Have you been wondering how to make bows like the pros? Britt from Charlie’s Halo shares her techniques to get beautiful, high quality bows. See techniques on the Twisted Boutique Bow, Pinwheel Bow, Spikes, and Surround Loops!
Hello! I’m Britt from Charlie’s Halo. You might remember my other tutorials on adding marabou, bottle caps and detachable centers to hair bows. This time I will be teaching my specialty, stacked boutique bows. I have been making bows for over 2 years and I’m entirely self taught. There are many different techniques used by different bow makers, but in this tutorial I will cover the basics and techniques that I use. I made 3 different styles of stacked boutique bows using the Halloween Candy Corn, Dino-mite and Lil Sister Ribbon Mixes from The Ribbon Retreat.
Each Ribbon Mix includes 5 different ribbons, expertly matched in various widths. The Ribbon Retreat carries a large selection of ribbon mixes. They are wonderful because it takes the guess work out of matching colors and sizes. It’s already done for you! Check out the ribbon mixes by clicking the link.
What widths work for what bows and layers?
For stacked bows, 1.5” is often used for base bows and spikes, ⅞” is commonly used for base bows, topper bows, and spikes, ⅝” can be used for bow surrounds and spikes, and ⅜” is great for bow surrounds, wrapping bows, lining clips and adding other small embellishments to your bows.
I also used the following basic tools: Needle, Heavy Duty Thread, Cardboard, Scissors, Lighter, Ruler, Hot Glue, Straight Pin and Stiffener.
~ How to Make Bows ~
This fabulous Halloween bow is the first style we will make.
When making stacked bows, the most basic skill you will need to learn is the ever so famous Twisted Boutique Bow. This bow can take some time to master, but with some practice, it will become second nature. I make twisted boutique bows using a cardboard template that is easy to make and economically practical. In this tutorial I will be using 5”, 6” and 7” templates. Here is how to make them:
Find a piece of sturdy cardboard and cut it to the width you would like your template to be and make sure it’s at least 3” long.
Measure to the middle of your template and cut out a ¼” strip that is about 1.5” or so long as show in the picture.
For this tutorial you will need templates in 5”, 6” and 7”.
Now is time to use your new template! If this is your first twisted boutique bow, I would suggest trying with a 5” template and use ⅞” as I’ve done in the picture. You will need 23” of ⅞” ribbon. This will make a 3” bow. I trim and seal my ribbon ends after I’ve sewn my bow, but it’s okay to do it before you make your bow as well. You will also need an alligator clip, needle and thread and a straight pin.
5” Template – 23” Ribbon – 3” Bow
6” Template – 28” Ribbon – 4” Bow
7” Template – 33” Ribbon – 4.5 – 5” Bow
Use an alligator clip to hold your ribbon while you wrap it around your template. Clip the ribbon in the center of the ‘middle opening’ and the end of the template.
After wrapping the ribbon around your template two times, turn the template over and push a straight pin through the center of the ribbon as shown.
At this point your are ready to remove the ribbon from the template. Carefully pull it off of the template, but do not remove the pin.
The next step is the very most important part of making twisted boutique bows. Hold your ribbon with the tail facing up, and maintain pressure on the back of the pin. Start by pulling the tail and bottom ribbon to the left. When you do this your ribbon will begin to form an ‘X’.
Pull the loops to form a uniform ‘X’. When you look at the back of your bow, your ribbons should be aligned horizontally. The above pic shows a bow ready to be a creased.
I crease my bows by sewing them. Using a strong needle and heavy duty thread with the ends knotted together. Stitch through the center of the bow making sure that the ‘X’ does not lose form.
Bring your needle and threads through the ribbon and pull it tight.
Wrap your bow a couple of times, knot and finish off.
I like to stiffen my twisted boutique bows before and after stacking them. I spray them with stiffener and use a fan to help them dry fast while I make the rest of the bow.
This is the same technique I used for all widths of ribbon and with my templates.
Another part of stacked bows are spikes. You can use any width of ribbon to make spikes, for this Halloween bow I will be using 1.5”, ⅞” and ⅝” ribbon. I’ve measured each spike to 5”, V-cut and heat sealed the ends with a lighter. Then roughly arranged them in a pattern that I liked for this bow.
