September 11, 2011

How to Tie a Perfect Gift Bow

The first gift I ever received from the woman who would later become my mother-in-law was so beautiful, I almost didn't want to open it. Despite its cross country journey with the United States Postal Service, it arrived inside its shipping box looking freshly wrapped and adorned with a postcard perfect bow. It was the kind of package so beautiful, it looked like it belonged in a department store display window.

It was Christmastime, and my gift to her had already been shipped. I desperately hoped she wouldn't notice my second grade wrapping skills or the dollar store wrapping paper and bargain bow with the peel-away adhesive on the back. What would she think of her son's new fiancee? My worry lasted only a second as my thoughts were drawn back to the package, and that big beautiful bow. How in the world did she do that?

As it turns out, that impressive bow is rather easy to create. But it took me years to discover its simplicity because, (and she'll laugh when she reads this,) I never actually untied any of the bows on the packages she sent! I just couldn't bring myself to untie and throw away such a beautiful bow. The thrifty queen in me would carefully remove -without untying- each bow, and reuse it on gifts for my side of the family!

Years later, I have finally learned my mother-in-law's secret. I still sometimes save the ribbon, but I no longer wiggle and shimmy her packages to release the bow.  Now I can easily tie my own perfect bows for the packages I give. In the photos and instructions that follow, I will show you how simple it is to create your own perfect gift bow.

You will need....
A spool of wire edged ribbon. You will need enough to wrap around the gift, plus an additional 9 feet of ribbon for a large bow. Use less ribbon for small or medium sized bows.

Tip: You will be happier with the results if you choose ribbon that looks the same on the front as the back. For this demonstration, I used ribbon with glitter stars printed on one side of the ribbon. This made it harder to keep the "right" side facing up.

What you will do...

  • Wrap ribbon around box and tie knot. Set aside.
  • Accordion fold 9 feet of ribbon at 10 inch lengths for a large bow. Use less ribbon and shorter folds for smaller bows. This is just an approximate- there is no need to measure- just eyeball it!
  • Hold the ribbon in the middle and continue to fold. You will need about 4 or 5 folds on either side.
  • Use loose ends of ribbon from step one to secure your accordion fold to the box with a knot around the center of the fold.
  • Fluff the ribbon loops and you're finished. You've just created the perfect gift bow!

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