I’m a Christmas bow maker! Decades ago I learned how to make bows from the gift wrapping department of a famous Philadelphia department store. And that started a lifetime of wrapping pretty gifts and adorning them with the prettiest bows. I’ve compiled the best tips and tricks and simple bow skills that will have you making gorgeous bows all Christmas! My friends can tell my gifts a mile away! It’s all about the bows…
Make sure to see the HOW TO MAKE A PRETTY CHRISTMAS BOW video at the end of this post.
Today I’m in the sitting room off my bedroom at my desk. I’ve organized all the things I’ll be using for wrapping gifts this year. Thought you would like a peek!
First let me say, all bows don’t have to be opulent or difficult to make. Even the sweetest little tied twine embellishments can make a gift stand out if you know how to tie it right!
For me it all begins with organization! And the kind of ribbon used for bows.
First, get rid of 90% of your paper ribbon. You are wasting money by using them only once! Paper ribbon does not make very attractive bows and you will never build up a great stash of ribbons for bows!
Save some very thin tinselly paper-type ribbon. They are great for tying bows together and adding a bit of curly fun to a package.
Here’s how to start a great ribbon collection. Only buy very nice, real ribbon! It can be wired or sparkly or satin or silk. Thin or thick. Just start finding ribbon on sale and collect it. It’s so surprising how inexpensive real ribbon can be if you keep your eyes open!
I collect ribbon in color families: black and white, silver and gold, red and pink, blue and green. I might have an odd length of aqua or orange ribbon but mostly I stick to these colors.
My go-to ribbon is black and white check. Because I keep a very limited color palette of wrapping paper and love solids and polka dot paper a black and white ribbon almost always looks smashing!
This Christmas the ribbon I’ll be using is from my gold and silver stash along with white. After a ribbon is used, especially at Christmas, I roll it up and keep it with other like colored ribbon in clear plastic shoeboxes. So when I’m ready to wrap gifts I have lots of selections and different lengths of real ribbon.
Our family and extended families have been using real ribbon for a couple decades now. Our ribbon rule is… you get to keep the ribbon that adorns any gift your receive. It’s so fun to see how beautiful familiar ribbon gets passed around and around and is used from year to year.
BTW: don’t take the ribbon from a gift you give unless it is understood you get the ribbon back. LOL! But you already knew that, didn’t you?
Here’s a tip for wrapping gifts in record time. Wrap all your gifts first. THEN embellish each package. I write the initials of the person who gets the gift in the bottom right hand corner of the wrapped gift. Bobby will wrap any gift big or small as long as it is on a rectangle box. Lucky me!
Then I put all my ribbon and embellishments together and start making little works of art out of each package. Christmas music or a Christmas movie really helps to motive and inspire! So does a great cup of coffee, hot chocolate or festive libation.
Here are some fun things to use on a package besides a bow…
- bits of real or faux evergreen or boxwood
- a trio of tiny Christmas balls fastened together with elastic string.
- pretty gift tags
- monograms or initial
- cookie cutter
- jingle bells
- candy canes
- small boxwood wreaths
- old Christmas cards
I work on making bows and adding little embellishments and a gift tag to each package. I really love this part of wrapping a package.
I keep a long piece of twine with my gift wrapping supplies. I use it as a “measurer” of sorts to cut the right wrapping paper and ribbon every time. Here’s how it works…
For wrapping presents…
Put the string around the package. Mark the length by holding it between your thumb and index finger. And then match the length of the twine to a length of paper. Add 2 inches and cut. You will never have a short piece of paper again!
Use the same technique and add enough ribbon to make a bow. Because a bow is made to work with the package you will have to judge how much ribbon you will need to make the bow. Packages come in all sizes and so do the bows that go with them.
These simple tricks save lots of paper, ribbon, and frustration!
Other things to keep on hand when adding bows and such to a package are…
- invisible tape
- double-sided tape
- glue dots
- sharp scissors (a must)
- hot glue gun
- large curling iron (this takes the wrinkles out of most ribbon that has been used before)
Here’s my very favorite bow. It’s super easy to make and always looks so pretty!
Now click on the arrow and see a video of how I make my favorite easy bow!