How to adjust a bow tie

How to adjust a bow tie

When you’ve got a big event to get ready for, the last thing you need is the added stress of fiddling around with your accessories.

If you’re not confident in tying your own bow tie, then a pre-tied bow tie will speed the process up. By ‘pre-tied’, it means the bow is already in place, but you still have to adjust the neck strap to fit you snugly. A droopy bow tie will ruin the lines of your sharp eveningwear, so here’s how to fit yours like a pro.

How to adjust a bow tie

First of all, a quick meet-the-tools guide. Clip A is a T-shaped bar at the end of the strap that goes into the slots on the back of the strap to adjust the fit. Clip B is a movable bar on the strap that you’ll connect to clip C, a hook on the back of the bow itself.

    1. Take clip A and fold the bow tie’s strap back on itself to a length that will fit snugly around your neck, with clip B at the end
    2. Fix the length by sliding clip A into one of the slots on the back of the strap
    3. Hook clip B onto clip C to secure your bow tie – if it’s too loose or tight, move clip A into a neighbouring slot to adjust the fit

    Once your bow tie’s on, adjust its sides and plump them out a little. A flat bow tie is a sure giveaway that it’s pre-tied. There’s no shame in a pre-tied bow tie but a little artful illusion never hurt anyone.

    From fancy weddings to semiformal dinner parties, a variety of occasions call for a bow tie. These butterfly-shaped accessories allow men and women to express their style and personality:Bow ties offer a sleek and sophisticated look when paired with a formal tuxedo, or they can add a pop of pizzazz to a vest or jacket for more relaxed occasions. While some brands offer clip-on bow ties or pre-tied bow ties, chances are, you’ll prefer to tie your own. Although the process may seem daunting to a first-timer, our step-by-step video and instructions make tying a bow tie fast and easy.

    When to Wear a Bow Tie

    Bow ties are appropriate for white-tie and black-tie events. For these very formal occasions only white and black bow ties are appropriate, as the name indicates. Semiformal affairs offer an opportunity to experiment further with color and texture, but because these events are still somewhat formal, people should steer clear of bold patterns and colors that are too bright. Plaids and tweeds make good options for semiformal affairs. Casual events allow people to wear whatever style, color and pattern they please, from seersucker and velvet to polka dots and stripes.

    Types of Bow Ties

    Bow ties come in a variety of sizes and styles to complement different facial features and outfits. People commonly choose from five types:

    1. Standard butterfly bow tie (or thistle tie): Found in the men’s department of many clothing stores, a standard butterfly bow tie features wings that measure between 2.25 and 2.75 inches. This classic tie works well for any facial structure and is a good choice for formal occasions, especially in solid neutral colors like white, black, gray, navy or brown.
    2. Large butterfly bow tie: Featuring wings measuring 3 to 3.5 inches, the large butterfly bow tie looks best on people with a wider neck and facial structure. Because of its size, it should be worn in solid colors for a formal event. In bold prints and colors, this tie offers a fun and whimsical look for more casual wear.
    3. Batwing bow tie: The batwing bow tie features narrow wings measuring 1.5 to 2 inches. Some people prefer this thinner style for formal occasions, while others may feel as though it offers an appearance that is not formal enough. The batwing style looks best on people with a thin facial structure and collar size.
    4. Diamond point bow tie: Offering stylish diamond points at the ends, the diamond point bow tie delivers a unique asymmetrical appearance for formal events. This style of tie comes with wings of varying heights.
    5. Rounded club bow tie: Because the rounded club bow tie features unusual rounded ends, it’s often chosen by people looking to stand out in the crowd. This tie also comes in varying sizes.

    Sizing a Bow Tie

    Before tying a bow tie, it’s important to get the correct size. Many bow ties come in one size that fits all necks, but other bow ties have adjustable features such as buttonholes or sliders. To measure neck size, place a well-fitting dress shirt on a bed or tabletop with the collar laying flat. Use a sewing or tailor’s measuring tape to determine the number of inches from the center collar button all the way around the collar band. This determines neck size, and bow ties should be adjusted to match.

