Hey friends! Over my years as a floral designer, I’ve learned the secrets to making magazine-worthy bows for wreaths (or the tops of your Christmas tree, gifts, and more.) The key? Layering multiple ribbons and textures to create an over-the-top DIY wreath bow!
In this post, How to Make an Over-the-Top DIY Layered Ribbon Wreath Bow I’m going to teach you my techniques for making a showstopping layered bow that will have your neighbors swooning. With my step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to create your own fluffy and full DIY wreath bows. Get ready to be the talk of the neighborhood!
The key to fabulous bows is working in layers – we’ll be using 3 ribbons of different widths and textures. I’ll also share tips on getting “the pinch” just right to shape gorgeous, even loops. My years as a designer taught me these tricks that take bow making to the next level. So grab your ribbon and let’s get crafting! I’m excited to help you make bows so beautiful you won’t believe you created them yourself. Let’s do this!
Content may contain affiliate links. When you shop the links, we receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my small business.
Choosing Your Ribbons
When making a layered bow, it’s important to think about how you’ll match the ribbons to your decor or project. Using 3 different types of ribbon thicknesses and patterns creates interest and texture.
Consider grabbing one ribbon that matches or complements your existing color scheme. Then pick two more options with varying prints and textures to really make your bow pop.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with patterns! Plaid ribbon, stripes, paisleys, and florals all pair beautifully when layered. Just be sure there is enough contrast between prints and ribbon colors so they don’t blend together.
Or go with a monochromatic bow using all the same color tones but different textures.
If this bow will top a gift, match one ribbon to the wrapping paper. Or when making a DIY wreath bow, pick an option similar in color to the foliage or decorative items on the wreath. Then have fun with the other two ribbons!
Next, I’ll discuss the difference between wired and non-wired ribbons and how that impacts working with them. But first, have fun collecting three gorgeous ribbons in an array of widths and designs! This is your chance to showcase your unique style.
The Difference Between Wired Ribbon and Non-wired Ribbon
When making a layered bow, I recommend using at least one ribbon that’s wired. The wire allows you to really shape the loops and tails, bending them to your will. It makes it easy to fluff and style a structured base bow.
Non-wired ribbons can be a bit more challenging to work with since they’re so soft and floppy. But don’t count them out! The key is getting the “pinch” at the center of the bow just right to add volume. And you may need to make additional loops so it’s not too droopy.
The beauty of a layered bow is that each layer supports the next. So even if one ribbon is thin and non-wired, placing it over a sturdy wired base bow helps it keep its shape.
In this photo, the black and cream striped ribbon is not wired and appears a bit floppy, but it is supported by the wired ribbon layers beneath it.
When shaping non-wired ribbon, it likely won’t hold crimps or a curly tail shape. But you can still notch the ends for a pretty look. The options are endless when combining different textures!
The wired ribbon, my favorite ribbon, will allow you to bend the loops to perfection and really control the look. But don’t be afraid to get creative with softer ribbons too. Just focus on pinching each loop tight and making fuller bows. Together, the layers will support each other and create a showstopping finished product!
In the stack of ribbon rolls above the green and beige striped ribbon are wired, but the red is not.
To determine if a ribbon is wired, you can follow these steps:
- Examine the Edges: Gently bend the ribbon’s edge. If it holds its shape and feels slightly rigid or firm, there’s a good chance it contains a wire.
- Look for Wrinkles: Wired ribbons often have a slightly wrinkled appearance along the edges due to the wire inside.
- Check for Flexibility: Non-wired ribbons are generally more flexible and don’t hold shapes as well as wired ones.
- Read the Label: If you have the ribbon’s packaging or label, it might indicate whether it’s wired or not.
- Consult the Seller: If you’re unsure, consider reaching out to the seller or manufacturer for information on the ribbon’s construction.
Remember that wired ribbons are commonly used in crafts, floral arrangements, and gift wrapping because they can be shaped and styled easily.
Choosing the Perfect Bow-Tying Material
When it comes to tying a handmade DIY wreath bow, you’ve got a few options up your sleeve: wire, string, or even a spare piece of ribbon can do the trick. Personally, I’m a fan of using flocked wired for this job. What’s that, you ask? Well, flocked wired is like regular wire, but with a nifty fuzzy coating that gives it a bit of extra grip. This means it holds onto the ribbon like a pro, making your bows look even more fabulous. A pipe cleaner will have the same effect.
Tip: An extra section of ribbon or string would work better for gift wrapping as wire is difficult to add to a wrapped gift.