Here is how to make even spikes. Fold the spike in half to find the center and push your needle through. Do this with each spike and add them in an ‘X’ pattern as shown.
This is how I have arranged my spikes. The next step is to crease them, just like a bow.
Now all of your parts are ready to stack! You will need a hot glue gun and glue sticks to attach your bow parts. For this Halloween bow I used a 4.5” boutique bow made with 1.5” ribbon for the base bow, 5” spikes, 3” boutique bow made with ⅜” ribbon for surrounds and a 3” boutique bow made with ⅞” ribbon for the topper.
After gluing your bow parts together, it’s important that your bow be securely attached to a clip.
Use ⅜” ribbon and hot glue to attach a clip as shown. The Ribbon Retreat has how to attach a clip to a bow tutorial if you need more help.
Lets try another bow!
This awesome dinosaur bow is a different style, as you can see it’s not quite as tall.
Here’s how I made it!
I used 1.5” ribbon and a 5” template to make a 5” pinwheel. Unlike boutique bows, pinwheels will be just about the same size as the template used. I used 5” spikes made of 1.5” and ⅞” ribbon, surround loops made with ⅜” ribbon and 1.5” ribbon layered with ⅞” ribbon for the topper bow.
To make a pinwheel bow, start by clipping the end of your ribbon to your template as shown.
Overlap the ribbon around the template.
Stitch down the middle and remove the ribbon from the template as you go. Crease your pinwheel bow just like a twisted boutique bow, tighten, knot and finish off.
To make a twisted boutique bow with layered ribbons, all you have to do is align then them and wrap them as shown. Be careful to keep them aligned while sewing and creasing.
I made these surround loops by taking a rough estimate of the size I wanted each loop to be. I did not glue or sew anything, I simply make a sample loop to take a measurement.
I decided 6.5” is the length I need for each surround loop to be for this bow.
I measured the length of each loop to 6.5” and sewed them as I went along. You can also use hot glue.
After finishing your bow parts, you’re ready to finish your bow by stacking, wrapping and adding clip!
I have one more style to show you!
This bow is a little bit bigger, because the base bow and topper bow are both made with 1.5” ribbon. Check out the bow parts that I used for this style!
I used a 4.5” twisted boutique bow made with 1.5” and ⅞” ribbon, 6.5” spikes made with 1.5” and ⅞” ribbon, surround loops made with ⅜” ribbon and a 4” topper bow made with 1.5” ribbon.
After finishing your bows, it’s always a great idea to stiffen them so they keep their shape.
What I showed today is just the basics, you can make so many variations. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different widths of ribbon and prints. There is no wrong way to use ribbons in bow making. The Ribbon Retreat offers great ribbon mixes and convenience packs. They also have an amazing assortment of embellishments to choose from.
I hope this tutorial will inspire to you make beautiful bows. Check out my other tutorials for even more ideas on embellishing your new stacked bows! As always, it’s been a joy!
A HUGE thanks to Britt from Charlie’s Halo for showing us how to make bows! There are so many techniques to achieve the same bow, so it is wonderful to get an idea of which technique will work best for you.
In this tutorial, you don’t just learn how to make bows, but how to stack them and create boutique quality bows. There are lots of ways to embellish, so be sure to check out Britt’s other tutorials linked at the top of the post.
And, of course, The Ribbon Retreat carries a HUGE assortment of quality ribbon at awesome prices, wonderful customer service, and super fast shipping. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter to see all the great deals we have weekly!
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Again, many thanks to Britt! If you are not into making bows and love buying them, check out Charlie’s Halo for beautifully made bows and accessories. You will fall in love. 🙂
If you are interested in sharing your crafts or bow making skills, we are searching for crafty contributors. If you’re a craft blogger or bow maker who’d like to submit a tutorial of your own, visit our Project Submission Page to see all the details. We love all tutorials, and now especially love holiday ones! We make it worth your while! We love our contributors!
Have a great day! ~ Shirley, The Ribbon Retreat Blog Editor