    Tying a Bow Tie

    People learning how to tie a bow tie need a tie, dress shirt or tuxedo shirt, and mirror. Tying a bow tie involves nine simple steps. After practicing several times, the process becomes second nature for a quick and easy style.

    1. Put the dress shirt or tuxedo shirt on. Button it to the top and stand in front of the mirror with the bow tie in hand. Place the bow tie around the neck, making sure that the right end falls about 1.5 inches lower than the left end.
    2. Holding both ends of the bow tie, cross the longer end over the shorter end.
    3. Loop the longer end up through the neck hole. Adjust the tightness of the tie for a comfortable fit.
    4. Putting the longer end aside by flipping it up over the shoulder, double the shorter end at the widest part so it resembles a bow and lays sideways across the collar.
    5. Holding the bow shape with one hand, retrieve the other end and pull it down over the center of the bow shape with the other hand. At this point, the tie resembles a bow tie from the front.
    6. Bring the sides of the bow together in front with one hand; pinch them and pull. This creates a hole behind the bow.
    7. Use the other hand to make another bow with the longer end of the tie by doubling it like the first bow.
    8. Push this bow through the hole.
    9. Pull on the folded ends of each bow to tighten the knot of the bow tie.

    Give the bow tie the final finishing touches by gently tugging at the folded ends and adjusting the flat ends to make sure both sides are even. Adjust your collar if needed, and enjoy your achievement and the personal style a bow tie delivers.

    Whether for a casual or ultra-formal occasion, bow ties offer a unique and personal fashion statement. For people that enjoy wearing them, learning how to tie a bow tie is a process worth knowing. Five easy steps result in a style accessory surging in popularity. People looking for tips on tying straight ties can view our How to Tie a Tie article for quick and easy instruction.

    So many times, our posts are all about fun and frilly hair accessories for the little girls in our lives. Which means that unfortunately our poor little fellas sometimes may feel a little bit left out…but not today! Today Cherie is sharing a fun project just for those little fellas that is so cute and will make them look mighty refined and very handsome! Join Cherie as she shows us how to create a wonderful Ribbon Bow Tie perfect for all of those special events, church goings or for family picture opts. Enjoy!

    How to adjust a bow tie

    There are so many fun things to make for girls, but today is more about boys! I have 3 boys and 1 girl, and I love that I get to make fancy dresses and bows for just one girl and easy bow ties for my boys. Today I’m going to show you how to make an adjustable strap bow tie with RIBBON that’s so so easy! This should really only take about 15 minutes to make!

    • 1 1/2″ Ribbon
    • 7/8″ Ribbon
    • Bow Tie Hardware
    • Glue Gun
    • Wire or a Needle and Thread
    • Lighter

    How to adjust a bow tie
    How to adjust a bow tie

    Start by cutting your 1 1/2″ ribbon to about 20″ and seal the ends with a lighter. This is for the bow tie.

    How to adjust a bow tie

    The reason I cut the ribbon to 20″ is so that I could wrap it around itself 2 1/2 times. This makes the bow tie have enough structure without having to use interfacing. The actual length of the bow tie is 4″.

    How to adjust a bow tie

    After the ribbon is wrapped around itself, pinch it and secure it with wire or a needle and thread. Use a 1 1/2″ strip of 7/8″ ribbon to cover the wire. Glue it to the back.

    How to adjust a bow tie

    Put the bow tie to the side for a bit and lets work on the strap. Cut a piece of the 7/8″ ribbon to 18″ and seal both ends. Slide the hook piece of the bow tie hardware and glue the end down to secure it in place.

    How to adjust a bow tie

    Now slide the other pieces of the hardware onto the ribbon in this order: slider then the eye. As you can see the ribbon is going through the top slit of the slider and the eye is facing up.

    How to adjust a bow tie

    Fold the ribbon over and take the end through the bottom slit of the slider and glue it in place. It looks tricky but it’s not I promise!

