- 6 years ago
- Wedding: May 2013
Tying the Perfect Bow
After my post about bridesmaid gifts, someone asked for a tutorial on perfect bows…so here it is…I obviously have some free time on my hands today….
For this tutorial I am using a one sided 5/8 inch satin ribbon. Both sides look similar in the pictures so I labeled the photos where needed. It’s important for the pretty side to be facing out in the final product.
For my bridesmaid’s hangers and cups, I used 1 ½ inch satin ribbon but for this tutorial, I thought that the thinner ribbon made it easier to see each step.
One of the keys to a perfect bow is the length of the ribbon. I can’t count how many times I have come home from Michael’s with a spool of ribbon expecting to make 12 bows…or cut a bunch of 1 foot pieces of ribbon expecting to make big cheer bows….. Shame on me….If you are using 1 ½ inch ribbon, you will need 2-2.5 feet of ribbon. I used 2 feet for these bows.
Another important key is to set up your knot so that the loops end up on top of the knot and the tails hang down from the bottom…I know it sounds like common sense but if you don’t set up the knot just right you end up with a loop on the bottom of a very crooked bow….
First start with placing your ribbon behind whatever it is you are tying it to. In this case, I am using a wooden hanger for all of us who are making those pretty hanger bridesmaids gifts. Your ribbon needs to start satin side facing down so that the non-shiny side faces you.
*If you use double sided ribbon, you don’t have to worry about what faces where but for this tutorial I am going to assume that you have some pretty one sided ribbon.
Next fold your ribbon so that the left side crosses over the right side.
Why? This so that when you have your knot, your ribbon will be ready to make a loop on the top right of the knot that stands up instead of flopping down from the bottom….
I’m going to repeat this: The left has to go over the right side!
This is important! If you go right over left your bow will end up all wonky and crooked….
Next, Take the end of the top ribbon and loop it under the bottom ribbon.
When the ribbon goes underneath, it needs to go shiny side down and NON-shiney side up like in the photo below.
*I know this sounds crazy but it really matters…I swear…This is so that the ribbon is ready to loop forward to make a the bow’s right loop…if it’s shiney side forward, it will make an inside out loop…
When you are tightening the knot,you want to make both ribbons shiny side DOWN. You may have to twist the bottom ribbon when tightening but let the knot lock it in so that its shiny side faces down. The bottom ribbon should be slightly longer than the other.
Why should the bottom ribbon be longer? The ribbonon the top right side of the knot is just going to loop forward to make the top right loop and the bottom left tail…. The ribbon currently on the bottom left has to loop around before making a loop and a tail.
How much longer? This varies depending on what you are wrapping the ribbon around. For this project I only used about ½ an inch….Add more if you are making a knot around something thicker…
Go ahead and tighten your knot so that the top ribbon points up to the right and the bottom ribbon points strait down like this:
* Because of the light, both sides look kinda shiny but the pretty sides are both facing down.
Now you are ready to make the bow! For this part, I am going to refer to the ribbons as Ribbon 1, and Ribbon 2.
Take Ribbon 1 (the top ribbon) and fold it down and to the left so that it lays over itself with the shiny side facing up. This is your top right loop and your LEFT tail.
VERY IMPORTANT: The end of ribbon 1 (the part making your left tail), needs to be on the LEFT SIDE of Ribbon 2. This is so that it hangs correctly when the bow is done. It not it sticks out of the bottom of the bow and looks crooked…
It should look like this:
Now take Ribbon 2 and pull it up over Ribbon 1 and the original knot like this:
Wrap Ribbon 2 Around the loop of Ribbon 1 just like you would a regular bow like this:
Fold ribbon 2 so that after it passes the knot, the shiny side is facing up…Like this:
To make the knot of the bow, push the fold in Ribbon 2 through the loop you created with Ribbon 2….
*This is just like tying a regular bow, you just have to be careful about the way the ribbon is facing at all times.
* In the photo above, all the shiny sides are facing forward.
Now, you basically just pull the new loop through a bit more and start carefully tightening the bow by pulling on the BACK of each loop….making sure to keep everything facing the right way and in the right place…
Pulling the front of the loops will shorten your tails…Pulling the back will tighten the knot.
I like to pull the tails down and use something to hold them down while I tighten the knot so that they don’t get stuck coming out of the side of the knot. See photos below:
In this case, I used the hanger itself to hold the tails down while tightening the loops….Normally I would use two hands (each one pinching the back part of each loop and pulling outward) but I had to hold the camera…
I usually do a final tug pulling both loops up from the back and both tails down like this only with two hands…hopefully you won’t be holding a camera when you do this…
For my hangers and cups, I hand sewed the rhinestone bead to the bow directly through the not so that it won’t get untied.
Happy Bow making!