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It's inevitable. You are almost finished wrapping gifts and you run out of bows!

Now there's no need to run back to the store, or leave out the bow altogether when you can make your own bows with recycled paper. Use left over gift wrap, a magazine page, newspaper, craft paper, scrapbook paper, sheet music, comic pages, children's story book pages or just plain old white paper!

They are easy to make and only require a few basic tools.

Let's get started!

Step 1: Materials

Paper: 
Use gift wrap, a magazine page, newspaper, craft paper, scrapbook paper, sheet music, comic pages, children's story book pages or just plain old white paper.
Pencil
Ruler
Scissors

Adhesive: Fast drying glue, glue stick or double sided tape
Small clothes pins or paper clips (To temporarily hold paper until glue dries.)
Small Stapler with staples (This is optional. Glue is sufficient if stapler is not available.)

Step 2: Making the Gift Bow

Standard sized bow (Gold print wrapping paper is used):
Cut paper to 11" x 6 3/4". Measure and draw lines for 9, 3/4" wide strips that are 11 inches long.
Cut out all 9 strips of paper.
Leave 3 strips 11 inches long. Make 3 strips 10 inches long. Make 2 strips 9 inches long and make the last strip 4 inches long.
Discard the cut off ends.

Small bow (Silver magazine page is used.):
Cut paper to 7 1/2" x 4.5". Measure and draw lines for 9, 1/2" wide strips that are 7 1/2 inches long.
Cut out all 9 strips of paper.
Leave 3 strips 7 1/2 inches long. Make 3 strips 6 inches long. Make 2 strips 5 inches long and make the last strip 3 inches long.
Discard the cut off ends.

Tip: If you follow these instructions, you can adjust the strip widths and lengths to make much larger bows and mini bows.

Step 3: Shaping the Strips

The following directions apply to ALL SIZES. Reference photos are available for every step.

Begin by taking the 3 longest strips and fold in half, making a slight crease in the center, to act as your guide.

Take one of the creased strips and hold with the print side down. Fold over one end (as shown in photo). Then flip same end over so that a twist occurs in the strip and the end overlaps the center (as shown in next photo). Repeat this process for the other end. (Fold over - then flip.) You should now have what looks like a "figure eight" shape (see photo).

Now use your adhesive (glue or double sided tape) to secure both ends in place. If you are using glue, you should also use either a small clothes pin or a paper clip to keep the ends in place while they are drying.

Set piece aside to dry and repeat this same process for all strips (except the shortest strip).

For the shortest strip, you will simply create a loop with the printed side out (as shown in photo).

See the last photo. This is what you should have once you have shaped all the strips.

Step 4: Gift Bow Assembly

As you assemble the Gift Bow, remove your small clothes pins (or paper clips), you will no longer need them. Strips are referred to by number from the largest (1, 2, 3) to the smallest strip (9 - the loop).

Take strips 1 and 2 and glue them together as shown. Add glue to center and add strip 3 (as shown). 

Glue strip 4 to strip 3 (as shown in photo). Then glue strip 5 to strip 4 as shown.

Glue strip 6 to strip 5 (as shown in photo). Then glue strip 7 to strip 6 (as shown in photo).

Glue strip 8 (the last long strip) to strip 7. Add glue to center of strip 8. Then take the loop (strip 9) and place it over your stapler (as shown).

*Note: if your stapler is too large for this, you may omit this step and simply glue the loop to the center (as shown in photo).

If you are able to use a stapler, align the loop with ends down over the center of the bow. Then flip the bow over while holding the loop and stapler so that you can see the bottom. Align the back side of the stapler to the center back and press down to release staple. *Try to do so without crushing the loops you have made. The stapled back should look like the photo.

Step 5: Your Gift Bow Is Complete!

Voila! You have completed a gift bow with recycled paper.

Your bow should be shaped like the photos shown here.

Remember if you follow this instruction, you can adjust the strip widths and lengths to make much larger bows and mini bows.

Happy Wrapping!
I hope there were many homemade bows under the Christmas Tree this year. :D<br><br>Happy New Year Everyone! :)
They look way better in person ;)
Thank you my son... :)
Thanks! That is what I love about instructables! If I need something I know I can find it here! I don't have to buy books and patterns!
Awesome! Do you have more to share? I really need to learn how to make pretty bows for all my girly stuff. I love this. Thanks for sharing.<br>Sunshiine
Thank you! I'll see if I can make time to write an 'ible for other styles of bows. For now, this traditional style can be adjusted to make even bigger bows or make mini bows!<br><br>For example, to make really BIG bows cut wider strips (about 1 inch or more) and make the lengths longer, like 16 inches. Then just adjust the other lengths accordingly. <br><br>The same principles apply to making mini bows. You'll want to make the widths about 3/8&quot; or 1/4&quot; wide and the longest lengths only 6 inches. Again, you'll adjust the other lengths accordingly. If the bow you want is really small, you can omit 2 strips and use only the 2 longest lengths, 2 of the next size, 2 of the shortest and the single (for the center) for a total of 7 strips vs the 9 in the 'ible.<br><br>Thanks for your comments and interest.
So pretty. I almost included these in my magazine wrapping paper instructable, but I thought the bow instructable had already been made. Yours is great.
Thanks. There are a couple gift bow ibles, but none are made the way I make them. Plus it seemed like the right time since I ran out of bows while gift wrapping. lol... murphy's law.
Beauty eh.
thanks canuckdude
I love this! I've never known how to make these bows! Thanks for sharing this!
You are so welcome! - They look store bought, that's the nice part.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm just a creative person! I enjoy drawing and painting, crafting, cooking & baking and even cake decorating. I sew, knit and crochet and like ... More »
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