    How to adjust a bow tie

    Now you have an adjustable strap! So easy!

    How to adjust a bow tie

    Slide the strap to the smallest you want it to adjust to and glue the bow tie on the part of the ribbon that’s not doubled over.

    How to adjust a bow tie

    That’s really all it takes to make this bow tie! The hardware seems like it’s going to be tricky, but it’s not!

    How to adjust a bow tie

    The reason this bow tie is so easy is because it’s made with ribbon instead of fabric. There are so many more steps to this if you use fabric. The Ribbon Retreat has so many fun ribbons, I would never personally want to go to all that extra work!

    How to adjust a bow tie

    Because it’s so dang fun to match little kids, I made my daughter a little matching headband with 3 Frayed Shabby Chiffon Flowers and some Fold Over Elastic.
    Next time you have a special event make your own bows and bow ties! Much cuter and much cheaper!

    Thank you Cherie for sharing such a fun project for BOYS! I love, love, love how easy this bow tie is and how many fun designs, prints or colors of ribbon you could use to create multiple bow ties for your little guy! Match him with your little girl’s outfits, a wedding party, etc. With these quick and easy directions and a little time out of your day, you could quickly make enough bow ties for your little guy to wear all year long!

    Do you need more fabulous projects for your little guy? Make sure to check out all of our boy inspired projects HERE. Here are a few of those All About Boys projects you will find…

    How to adjust a bow tie

    How to adjust a bow tie

    How to adjust a bow tie

    The Ribbon Retreat has a wide selection of ribbon and so much more perfect for bow ties galore! Make sure to visit our online store to see all of your options for boy inspired ribbon, holiday, plaid, spaceships, plus more right HERE!

    How to adjust a bow tie
    Happy Creating & Happy Bow Ties!

    How to adjust a bow tie How to adjust a bow tie

    Tuning a compound bow can be complex, but it is important for achieving perfect broadhead flight. You can have the fastest bow on earth, but if it doesn’t send your broadhead to the target accurately, it does no good. The good news is, improperly tuned bows can be corrected with adjustments. Some adjustments you can make yourself, while others may require a trip to the local bow shop. Understanding what you need to adjust and how to get your bow tuned correctly is the first task. During the next few months, Wasp Archery will be publishing tips to get your bow ready for fall. Follow along and by opening day, you will have a bow, arrow and broadhead working in perfect synergy.

    An out-of-kilter peep sight can interfere with your natural shooting form. When a bowhunter sets up to make a shot, all the mechanics should feel like second nature. If you have to alter your anchor point to look through the peep sight, it needs to be adjusted. Below is a video that shows the proper way to install and align a peep sight. We transcribed some of the key steps so it is easier to follow, but make sure to watch the video. It contains many useful peep sight tips. Before you tackle step 4 of the ultimate bow tuning guide, make sure you complete these previous steps first.

    Steps for perfect Peep Sight Alignment:

    1. Use a string spreader to split the bowstring perfectly in half. If your string is two colors, its strands are typically divided evenly among the different colors. Separating by color is more visually attractive, too.

    2. Install the peep sight by inserting the strands of strings into the grooves of the peep sight.

    3. Tie a few half hitch knots using dental floss or bowstring material. This is a temporary knot that will allow for easy peep adjustment until you find exactly where the peep needs to be permanently anchored.

    4. To fit the peep’s location to your form and anchor spot, draw your bow back. Once you are at full-draw, close your eyes and anchor the string as you normally would. Then open your eyes. You should be looking right through the peep sight. If not, adjust the peep sight accordingly and repeat this step until the peep sight is perfectly aligned with your line of sight.

    5. Follow the steps in the video below to secure the peep site where it needs to be.

    How to adjust a bow tie

    With practice and a little dexterity, you won’t need to rely on a pre-tied bow tie.


