Bows add polish to packages, wreaths, and all kinds of holiday decorating, and these beauties do it with style and ease. Here's how to tie a bow that will impress friends and family.

By Sarah Martens
Updated October 08, 2020

Your packages have never looked prettier! Once you’ve mastered wrapping your Christmas gifts, a professional-looking classic bow is a perfect way to top off the gifts under your tree. And not only is a handmade bow is a perfect topper for packages, it will also put the finishing touches on a variety of handmade holiday decorations, like a DIY Christmas wreath or a festive holiday garland. Making a full and elegant classic bow is simple, and you probably already have all of the materials you need. We'll show you how to make a bow in just four steps. We're also sharing our editor-tested tips for creating simple bows perfectly every time.

Credit: Adam Albright

How to Make a Classic Bow

  • Cut 15 inches of ribbon. 
  • Form two large loops. 
  • Cross the right loop over the left and bring the left loop under and through. 
  • Pull the loops tight.

Supplies Needed

  • Ribbon of your choice
  • Ruler, if desired
  • Scissors

Step-by-Step Directions

Likely one of the first bows you learned to tie, the classic bow is still a timeless gift topper. Our steps below explain how to make a bow out of ribbon perfectly every time. We recommend a double-sided ribbon such as silk or grosgrain to achieve the best results.

Credit: Carson Downing

Step 1: Cut Ribbon

Making pretty ribbon bows is so simple you might decide to skip store-bought from now on. Cut about 15 inches of ribbon for a medium-size bow. Being careful not to twist the ribbon, fold it back and forth over itself, forming two loops at the top and one loop in the bottom center. Think about the bunny ear trick for tying shoelaces you learned as a kid.

Credit: Carson Downing

Step 2: Create Loops

Cross the right loop over the left loop, creating a third small loop where the bases meet. Make sure the tails are equal lengths and flat. This will help when it comes time to trim your simple bow.

Credit: Carson Downing

Step 3: Fold Loops

Fold what is now the left loop down behind the right loop and through the bottom loop.

Editor's Tip: If you're using a wire-edged ribbon, be sure the edges stay smooth so the finished bow lays flat and looks polished.

Credit: Carson Downing

Step 4: Trim Bow

Pull the top loops taut to form a knot in the center of the bow. Trim the tails and notch the ends. Tug gently on the loops of the bow and tails to even out each side. Finesse your bow to any size and shape you like. It's OK if it doesn't look perfect, you can always pull the bow apart and start again! Once you've mastered how to make a bow out of ribbon, try making another handmade bow to add the finishing touch to wrapped gifts.


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