How to Make a Bow

 If decorating for the seasons and holidays makes your home feel warm and cozy, then it’s important to know how to make a bow.

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There isn’t anything more beautiful than a fluffy red bow on ​an evergreen wreath, swag, and pine roping to make your house stand out in the neighborhood during the holiday season.

That simple touch of adding bows makes your holiday décor look so much more polished and refined.

a christmas wreath with a handmade red velvet bow.
This article will teach you how to make this bow!


I enjoy making bows to create that decorator look without breaking the bank.

This technique is easy and allows you to make bows economically.

For this demonstration, I’m using a weatherproof red velvet ribbon so that the bows can be used outdoors or indoors.

This gives me the flexibility to create dramatic holiday displays that can be flexible and the bows can be reused each year.

The ribbon is available in different widths to create bows in different sizes and “looks” depending on how they will be used.

a red velvet bow on a white background
These bows are great for holiday decorating- inside or outside!

How to Make a Bow with Ribbon in 3 Easy Steps:

Step 1 Estimate the Size of the Bow

Most bows I make are 8 to 10-inches wide.

That width works well for wreaths, swags, and other accents throughout the home.

In addition, an 8-10 inch bow fits comfortably in my hands as I make it.

The length can easily be adjusted by creating a longer tail/streamer.

When I make bows for outside decorating, I want them to be visible from a distance so I make them as large as possible with longer tails.


Step 2 Creating the Loops

Once you have an estimate of the width of the bow, the next step is to create a large series of consecutive loops in that measurement.


a ruler and 1 loop of red velvet ribbon to begin making a bow
Estimate the size of the bow with a large loop


For an 8-inch bow, hold the end of the ribbon and with the right side up, loop it 3 times over itself.

See the photo below.

a hand holding 3 consecutive loops of red velvet ribbon about 8 inches long
There are 3 consecutive loops that are approximately 8 inches long

Cut the ribbon from the spool behind the third loop.

When in doubt, it’s always better to leave it long and trim it later.

a pair of scissors cutting a the end of a ribbon after 3 consecutive loops were made
It’s better to leave the end longer- it can be trimmed later


Then cut a piece of ribbon that is approximately 28 inches long for the tail.

a ruler with bow loops and a cut tail/streamer laying next to it
Cut a 28-inch tail for the bow and place it next to the loops.


The length is purely preference and objective, but I have found that a 28-inch length is a great starting place for an 8-inch bow.

The tail can always be trimmed later to the length you prefer.


Step 3 Assemble the Bow

Take the loops into your hand and pinch the center slightly to create a “gathered” look.

2 hands holding the center of the loops slightly pinching them.
Pinch the center of the loops


a hand pinching the center of the loops of a bow in progress
Pinch the center and hold


As shown in the photo below, add the tail to the loops by placing the center against one edge of the loops.

a hand holding the loops and tail/streamer component of a bow
Add the tail/streamer to the center of the loops


Use a zip tie, floral wire, or chenille stem to secure the pieces together.

Zip ties are extremely easy to use and allow the bow to be cinched tightly.

Wrap the zip tie around the center of the loops and tail with the securing notches toward the back.

Adding a green zip tie to secure the loops and tail of a bow together
Use a zip tie to secure the tail and loops together.


Initially, secure the zip tie so that the bow is held together, but there is still a tiny bit of room for additional tightening.

The back of a bow with the zip tie turned to the back
Keep the mechanics of the zip tie at the back of the bow.


Next, gently pull the inner loops out on each side to form the bow.

For simplicity, I keep the outer loop stationary and only adjust the 2 inner loops outward.

a hand adjusting the loops on one side of a red velvet bow
Adjust the inner loops outward to create the bow


Fluff one side at a time to create the bow.

Adjust the tails downward to create the streamers.

a hand holding a red velvet bow with the loops adjusted and tail pulled into position
The bow takes shape quickly


Tighten the zip tie a bit further to secure the loops and tail.

Trim away the excess zip tie and any other excess ribbon on the back.

the back of a red velvet bow showing a trimmed zip tie
Trim away the excess zip tie and any ribbon on the back


Wrap a piece of floral wire or chenille stem through the center of the bow to serve as a way of attaching the bow to a wreath, garland, etc.

Use a color that will coordinate with the item that it will be attached to (wreath, garland, etc.) as we will be covering the front of the bow to hide the color of the zip tie, etc.

the back of a red velvet bow showing a white chenille stem wrapped around the center.
This chenille stem will be the way to attach the bow to a wreath, etc.


To cover the zip tie and mechanics, cut a piece of matching or coordinating ribbon that’s about 8-10 inches long.


a red velvet bow next to a 6 inch strip of red velvet ribbon.
This strip of ribbon will be used to cover the zip tie and chenille stem.


Fold both of the outside edges in (about one-third of the length) to create a strip with a finished edge.

a red velvet bow with a strip of red velvet ribbon with the outside third starting to be folded in by a hand.
Fold the outside third of both sides in to create a strip


a red velvet bow with a strip of red velvet ribbon folded in thirds with a hand holding it down in place.
The folded strip


Wrap this around the center of the bow and tie it in the back.

Trim away any excess.

a hand holding a red velvet bow with a strip of matching ribbon wrapped around the center to cover the ties.
Wrap the folded strip around the center of the bow and tie the ends in the back of the bow.


This covers the mechanics of securing it and makes it look professional.

Adding a dovetail finish to the tails also makes the bow look polished.

Fold the bottom of the tail so that the right sides face out.

a hand holding the tail or streamer of a red velvet bow with the edges folded. The right side of the fabric is facing out.
To create a dovetail finish on the tail, fold the ends together


Then, use scissors to cut at an angle to create the dovetail finish.

a pair of scissors cutting a triangle off the end of the tail/streamer of a red velvet bow.
Trim at an angle to create a dovetail finish.


Repeat on the other tail and the bow is complete!

a finished red velvet bow with dovetail finish on the tails/streamers.
The dovetail finish makes the bow look professional.


The bow is ready to hang on a wreath, swag, garland, or any other home decor item.

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