A homemade bow can add a bit of personal touch to all of presents and sort of be green at the same time! I've been making these bows for a couple of years now and after some practice I can make one in under 30 minutes. Price can range to $0-$5, it all depends on what you have on-hand.
(originally inspired by this article: http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2009/10/make-gift-bow-from-magazine-page.html)
Step 1: Things You'll Be Needing
-an x-acto knife or a razor blade
-pages from a magazine (preferably colorful pages)
-a pen or pencil
-a surface you can cut on (I used a wooden cutting board)
Step 2: Side Note on Selecting a Magazine Page
Step 3: Measuring and Cutting
Measure the width with a pencil or pen. Normally, I make three separate marks (bottom, middle, and top) so that when I line up the ruler I know everything is correct. I usually use a pencil because after you cut the strips, it's hard to see the marks. However, for this specific page I used, the pencil could not be seen due to the dark red colors, so I used the pen. The marks of the pen do not make a difference in the final product, so if you do use a pen don't worry at all.
Once you've measure the first strip, match the ruler up with your marks. Then take your sharp blade of choice (mine is a razor because I sadly do not own an x-acto knife) and cut your first strip following the straight edge of the ruler. I found that using light pressure on the blade makes a clean cut. When I used too much pressure, the strip ended up crumpling and jagged.
After you finish cutting the first strip, complete this process 8 more times so that you have 9 strips at the end. This is the most time consuming and boring part of the project. So once you get past this you're home free!
Step 4: Cutting the Strips Down to Size
The first three we'll leave at the full length of the magazine page. For the next three we'll only need to cut off 1 inch from the top (or bottom). Depending on which part of the page you like you might want to cut bottom or top. The next two we'll cut off 2 inches from top or bottom. And the last strip (the ninth) will be cut down to 3 3/4 inches long.
The longest strips make up the bottom layer of the bow. The next longest are the second row, third longest are third row, and the shortest goes right in the middle. A later step will explain this in depth.
So in review:
3 strips are - full length
3 strips are - 1 inch cut off top or bottom
2 strips are - 2 inches cut off top or bottom
1 strip is - only 3-3/4 of an inch long
Step 5: Folding and Taping the Strips
Important: Do Not actually fold the strips. Like don't make a crease. Bad move bro...
Before folding I always get two pieces of double-sided tape ready. Each piece is about 1/2 an inch long.
It doesn't matter which strips you start with, but it just makes sense to start with the longest pieces and work your way down. Take a strip and hold it so that the image from the page you are using is facing away from you (so you'll be looking at the other side of the page you are not using). I don't know if this is why, but because I'm lefty I take the top of the strip and bend it to the left first (leaving the opposite image you aren't using still showing at the end). I mention the lefty thing because if you're righty it might be more natural to go the right instead.
Once you have the top part folded over creating the arc, while holding the top in place, take the bottom half and fold it over to the right. When you have both in place, take a piece of double-sided tape and stick the two ends together (seen in the second picture).
After this take the second piece of tape and apply it underneath the ends of strips you just stuck together. Make sure you do not put the tape on the very bottom.
Repeat this step for the next 8 strips. For the short piece we are creating a circle. Put a small piece of tape on one end and stick it together.
Step 6: Laying Out the Bow
The layers look like this:
1st - Longest 3
2nd - Second longest 3
3rd - Third longest 2
4th - Circle piece
Step 7: Tape Pieces Together
A good way to arrange the pieces is to have the ends between two ends from the layer below. I explain this in the 4th picture more clearly.
The last piece might be hard to put in place if your bow turns our very...fluffy (like mine did). I placed the circle piece in place and pressed the bottom down with the eraser on a pencil. Worked like a charm.
Place it on your gift and you're all done! Enjoy! :)