    1. Adjust the tie’s length so it fits your neck size.
    2. Lift up your collar and put the tie around your neck so the ends hang down in front. One end should hang about one and one-half inches lower than the other.
    3. Bring the longer end across, behind and over the shorter end, forming a simple knot. Pull the knot snugly around your neck.
    4. Fold the shorter end where the hourglass shape begins to narrow (the widest point of the shorter end), forming a bow shape. The bow shape should be in front. Hold the bow in a horizontal position at your neck.
    5. Bring the longer end over and in front of the shorter end.
    6. Fold the longer end where the hourglass shape begins to narrow, forming a second bow.
    7. Bring the second bow under the first bow.
    8. Tuck it into the space behind the first bow.
    9. Adjust the shape of the two bows.

    How to adjust a bow tie

    Cutting bow tie inlays can get pretty complicated with all the angles and mortising. Luckily, our Bow Tie Inlay Template System makes cutting both key and mortise fast and foolproof. The Starter Kit includes a unique, two-piece bushing. Install the sleeve to rout the mortise, then remove it to rout the bow tie key. Since the same template is used for both, you’re guaranteed a perfect fit. The Starter Kit also includes a specially-sized 1/8” router bit, our acrylic frame and two bow tie templates: one 3-5/8” long, the other one 4-1/4” long. The frame holds the template in place, provides a surface for your router to ride on, and also accepts all of the templates in our optional Inlay Template Kits.

    • Use with a plunge router to cut bow tie inlay keys (sometimes called butterfly keys) and matching mortises
    • Beautifies and stabilizes slab tops and other wide tops prone to cracks and checking
    • Add decorative appeal and keeps checks and cracks from opening further
    • Starter Kit includes two bow tie inlay templates—add optional templates as needed
    • Frame and templates are made from durable 6mm acrylic with screen-printed cross marks for easy alignment and centering
    • Guide bushing with removable collar makes it easy to achieve a perfect fit using just one template
    • Includes 1/8” diameter solid carbide spiral up-cut router bit with 1/4” shank—templates up to 3/8” thick may be cut with this bit

    Here’s an easy Bow Tie quilt block pattern that eliminates the set-in seams of the traditional quilt block. One slight alteration makes these bow tie blocks a cinch to sew, and the design looks nearly identical to the original.

    There are three size options in the cutting chart below, from a 12-inch square block down to a miniature that finishes at 3-inch square.

    Cutting Chart

    Choose two contrasting fabrics, one for the bow tie and another for the background.

    If you prefer, cut two smaller squares from the same fabric as the darkest larger square and two more (not listed) from either a darker or lighter version of the same color.

    12-inch Finished Blocks

    • Background: cut two 6 1/2 inch x 6 1/2 inch squares
    • Bow Tie Fabric: cut two 6 1/2 inch x 6 1/2 inch squares; cut two 3 inch x 3 inch squares.

    6-inch Finished Blocks

    • Background: cut two 3 1/2 inch x 3 1/2 inch squares
    • Bow Tie Fabric: cut two 3 1/2 inch x 3 1/2 inch squares; cut two 1 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch squares.

    3-inch Finished Blocks

    • Background: cut two 2 inch x 2 inch squares
    • Bow Tie Fabric: cut two 2 inch x 2 inch squares; cut two 1 inch x 1 inch squares.

    Making a Block

    How to adjust a bow tie

    Sew with an accurate quarter inch seam allowance unless you are sewing on a marked line.

    1. Draw a line from one corner to the opposite corner on the reverse side of each small bow tie square.
    2. Align a marked bow tie square, right sides together, with one corner of a background square.
    3. Sew a seam directly on the marked line. Trim away excess fabric from both layers 1/4 inch past the seam line.
    4. Press as is to set the seam and then press the seam allowance towards the large square.
    5. Repeat to sew the remaining small bow tie square to a corner of the remaining background square.
    6. Arrange the pieced units and two bow tie squares into two rows as shown above. Sew components of each row together and press seam allowances towards the large bow tie square.
    7. Sew the two rows together. Press.

    Using Small Squares

    Use the same method to sew one of the two remaining squares to one corner of the bow tie fabric. Press the seam allowances of each towards the triangle after trimming the excess.

