Homemade Present Bow

Introduction: Homemade Present Bow

About: I am a college graduate who just entered the workforce. I am an avid Instructables fan and plan on making more 'Ibles' in the future. My passion and high interest for DIY projects makes Instructables my Savi...

Did you forget to buy bows for your gifts this holiday season? Do you have free time to get them but would rather do something creative? Well how about you try and make your own homemade present bows.  They're creative, unique, and a great conversation piece!

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)

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Step 1: Things You'll Be Needing

-a pair of scissors
-an x-acto knife or a razor blade
-pages from a magazine (preferably colorful pages)
-a ruler
-a pen or pencil
-double-sided tape
-a surface you can cut on (I used a wooden cutting board)

Step 2: Side Note on Selecting a Magazine Page

Selecting what magazine page you want to use is all up to you. I always like to pick a nice colorful one to either match the gift wrap I chose or a picture on the page that coincides with a holiday. A way to make your bow very personal to the person you are giving the gift to, is to choose a magazine page that displays a hobby or interest of theirs. It makes the present that much better!

Step 3: Measuring and Cutting

Okay, so first order of business...measuring the pages! To make the bow we need to cut 9 individual strips.  Each of these strips are 3/4 of an inch wide. 

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

Once you have cut all 9 of your strips, it's time to cut some of them down.  

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

This is the trickiest part of the project. It's all a matter of understanding which way you need to fold the ends of 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

For this step, just lay out the strips in the way you want the bow to look. 

The layers look like this:

1st - Longest 3
2nd - Second longest 3
3rd - Third longest 2 
4th - Circle piece

Step 7: Tape Pieces Together

For the final step we are going to tape all the pieces together. For each piece (except the bottom most) we will put a piece of double-sided tape underneath so it can stick to the piece underneath it.  

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! :)

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    8 Discussions


    Reply 6 years ago on Step 7

    Thank you so much! :)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great idea! I've looked at all of the instructables for bow making and this was the easiest to follow and gave me great results. Keep em coming!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi SeedRally-
    I made up well.....a plethora of bows. I couldn't stop!! And I only have about 4 presents to wrap for Christmas that just passed. (need to finish and get them in the mail!!) But, wanted to show you a few. By the way, I used some pages out of the only fashion mag I happened to have and you know those perfume sample pages? They make really wonderful bows, due to their being a little firmer paper AND they smell good!! So, you get a scented bow!! Or two or four..because the scented strip can be cut up to use for the centers for up to 5 bows. So, thank you for the instructions and bring on another!!

    Recycled Bows.jpg

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Wow that's awesome! I love the idea about the scented bow :) Your bows look great! (And I'm sure they smell good haha)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    It's really okay. You're getting all worked up over a silly present bow. To have the same instructable is totally fine and having different ones just gives a different perspective.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I wasn't getting "worked up"... I made a comment and then answered a question because your instructable was a copy of mine... Since it bothers you so much, I've deleted my initial comments.

    Perhaps your second instructable can be "your own creation".

    Have a wonderful day. :D


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I would really appreciate seeing where that rule is listed as I haven't seen it myself and would not want to inadvertently become and 'ible outlaw!!

    Of course copying another 'ible is frowned upon, but this author lists her "inspiration" as a completely different article than your 'ible. Are we then supposed to be researching all of the 'ibles on here before we post our own to make sure no one else has posted one like it?

    I'm just curious because that seems like it would ultimately be a detriment to the instructables community for a variety of reasons...