Tuesday, February 5

Technique Class - Bow Tying

I am asked fairly regularly about how I tie bows on my cards and paper craft projects.  It seems to be one of those techniques that cause a lot of frustration with crooked ribbon, upside down knots and frayed ends!
There are many different techniques for tying bows and today I want to show you the way I generally do the bows I add to my cards and projects.  This works well for me, but you might have to continue practicing until you find a method that fits your own style.
1.  My first hint: I always loop a short piece of ribbon around a piece of cardstock and secure the ends at the back.  I have seen this referred to as a "cheater bow", presumably because you aren't actually tying the ends of the ribbon together in one continuous length.

2.  Make sure you don't have the ribbon stretched too tightly across the cardstock, it needs enough slack to bunch together when you add the bow.

3.  Take a length of ribbon, no shorter than 12", and slide it under your ribbon loop.  This will form your bow.
Now here's my second hint: your finished bow will turn out facing 90 degrees to the way your ribbon ends are facing.   Take a look at the photo below.  Notice how the long length of ribbon is vertical with one end going up and one going down.  This will form a bow that will sit horizontally on the card stock.  (To tie a bow that sits vertically on the cardstock, skip down to step 13.)
4.  Turn the project so you can easily grasp one end of the ribbon in each hand, then form a loop on each side.

5.  Cross the left hand loop over the right hand loop as shown below.  Hold the two ribbons together with your left hand where they cross over.

6.  With your right hand, take the top loop and push it down and around the bottom loop.

7.  You will have a ribbon end loose at the very top as shown below.

8.  Simply flip that ribbon end up and let it fall where it wants to go.

9.  Now grab a ribbon loop in each hand and....

10.  ... pull tight!  That's the third tip!

11.  Now the trick is to get your loops to be the same size and facing in the direction you want.  My fourth tip is to adjust the loops by holding the ribbon ends and the ribbon loops at the same time... don't just pull the ends.  You want to keep that knot in the centre nice and tight as you make adjustments.
12.  My fifth tip is to pull the ribbon loops and ends in the direction you want them to sit.  It's no good pulling the ends of the ribbon upwards if you want them to go down and vice versa.  Keep fiddling until you get the look you want.
As you can see, I have ended up with a bow that sits horizontally across the project. 
13.  Now, if you need a bow that sits vertically you need to firstly get those ribbon ends to a horizontal position.  The easiest way to do that is with my sixth tip - tie a half hitch (that's the first little knot you do when tying your shoe laces!)  As you can see, the ends are now horizontal across the project.

14.  If I start with a half hitch I generally tie my bow a little differently.  I make a loop with the right hand piece of ribbon and then bring the left hand piece of ribbon over the top.

15.  Tuck the top piece of ribbon down and around the loop and push it through with your fingers to form a loop.  Now follow steps 9 through 12 to form your bow.

16.  My seventh tip is to add a few drops of clear glue beneath the knot so the bow cannot be pulled undone (my friend Penny taught me this).  Make sure you add the glue in inconspicuous places as most glues will leave noticeable marks on ribbon.
My final tip (and you must promise to keep this secret!) is to add a few little pieces of double sided tape in strategic places to hold your bow in place if you need to!  If you've got a loop that just won't sit flat, simply add a little square of DS tape to the back of the loop and secure it exactly where you want it.... just make sure you don't stick the loop down flat, that's always a dead giveaway!


ursula Uphof said...

Thanks for this tutorial, I will now have to go and practice my bows. Ursula

Malin said...

That is a great way of tying a bow. Thanks for sharing.

Sue said...

WOW!! Such a fabulous tutorial Beccy, thank you for sharing your tips.


Andrea said...

what a neat tutorial I will be giving it a go. love the use of tape to keep it in place ...clever... thanks Andrea

Margreet said...

Enjoyed your bow tutorial....will try for myself....thanks!
XXX Margreet

Pam said...

Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing!

Pamela said...

Great tutorial Beccy, will have to practice that.

Pam x

Kimbo said...

What perfect bows. Thanks for sharing x

Phi said...

I do the cheat way too. I find it so much easier. But I'm always guessing which way the bow will sit. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Glennis F said...

Thanks for showing us your bow making skills - very similar to mine!

Lori Aragon said...

I've been tying bows for quite awhile, but I sure have learned some things here - thank you!!!

Glenda Atkins said...

Thanks Beccy, great tutorial!

Tieva-Design said...

I always had problems with it, thanks for thias great tutorial!


Unknown said...

Gosh I did this today on a card and found it so much easier to do than using the bow maker. Thanks Beccy nice to learn an easier way and having the result look good...x

Susanne said...

Thank you for the great tutorial!!! Have a nice day! Hugs Susanne

Eret said...

Thank you, Beccy, for sharng your tips. You make it look so easy. I always struggle with bows.

carla said...

Thanks for the tutorial, that's handy.


Patti P. said...

Thanks for the tips on this topic, it is always fun to see different ways of doing things. Loving all of your fun things this month.

Donna said...

I need all the bow tying tips I can get. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

Viv said...

I use several different techniques as I forget what to do each time but these look so neat Beccy, will give them a go. I think it's called the 'rabbit ears' technique as the loops you make first look like rabbit ears standing up....but I may be wrong. Good tips too, mine is to keep fiddling until the bow looks right lol :) Viv xx

Gail said...

Very nice bow - I have a bow die and I am loving it!