Cheerleading has become a passion for many girls that are younger than ever. The cost of classes, uniforms, trips, competitions and everything else that goes into the sport can really add up, but cheer bows have become iconic with the sport. One way cheer moms can reduce costs is by making their own cheer bows.

With the no-sew versions, anyone can learn how to make these bows for a fraction of the cost of those that are usually purchased. Most of the bows are super simple but even the most difficult will only need to be tacked. Here are a few examples that will ignite your imagination and provide the basic skills needed to get you started.

Project 1 – How to Make Cheer Bows That are Personalized

pink cheer bow

Image Source: Etsy

Whether you’re in a cheer squad or cheering for your school team, people need to know who you are. Personalizing your hair accessories will ensure that spectators cheering with you can support your individual efforts as much as your team’s.

What You Need

  • Scissors.
  • 2″ wide ribbon in your primary school or team color.
  • 1″ wide iron-on ribbon in your accent school team color.
  • Self-sticking glitter ribbon.
  • Iron-on letters in your secondary color.
  • Floral or thin gauge wire.
  • A ponytail band.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Ruler.
  • Chalk in 2 colors.
  • Iron.
  • Ironing cloth or parchment paper (do not use wax as it could ruin the bow or the iron).

Step-by-Step

To Prepare the Ribbon

1. Measure out the length of ribbon to make the size of bow desired plus 8″ for the tails (4″ on each side).
2. From the backside of the main ribbon, mark the center of the ribbon with the chalk as well as the center of what will be each tail.
3. From the center of each tail, measure toward the center of the ribbon 1-1/2″ and make a mark.
4. With the straight edge of the ruler, mark from the edge of the ribbon to the center mark. It should look like an inverted “V”.
5. Cut along the marks of each tail.
6. Place the tail of the ribbon over the iron-on ribbon in the secondary color and mark it with a contrasting color chalk.
7. Cut the iron-on ribbon along the marked lines and iron it onto the end of each tail.
8. Measure the distance from the end of the tail to the center of the “V” and mark it. Be sure and cut each end at an angle.
9. Cut 3 more pieces the same way.
10. One at a time, remove the backing and stick to the edge of each “V’ed” tail.
11. Pull the left side of the ribbon toward the center mark made earlier.
12. Lay out the letter of your name making sure they are equally spaced and in a straight line.
13. While holding the letters in place, open the ribbon, cover with an ironing cloth or piece of parchment paper and iron in place.
14. When cooled, carefully remove the backing making sure the letters are not pulled up as well.

To Make the Bow

1. Fold the right side down matching the top edge with the center mark and leaving a 4″ tail.
2. Do the same on the left side. The two loops should match in length as should the tails.
3. With the thumb and forefinger, pinch the center.
4. While holding the center, wrap the wire a couple of times around the middle.
5. Slip the ponytail holder on the wired and wrap it around a couple of more times before twisting to secure it.
6. Trim the excess wire.
7. Tuck the ends of the wire into the back of the bow.
8. Measure a piece of the glitter ribbon a little longer than the circumference of the center.
9. Remove the backing and draw the ribbon around the center of the bow making sure it overlaps in the back.

Project 2 – How to Make Cheer Bows That Lights Up

how to make cheer bows that lit

Image Source: Etsy

The ideal accessory for any nighttime game or cheer competition is a bow that lights up. It’s fun, new and really cool. It’s also fairly simple to make.

What You Need

  • Scissors.
  • 2″ wide lightweight fabric ribbon in the main team color (It needs to be light enough for the lights to shine through).
  • 2″ wide lightweight fabric ribbon in the team’s secondary color.
  • Floral or thin gauge wire.
  • 2 strands of battery operated fiber optic LED hair extension lights with clip.
  • Glue gun and glue rods.
  • Triple strand rhinestone ribbon.
  • LED blinking clip-on pin.