    Sew the patchwork together as before, but with like corner triangles pointing towards each other.

    Layout Options

    How to adjust a bow tie

    Bow tie quilt blocks can be arranged in many ways. The groups of four blocks above illustrate some of the choices, but you'll discover many more when you make a batch of bow tie blocks.

    In this post, we’re going to discuss how to find a proper nocking on a bow. But first, let’s talk about what is a nocking a point and why it is important.

    If you already knew what is a nocking point and its benefits, then you may skip ahead to the section on “how to find a nocking point on a bowstring?“.

    What is a Nocking Point?

    A nocking point is an attachment on the string that tells us where to put the arrow.

    Without a proper nocking point you would probably have a hard time to shoot the arrow straight every single time, especially during quick nocking.

    One or Two Nocking Points?

    Depending on the type of archery that you’re doing, you may use one or two nocking points.

    Horseback archers often use only one nocking point while those who are practicing target and field archery use two nocking points.

    Different Forms of Nocking Point

    The most common forms of a nocking point on the most bows is a brass nocking point that pinches onto the bowstring with a special pair of pliers.

    Fitting the arrows with brass nocking points is easy, and they are so tightly attached, they almost never come loose.

    The downside, brass nocking points are quite heavy. Since heavier brasses make the arrows flight slower, they can become a great disadvantage for some types of archers who rely on speed.

    Precaution should be taken when releasing the arrows using brass nocking points as they can rub or cut your fingers if you’re careless.

    Some archers may find that this brass nocking point is easier to use for practice, particularly when you’re still developing your drawing form, and you don’t need to do quick nocking.

    Tied nocking point is another form of a nocking point that you would often see in the bows of many Olympic archers. They can be served with a piece of thread or dental floss; both will work well.

    The tie-on nocking points are often preferred than the brass nocking points by those who practice quick nocking since they are lighter and more secure — they won’t cut or rub your fingers when you do quick nocking.

    However, tie-on nocking point is harder to set up, you need to manually tie the nocking point, unlike brass nocking point where you can just pinch the brass with pliers.

    I’ll write about “how to tie a nocking with a dental floss” in my next post, so stay tuned.

    How to Find a Nocking Point on a Bow String?

    Finding a nocking point is best done with a bare shaft to get the most precise location. A bare shaft is an unfletched arrow. Why?

    If you try to find the nocking point using a fletched arrow, you will not yield the most accurate location for even a poorly spined arrow will fly well with fletching.

    Even though a fletched arrow may appear to fly well but the arrow will not travel as fast as it could. Furthermore, any mistakes that you make when releasing the arrow will be amplified many times.

    Without fletching, no aid will come to help the arrow stabilizing its flight. It will only fly straight if the arrow is appropriately tuned and shot from the right nocking point — and therefore yielding the most accurate location.

    What Do You Need to Prepare?

    Before we begin, you will need to prepare the following:

    • Your bow.
    • One or two unfletched arrows.
    • Bag target.

    You can get the bare shafts from the local archery shop or online from Amazon or any other online archery stores. The bare shafts must be complete with a nock glued on and a field point attached or inserted.

    For carbon arrows users, I would recommend these bare shafts from Carbon Express (link to Amazon). The shafts have come with exclusive nocks and half-out inserts.

    For bag target, I would recommend bag target from Morell (link to Amazon). Because the arrows will not be flying straight during the whole process of finding the nocking point, you’ll need a bag target to prevent the arrows from being bent or broken caused by hitting hard surfaces.

    After you got all of those three requirements above, the next thing to do is to find a safe area to shoot.

    5 Steps to Find The Nocking Point

    The following steps must be done everytime you change your bowstring or find your nocking point is incorrect.

    1.Above or below the arrow?

    The location of your nocking point will be significantly influenced by the drawing style that you use.

    Those using a thumb draw generally place their nocking point above the arrow. Thumb drawers slide their arrows upwards, so the nocking point has to be placed above the arrow to stop it from sliding up the bowstring.

