Introduction: Curly/korker Hair Bows

Picture of Curly/korker Hair Bows

Save yourself some money buying those boutique bows and make them at home yourself. They're easy! I promise!

Step 1: Supplies

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Gather your supplies. For this bow I used:

1/4" ribbon
1/4" wooden dowels
small binder clips
hair clip
glue gun
strong thread

If you want to use wider or narrower ribbon, you may want to experiment with different sized dowels. Grosgrain ribbon can also be used and looks really cute. I generally use upholstery thread, but you could even use dental floss if you want.

Step 2: Wrap Your Dowel With Ribbon

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Secure your ribbon to one end of the dowel with a binder clip. Wrap it in a spiral until the entire dowel is covered. Secure the other end with a second clip. If you run out of ribbon somewhere in the middle, just add another length and secure with an additional clip.

Step 3: Baking Your Ribbon

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The more ribbon you curl, the fuller the bow will be. These eleven dowels will make two medium full bows. For small girls you may want to make teeny bows, so this would make several.

Continue wrapping dowels until you have several. Set them on a cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for about twenty minutes. Let them cool completely.

Step 4: Unwrap

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Pull of the clips and gently unwrap your ribbon.

Step 5: Cutting

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Your ribbons may look a little wonky on the ends. Trim off any weird pieces.

Cut the ribbons into desired length. These pieces are about four inches long and since I want the bows fairly full, I've used six dowels worth of ribbon.

ETA: Depending on the type of ribbon you use, you may need to seal the ends to prevent fraying. Acrylic ribbon can be sealed by holding the cut end near a flame briefly until it melts very slightly, or dab the ends with Fray Check. Some ribbons may be just fine if you cut at a 45 degree angle.

Step 6: Tying

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Center your little bundle of ribbon on a piece of thread long enough to work with. Twelve inches is more than enough. Kind of mix them up a bit so the colors don't clump together too much.

Gather the thread tightly and tie a good, secure knot. Wrap it around one more time and tie it again.

Step 7: Finishing

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Glue your hair clip to the bundle. You may want to line the clip with ribbon first, but with a full bow like this, I don't find it terribly necessary.

Once the glue has set, flip it over and trim the ends if you'd like to clean it up a bit.

Now go make a little girl happy!


IAguirre (author)2010-03-12

I really love this bows, but how can I attach a ponytail holder to them?

Jenelle JoshuaA (author)IAguirre2017-05-17

Hot glue. Or wrap some yarn around a few times and then knot and secure it

Mickiswing (author)IAguirre2010-03-15

It's not too hard.  Before you get to step 6 where you start tying your bow with thread, I would thread a needle, two strands of thread and knot it really well.  Instead of just tying, I would bring the needle up and down through the stack of ribbons a few times.  Then push your needle through the middle of a ponytail holder, wrap the thread around once or twice, then back through the holder again.  Repeat until it feels secure. 

I hope that helps!  Good luck!

IAguirre (author)Mickiswing2010-03-16

Thank you so much. I also have another question, I made one the other day but its not as round looking as yours. Mine seems to look a little droopy, how can I make it be puffy and round looking. Thanks a million.

Before you bake them lightly spray each dowel with a light starch spray. This helps the curl keep its shape

KristinM5 (author)IAguirre2015-06-09

Try a little spray starch before baking. Keeps them "stiffer".

Mickiswing (author)IAguirre2010-03-18

I couldn't say for sure without seeing a picture.  But I would guess that either you need to add a few more ribbons to the cluster to puff it up a bit. 

After you tie the pieces together take your ponytail and loop it around the gathered pieces eith with a small slip knot

AlisonD16 made it! (author)2016-06-13

I'm so sad that mine didn't work:-( they look very limp and the curl is falling out after 6 hours. Did I use the wrong type of ribbon? I used double faced satin ribbon.....

PinkZebrasB made it! (author)2016-05-23

Jack skellington

ValerieY1 made it! (author)2016-02-27

I made a basic bow for St. Patrick's Day. My son will wear it on his shirt. The instructions were clear and easy to follow.

karen.earhartgraham (author)2016-01-13

After i wrap the dowels with the ribbon i sray the dowel with a light starch spray before i bake the dowels, it gives the curl better form and it last longer.

julie.a.edwards.35 (author)2014-10-18

I believe several years ago I used knitting needles, that still ok, also if I did not have the clips what could I use to secure both ends?

You can also use WOODEN clothes pins (plastic ones will melt)

hi julie..u can use wooden pegs

beamerpook (author)2015-06-08

I just wanted to point out that using your oven to bake these can be wasteful if you're only making a few. If you're not in a hurry, just load up the dowels and set them on a tray, and wait until the next time you make dinner (something around the 350 - 375°F range) and then toss the tray in after you take your food out. Don't open the oven for a couple of hours, and the residual heat should be enough to "set" your korkers.

And here's for you Celcius users:

sam.hilditch.58 (author)2015-04-20

hi a quick question .. How do u keep the White so white?!

Iv made Korea bobbles a few times now and the White always goes an off white mucky colour, today's attempt went cream!

Could it be that you're using too high heat, and it's mildly burning/browning your ribbon? Or it could be that the brand/type of ribbon you're using is sensitive to heat?

SandraM2 (author)2015-02-08

Hi, I'm making a firecracker shirt for my daughter's soccer team and I wanted to add the curly ribbon to the end of the fire cracker. So my question is: will the curl hold up in the wash? I'm instructing all of my parents to wash the shirts in a cold wash because I'm also tie dyeing them. Please advise!

