Wired ribbon gives gifts and home decor an added touch of elegance, as the wire helps the bows maintain their shapely looks even when hung outdoors. The trick to tying bows with wired ribbon is to take your time to ensure the ribbon doesn't kink or twist in errant ways as you bend it. Otherwise, it's much like working with any ribbon, string or even a shoelace.
The Classic Two-Loop Bow
A bow with two loops is one of the most common; it's also the simplest to create. A two-loop bow is your classic shoe-tying bow, except done with wired ribbon.
- Unwind enough ribbon from the roll to create a bow with long tails, cutting the ribbon at this length. A bow with tails 12 inches or longer could take more than 4 feet of ribbon.
- Make a basic capital M shape with the ribbon, then squeeze each side of it to make a loop in each hand.
- Fold one loop over the other, tucking the top loop behind the first and then up through the hole between the loops, just as though making a knot or tying a shoe. Tug both sides to slightly tighten the center knot.
- Gently tug each loop to make them the same size. Tweak the shapes of the loops to straighten them and make them look as full as possible, rather than smashed flat.
- Once both loops are even, push your fingers inside the knotted area to straighten the look of the knot.
- Tug both loops at the same time to tighten the knot more.
- Adjust the tails and the loops to achieve the desired look. The wire helps the ribbon hold its shape.
If unsure how much ribbon to use for a large decorative bow, practice with a piece of yarn or string first. Once you've made the string bow in a serviceable size, untie it and measure it. Cut the ribbon to the same length or even a tad longer, to allow for full, dimensional loops.
Extra Details: More Tails
Upgrade the look of your two-loop bow—or any bow, for that matter—by adding extra tails. Cut a length of ribbon slightly longer than twice the length of either bow tail. Use the same ribbon as the original bow you've made, or opt for a contrasting color, such as black for an orange Halloween bow. Cut a short piece of floral wire and feed it through the back of the knot on the original bow. The floral wire ends should stick out on each side. Bend the fresh piece of ribbon gently in half and tie it to the back of the bow by twisting the floral ribbon. Make sure the nicest side of the ribbon faces down, as the bow is face down at this point. Flip the bow over and adjust all the tails to your liking.
Fancier Ribbon Bows
Give your gift or decor project more ornate look by making a bow with more than two loops. This type of bow isn't tied like a shoelace bow; instead, it involves layering folds of ribbon one over the other, then tying the layers in the center with a piece of matching floral wire.
- Start by unwinding enough ribbon to make one tail and one bow loop; for instance, a 10-inch tail with a loop that's 5 inches wide on each side would take 20 inches of ribbon.
- Place a piece of masking tape on the table to note where the tail ends and each loop begins.
- Fold the ribbon back and forth over itself loosely to make loops that end at the tape, then fold back over at the desired loop size.
- Repeat the process so there are at least four loops on either side when done. The ribbon should resemble old-fashioned ribbon candy at this point.
- Unwind enough ribbon from the roll at the end to create the second tail—it should be the same length as the first tail and rest on the opposite side of the bow. Cut the ribbon here.
- Cut a piece of matching floral wire at least 6 inches long and fold it into a U-shape. A longer piece of wire can be used to hold the bow onto a wreath or ribbon-wrapped gift.
- Place the bend of the U over the center of the folds, then twist the floral wire gently to hold the bow shape together.
- Tug on each loop of the bow to shape it as desired. Fluff up the loops to hide the wire in the center.
- Bend the tails of the bow as desired.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.