I promised a bow tutorial, so here you go! I hope this helps, I've broken it down, step by step and picture by picture so that you can follow along and try it yourself! I'll show you two kinds of bows you can make for your trees, or wreaths, or anything really. My advice is to scroll through the pictures first, before you read the step by step instructions. That will help give you a whole picture of what in the world I'm explaining!
The first one is a traditional bow, like the one pictured below...
I think the best way to explain this is for you to think of a bow like the letter X.
Picture the top half of the bow (and X) like the left loops and the right loops and the bottom of the bow (and X) like the left tails and the right tails. Make sense? I'll explain...
The essentials are...
-Ribbon with wired edges! Don't attempt to make a bow without wire in it. It's certainly possible but much, much harder to work with. Wire will help you get the shape you want and is more forgiving.
-Wire cutters (nothing fancy, a pair from Home Depot or Target are fine).
-Wire. 24 gauge is a common weight and you can find these spools at Michael's or Hobby Lobby.
When you make a bow, you are going to alternate back and forth from right to left. So, we'll start with the right tail first. (Picture that X if I've lost you already!!)
#1- Unravel the ribbon and after determining the length of your right tail, gather the ribbon and pinch it, holding it in your left hand. This will be your center. I am holding the center in my fingers above.
#2- We've made the right tail, so we're going to now make the left loop. If my thumb is in the center, you can see that my right tail hangs down and I've begun to form the left loop. After making that loop, I will take the ribbon and gather it in the center again, allowing my thumb to hold more of the center. Do you see the difference between the shiny side of the ribbon and the dull side? The shiny side is what we want to see, so we're going to twist before every loop, to expose the shiny side and hide the dull side.
#3- I've got my right tail, my first left loop and now I'll form my first right loop. I've twisted the ribbon for the right loop in the center, so you can now see the shiny side again.
#4- Now I'm going to bring that ribbon back around to form the loop pictured below...
#5- Bringing the ribbon around, I will gather it in the center to form the right loop.
#6- This would be a basic 2 loop bow if we just took the rest of the ribbon and let it dangle down to form the left tail...BUT, we are going to add two more loops, one on each side :) Stick with me...
Before we make a second left loop, twist the ribbon to expose the shiny side.
#7- Now that the shiny side is exposed, turn it back toward the center, forming your loop and preparing the gather it in the center again.
#8- With one more loop to go, twist the ribbon in the center, exposing the shiny side of the ribbon for the last right loop.
#9- Make your final loop by bringing the ribbon back around, toward the center.
#10- Gather the ribbon in the center, letting the remaining ribbon fall to make the left tail.
#11- While you pinch all the gathered ribbon in the center, grab your wire and twist it around the center to hold the shape.
#12- Now you have your 4 loops. 2 on each side, and your 2 tails. As you get better with your bow making skills, you'll want to alter the size of your loops. Make 2 smaller ones toward the center and 2 larger ones for the outsides.
#13- Trim your left tail and there you go! A bow!
Now, if you're still interested in making a large, flowing bow like the one below, I've got a really easy way to cheat your way through it!
This isn't one big bow, it's 3 pieces put together, to look like one bow :)
#1- Start with your long tail and make a large loop.
#2- Gather your loop in the center and twist it to make one more smaller loop.
#3- Let the remaining ribbon hang down for another long tail. This is part 1of 3.
Make two more of the same kind of bow, until you have three parts like you see above.
Space your bows apart, with one on each side, as if they are the outer sides of a large bow.
Stick your final bow in the center and then manipulate the loops and tails so that they look like they are part of one giant bow. It's just that easy...
At least I hope you think that! It's a great way to add a little drama to the top of your tree and draw your eye "up" so that your tree looks taller and thinner.
I'm not sure if this tutorial helped or confused you more, but I'm hoping it was the first part :)