Mickiswing (author)SandraM22015-02-25

I've never actually tried washing them, so I can't say for certain. But, I would think the curl will hold up in a cold wash/air dry cycle.

I would test a couple pieces of ribbon through the wash before doing it for sure!

susan.f.murray.35 made it! (author)2014-11-02

Hi. I made these this afternoon using mostly your instructions. Really easy to follow. I figure that the oven temperature is Fahrenheit ? I converted it to Celsius and it seemed to work. Thanks for great easy instructions. Obviously the finished ones are Christmas themed and the unfinished ones are school colours. Not as neat as the ones on the instructions as I made them with less ribbon and a little longer. Thanks.

naomi.sanchez.79 (author)2014-08-20

Hi there. I recently read up some instructions on making these somewhere else and after the lady had wound the ribbons onto the dowels and clipping them, she wet them under the tap before putting them onto a tray line with aluminium paper and then baking them in the oven. Is there any reason as to why you don't wet the ribbons prior to baking them? Thanks. :)

The only reason would be that I learned how to do this without wetting them :) They don't seem to need it and have held strong for years. I would bet that either way works just fine!

yallen (author)2013-12-10

Thanks! I've been wanting this ribbon to make myself a lalaloopsy wig! (I'm a weirdo.)

Nickidaycare (author)2013-09-02

It's really easy I made a couple for my niece , and the instructions were really good and self explanatory.

katydays (author)2013-06-12

Oh dear, my dowels have started to burn only 10 minutes into the baking! I wonder if I should wet them?

cardumen (author)2013-05-02

Thanks a lot!! These instructions have been very helpful for me. Well, I'm just trying out to make them and do hope they work out well for me. :)

judywhite1 (author)2013-02-25

Thank you so much!!! I've been buying hairbows for my little granddaughter for months now....but I am a crafter and it had crossed my mind...maybe I could make....but I had
no idea how easy it is.
Thank you thank've opened a new crafting avenue for me!

Jessie Marie (author)2013-01-02

I have to try to make one of these!! Awesome instructable!

teacherspet1 (author)2012-09-09

Wondering if there was a tip or a step I am leaving out My korkers look really pretty, however, the ribbons get all stuck into each other after I'm finished How do you keep them to stay separated and fluffy? Help!! Thanks!!

annamezz (author)2012-06-26

Thank you!! Wish I found this site a few weeks ago-I have spent close to 100.00 on these from E-bay-had no idea they were so simple to do!! Thanks!!

carowade (author)2012-03-09

When baking the ribbons, do you preheat the oven?

tatianam (author)2011-11-05

Muy buen post, quisiera saber si se desarman los rizos en caso de mojarse, muchas gracias

NO Creo Porke si Le Kema Las Orillas De El Liston No Se Iva DEsacer!

aklouse (author)2011-11-11

Thank you so much. I am going to make these for my daughters dance class for their tap shoes. They will look adorable with them on there!!

sirena80 (author)2011-10-17


Mickiswing (author)sirena802011-10-17

Yup, the times are the same for grosgrain ribbon too. Good luck!

AllyBolton (author)2010-10-22

Are these bows good for cheerleading tryouts? like i mean can they with stand tumbling jumps and other really fast moving things? if so plz tell me!

Mickiswing (author)AllyBolton2010-10-24

I think they'd be great to cheerleading! They really are very durable, especially if you take care to make sure the bow is really anchored to the clip. Our bows have withstood a lot of activity and are still holding strong.

stephanie.hayes (author)2010-09-21

how do you get the curls to stay?

Hey Stephanie!

The baking of the ribbon sets the curls. It's similar to using a curling iron on your hair - the heat sets it in.

marsneedsrabbits (author)2010-07-04

Thank you so much! You've made a wonderful tutorial. My little one has been asking for pretty bows to wear lately and I had been putting off buying them because they are so darned expensive. I have everything to make these tomorrow.

Mickiswing (author)2010-03-18

I sent a msg to your email address as well, but here you go again, just in case. 

I wouldn't recommend using the microwave for curling your ribbons as the microwave heats unevenly.  There is a certain point at which the ribbon will just start melting. 

jazitup (author)2010-03-12

This is absolutely wonderful.  I've been paying a fortune for tiney little bows such as these and I so wanted to make my own using colors I love!  This is PERFECT.  Thanks so much for sharing!

kragen (author)2009-12-14

Thank you for the help on the bows. I have made some but some are out of my range. I went to hairbowstogo to get some that I could not do myself. Great website and thanks again I have learned a lot

mrskanga (author)2009-09-22

This is just so fantastic! I am an Aussie mum, and we just can't get korkers here. I have bought a few Gymboree ones from eBay but of course they cost a fortune to get here, so to be able to make my own for my little girl is really great! Could you please tell me how long are the lengths of dowling that you use?

Mickiswing (author)mrskanga2009-09-22

I'm glad I could help! The dowels I used were 15". These particular ones were bought pre-cut in a package from the craft store, but it doesn't take much to buy a few full length dowels and cut them down to the size you want. Good luck!

Mama2Luvu (author)2009-09-17

Your bows are absolutely adorable. I'm on my way out to buy supplies. I always thought you HAD to use grosgrain ribbon, no? What kind of ribbon have you used in this bow? Also, do I need to presoak the ribbon in water first? Thank you so much.

Mickiswing (author)Mama2Luvu2009-09-17

You don't have to use grosgrain. This is just the regular satin ribbon you can buy for super cheap. Both kinds will work. There's no need to presoak the ribbon first, the oven will do the trick! I'm glad you like the bows. Good luck!

rubi.garcia (author)2009-08-29

Can I use the microwave? and what temperature? please answer me

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