How to Make a Bow & DIY Fringed Ribbon!

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do think that making your own fringed ribbon is worthy of an exclamation mark. And if you’re going to make your own fringed ribbon, you also need to learn how to make a bow. Let’s do this.

So here’s how this happened: a few years ago I bought the most beautiful ribbon in the world. The kind of ribbon you just can’t stop thinking about. If you could date ribbon, you would have brought this one home to meet your parents and pick out an overpriced set of china.

Which would ultimately end up on a fold out table on the driveway during a divorce garage sale. But still. It was a NICE ribbon while it lasted.

Gold and blue plaid with fluffy gold fringe along the edges. It was very hunt club meets Michaels craft store.

That was the ribbon that inspired this one.

I don’t know if you know how expensive ribbon is, but it’s somewhere between the price of a book and a human ear, depending on how many presents you need to wrap.

This year I just wanted a simple fringed, velvet ribbon but I couldn’t find any. It was either too expensive or it just looked cheap, hard and crinkly.

I wanted a velvet ribbon that draped like it was once wrapped around the neck of a Russian Wolfhound which was a gift from the lord to his hunt master. In the year 1810. And a half.

I achieved this by:

Making fringed ribbon from a bolt of fabric.

I happened to have a bolt of red velvet fabric, because my home is the house equivalent of a magicians hat. You can pull all manner of surprising things out of it. Including sometimes dead things.

But you don’t need an entire bolt, you can just buy a couple of meters of velvet from a fabric store.

Making fringed ribbon.

  1. “Cut” your fabric widthwise to the width you want your ribbon. To do this, just snip a small bit with your scissors …

2. Then hold the fabric in both hands and pull. The fabric will tear in a perfectly straight line.

3. Cut or tear the salvage edges off. Those are the edges on either side of the fabric that are finished.

4. Pick away some loose threads from the top of the strip of ribbon and pull them away.

This is what creates the fringe. You’re pulling away part of the woven fabric.

Continue to do this until you have the size of fringe you want.

You did it. You made fringed ribbon.

Now you need to know what to do with it.

How to make a bow out of Ribbon.

Don’t worry. There’s a video coming too.

  1. Take 2 strips of ribbon each approximately 24″ long. Mine were 30″. Thinner strips of ribbon will need less length.

The wider your ribbon, the bigger the bow, the more length of fabric you need.

2. Pinch one ribbon so folded approximately in half. This will be the tails of your ribbon.

3. With the other length of ribbon, fold over enough ribbon to make one bow loop. Eyeball it, but for a 3.5-4″ wide ribbon like mine the loop will be folded over by about 5″.

4. With right side of fabric facing you pinch the ribbon with your fingers to establish your first loop. Make sure you’re grabbing just above the bottom edge of the loop on the backside.

5. With the right side of the fabric still facing you, using your other hand pinch the fabric again, and twist it 180 degrees. Beneath your first loop, the wrong side of the fabric will be facing you now.

6. Fold the fabric over to create another 6″ loop. Once you fold it up the right side of the fabric will be facing up once again.

7. Pinch and hold that loop along with the first one. Now you’re left with several inches of fabric for the middle bow loop.

8. Twist the remaining fabric 180 degrees like before and tuck the remaining fabric into the centre to make a small loop.

Get that wolfhound into the house, it’s almost time – you’ve now formed the bow!

All you have to do is add the tails.

9. Still pinching the bow together with your fingers (you’ll know if you’re doing it right if your fingers are threatening to cramp up), stick your thumb through the centre loop and grab the tails by the centre fold.

10. Run a pipe cleaner through the centre loop, pull the ends to the back of the bow, pinch it hard and twist to tighten around the entire centre of the bow.

11. Fluff, adjust, push and pull until your bow is how you like it.

I like straight cut ends on my bows, but you can cut the ends into a V, or on an angle.

Wanna see how that’s done in video format? I thought you might.

So far this year I’ve hung these bows on everything from my fireplace mantel to my door, to picture frames.

But really what I made them for was wrapping presents and attracting lords.

How to Make a Bow & DIY Fringed Ribbon!


  1. Shannon says:

    Just found 2 yards of red velvet on the remnant pile at Wal-Mart, woot woot! Thanks for this fabulous idea!

  2. Linda J Howes-Smyth says:

    What a savage salvager you are to salvage that fabric and rip it to selvedged threads! Did I spell that correctly?

  3. Jan in Waterdown says:

    I remember a bow tying demo a bazillion years ago at a local nursery that included the tails in the whole twisting tying thingy. My thumb cramps by the end were enough to bring tears to my eyes. Good times. 😉

  4. Celeste says:

    I never thought I’d see the day when I have to correct Karen B, but that time has come.

    The tightly bound edge on the fabric is called ‘selvage’, not ‘salvage’. Salvage is something you get from an old shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean.

    I hope you receive this info the loving, respectful manner it is meant.

    Thank you for your witty and irreverent prose!

  5. Brooke says:

    Did I miss the link to the video instructions?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Brooke. The video should be right there in the post. There are two of them. If you have an ad blocker on your computer you won’t be able to see any of my videos. Sometimes using a different browser will also help if you can’t see them.


  6. Mary W says:

    For years I’ve had some wide, red, plastic ribbon waiting to be tied into a bow and hung on either side of the garage on the outside lights. WAITING for this post. Thank you, finally, what took so long? LOL All I got to last year was getting the tree out of the attic then putting it back in the attic after walking around the box for weeks. I found I didn’t miss the tree but did miss the twinkle lights. Garage lights, check. Twinkle lights around bed, check. Done decorating.

  7. Beth Bilous says:

    Thanks magic hands,Now….. where to get gorgeous velvet fabric like that?

  8. Emie says:

    My sister is a bow making wizard. She gets calls from friends to make bows for them, especially for wreaths. I’ll have to let he know about this technique especially because some ribbons can be costly and who could EVER turn down a velvet bow? Thanks.

  9. Alex says:

    Woo hoo, summer is SO over. Look at Ol’ Fancy Hands. GREAT nails, Karen.

  10. Jane Snider says:

    Absolutely beautiful. You forgot to warn readers that velvet creates a huge amount of fluff as you fringe it. We just finished a project with velvet and lint roller was my daughters favourite tool.

    • Susan Preston says:

      Haha! I’ve sewn lots of velvet and thought the exact thing!! Worse than cat or dog hair! Lol!!

      • Karen says:

        It really wasn’t bad for fluff. There was some but it wasn’t too much. I’d take velvet ribbon over the mess of a flocked Christmas tree any day, lol. ~ karen!

  11. Megan says:

    You are a mind reader! I was just looking for this exact thing. Thank you so much!!

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