Making “Bows”

Okay…well, every time I post a card using one of my ‘bows’ I get multiple emails on ‘how do I make such perfect bows’.  Well today I bribed my DH with peanut butter cookies to help me shoot the photos I needed for this online tutorial.  So…click to read more and to see the picture of how I make the perfect ‘bows’…

First, I need to explain that there absolutely NO TYING or using of ANY SPECIAL DEVICES to make my ‘bows’.  All you need is some ribbon, a brad, and your hands (oh, and some practice until you get the hang of it!)

Pick a brad.  For the purpose of this tutorial and getting some good pictures I used the 5/16” neutral brad.  This is MUCH TOO LARGE for the ribbon I am using but I was able (well my DH was able to) shoot it better with it!


So take a brad (really I’ve use ALL the various brads that SU sells…they all work!) and spread the prongs apart.  One of the secrets for making the perfect ‘bow’ is to make sure you really spread these prongs apart.  The first picture shows the brad, the second one is looking down into the back of the brad once you spread the prongs apart and the third picture shows the side view of the brad so you can see they really are spread far apart.  Now set that aside and work on the ribbon.

We are going to start with making a single ‘bow’…

Take a piece of ribbon.  Now there are two parts that you need to be familiar with…the ‘hangy’ down part and the ‘loopy’ part.  In the first picture the ‘hangy down part is on top and goes to the right.  The ‘loopy’ part is over the the left.

In the second picture I made a ‘loopy’ part over to the right and the brought the ‘hangy’ down part over the top and crossing over to the left.  You want to notice the to two ‘hangy’ down parts are on the top and the two ‘loopy’ parts are on the bottom.  This is important for a good finished ‘bow’.

Now take your ‘bow’ that you are holding and shove it down between the open prongs.  Squeeze the prongs shut.  I usually make a hole in the my project and put the ends of the brad in the hole and use like a regular brad except it is now a pretty ‘bow’.  Before you close the prongs on the back, you might want to turn it over to make sure you have the brad ‘centered’ in your bow.  If you are careful, you can pull on the ‘hangy’ down parts if you need to even out a loop – that takes a little practice though too!


Now how is that for the perfect ‘bow’! (oh…I did switch to a vintage brad instead of the 5/16” neutral brad that I was using to shoot the tutorial)

Go practice that for awhile until you are comfortable making single bows and now it is time to work on the double ‘bow’.  Start with the same ‘brad’ preparation.


You are going to make a second ‘loopy’ part on the left (you will notice it is down below the first one), cross over behind and make a second ‘loopy’ part to the right.  Notice this loop is ABOVE the first one.  As you are finishing off the second right ‘loopy’ part, bring the ribbon up and around the top to form the loop and cross the end over the top of your initial ‘hangy’ down end.  You know have two loops on each side with the two ‘hangy’ down parts crossed on the top.

Now, just like with your single loop bow, shove your ‘bow’, ‘loopy’ sides in first between the open prongs of the brad.  Depending on the ribbon you are using the the brad you are using, it can take a little work to get it in there.  Because this ribbon (the 5/8” satin) is a thicker ribbon, I just bent the prongs over the back of the ‘bow’ when I was finished.  In this case, I would probably use sticky strip to attach to my card.  Again I switched the brad before showing you the finished ‘bow’.


Now a couple of additional notes…

I LOVE making the ‘bows’ with the 3/8” taffeta ribbon and the seam bindings for my smaller bows.  These ribbons are very easy to work with and you can use such a wide range of brads.  I just love make little tiny ‘bows’ by using our regular gold and silver brads.  It takes some practice to get this little bows just right but once you do, they are just DARLING!  Here’s an example of the little ‘bows’ made with the seam binding and the small brad.

I LOVE using the Glitter brads but have find that you have to be careful when you work with these as the prongs will snap off.  It happens…just get another one!  The Vintage Brads and the Rhinestones brads are fun to use too!

I also LOVE making bows with the 1 1/4 Striped Grosgrain Ribbon.  It is EXTREMELY lumpy and using really do need to add these with the sticky strip!

And one final thing…when wanting to make it look like it is ‘tied’ on the card, I take a second piece of the ribbon and after I have put the ‘bow’ between the prongs’ I layer this piece of ribbon between the prongs then close them up.  This works best when you have an extra layer where you can tuck the ends under.  Check out my card here.

Okay…I hope you have enjoyed my tutorial!  And speaking of tutorials, if you stop by tomorrow (Sunday, January 9th – just incase you are stopping by another time), I will be sharing another cool project with a FREE tutorial!  Until then…HAPPY STAMPIN’!


5 thoughts on “Making “Bows””

  1. Hi Mary,

    The ribbon pics don’t show up but the worded instructions do. Not sure what to do to get the pictures of the bows. I tried the refresh button but nothing changed. Not sure if it is my computer or not but thought you would like to know.

    Shirley Baker

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  3. roberta stevens

    This is a lovely bow, but is seem to be hard to make at first but they say practice makes perfect and it is so true. My bows look a lot better after making a couple

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