
Attaching you clip:
Slip your clip through the knot on the back of your bow. Then glue
in place with a hot glue gun.
Additions to your bow:
Corker Ribbon: Corker ribbon is a cute addition to your bow, or
can make up your entire bow. Try adding a couple of 3-4" pieces onto
your needle before you wrap your thread around. To make corker ribbon,
soak a narrow width ribbon in vinegar then wind around a narrow width
wooden dowel. Secure ends and bake in oven on as low heat as you can until
Multi Color Bows: To make multi color bows, you have several options.
For a full look you can make 2 bows, one in the background with 3 loops
per side and one in front with 2 loops per side. Place them one directly
on top of the other onto your needle before you wrap your thread around.
Try using a smaller width ribbon on the top layer. Use an alligator clip
to hold your loops on the first bow while you fold the second bow.
Or you can cut several lengths of ribbon as wide as your bow from other
colors and stack them on your needle first the add your bow.
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