Step-by-Step

To Prepare the Ribbon

1. Cut ribbons in the primary and secondary colors the same length long enough that the bow and tails are the size desired.
2. Measure the center of the secondary color and mark it then cut slits on each side of the center. Be careful not to cut the ribbon in half.
3. Prior to applying the fiber optics it’s important to note that lights will appear wherever a strand has been cut as with this system lights appear at the ends of the strands. In order to have lights appear throughout the bow and tails you need to trim each fiber optic strand to a different length.
4. Place the ribbon in the primary color face down on a flat surface.
5. Lay each fiber optic strand on top with the battery pack (in some versions it comes in the form of a barrette) toward the center and the ends of the lights toward the end of the tail.
6. Place the secondary ribbon with the right side up on top of the fiber optics.
7. Push each battery pack through the slits in the secondary ribbon.
8. Using the glue gun, carefully attach the ribbon in the secondary color on top of the ribbon with the fiber optics making sure you do not get glue on the battery pack itself or fiber optics. You’ll need access to the battery packs in order to turn them on and off as well as change batteries.
8. If the battery packs are attached to clips, put a short piece of ribbon between them and clips to each side. If the battery packs are not attached to anything that can be fastened, they can be wired together.

To Make the Bow

1. Fold the right top edge down to the center leaving a tail below the ribbon.
2. Fold the top left side down to the center mark leaving a tail.
3. Make sure each tail is the same length and each loop is the same size. Adjust as needed.
4. With your thumb and forefinger, pinch the center. You won’t be able to pinch it any more than the battery packs will allow but that’s okay.
5. Wind the wire a couple of times around the bow center, including the battery packs.
6. Twist the wire to secure it in the back.
7. Slide the ponytail holder on the wire, wrap it around the center a couple of more times then twist it again to secure.
8. Trim the wire and tuck the ends.
9. On the front center, clip the LED blinking pin to hide the wiring. Go through as many layers as possible and, if needed, secure with a dot of glue prior to clipping on.

Project 3 – How to Make Cheer Bows With Bling

Cheer bow with bling

Image Source: Pinterest

There’s nothing quite like a little bling to ignite the crowd, create an element of surprise and make a girl feel oh, so special. This little cutie is easier than it might look and just wait until you hear the compliments.

What You Need

  • Scissors.
  • 2″ wide ribbon in one of your team colors.
  • 1-1/2″ wide ribbon in the second team color with a metallic sheen.
  • A roll of rhinestone ribbon 4 stones wide.
  • A glue gun and glue rods.
  • Spray glue for fabric.
  • Floral or thin gauge wire.
  • Needle and thread the color of the metallic ribbon.
  • Chalk.
  • A ponytail band.
  • Tape measure.

Step-by-Step

Preparing the Ribbon

1. Cut the ribbons in team colors long enough to make the size bow desired.
2. Cut 2 separate single rows of rhinestones along with the ribbon they’re attached to the same length as the ribbons in step 1.
3. Lay the ribbon with the flat school color down on a flat surface.
4. Turn the metallic ribbon with the shiny side down next to it.
5. Spray the back of the metallic ribbon with spray glue for fabric.
6. Place the sprayed ribbon on top of the flat colored ribbon with the metallic side up. Be sure to position it so equal amounts of the flat colored ribbon shows at the edges.
7. Using the glue gun, run a bead along the outer edge of the metallic ribbon while placing the rhinestone ribbon on top of the glue. Be sure it is on straight since it will be a predominant feature. Also, do not do the end pieces as they will be done later.
8. Allow to dry completely.

Note: If you want to add letters, words, names, mascot symbols or anything else, be sure and do it prior to putting the bow together. Using iron-on decals and letters often work best.

To Make the Bow

1. Mark the middle of the underside of the layered ribbon with a chalk line.
2. Fold the right hand down below the left making a loop at the top and leaving a tail at the bottom.
3. Do the same on the left. You’ll have a big “X” in the center where the ribbons overlap, loops on each upper end and opposing tails of the same length at the bottom.
4. With thumb and forefinger, pinch the center.
5. Wind the wire around the cinch a couple of time.
6. Slide the ponytail holder onto the wire and wrap it around the bow a couple of more times.
7. Twist the wire closed to secure it at the back.
8. Trim the ends of the wire then tuck them into the wire band.
9. Measure around the center then cut a piece of the rhinestone ribbon 4 beads wide and as long as needed to encircle the center.
10. Prepare the needle and thread then whip stitch the rhinestone ribbon on the back being sure to also catch the bow itself so it doesn’t slip.
11. Turn the bow toward the front and whip stitch across the front at the top and bottom as well.

Finishing

1. Determine the length you want the tails and cut an inverted “V” on each tail piece.
2. Run a bead with the glue gun along the “V” attaching the rhinestone ribbon over the glue as you go.
3. Allow it to dry completely before wearing it.

