Let it Bow, let it bow, let it bow

O.K.  This is gonna be short and simple ya hear me?  It’s 5 days until Christmas and I only found out today.

I have a crap load of stuff to do and I don’t even know where to start.  Please excuse me while I go into a closet and scream for a moment.

O.K.  I’m back.

So bows!  They’re a ridiculously, stupid amount of money to buy.  And they’re usually ugly.  So what does that mean?  It means if you buy store bought bows you’re stupid and ugly.  No, wait.  It doesn’t mean that at all.  It means your skimpy store bought bows are gonna cost you a lot of cash, look ugly and won’t enhance your gift giving experience at all.

The person you give the gift to will graciously accept it (unless they’re 7 and it’s something they don’t want) but behind your back they’ll snicker at your stupid, ugly bow that cost too much money.  I’ve even heard rumours about people getting punched in the nose for presenting a bad bow.   But that’s probably just a risk in my family.   We get kindda ornery around gift giving time.

So what’s a girl or guy to do?  Well, over the next few days I’m going to give you a few suggestions on how to pimp your presents.  All for little or NO money.

Starting today with the NO MONEY bow.

Here’s how it works.

Start wrapping your present.  You know … the way you normally would.

You may notice there’s all that extra paper at the end of the gift box.

I always, always have to cut paper off the ends of my presents when I’m wrapping them.

I’m sure you’re the same.  ‘Cause we’re alike you and I.

These cut off ends of paper are key …

Because it’s those leftover scraps of paper that are going to be your bow!  Your not ugly bow!

Cut the extra paper at the ends of your present.

Finish wrapping the present like you normally would.

Gather the two end pieces you cut off and admire them.  They will soon be your beautiful bow.

Cut each length of paper into 2 or 2 ½ ” strips.

Once you have your ends cut into long strips, cut them into  7″ lengths.

To make the bow you need 13 pieces.

Cut a square piece of cardboard or cardstock into a square.  From 3″ x 3″ to 4″ x 4″.

The wider your strips, the bigger your square of cardstock should be.

I used an index card.

Tape all of your 2″ x 7″ strips together at the ends.  Don’t overlap the ends.  Just push the ends together and run tape across the edge.

See?  Like this.

Now place your square cardstock down and start taping the loops onto the edge of the card.

First tape four of them, centred, at the edge.

Then place your next 4 pieces in between the original 4 pieces.

Like so …

Now you have 8 loops around the edge of the card.

I’m sure you can see at this point … this thing is starting to look like a bow.  A big one.

Now add your next four pieces in the remaining spaces.

Almost a bow!  Good thing ’cause I’m starting to get antsy.  I need to get a lotta sh*t done.

Did I mention it’s only 5 days until Christmas?  It’s true.  I looked at a calendar.  A real one made of paper that hangs on the wall.

Now you just have the final loop to add to the centre of the bow.  The huge bow.

Ta da.

And from another angle … ta da.

And on the actual gift … ta da.

Now you all know how much I love Dollar Stores, but seriously … you won’t find this at the Dollar Store.  Where you will find it … is under my tree.

To: Mom

Love: Karen

Now leave me alone.  I have sh*t to do.  I’m sorry.  How rude.   It is the festive season.  I have Christmas sh*t to do.

(One of the things I need to do immediately is find out who apparently stepped on the bottom of my mother’s present.  Dolt.)


  1. Cindy says:

    Okay, it’s Christmas Eve and I need 6 bows. I pulled the muscle in my upper arm and shoulder so, hand-tieing is out. I think I can follow your directions (which are great) and produce some passable bows. So glad I found your site.

  2. Nancy says:

    Love this. Going to try it using a glue stick to assemble instead (out of tape and too much sh*t to do to stop and go to the store… Merry Christmas

  3. G Peterson says:

    where did you get the lady who goes from your bookshelf to a table and every else in your house. she looks very French and I would love to own one. Thanks, G

    • Karen says:

      Hi G. I’m not sure what you mean, but I’m guessing it’s the wood carved blue doll. And it came from the Aberfoyle Flea Market. ~ karen!