    Those using a finger nock high and slide their arrow downwards before drawing, so their nocking point has to be placed below the arrow to keep the arrow stationary in place.

    This is something that you need to remember as you move onto the next step.

    2. Find your starting point

    Let’s start with finding the starting point on your bow. If your bow has a shelf, that’s your starting point.

    If you use a traditional bow without an arrow shelf, you need to gauge roughly the location on the string — you can eyeball the location — where the shaft lies horizontally between the string and resting on your bow hand.

    3. Start out with the nocking point too high

    From the starting point that we have determined at first step, we place our nocking point 1.5 inches above that location. You can eyeball or use a bow square to measure the distance.

    We want to start with the nocking point in a location that is too high to avoid our perception from being fooled.

    If the nocking point is too low, the arrow will leave the bow with the nock end of the arrow to bounce off the bow hand or arrow shelf and flight downrange with the nock high. This will make you mistakenly think that the nocking point is too high when it is actually too low.

    4. Shoot the bare shaft

    Once you have your nocking point located 1.5 inches above the arrow shelf, then take one of the full length-shafts and shoot it at a bag target at a distance of 7-10m.

    Regarding the shaft length, the fast rule is the shaft length should be your draw length plus 1,5 inches. The length can be longer if you want, but not shorter.

    Do not cant or tilt the bow when you shoot but maintain as close to a vertical position as possible.

    Most archers (including me) may have a habit to instinctively cant or till our bows to get a clear sight but it is important in this step to shoot from a vertical position, so you’ll be able to see the trajectory of the arrow, both in flight and after impact.

    5. Lower the nocking point position by 1/8 inches

    Lower the nocking point by 1/8 inches and repeat the shooting exercise again. Keep lowering the nocking point bit by bit until the arrow hits the target straight. Once the arrow hits straight, that’s the correct nocking point on your bowstring.

    And it’s the most elegant knot suited for a black-tie event.

    Despite what you may think, the bowtie is not a challenging knot to learn.

    Bowties are simple, functional – and when used properly – can draw positive attention to the wearer.

    A lot of you guys already wear them. How do I know? Dozens of men just like you have emailed me their stories of how bow ties get patients to open up to doctors, women smile and talk about how their fathers wore them, and in general they create a signature look that ensures you’re remembered.

    But despite all the positives traits of bowties – many men still have questions.

    How big should they be? How wide? What style? The best way to tie one? Well we’re here to help.

    #1. Bow Tie – When & How To Wear It

    When paired with a custom tailored dress shirt, the bow tie draws attention and conveys a sense of individuality. Just look at some of history’s greatest figures – Winston Churchill, Fred Astaire and Charlie Chaplin. Each of these men cut a dashing figure when wearing their bow-ties proudly.

    Sadly, even on television, the only place we seem to see a bow-tie is on Mad Men’s Harry Crane.

    By and large the bow tie has been regulated to formal events where it is often a pre-tied clip on. This preformed tie is quite convenient, however it lacks the personal style and touch that can be added when tying your own bow tie.

    A bow tie is part of the required dress code for formal white-tie and black-tie events and it is also the accessory of choice for men in business casual who are looking to spice up their outfit. Your bow tie should be sized to match your collar measurement.

    Formal events call for a dress shirt with wing collars while spread collars are suitable for semi-formal and business casual dress code. The length of the bow tie matters.

    For adjustable bow ties, insert the hook into the slot that corresponds with your neck size.

    #2. How To Tie A Bow Tie – Step By Step

    Follow the infographic and instructions below and improve your sartorial elegance by learning how to tie a bow tie.

