Hand-tie a Christmas Bow: A Step by Step Guide

Once you know how to tie your own bows, your decorating possibilities are endless. Bows are a quick project that require very few materials and can be saved for use year after year. While this tutorial is for a Christmas bow, the same technique can be used with a variety of ribbons for any purpose.


black and red bow on wooden wall

The bow I demonstrate with is made for a standard 24" door sized wreath. I measure the tails from my fingertips to my elbow, which is about 14". I'm using a #40 (2.5)" weatherproof flannel ribbon with wired edges. I recommend beginners start with a wire edged ribbon: these ribbons allow you to adjust your loops during and after you make a bow without damage to the ribbon. A weatherproof velvet ribbon stays creased after you pinch a loop, which means the bow will look crumpled if you try to adjust uneven loops. The bow I make has eight loops, but it's easy to adjust the number of loops. Just remember, the more loops you make, the more ribbon you will need.


You will need:


Ribbon (about 3.3 feet of a #40 ribbon)

Straight wire, 16"-24" (we use 24 gauge)

Sharp scissors



Use your Christmas bow on a wreath, a lamppost, the bottom of a stair bannister, or in a window box with greens. Play around with different loop sizes and tail lengths. You can use the wire to encourage tails hang down or drape sideways. Once you're comfortable tying a bow, you can also use different widths of ribbon to create a layered bow.

Christmas wreath on red wall with red and black bow, white pinecones



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