Bow-Easy™ Basics

by Dina Kowal

Learn easy steps for tying perfect bows, using the Bow-Easy™ and a kitchen fork.

NOTE: The instructions below are written for a right-handed person. For left-handed instructions, all 'left' and 'right' directives are switched. Please watch the video below for clarity.

Supplies

  • Ribbon

  • Bow making template (Bow-Easy© and kitchen fork demonstrated here)

  • Scissors

  • Heat tool (optional)

  • Other supplies as needed to complete the project (used here: Basic Grey and Bazzill cardstock; watercolor paper; QoR watercolor paints; stamps from Purple Onion Designs, Unity Stamp Co. and Simon Says Stamp; Scor-Pal; Aleene's Tacky Glue; paper trimmer)

Step-by-Step

  1. Step 1

    For a single bow:
    Choose the ribbon template that best fits the width of your desired bow. Select your ribbon. Leave a tail of about 3"-4" hanging past the left edge of the template, and hold it in place with your left hand.

  2. Step 2

    Wrap the ribbon once completely around the template, making sure to keep it flat without any twists.



  3. Pull the ribbon to the right side of the template and trim it, leaving plenty of length to work with (3"-4” works well).

    TIP:
    Cut the ribbon end at an angle to make the next step easier.

  4. Step 3

    Take the cut end of the ribbon, and thread it through the central opening in the template above the ribbon loop.

  5. Pull the ribbon through, and bring it up below the ribbon loop in the same groove.

  6. Step 4

    Pull the left tail up and the right tail down, tightening the ribbon around the template and tightening the twist at the center.

  7. Step 5

    Cross the ends right over left, and tie a knot, keeping the ribbon wrapped tight around the template.

  8. Pull the ends out straight to the sides to tighten the bow.

  9. Step 6

    Slide the bow straight off the template. Pull on the loops and tails evenly to make adjustments. The loops and knot should be perfectly even.

  10. Trim the tails as desired.

  11. Step 7

    Complete the bow.

  12. Use it to embellish a card or other project.

  13. Step 8

    For a multi-loop bow:
    Follow the steps above, wrapping the ribbon around the template twice for a double loop bow, three times for a triple, etc.

  14. Step 9

    Pull the loops evenly to separate and round them.

  15. If the ribbon is synthetic, lightly heat the center with a heat tool just until it begins to crinkle. This will permanently shape the bow.

    NOTE:
    Take care not to overheat the ribbon, as it can melt or burn. Sheer ribbon may develop holes if overheated.

  16. Step 10

    Use the bow on a finished card or project.

  17. Step 11

    To create tiny bows, use a fork with an even number of tines as a template. Secure the fork under a heavy weight or clamp it to keep it still. (For the photo, the fork is secured on a shelf under some heavy boxes.)

  18. Step 12

    Following the instructions above, wrap the ribbon around the fork.

  19. Thread the tail down through the top center and up at the bottom of the same groove. Pull the ends tight and tie them together, right over left.

  20. Step 13

    Trim the ends and use the ribbon on a card or other project.

Video!



Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Bow-Easy™ Basics. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

Thanks for the great video! You're so right, I rarely reach for my bow easy because I never have great success; however, your tutorial has solved that issue...it's now out on my desk to be used!!
Kim  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 5:33 AM
Thank you Dina! I had to have been doing something wring before because my bows weren't coming out right. I followed your instructions this time and have perfect bows on my desk just waiting for a card!
muscrat  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 5:35 AM
Love this tutorial on making bows. It is one of those things I always have trouble with which makes me not use them as much. And a big thank you for the left-handed video. Sometimes I feel so clumsy trying to mimic certain things!
Tammy McCullars  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 5:37 AM
Thank you so much for the left handed video. I was sent this by a friend in the US and while I got the basics OK - I was always unsure about the last cross over. All clear now.
Beryl Tyler  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 6:03 AM
Great tutorial! Like many others, I rarely use my Bow Easy because I've been doing it all wrong! Maybe now I can make better use of my tons of ribbon!!
Nan  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 8:38 AM
I could not find a Bow-Easy in my local craft stores, so I trimmed used gift cards to mimic some of the Bow-Easy measurements that I would use the most. They work fine.

Also, once you complete your bow, a small dab of Fray-Chek (Dritz; available in the notions section of most fabric stores--including Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart) will keep the ends from fraying. Hence the name....
BlueSpruce  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 9:50 AM
One more note: Both my mom and grandma--I am 72, so we are going back a ways here--had a "Bow-Easy" that was always handy for tying bows to decorate my dresses. They asked me to hold my two index fingers up with the other fingers in fists. The space between my index fingers determined the size of the bow, but the technique was just the same as the current gadget.
BlueSpruce  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 9:57 AM
Thank You!!
Nancy Palker  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 2:36 PM
You've made this look so easy that even my clutsy hands can make a pretty bow...thanks!
Martie Rollin  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 3:11 PM
Very informative tutorial, Dina. Well, poor me....I can find a fork but have lost my Bow Easy template. Ha I'll have to look it up because I'm sure it would help with my bows.
Benzi  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 3:52 PM
ANOTHER way to keep the ends of ribbon fraying is to run the heat gun over the ends. I found this method out by accident and it's just so easy now! It's really only for synthetic fibers, opposed to natural.
Jann Schott  |  Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 6:31 PM
Oh, Dina!! I LOVE that you did a video for us lefties! It was just what I needed! I've had the Bow-Easy forever and just have not gotten it! I had to get out the instructions every single time and just put it away! THANK YOU! And I love how you explained about the multiple bows too! Big Hugs!
Cheryl Scrivens  |  Thu Jul 21, 2016 at 12:07 PM
I make my bows using a lift comb with the center tooth removed to make an even number of teeth. I found a set of 3 at Walgreens. These big combs have long teeth and a handle. Same instructions as fork.
Bethem  |  Fri Jul 22, 2016 at 3:45 PM
Excellent instructions! I don't use a Bow Easy but as someone previously mentioned, a large hair pick is excellent for most bows and the fork method is great for those tiny bows.
Melanie  |  Wed Jul 27, 2016 at 2:53 PM
love this tutorial! thank you so much for making the video- i have a bow easy but never quite got the hang of it! the mini bow on a fork is so sweet- now i can't wait to make some bows smile
gabrielle howey  |  Sun Jul 31, 2016 at 3:22 PM
Dina your video tutorial is such a Godsend! I have had a Bow Easy for several years but never could figure it out. Same thing with the fork technique. I've gone so far as to have a friend of mine in TX make bows for me since she can do them so nicely, and send them to me here in NY. After watching this, have made me want to make bows now!!! (But, i'll still gladly accept bows from my sweet friend too. Many Huggles and Thankies!!!
Christi Usher  |  Sun Jul 31, 2016 at 11:17 PM
Dina - how can something so easy be so often screwed up? I admit my bow easy has been gathering dust for years. You are the first person/tutorial to ever make me see the light. I'm getting mine out and putting it permanently by my side at the hobby table. BLESS YOU!
Lura  |  Fri Oct 21, 2016 at 7:37 PM
Super duper helpful! I've been making cards for decades, and I've been making sloppy bows in the most annoyingly difficult way, I now realize. This really makes things much easier, quicker, and more perfect. Many, many thanks!
Lani Akers  |  Wed Nov 30, 2016 at 7:14 PM

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