    How to adjust a bow tie

    1. Drape the bowtie around your neck, seams facing down, with the right end longer than the left.
    2. Place the longer right end of the bowtie over the shorter left end, making an X.
    3. Loop the longer end behind the ‘X’ and pull tight – a bowtie knot can’t be tightened around your neck after you tie it. Leave the longer end on your shoulder.
    4. Fold the shorter end right and left to create a bow shape.
    5. Holding the bow, bring the longer end down across the middle of the bow.
    6. Fold the longer end back towards the chest and pinch the fold.
    7. Push it through the loop behind the shorter end to create two wings.
    8. Tug the bow loops behind the wings to tighten.
    9. Adjust the bowtie until the bow is symmetrical.
    10. Make final adjustments. Ensure your bowtie lies flat and horizontal.

    To undo, simply pull the loose ends on either side and unravel the knot.

    The shape of your finished knot will vary depending on the style of tie. Make this slight variation at Step 4 for these styles of bow ties:

    Butterfly Shape: The classic style of the butterfly shape should have wide ends and a small knot in the center. Fold a butterfly bow tie at the widest part of the curve.

    Batwing or Straight End: A batwing or straight end will be only slightly wider at the tips than at the center. Fold over at the point just before the shape begins to taper.

    Pointed: The two ends are bound to stick out beyond the straight edges of the loop. Fold a pointed-end bow tie at the widest part of the curve as well and pay attention to the two sets of wings which need to align fairly precisely to create the proper effect.

    Congratulations! You’ve now mastered the art of how to tie a bow tie. But don’t stop there! It’s time to broaden your skills. Learn how to tie a tie 18 different ways for beginners. It’s easy and we have all the visual and video step by step instructions to guide you along the way!

    Also read:

    About Antonio

    I’m Antonio Centeno, the founder of RMRS. I’m a former Marine Corps Officer with a BA in Evolutionary Biology and Philosophy (Cornell College 98′) and an MBA from The University Of Texas at Austin (07′). I studied the Science of Style in London, Hong Kong, and Bangkok and have created over 5000 videos/ articles to help men dress better. Click here to discover more about our mission here at RMRS.

    Ready to earn more money and command respect with the right clothing? Want to start dressing sharp today? Click here to discover The Style System , the BEST Professional Style Course on the planet!

    You mastered tying your shoelaces as a kid and have never looked back. But making a bow, especially with ribbon, is another story. Don’t be intimidated—it’s a lot easier than it looks. Remember that bunny ear trick you were taught years ago? It still applies when making bows!
    Bows are the perfect topper to gifts and a lovely addition to your wedding day decor. You can tie bows with any kind of ribbon or even make the bows out of paper. From simple bows (perfect for flower girl sashes and wedding programs) to more elaborate bows with wired ribbon (a pretty finishing touch for wreaths and pew bows), we’ve got you covered. Check out our how-to video to make a bow and read on for step-by-step, bow-tying instructions.

    How to Make a Bow Out of Ribbon

    You can make a simple bow with any kind of ribbon: silk, grosgrain, velvet or wired. Choose a ribbon in your desired thickness. Any width works, but the wider the ribbon, the bigger the bow.

    Supplies: ribbon, ruler, scissors

    Instructions for making a bow out of ribbon:

    1. Cut a piece of ribbon. Fifteen to 20 inches of ribbon will make a nice-size, simple bow.
    2. Make two loops (or bunny ears) with your ribbon. Adjust the loops to be the size you want the loops of your bow to be. Make sure your tails are fairly even too.
    3. Fold the left loop over the right loop and bring it around and back through the center hole.
    4. Pull tight to create a knot. Tug on the loops and tails to finesse your bow, and remember: No one gets a perfect bow on the first try.

    How to Make a Bow Out of Paper

    Paper bows are a cute alternative to ribbon bows, especially for small gifts (think: bridesmaid jewelry). We created a foolproof template for you to make this bow “tying” a cinch.

    Supplies: template, printer, card stock, pencil, scissors, glue

    Instructions for making a bow out of paper:

    1. Download our bow template and print. (See bottom of article.)
    2. Trace the template onto card stock, then cut.
    3. Place a dot of glue in the center of the bow piece. Fold one rounded edge side to the center and press to adhere. Add another dot of glue and repeat with the other side.
    4. Add a dot of glue to the center of the tail piece and attach the bow.
    5. Wrap the small band around the center of your bow and glue the sides together at the back.

