NOTE: I personally find chenille stems easier to handle when twisting to tighten the bow.

In your materials when we refer to Junque Ribbon this can be any ribbon you use for practice line recycled ribbon, new inexpensive ribbon, Paper Twist or even fabric strips.


Sharp scissors are a necessity for clean cuts.


Shoestring Bow
shoestring bow


Also called a cross loop bow, the shoestring bow requires only the ribbon and is made the same way you tie your shoe. Form one loop, bring the other end around that loop and pass the second loop through the knot. Trim the tails to the appropriate length.

This bow can also be made with several loops on each side using the above directions on the last loop and including all the loops in the knot.

A second way to tie this bow is to line up the tail, circle of size of both loops with the second tail extending to the opposite side of the loop, add one to four more same size circles and tie an overhand single knot in the center including all of the ribbon loops.

Shoestring bows can be used to decorate clothing, Christmas trees, swags or wreaths by tying it around a branch, to embellish doll clothes or tie as a hair bow.

formal or French bow

The Formal or French Bow can have up to four to six loops, each successive loop slightly shorter than the one below.


For single sided ribbon (green ribbon in diagram below) form your ribbon in a complete circle with ends overlapping using a tiny piece of tape to hold the ends in place. Fold the circle with the taped portion centered at the back.

Wrap the center over the taped area with a second short piece of ribbon and glue or tape "the knot" in place.

A double looped formal bow is made with two circles of ribbon, one slightly smaller than the other. The smaller one is placed on top of the large one and then the center knot ribbon is placed around both. The knot ribbon should be tugged snugly so there is a slight gather in the loops.

diagrams of Formal or French bows

Single French Bow

Using double sided ribbon (red ribbon in diagram above) make a single loop. At the end of the ribbon secure with double sided tape or a circle of clear tape.

Fold and secure successive loops (four or five loops in a row are usually sufficient) making each loop come all the way back to the top of the first loop. This will be the top of the bow.

Tape or glue between the loops at the top of the bow, making sure they are all even at the top and sides.

The final loop is extra long and once it is glued in place it is cut on the top of the loop forming two streamers, the top one shorter than the back one. The two ends are then cut in a V shape.

These bows can be applied to a barrette. The also work very well on a package that has to be mailed, a package wrapped as a shirt to represent a bow tie for a man's gift or any place you need a flat tailored bow.

Puffy Bow

Step 1: The puffy bow is made beginning with a circle that is the size that you want your finished bow. Tape the end to the ribbon to hold the circle and continue wrapping the ribbon around the circle until you have a minimum of 6 circles (there is no maximum except the reasonable).

puffy bow diagram

Tape the second end to the circle when you have completed the number of rounds you want. Be sure that the ribbon passes the original taped spot by at least an inch and a half. In other words there should be that much cross over.

Step 2: Fold between the two taped areas and clip both sides.Repeat the fold and clip on the opposite side of the circle.

Clipping the bow: The first set of clips is between the 2 ends where they overlap on the circle. The second set of clips is on the side of the circle opposite to the first set of clips. You then open the circle and place the two sets of clips together (as if the circle is divided like a clock, the ends of the ribbon are at 7 & 5, the clips are at 6 & 12, then bring 6&12 together and place the wire around the clipped areas).

Step 3: Place both clipped areas together anchoring with a U shaped piece of wire.
Twist the ribbon as you hold the two ends of the wire ** do not twist the wire **

Puffy bow final 3 stepsBegin in the center of one side of loops and pull the first loop out and toward the top of the bow (towards you), the second loop is pulled out and toward the bottom, or wire side (away from you), of the bow. Continue pulling out the loops and alternating top or bottom until you have completed the one side.

Turn and repeat for the second half of the bow. Grasp the wires in one hand and shake violently. This will help to shape your bow. The bow can be wired to a package and the wires trimmed.

This type of bow also works well on a corsage.


Double sided sticky tape makes a neat invisible joint but if not available wrapping clear tape sticky side out around your finger and pressing in place is the next best alternative.


floral bow

Florists Bow

The amount of ribbon required to make a bow is more or less a personal decision. Use as much as you need to make it look right to you. Below we will give some suggested lengths, but again they should be adjusted to your personal preference.

Approximate length of different size ribbons.
A 10" bow with 12 loops takes 4 1/2 yds. of 3" ribbon.
An 8" bow with 14 loops will take 3 yds. of 1 1/2" ribbon.
A 5" bow with 14 loops takes approximately 2 yds. of 7/8" ribbon.
5 steps to floral bow

Step1: Make a small loop placing your thumb inside the loop, your forefinger on the back of the ribbon to hold it in place. If you are right handed your left hand will hold the ribbon. If left handed the bow will be held in your right hand. Hold the ribbon with the wrong side facing you.

Step 2: Grasp the extended ribbon and twist once to turn the right side facing you. Bring the ribbon out and back to the center forming a loop half the diameter of your finished bow. At midpoint turn the ribbon one twist so the right side is again facing you.

Step 3-5: Extend in a loop to the left bringing the ribbon back under your finger at the center. One twist again to bring the right side of the ribbon up facing you. Repeat this until you have as many loops as desired.

A good bow should have a minimum of six loops, three on each side of the center but can have as many as you like to achieve the look you want.

Decide the length of the streamers. Approximately four times the width of the bow looks good but they can be made longer or shorter if you choose.

Take the remaining loose ribbon and form one huge loop twice the length of your streamers. With a U shaped wire place it beside your thumb through the small loop, around all the other ribbon loops, and inside the large streamer loop. Grasp the two ends of the wire, pull away with the bow and turn the bow, not the wire, to tighten. Cut the large loop in a long diagonal or fold and cut from the outside edge up to the fold to make a V shaped cut.

Treetop Bow

The Treetop Bow is made following the directions for the Florist's Bow but make two matching bows.

The streamers (instructions for streamers below) of treetop bows should be made from wired ribbon or paper twist as they drape gracefully down the outside of the tree and these will hold their shape well.

The streamers should be from the top of the tree to just below the lowest branch allowing a little extra for dips in the ribbon.

Arrange the streamers cascading down four sections of the tree and trim the bottom of each streamer in a V cut. Wire the first bow to the top of the tree around the top edge of the streamers anchoring it all together. The second bow is wired on the opposite side of the tree, again catching the top of the tree and the top of the streamers, clip and bury the wires under the bow.

methods of streamer cuts

Streamers are a matter of choice. They can be short or long, cut on a shallow diagonal, on a elongated slant or in a "V" cut. Streamers can be used alone or with bows to enhance your design.


Pre-used ribbon and stored bows can be refreshed easily with a curling iron. The heating element goes inside the ribbon loop. Move swiftly so as not to burn the ribbon.


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