Bows don’t have to be expensive. In fact, many are made out of paper yet look just as good as those purchased or made of fabric. Additionally, they are super easy to make. They also serve as a great adornment for other types of items such as cards, garland and on scrapbook pages. How to make a paper bow is easy to learn. Here are a few of our favorite designs.

1. How to Make a Paper Bow With Construction or Scrapbooking Paper

How to Make a Paper Bow

This basic bow is one of the easiest to make.

What You Need

  • A bow template printed from the internet.
  • Construction or scrapbooking paper.
  • Hot glue gun and rods.
  • Scissors.


  1. Find a template on the internet that has 3 parts – a mustache shape (the bow), a small rectangle (the center) and a bow tie shape (the tails).
  2. Print it out on card stock or stiff paper then cut the shapes out.
  3. Trace the shapes onto the colored paper and cut them out.
  4. Take the mustache shaped piece and place a drop of glue in the center. Take the pointy end on the left and fold the end over the middle to the center attaching the end to the glue. Hold it in place a few seconds while it sets.
  5. Place another dot of glue on the center on top of the pile and fold the right side over the glue pressing it in place for a few seconds.
  6. Place a dot of glue in the center of the bow tie shape and press the bow into place on top. Make sure that the bow is placed parallel to the bow tie rather than perpendicular.
  7. Glue the small strip to the center of the back of the bow, wrap it around the front perpendicular to the back and glue it in place in the back.
  8. Turn the bow over and place a dot of glue on the back then attach it to the package or other item.
    Note: If using scrapbooking or other one-sided paper be sure that the pattern and/or color remains on top when gluing. Also note that you can use regular glue or glue dots instead if you don’t have a glue gun.

2. How to Make a Paper Bow With Wrapping Paper

Paper Bow Made out of Wrapping Paper

This is more of a traditional bow that you would buy from the store. The best part is that it allows you to use all those annoying scraps you have left over after wrapping a gift.

What You Need

  • Scraps of wrapping paper.
  • An index card.
  • Scotch tape.
  • A small circular shape like an empty medicine bottle.
  • Ruler.
  • Pencil or pen.
  • Hot glue gun and rods.
  • Scissors.


  1. Cut 13 strips of wrapping paper 2″ wide and 7″ long.
  2. Cut the index card into a 3″x3″ square.
  3. Using the circular item as a guide, draw a circle in the center of the card stock.
    Note: The wider the paper is cut the larger the bow and the bigger the card stock needs to be.
  4. Fold 12 of the strips in half lengthwise and tape the ends together. Do not overlap them but, rather, put the 2 wrong sides together flat.
  5. Tape 4 of the loops to each edge of the card with the loops pointing out and placing them outside the drawn circle.
  6. Tape the next 4 pieces in between the others with the loops pointed toward the corners of the card and the taped edges outside the drawn circle.
  7. Line the next 4 loops up with the original loops taping them in place so they touch the edge of the circle.
  8. Take the last strip and make a circle overlapping the ends. Tape it so it stays in place.
  9. Add a dot of glue to the center of the card stock and place the loop you just made in the center of the other loops pressing it in place.
  10. Tape the finished bow to your package.

3. How to Make a Spike Paper Bow With Printed Paper

pink paper bow

This spiky little beauty is the perfect topping for any gift or decoration.

What You Need

  • Printed paper.
  • Pencil.
  • A coffee cup.
  • Hot glue gun and rods (You can also use craft glue but it takes longer to stick. It just needs to be clear).
  • Scissors.


  1. Lay out the printed paper on a flat surface.
  2. Place the coffee cup with the top down so there is space between the handle and paper.
  3. Trace 5-6 circles and cut them out.
  4. One at a time fold the circles in half. Fold them in half a 2nd time then a third so you end up with 8 sections on each circle.
  5. Cut 3/4 of the way along each fold line toward the center without cutting all the way through. Repeat the step for each circle.
  6. Take a circle and roll 1 section around the end of a pencil at a slight angle. Place a dab of glue where the end attaches to the roll and press in place. The roll should be angled so the point creates a tip while the base is slightly wider. Repeat the step for each section of the circle.
  7. Repeat Step 6 for each circle.
  8. Put the circles together by placing a dab of glue in the center of a circle then placing the next layer on top making sure it is slightly off-set from the first. Repeat the step for each layer.
    Note: As you add more layers you’ll find the center becomes less wide. You can use the eraser end of the pencil to hold the layer down until the glue sets or even the tip when you get to the center.
  9. Attach it to the package with glue.

4. How to Make a Paper Bow With Wax Paper

wax paper bows

This bow turns out full and fluffy creating a beautiful topper for any gift.

What You Need

  • Wax Paper.
  • Ruler.
  • Pencil, pen or other marker.
  • Twine or string.
  • Ruler.
  • Hot glue gun and rods.
  • Scissors.


  1. Cut 4 sheets of wax paper 6″ wide and 12″ long and stack them on top of each other. The more paper the fuller the bow.
    Note: The width will determine how large the bow will be so you can adjust that measurement.
  2. Mark the center of the top row.
  3. Stack the sheets on top of each other with the marked sheet on top then fold them lengthwise like a fan making sure to press each fold firmly.
  4. One at a time, hold the end tightly and cut it so it is slightly rounded.
  5. Tie all layers of the fan tightly in the center with the twine or string.
  6. Carefully pull out and apart the layers of the bow forming petals as you go.
  7. Fluff until the desired look is achieved.

5. How to Make a Paper Bow With any Kind of Paper

metallic paper bow

Although this bow can be made with any kind of paper, including printer paper, if you have some metallic paper left over from the holidays it’s a perfect way to use it as well as make a spectacular bow for any gift.

What You Need

  • Metallic wrapping paper or anything else handy.
  • Ruler.
  • Hot glue gun and rods.
  • Scissors.


  1. Cut the paper 8″ wide by 12″ long. Remember that the bow will end up about 1/4 that size so if you want a bigger bow then cut it wider.
  2. Fold the paper in half lengthwise and press it so it creases and lays flat.
  3. With the ruler draw a line 1/2″ wide along one side of the center crease.
  4. Cut the doubled paper into strips about 1/4″ wide without cutting beyond your line. The strips do not have to be exact.
  5. Open the paper and cut it into two pieces by cutting along the crease.
  6. To make the curls on the first strip, hold the base of one strip with your left hand. With your right hand and beginning about halfway along the strip, put the blade of the scissors under the strip and your thumb on top then gently pull to the end. That will place curls in the top half of the strip. If it doesn’t curl enough then try again. Don’t press too hard as the paper will tear off but it’s okay if that happens a few times as it won’t affect the end product. Continue until you reach the end of the row.
  7. With the 2nd row, hold the base of the strip in the left hand then place the scissors at the base of the strip and pull to the end. That will curl the entire strip. Continue curling each strip the same way.
  8. Take the curlier strip, run a strip of glue along the bottom and fold it in half. Repeat the gluing and folding 2 more times.
  9. Place a strip of glue all the way around the bottom then place the less curly strip on top. Continue working around the base, gluing as you go, until you get to the end of the strip.
  10. Attach it to your gift or add more strips to make it fuller.

Summing Up

Regardless of which bow you select, learning how to make a paper bow will open up a whole new world of possibilities. The best part is that they’re great for more than just gifts. Additionally, they provide you with the opportunity to use all those annoying scraps of paper you have laying around. If you’re looking for the perfect adornment for that special gift or other project, why not make it yourself?

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