Project 4 – How to Make Cheer Bows Based on the Spirit Stick

Cheer Bow Based on the Spirit Stick

Image Source: Uncommon Designs

These are some of the easiest bows to make and will definitely boost your spirit. After all, the style is based on a spirit stick from cheer leading camp.

What You Need

  • 5 spools of ribbon in various widths and patterns but with the team’s primary color running throughout.
  • 1 spool of vary thin ribbon.
  • Covered button kit.
  • Scissors.
  • Ponytail band.
  • Sealer to apply to the ribbon ends, a heat sealer or a lighter.

Step-by-Step

1. Cut the widest ribbon 18″ long with each end cut at an angle.
2. Cut the remaining ribbons successively shorter each time with the ends angled so each ribbon is of a different length. The shortest ribbon should be about 12″ long with angled ends.
3. Using the widest ribbon, cut a square and cover one button. It will be used in the last step.
4. Seal the ends of all the ribbons with the liquid sealer or the heat sealer.
Note: With some fabrics you can brush the ends of the ribbons through the flame it in order to seal them.
5. Lay the thinnest ribbon down.
6. Place the other ribbons across the center beginning with the narrowest and stacking the widest on top the pile.
6. Using the thinnest ribbon, wrap it around the bundle and tie a knot at the back.
7. Double-check to make sure the tie is centered on the bundle.
8. Using the thin ribbon, slip the ponytail band on the ribbon then tie it in place. At this point a double or triple knot should secure it and ensure it will not come untied.
9. Cover the center with the covered button by running one tail of the thin ribbon through the button hole and pushing it into place on the front side.
10. On the back, tie a triple knot then trim the ends and seal them. You can also add a dot of glue at this point in order to secure the knots.

Project 5 – How to Make Cheer Bows That Have Spikes

Cheer bow with flamongos

Image Source: Pinterest

These little bows are symmetrical and cute and can make a huge impact on your crowd. You can make them in single colors with no pattern or multiple colors with multiple patterns. The only limitation is your imagination.

What You Need

  • 3 pieces of 1-1/2″ grosgrain 6 inches long.
  • 2 pieces of 1-1/2″ grosgrain 5 inches long.
  • 2 pieces of matching embroidery thread and needles.
  • Glue gun and glue rods.
  • Scissors.
  • Fabric sealer, heat sealer or lighter.
  • Alligator clip.
  • A pen or piece of chalk.
  • A rhinestone jewel in a complimentary color.

Step-by-Step

1. Fold one ribbon in half width-ways (like a hot dog bun)
2. Holding one end firmly or holding it in place with the alligator clip, cut from the center to the outer edge at an angle.
3. Do the same to the other end and to all the other 5″ and 6″ ribbon ends.
4. Seal the ends of all pieces with the lighter, fabric sealer or heat sealer.
5. Fold a length of ribbon in half long-ways, crease and mark the center with chalk or a pen on the wrong side of the fabric.
6. Do the same to each piece of ribbon. It’s a great time to fix any ends that don’t line up properly. Just be sure and reseal any that you trim.
7. With the wrong side up, fold a 6″ piece of ribbon accordion style 3 times then run a needle through the center.
8. Do the same to each piece of 6″ ribbon adding them to the original piece then slide the bundle all the way to the end of the thread that has been knotted in advance.
9. Wrap the extra thread around the center then run the thread through the center several times before knotting it to secure.
10. Spread out the spikes so they make a star pattern.
11. Follow steps 7-10 for the 5″ ribbons.
12. Put a dot of glue on the right side center of the star made with the 6″ ribbons then place the 5″ star on top making sure you center them carefully while offsetting the stars.
13. Run the needle and thread back and forth through the center of both stars several times in order to secure then tie it off.
14. On the back, slide the upper piece of the alligator clip under the thread.
15. Put a dot of glue on top of the thread and alligator clip in order to secure them in place.
16. On the front, apply a dot of glue to the center and apply a rhinestone in a complementary color.

Summing Up

There are many things that go into making a great cheer squad. Not only the quality of the cheers, tumbling and dancing go into the sport, but so do the looks. Although you can’t do much with uniforms and shoes you can definitely do just about anything you want with your cheer bows. Whether they are big, little, shiny, personalized or something else, they can really enhance the look of any squad. If you’ve learn how to make cheer bows in a special way, we’d love for you to share it. After all, you can never have too many bows.

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