Make your gifts stand out: How to tie a perfect bow

A gift is not complete without a pretty bow to steal the show. Now that most of us are in full holiday mode, knowing how to tie a perfect bow is a very handy skill to have. If you don’t know how, don’t worry, because after watching this quick video you’ll be a pro. So let’s get some ribbon and get started!

To help you master the art of tying pretty bows in no time, watch this quick 60 second video and/or check out the following pictures – or do both.

This year, instead of wrapping my gifts, I’ve decided to try something new. I’ve purchased pretty boxes that can be used over and over again. And you guessed it, each box gets a pretty bow to elevate the cuteness factor.

Confession: using boxes for presents is so much easier than wrapping them up – there’s no sticky tape to deal with, no struggling with trying to cut the paper in a straight line, and it’s better for the environment.

P.S. We bought our boxes at the dollar store, we spent more money on the ribbon itself, making sure it was good quality and easy to tie.

How to tie a perfect bow 101

Don’t be intimidated by all the photos, each one represents a step. Because we're such a visual folks, we always think that an overload of information is better than not enough.

Place the gift box in the middle of a long strip of ribbon. The longer the better, but it also depends on how long you want the ends to be.

Tie a knot just like you would when tying your shoes.

Make the first loop with the bottom end while keeping the ribbon tight.

Wrap the upper end over the top of the bottom loop.

Tuck the upper end through the knot. This step was very tricky to photograph and film, so we hope it makes sense. If not, watch the video again – it might be easier to understand. 

Adjust the loops to equal size. Gently pull on the ends to adjust the size of the bow you want. You’ll have to fluff and fuss a bit to get perfect loops.

To make the perfect “W” shaped points, fold the ribbon, cut in toward the fold and up toward the loop. Take a second to think about this before you cut, you want the end to look like a ‘W’ not a “V”. Even if you make a mistake, you can salvage the ribbon and simply cut again.

Another option is to simply cut the ribbon “up” to get a pointy end. 

Voilà! We're almost done wrapping all of our gifts.

Some of the things we've learned about ribbon:

  • Use good quality ribbon: if your bow doesn’t turn out perfect on the first try, you can do it over without your ribbon being all wrinkled up.
  •  Also, when you use good quality ribbon, the person receiving your gift will most likely save it and re-use it. We have a bag full of ribbons we've saved over the years.
  •  We bought double-faced satin ribbon (on sale), so when you tie a bow, both sides of the loops look good. You don’t have to deal with the ribbon to always be the right side up.
  • The ribbon I used is 1 1/2″ wide, it makes pretty-sized bows, but the width of the ribbon will also depend on the size of the box.
  • It’s better to cut the ribbon longer than you need it – it gives you more options with the length of the ends. Sometimes you don’t know how long you want them to be until the bow is done.
  • Another plus to having good quality ribbon, is that the ends won’t fray when you cut.
  • On that note – use sharp scissors to get a clean cut and sharp pointy ends.

Do you have any tips or tricks you want to share about tying bows? If so, loop me in! Share now (before the holidays) so we can learn and practice before the big day. Comment in box below.

Happy gift-wrapping (or bow tying)!


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