How to make hair bows

January 3, 2010 by  

How to make a hair bow

These instructions to make a hair bow are for a 4 inch pinwheel bow.

You will need a few things to get started:

instructions on how to make a hair bow

*Your choice of ribbon – 23 inches long. In this tutorial I have used 1.5 inch width. I think this makes very full looking hair bows. I love the look of satin ribbon, but it is slippery and harder to work with, so I recommend using grosgrain to start with as this type of ribbon is very easy to shape into a good looking hair bow.
*Sharp scissors
*Craft wire
*Coordinating ribbon to tie around the center (about 6 inches). I generally use a 3/8 inch ribbon when making a 4 inch bow with 1.5 inch ribbon
*Lined Alligator Clip (see previous instructions)
*Hot glue gun
*Heat source (I use a plain old cigarette lighter) to heat seal ribbon ends to prevent fraying)

Part 1 – instructions for how to make a hair bow

This is how to make hair bows with alligator clips!

1. Cut the ribbon ends to make a “V” – I fold the ribbon in half and cut a diagonal line, like this:

cut diagonally from the outer side edges, down at an angle towards the fold on the inside

cut diagonally from the fold, up at an angle towards the outer edges

2. Heat seal the ends of your ribbon – I use a cigarette lighter – you just need to get the heat close enough to the ribbon to heat it up – it just takes a second. You’ll be able to see when it is sealing.

Heat sealing ribbon ends

3. Fold ribbon over at about the 4 ½ inch mark – with the “right side” of the ribbon on the outside.

how to make hair bows

4. Repeat this folding over three more times – folding the ribbon over on top of itself

how to make hair bows

**The ribbon ends should not hang over the edges much, if they do – it’s OK, unfold and make that first fold a bit longer.

5.  Pull the two ribbon pieces that are the cut ends of the ribbon out so they line up in front of the ribbon bunch.

Instructions for making hair bows

6.“Bunch” the ribbon together in the middle – making small folds in the center and pinch with fingers.

How to make a baby hair bow

7.Wrap some craft wire around the center – twisting in the back to assure placement. Clip the wire ends so there is not excess wire hanging off the back.

Making a hair bow

8.Turn bow over a “fluff” or pull ribbon loops until you are satisfied with look of bow. At this point, you can fix your bow and make it exactly how you want it.  If you think that it looks like one side is bigger than the other, slide your craft wire around until satisfied.

9.Wrap smaller ribbon piece around the center of you bow – tying a knot in the back of the bow.

instructions for making hair bows

making a hair bow

10.Clip the extra ends off of the knot in the back, use your hot glue gun to “seal” those ends to the back of the bow.

11.Embellish center of the bow with gemstone, button, or any decoration!

12.Attach the bow to the lined alligator clip (click here for instructions) with your hot glue gun.

***To make a 3 inch pinwheel bow, you need approximately 15 inches of ribbon to start with, then follow the same directions – your first fold should be approximately 3.5 inches to begin.

***To make a tiny 2 inch bow, you need about 11 inches of ribbon – the 1.5 inch width is too big for these bows, but 5/8-7/8 inch will work great.

Click here to see creations from my etsy store made using this method!

Here are some pictures of bows I have created using this method.  Soon you too can learn how to make a hair bow.

_MG_1651 (1)

pinwheel bow

Part 2 – Making a double layer hair bow

In addition to the previous “ingredient list”, for a layered bow, you will need…

* A four inch bow (made above)

*A three inch bow (made above)

*(optional) 4 strips of coordinating ribbon cut about 5-6  inches long.  This ribbon is for behind the layered bow, so generally a width of 5/8 to 1 inch works best – but it’s up to you!

how to make hair bows

How to make layered hair bows

**Follow the previous instructions twice (once for the 4 inch bow, once for the 3 inch bow)

Once you have made both size bows, follow these instructions next:

baby hair bow

1. For added effect, cut 4 pieces of varying coordinating ribbon into 6-7 inch strips.

2. Cut the “V”s into the ends of each of these ribbon pieces.

3. Heat seal each end to prevent fraying.

4. Place a small glue dot in the middle of your first strip and place a different ribbon strip ontop creating an “x”. Repeat this with your two remaining strips.

making a layered hair bow

5. Place another small glue dot on the top of your stack of strips and place the 4 inch bow on top of this.

instructions for hair bows

6. Add one more small glue dot to the middle of your 4 inch bow and place the 3 inch bow on top of this.

making a layered hair bow

7. Press the whole stack together tightly, then wrap with you smaller ribbon pice, tying a knot in the back.

how to make hair bows

8. Trim the ends of this knot off, and seal with some hot glue.

9. Attach your master piece to a lined alligator clip and embellish the center of your bow with a button, or gemstone, or anything pretty! (Click here for instruction of lining an alligator clip)

making a hair bow

Click here to see some examples of creations made by me on sale at my etsy shop.