Tailoring Your Bow Tails: Tips and Techniques
Creating beautiful tails for your DIY wreath bow is all about precision and style. To measure the tails accurately, hold a length of ribbon against your gift or decoration, allowing for some extra length to create the desired tail length. When it’s time to cut, you have a choice to make. Cutting the tails diagonally provides a classic and elegant look, while experimenting with other shapes, such as V-shaped or fishtail tails, can add a unique twist to your design. If you’re aiming for very large loops, make a loop with your ribbon, cut it at the desired length, and then separate the loop into two tails. And if you want to add “fake tails” for an extra flourish, simply tie in a long strand of ribbon after creating the bow. This versatile approach allows you to have tails of any length and style you desire, adding a touch of elegance and creativity to your bow-tying expertise. For this layered bow, you will have 3 sets of tails. You will be able to cut the ends of the ribbon so the tails are different lengths.
Determining the Right Bow Size for Your Wreath
Are you wondering how to choose the perfect bow size for your Christmas wreath? It’s a common question, and we have a simple method to help you get it just right based on your wreath’s dimensions.
Step 1: Measure Your Wreath
Start by measuring the diameter of your wreath. This is the width of the wreath across its widest point, from one side to the other.
Step 2: Calculate the Bow Size
A beautifully proportioned bow typically ranges from 1/4 to 1/3 of the wreath’s diameter. To determine your bow size, use the following formulas:
- For a Smaller Bow: Multiply the wreath’s diameter by 0.25. This will give you a bow size that’s modest yet charming.
- For a Slightly Larger Bow: Multiply the wreath’s diameter by 0.33. This is perfect if you want a bow that stands out a bit more.
Example: If your wreath measures 12 inches in diameter:
- For a Smaller Bow: 12 inches x 0.25 = 3 inches
- For a Slightly Larger Bow: 12 inches x 0.33 = 4 inches
Following this formula ensures your bow complements the wreath’s size harmoniously, neither overshadowing it nor appearing too small. Keep in mind that personal style preferences and the overall design of your wreath can also influence your choice of bow size. This guideline serves as a helpful starting point, allowing you to customize your bow size based on your wreath and aesthetic preferences. This formula works for all kinds of wreaths.
A beautifully proportioned bow typically ranges from 1/4 to 1/3 of the wreath’s diameter.
Supplies to Make a Layered Wreath Bow
- 3 types of ribbon:
- Flocked Wire (or other wire or pipe cleaners)
- Wreath form (optional)
Step-by-step instructions for Making the Layered Wreath Bow
How to make an over the top layered wreath bow.
- 1 Pair of scissors
- 3 pcs flocked (or papered floral wire) 16" wire Or other long piece of wire. Pipe cleaners work too.
- 1 Roll 2.5" wide ribbon (it is recommended to use wired ribbon)
- 1 Roll 1.5" coordinating ribbon
- 1 Roll 5/8" coordinating ribbon
- 1 piece 24" – 30" wreath (use artifical or real)
- Gather your supplies. Begin by placing the widest roll of ribbon on the wreath where you want the bow to be located.
- Unroll the ribbon from the roll, allowing it to hang down to the bottom of the wreath. This will determine the length of your bow's tails.
- Using your index finger and thumb, pinch the ribbon above the desired tail length. To pinch simply gather the width of the ribbon and pinch and hold it between your fingers and thumb.
- With the pinch held between your fingers, make a 5" loop by bringing the ribbon up and then loop towards the back of the pinch. This forms the first loop above the pinch.
- Pinch the base of the loop with the ribbon that is pinched and held with your fingers.
- This photo shows a side view of the first loop and the finger placement for the pinch.
- Make another loop beneath the pinch, ensuring it is approximately the same size as the first loop (usually about 5 inches).
- Continue making loops in the same manner, alternating between loops above and below the pinch. Create a total of 4 top loops and 3 bottom loops.
- Be sure to continue to pinch the ribbon in the center of the bow as you go by laying each loop next to the one before it.
- This photo depicts the full bow with 4 top loops and 3 bottom loops.
- Take one 16" piece of flocked wire to secure the bow.
- Slide 7" of the wire down next to the pinch while continueing to pinch.
- Wrap the wire over the pinch and bring down the opposite side.
- Flip the bow and push the loops forward, then twist the ribbon tightly on the back of the pinch.
- Flip the bow back to the front, and it should now be nicely secured with the wire.
- Cut the second tail from the remaining roll of ribbon at the same length as the first tail.
- Affix the bow to the top of the wreath using the wire either by wrapping or poking the wire through and wrapping it around the wreath base.
- Take your 1.5" ribbon and repeat the steps above to make a second bow. Make your loops smaller (3"-4")
- Affix the bow to the top of the first bow by poking the wire through the wreath on either side of the first bow. Then wrap the wire on the back of the wreath to secure.
- Take your 5/8" ribbon and repeat the steps above to make a third bow. Make your loops smaller (3")
- Affix the third bow to the top of the second bow by poking the wire through the wreath on either side of the second bow. Then wrap the wire on the back of the wreath to secure.
- To finish, trim the ends of the ribbon. You can either cut them on a slant for a classic look or create a fish-tail cut for a more decorative finish.
- Finally, fluff the bow by adjusting and shaping the loops until you achieve your desired bow shape and fullness.
