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How to Make Ribbon Bows for Hair Accessories: 3-Step Tutorial

History has a way of repeating itself since the dawn of time and the same certainly applies to the ever cyclical history of fashion trends. One day an item or accessory is the hottest thing around and the next you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who acknowledges to have ever worn it. Ribbons and bows have been in and out of style since there was any fashion to speak of, namely the Baroque period. In the 20th century they were huge in the 50s and 60s, but fell out of favor till the 80s. And nowadays, in the 2010s, they’re back again and trendier than ever – if price tags are anything to go by. If they are, then ribbon bows for hair wear are incredibly popular, given how expensive they are. Mainstream brands and labels sell them overpriced because there’s growing demand for them, while smaller boutiques, the likes of which you can find online in troves, are pricing them a bit too steeply, because they need to put up with the competition.

So, where does that leave you, the average consumer, who’s got a thing for hair accessories, but would ideally like to buy some cheap ribbon hair bows? Cheap, but unattractive, mind you. Luckily for you, if you’ve got so much as the slightest inclination for crafts and DIY, we’ve got just what you need. The world’s most affordable ‘recipe’ for making your own ribbon bows for hair accessories. Check out our ‘how to’ tutorial below, complete with all the instructions you need.

Ribbon hair bow tutorial


  • A good pair of fabric scissors;
  • Hot glue gun;
  • Glue sticks;
  • Needle and thread;
  • A set of alligator clips*;
  • Ribbon*.

* We recommend that you buy the alligator clips and ribbon wholesale. You can find 100pcs and 500pcs sets of clips online, for as little as $.09 a pop. Wholesale ribbon is about $.32 per yard for grosgrain; more sophisticated materials such as satin can be a bit more pricey, but still affordable. If, however, for some reason you don’t want to buy bulk, you can find ready-made kits of alligator clips and ribbon for hair accessories at some specialized Etsy boutiques. To find them, simply run a search on the website. And another thing about ribbon: as you develop your technique for making ribbon bows, we encourage you to experiment with various widths and materials. However, absolute DIY beginners are best advised to stick to grosgrain, since it’s very easy to work with. The standard widths to use are 3/8” and 7/8”’.

Step 1: Line the alligator clip

First, measure out 4 inches of 3/8” ribbon. Open the alligator clip and insert the mid-point of the ribbon between the clip’s prongs. Close it and then apply a spot of hot glue to one end of the 4in piece of ribbon. Stick that end to the top of the clip. Continue adding spots of glue along the length of the clip, on all sides. Immediately line the glued spots with ribbon. Once you reach the bottom of the clip’s exterior, open it up again and glue whatever is left of the ribbon inside it. Now your entire clip is lined.

Step 2: Make a 2” bow

Measure and cut out 12in of the 7/8” ribbon. Fold the ribbon onto itself, as if you were wrapping it around an imaginary ruler. Fasten the folded ribbon temporarily with an alligator clip on each end, then start threading it down the middle. Make sure to run the needle through all segments of the loop. Then loop the thread around the ribbon, tie it into a knot twice and cut out the excess thread at both ends.

You can repeat this step as many times as you like, if you want a more complex, layered bow. However, bear in mind that the bigger your bow, the bigger you will want the base alligator clip to be. Otherwise, one ribbon bow of the set might fall off, or you may find that the hair bow will come undone while you’re wearing it. You can also experiment with making larger base ribbons and adding smaller ones on top of it.

Step 3: Tie the knot

Cut out a small piece of 3/8” ribbon and tie it into a small knot. Glue one end of the knot on the bottom of the bow, then attach the knot to the ribbon bow. Make sure that the knot is properly positioned, face up, right in the middle of the bow.

After this step is completed, you can also play around with embellishments, such as charms, jewels, or buttons. Depending on the materials you’re working with, you can either hot glue the embellishments to the knot, or sew them into place.

Image Sources: Made by Madison, Pinterest

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