How to Make a Gift Bow




About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

Gift bows are something I never have on hand. NEVER. The last time it was 11 PM and I needed a gift bow I found a perfect tutorial for making gift bows on Twig & Thistle. It worked so well I knew I wanted share it here. :D

While the measurements I provide here will make standard size gift bows, you can also easily scale these so they're as large or as big as you want! Just make sure to use a stiffer paper or felt for the best results.


Step 1: What You'll Need:

  • paper or craft felt
  • scissors, a rotary cutter and/or an x-acto knife
  • a ruler
  • a glue gun + sticks
  • stapler (optional but a time saver!)

I'm using pages from magazines and sheets of craft felt. Regular printer paper, wrapping paper and construction paper work great, too. Cardstock can be a little tricker to work with. :)

Step 2: Cut Strips Out of Your Chosen Material

The sizes of these strips can vary greatly - skinnier and shorter strips give tiny bows, longer and thicker strips give bigger bows!

These are the strips you'll need:

  • 3 long strips - mine were 3/4 inch x 11 inches
  • 3 medium strips- mine were 3/4 inch x 10 inches
  • 2 short strips - mine were 3/4 inch x 9 inches
  • 3/4 - 1 inch wide strip for the middle of the bow - length will vary

The measurements above will give you the typical sized bow you'd buy in a store - 4-5 inches across.

Once you've made a few of these, you should be able to size them up and down pretty easy! The process makes much more sense once you've made one or two.

Step 3: Loop 'em

Now you'll want to loop the ends of each strip and have them meet in the middle. Just play around with one of the longest ones until it looks right, and then make the other long strips strips match that one. Do the same for the medium and short strips - each group of strips should look similar!

For paper, it's super easy to staple them! It's a nice shortcut. For felt, you'll want to stick them together using a glue gun.

Step 4: Glue Them Together

Now you'll want to glue each group together so you have three separate tiers.

Once that's done, glue the three tiers together! Try to stagger the layers so they look nice and full.

Step 5: Glue in the Middle Loop

The size of the strip you use to fill in the middle depends entirely on the space that's left!

On felt bows, it's best to use a wider strip - maybe 1 inch wide by 3-4 inches long. That will fill in the empty space better.

On paper bows, you'll probably have a smaller space to fill in, so a strip 3/4 inch wide by 2-3 inches wide should do the trick.

And there you go - custom gift bows out of any paper or felt you have around!



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    14 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Really love this. And a few more tweaks could make even more kinds!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I making this for my cat because I just bought them a cat tree

    This is a perfect thing i needed for a wedding that's coming up. i just finished making it. Can't wait to use it!


    4 years ago

    Awesome idea. Luv this. can't wait to try it


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I was looking for a way to make a really big bow and this can even be customized.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    It's really easy to do and it has a great result. Great instructable!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    That's so cool! I downloaded the pdf file. Thanks!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! So good to know! These are much more beautiful than store ones anyway! You could make a felt one with a long strap piece of felt attached and then it can be worn also! :) My nieces would love that - a headband with a big bow. :)


    4 years ago

    Whoa! So simple! so cute! I am never using store bought bows again--they always seem to get crushed in storage, or are just slightly the wrong color...this is a much better solution!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    ah, love this idea! Gift bows are so expensive, this is a wonderful Instructable and I'm going to try this for the presents I haven't wrapped yet! Thanks for sharing :)