Gift Wrapping: How to Tie a Bow with Ribbon

Dec 15, 2014

I just love a beautifully wrapped gift, especially with a big satin bow on top usually only seen in fancy stores. You know the ones with ribbon that come undone in one long piece like this?

If you've ever wondered how do they do that or you just want to avoid stick-on bows this year then this is the tutorial for you.

Step 1

Start by measuring out the tail of the ribbon you see on the left. You will need to leave enough room to make the bunny ear of the bow, plus the tail. Lay it across the center of your gift with the backside of the ribbon (dull side of a satin ribbon or unprinted side) facing up. Then turn the ribbon downwards to make a little pocket. The shiny side of the satin ribbon will be facing up going in this downward direction.

You do not need to pre-cut the ribbon as you see here. Keep it attached to the spool so you will have the proper amount of ribbon.

 The "pocket"

Step 2

Wrap the ribbon around the back of the gift.

Step 3

Pull the ribbon down and underneath the other ribbon where the "pocket" is.

You've now made the vertical part of the ribbon.

Step 4
Now, it's time to wrap it horizontally. Hold the center with a finger or thumb.

and wrap the ribbon around the backside of the gift.

and continue to wrap the ribbon all the way across to the other side going underneath the vertical ribbon.

You're left with two tails. Now, it's time to make the bow.

Step 5
Instead of making a knot, just make two bunny ears and tie them together.

Step 6

Now, fluff up your bow and turn the backside of the left tail to face upwards so all you see is the shiny side of a satin ribbon or the printed side if you have a pattern. Cut the ribbon from the spool so the tails are equal lengths. I chose to cut my ends once more in a dovetail. Add a tag and ornamentation if you choose.

If you add greenery, consider using a hot glue gun to make it secure. Ornaments can be looped through the ribbon before the bow is tied.

This takes a lot of ribbon! Considering I have about 40 presents to wrap it's not possible to make this type of bow on all of them, especially large gifts. Most of these ribbons are tied on the smaller ones like the candy cane striped one below.

I want to show you a few alternatives of decorating with ribbon so you aren't breaking the bank. The green and red ribbon combo on the right was made with smaller scraps. I also varied the placement of the ribbons not for aesthetics, but to make stacking them on top of each other under the tree easier. The burlap snowflake ribbon is hot glued together at the edges and used on the larger gifts. It is easy to just slide if off the gift as if it were a sleeve. You have to keep in mind someone has to unwrap these!

With the exception of the burlap ribbon, everything you see here was purchased at Wal-Mart! The satin and fabric ribbon was not easy to find, but they do have it. I found mine in the garden area outside and a small Christmas section in the craft area. If finding elegant wrapping paper is difficult, look for solids in the birthday section. You can always pair it with a ribbon for a nice color contrast. Pretty and budget friendly!


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