Introduction: Cardboard BowTie

About: There are three Pegasauruses who dwell within this cavernous estuary of design. As the eldest, I am known as Mother, keeper of the bank account, guardian of the social media passwords, and evil enforcer of too…

I'm not gonna lie. I LOVE cardboard. Maybe a bit too much, if that's possible. My therapist says it is... And by "therapist" I mean cat, and by "cat" I mean no one, because I'm allergic to cats and fundamentally unlovable...

Just kidding.... Sort of.

So, if you're like me and enjoy wearing cardboard to impress all your would be friends (if they weren't so intimidated by your wicked cool fashion sense and obviously superior swagger) then this Instructable is for you.

Here are some simple steps to turn cardboard scraps into a collection of super dapper bow ties.

Step 1: Materials

It may seem as simple as cutting out a design and pining it to your shirt, but if you want a nice looking, longer lasting bow tie, you'll want to put a bit more effort into the construction.

The materials you'll need are:


Card stock or thick paper (to make a template with)

A bow tie, or photo of a bow tie for reference

Acrylic paint

Scrapbook paper (optional)

Glitter (optional)


Sharpie markers

Paint brushes

Mod Podge


Metal clips

Scissors or box cutters


Step 2: Making a Stencil

I wanted to make many bow ties in this one sitting so I decided to make a stencil to keep them all similar in size and shape.

Since I have a hair pin that is the right proportions, I just traced around it onto the card stock and cut around the drawing to make my first stencil.

I also decided to make some freehand designs by just drawing straight onto the card stock.

*** You can freehand your design directly onto the cardboard, but I like to keep a record of stencils so I can recreate things later if I need to. ***

Step 3: Cutting the Design

Using your stencil, trace the image directly onto the cardboard.

Repeat this as many times as needed to get the amount of bow ties you want, plus some extras (just in case).

Using scissors or a box cutter (whichever you are more comfortable with) carefully cut out your designs.

You may have some sharp or messy edges, but you can clean them up using sandpaper. Gently rub the sandpaper over the edge (going in only one direction).

Step 4: Paint and Seal

Before you jump into painting, I highly recommend laying at least one layer of Gesso to create a base to hold the paint, and a crisp white background to make any design you put down 'pop'.

Let the base dry a few minutes before applying paint.

Apply acrylic paint in any color or pattern you want. If you want to add glitter, gently sprinkle it over the wet paint.

Let dry.

If you aren't that confident in your ability to freehand paint, you can cut out a piece of scrapbook paper, using your stencil, and glue it to the top of your bow tie.

Outline the bow tie with a black sharpie marker, and add subtle highlights with white acrylic paint.

You will want to seal the painted or papered bow tie once it is completely dry.

I use Mod Podge, in high gloss (because I like shiny things) but you can use any finish you want.

Step 5: Attach the Clip

When the front is completely dry, turn the bow tie over and apply a small amount of glue where you want the clip to go. Press the clip firmly into the glue and hold until dry.

This project is easy and fun for all ages. My eleven year old son, who is not very confident in his artistic abilities, rocked out the blue bow tie and the toxic green swirl one.

*** You can make pins and broaches using the same technique. All you need to do is glue a pin onto the back of the finished design, instead of a clip. ***

Cardboard Contest 2017

Participated in the
Cardboard Contest 2017