Troubleshooting Bow-Making Problems: Tips for a Perfect Bow
Even seasoned bow makers encounter occasional hiccups in their crafting journey. Don’t worry; here are some common issues and expert tips to help you get your bow back on the path to perfection:
- Limp, Floppy Bow: If your DIY wreath bow lacks the desired structure, consider using wired ribbon, which offers excellent support. Alternatively, adding starch to your ribbon can help it hold its shape better. Make sure your initial loops are sufficiently large, secure the center knot tightly, and don’t hesitate to add more loops to enhance fullness and fluffiness.
- Uneven Loops: Achieving uniform loop sizes is crucial for a well-balanced bow. Start by carefully cutting your ribbon lengths evenly. Take your time to fluff and shape each loop, adjusting any that appear too large or small. Maintain precision in forming knots and pinching centers. If needed, you can trim uneven loops to create stylish “in bow” tails, often cut short and in a dovetail shape.
- Tails Not Staying Curled or in Place: To maintain beautifully curled tails, especially with wired ribbon, try wrapping the ribbon ends around a pencil and shaping them as desired. When using glue to secure the ends, apply only a small dot and avoid flattening the curl. For added durability, consider inserting florist wire into the ribbon ends. This extra reinforcement ensures your tails stay in their elegant curls.
- Bow Won’t Stay On Wreath: To keep your DIY wreath bow securely in place on a wreath, double-check that the wire or pipe cleaner is tightened firmly. If using hot glue to attach the back of the bow to the wreath’s surface, ensure a thorough application on both the wreath and the bow’s back. For added stability, you can even consider inserting pins into the wreath form to provide extra hold, ensuring your bow remains the centerpiece of your creation.
With some small adjustments, you can troubleshoot any bow frustrations. Just focus on tightening centers, evening out loops, stiffening limp ribbons, and properly securing the bow for long lasting beauty.
Frequently Asked Questions about Making a DIY Wreath Bow
Yes, you can absolutely mix different ribbon materials to create a unique layered bow. Combining materials like satin, velvet, and burlap can add interesting textures and depth to your bow. Just be mindful of the ribbons’ widths and patterns to ensure they complement each other and don’t overwhelm the design.
Layered bows can enhance various DIY crafts beyond wreaths and gift wrapping. Consider using them for decorating flower arrangements, adding flair to home decor items like pillows or lampshades, pew bows for a wedding, Christmas tree toppers, embellishing handmade cards, or even as hair accessories. Let your creativity run wild with these DIY bows! Visit my Green and White Christmas Decor post to see one of my layered bows on a beautiful lantern!
Yes, you can store layered bows for future use. To maintain their shape, it’s best to store them in a cool, dry place. You can place them in a box or container lined with tissue paper to prevent crushing or misshaping. If your DIY wreath bow has long tails, gently roll them to avoid creasing. Wired ribbon bows do better in storage as they can easily be reshaped.
Absolutely! Once you’ve mastered the basics of layered bow-making, you can explore advanced techniques like creating multiple layers with different ribbon lengths, adding embellishments like beads or floral picks, or experimenting with intricate bow designs. Don’t hesitate to push your creativity further and customize your bows to match your unique style.
If you have only one roll of ribbon, you can still create a fluffy, large festive bow by adding more loops to your design. A loopy bow will produce a fuller and fluffier bow.
You can find a variety of ribbons for your craft projects at craft stores, online retailers like Amazon and Etsy, fabric stores, and even local boutiques. Craft stores are especially great for seasonal ribbons during the holiday season. Don’t hesitate to explore these options to discover your favorite ribbons for your creative endeavors!
And there you have it – all the secrets to crafting showstopping, beautiful bows! With the right combination of wired and non-wired ribbons, strategic layering techniques, and a dash of creativity, you can now make professional-quality bows to elevate any decor or gift.
The key is taking your time to choose complementary ribbons, pinch each loop tight, evenly space and shape layers, and securely attach your bow for maximum longevity. Troubleshooting limp ribbons or uneven loops is a breeze with the tips provided.
So grab your favorite ribbons and let your imagination run wild! A layered bow adds that special handmade touch and luxury feel to wreaths, presents, flower arrangements, and beyond. I hope you enjoyed learning how to create these stunning bows. Wow your loved ones with your new amazing bow making abilities.
If you are ready to take your bow-making abilities to the next level visit:
Holiday Dessert Charcuterie Wreath Recipe (With Licorice Bow Instructions): Indulge in the holiday spirit with our Holiday Dessert Charcuterie Wreath Recipe, a sweet twist on the viral charcuterie board trend. We’ve transformed the classic wreath-shaped board into an edible masterpiece adorned with Christmas candies, cookies, and even heart-shaped candy canes, which you can easily make. Plus, we spill the beans on crafting the perfect licorice bow to complete the look.
Thank you for visiting the blog! I hope you found How to Make an Over-the-Top DIY Layered Ribbon Wreath Bow helpful!
Happy crafting friends!