    How to Make a Bow Out of Wired Ribbon

    Wired ribbon is a crafter-lover’s dream. Even novice DIY-ers love it, because it’s so forgiving. The thin and flexible wired edge allows you to mold the ribbon in any bow configuration you’d like.

    Supplies: wired ribbon, ruler, scissors, pipe cleaner

    Instructions for making a bow out of wired ribbon:

    1. Take a long piece of ribbon (at least 36 inches) and create a loop at one end, folding one side over itself. Use your thumb to hold down the inside of the loop. This is the center of your bow.
    2. Create another, larger loop with the same piece of ribbon and fold in underneath the center loop. Repeat on the opposite side of the bow.
    3. Continue making loops, alternating sides and making each set a little longer or bigger than the previous one.
    4. When you have as many loops as you’d like, make one final loop. This one should be big and will actually be the tails to your bow. Trim the ribbon close to the center of the bow.
    5. Tuck this edge under the bow. Insert a pipe cleaner under the center loop to gather all the loops of the bow. Twist to secure and trim edges.
    6. Cut the final long loop, giving your bow two tails.
    7. Fluff the loops to give your bow shape and fullness.
    8. Trim the tails at a diagonal to create two points to each tail (optional).

    How to Make a Floral Bow Out of Ribbon

    This bow style is most often used by florists for a finishing touch on a bud vase or corsage. Florists typically use floral ribbon, which has a flat, waterproof finish. Our twist makes this bow perfect for other things too, like embellishing a wedding program basket or adding a little flair to a card box. Choose the ribbon that works best for the project (we used wired satin for our bow).

    Supplies: ribbon, ruler, scissors

    Instructions for making a floral bow out of ribbon:

    1. Cut two pieces of ribbon, one short (about 12 inches) and one long (depending on the size of your bow, 1 to 2 yards).
    2. Create a loop with the end of your long piece of ribbon, then twist.
    3. Holding the twist taught with one hand, make another loop on the opposite side on the bow. Then twist.
    4. Repeat these steps, making alternating loops until you achieve your desired size (we made four loops on each side). You should still have some hanging ribbon, which will become one of your tails.
    5. Use the shorter piece of ribbon to tie the loops together. Tie the knot at one end, leaving the second, longer end loose—this will be the second half of your tail. Double knot so the bow is secure.
    6. Trim tails and fluff individual loops for a full bow.
    *paper bow template

    How to Make a Bow with Perfect Tails

    A great bow is more than just its loops. Here are some helpful tips to make some terrific tails:
    · Use more material than you think you need. You can always cut long tails, but if your tails are too short, you’ll either have to live with it or start over.
    · Even out your tails. Don’t be surprised if, after you’ve completed your bow, one tail is longer than the other. The fix is simple. Measure your tails and cut the longer tail to match the shorter.
    · Sure, you could be done, but why not add a final special touch to your bow? Cut the ends of your tails diagonally to give the tails classy points. Another option is to perform a chevron cut. Cut an even triangle from the ribbons so that the point of the triangle is in the center of the tail. Make clean cuts, so you can easily pull away the extra fabric.

    How to Choose the Right Bow for Your Occasion

    If you want to add bows to your wedding in some way, you’ll need to make a few choices to match the right type of bow to the right circumstance.

    Bows for Outfits

    If you want to add a bow to an outfit, like the flower girl’s dress, consider what type of material would work best for the bow. Satin is a great option for fabric bows, but if you want to work with something easier, consider grosgrain. Velvet, sheers, and even cotton can all be additional fabric options.

    Bows for a Gift

    Wire bows make an excellent choice for wedding gifts. They give you stability and design control, allowing you to build big, beautiful bows that will set your gift(s) apart from the rest.

    Bows for the Bouquet

    While ribbons can work for bouquets. If you really want your flowers to stand out, go with a big wire bow. Again, a wire bow will give the bow more stability, so the loops and tails will look great even during the bouquet toss.