Here are some examples of my layered bows:

attached to a hat

attached to a hat

butterfly bow

butterfly bow

funky retro bow

funky retro bow

princess hair bow


18 Comments on "How to make hair bows"

  1. Clemencia on Sun, 3rd Jan 2010 6:36 pm 

    thank you so much for your hair bow tutorial, very generous of you to teach us, thanks a million :)

  2. Tam on Sun, 7th Feb 2010 4:11 am 

    Thank you so much. I had taken a bow class months ago and had forgotten how to make a hair bow. Your tutorial is Awesome. I made a bow in mere minutes. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Also, love your dresses. Thanks again.

  3. Tabitha on Sat, 27th Feb 2010 1:19 am 

    Thanks so much for the tutorial!! I was leaving a couple of little steps out and this cleared things up–I really appreciate it. Your bows are GORGEOUS! I can’t wait to try making some layered ones.

  4. Dog Bows on Mon, 26th Apr 2010 12:08 am 

    […] have great instructions on how to make a hair bow that you can follow as well.  Instead of making a HUGE bow like in those instructions – you […]

  5. rosaura on Sat, 16th Oct 2010 3:01 am 

    thank you!!!!!

  6. Maria on Wed, 17th Nov 2010 1:43 pm 

    Thank you so much for the accurate instructions on how to make a bow. I have 4 boys ages 4-16. I am pregnant for the 5th time ( no cable lol ) and this time it’s FINALLY a girl. So this helps out so much.

    Thanks again

  7. Tanya on Thu, 16th Dec 2010 1:53 pm 

    Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial!

  8. Kelsi on Sat, 1st Jan 2011 1:52 am 

    Thanks for showing me how to make bows!!! Ive been searching the internet and everyone wants you to pay!!! Thanks again :))

  9. jennifer on Sat, 19th Feb 2011 12:12 pm 

    thanks for showing me how to make hair bow yours look cool i did it was hard but i made it it was fun

  10. paullstanley on Sat, 7th May 2011 11:01 am 

    Great article and even better work! There is a lot of great information in here keep it up!

  11. taylor on Sat, 7th May 2011 2:35 pm 

    thank you so much for showing me now i can make fun bows!!!!! thanks agian.

  12. How to Make Hair Bows on Sun, 5th Jun 2011 9:17 pm 

    Your bows are so cute! Layered bows are my favorite I think since you can do so much with them and they all come out looking so different!!

  13. jessica on Sun, 21st Aug 2011 11:18 pm 

    Thank you so much I have been wanting to learn to make bows for my girls and this was everthying I need! You have no idea How thankful I am.

  14. Meagan on Fri, 16th Sep 2011 5:26 pm 

    Thank you so much for this well-laid-out tutorial, and for doing it for free!! I’ve been looking for a good tutorial all day and everything I find for this type of bow is something you have to pay for to look at. So THANKS!! :)

  15. Chelle on Thu, 20th Oct 2011 1:51 am 

    I have a question about one of the steps: for the basic steps on how to make a hair bow – under #5, you say: “Pull the two ribbon pieces that are the cut ends of the ribbon out so they line up in front of the ribbon bunch.” I am a bit confused about this, and I am just not ‘getting it’ even with the screenshot. We (daughter and I) have done well up to that point, however when we try to pull the 2 cut end pieces out, it looks NOTHING like your screenshot. Would it be possible to get a larger view of the screenshot, or even it with a 2 sided (different colors per side) ribbon? or even an email to us ( I tried finding contact info for you and couldn’t find anything. Thanks so much in advance for all your help and your wonderful tutorials!!!

  16. Jenn from How to Make Hair Bows on Wed, 14th Dec 2011 12:32 am 

    Layered bows are one of my favorites! This is a great tutorial for making these bows. I especially like to clip the bows on crocheted hats just like you showed. Thanks! :)

  17. nina on Mon, 12th Mar 2012 11:30 am 

    this was very helpful and i hope it works when i make my own bow:)

  18. aidaramos on Fri, 28th Dec 2012 7:36 pm 

    Good for my girls

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