  4. MaryJo says:

    You always crack me up and then I snort-laugh, which I’m embarrassed to admit that I do. Fortunately, no one was around to hear it this time…although I guess it’s better than fart-laughing which I’m happy to report that I don’t do.
    Anyway, just last year I learned how to make bows out of other kinds of paper–like maps and magazines–but your way is even better!
    Thanks, Karen!

  5. Kathy says:

    The black bow does it for me. You did great Christmas sh*t. The instructions make me think I could do that too. Many thanks.

  6. Elaine says:

    Gee, I see I’m 5 years after the fact but this is great and I’ll give this a go this Christmas! Sometimes I have small pieces of leftover metallic paper and hate to throw it out – am thinking I could (perhaps) add some skinnier pieces (of the metallic) amongst the main bow color. Thanks, Karen!

  7. Zoyla N. says:

    If you have time to do this, why are you screaming in your closet? Duh.

  8. Marti says:

    What makes your site great is that not only do you offer these weirdo thoughts and statements, but the tutorials ROCK!

  9. Marti says:

    Wow, this is a great post I’m just finding, Karen. :)

  10. Patricia Merritt says:

    No ribbons, put me out of business…….
    Love the bows.

  11. Thank you! I now have a project where I can use up all those gift wrapping scraps! Hope you are getting your Xmas sh*t in order :)

  12. tina says:

    I love thisssss!!!!!!!!

  13. Amie says:

    Dude! I have the same Christmas paper! Ikea baby! I always get my paper from there. I finished mine off with red and white twine and personalized name tags.
    Have a great Christmas! xxx

  14. Holy Christmas bows, Batman! That’s a GREAT IDEA! Thanks, Karen. I’ll be using this goodie for sure :)

    Good luck with the calm before the storm…I’ll be braving the crazy shopping mall tomorrow myself. One chance to get a gift from the city (I live a hour away!). Wish me luck.

    *Tania @ Passport2Design.com

  15. Gina says:

    Very ingenious! Love your smarts and comedy too.

  16. I am hoping this is my last year for wrapping paper (trying to go paper-free next year) and this is a PERFECT way to use up those scraps that aren’t quite big enough for an actual present. Proving your fabulousness yet again — thank you!

    P.S. The sneak preview of your tree is gorgeous! LOVE the pinecone/bird theme. Hope you’re planning to give us a bit more of a glimpse…

  17. Christina says:

    After I read this I immediately grabbed some of my scraps of paper and tried it. It was so easy, and it came out just as gorgeous as yours! I’m so happy with it! Thank you for the tutorial, I’m have a feeling I’ll be churning out a bunch of these in the next few days.

    • Karen says:

      I know! Don’t you hate it when something isn’t as easy as a blog/magazine presents it? I’m glad they worked out for you! Don’t forget, 2 more days of bows coming up! ~ karen

  18. Janelle says:

    Why am I so excited about this? I don’t even use store bought bows. I don’t bow. Sometimes, depending on the recipient of the gift, I don’t even tag: I just write some illegible drivel right on the paper with a sharpie (though those are usually “from Santa” gifts, so nobody knows I am the tacky horrible gift giver/wrapper). And yet….excited! Probably because I never know what to do with those little ends you have to cut off and I am always saving them like an idiot thinking “maybe next year I’ll have long, thin gifts to wrap”. I may have to bow, thanks to you. I bow to your bow. Merry Christmas and don’t do too much stuff unless it’s fun and rewarding and involves booze and a crackling fire.

  19. Lynn says:

    aww. booo…
    it was supposed to say: think of the lovely “insert holiday cocktail of your choice” think of the lovely when all the shopping and wrapping is done!

    …in tags, but your site is too smart. blasted smarty site code reader thing! (i’m having a monday, sorry)

  20. Lynn says:

    Such a nice tutorial! Hey, after Christmas, before you take down your tree will you share a photo of it? I LOVE white trees! I would love to see how you decorated yours!

    Also, think of the lovely when all the shopping and wrapping is done!

  21. maggie says:

    Yo Karen

    Great bow but way to much pressure and work for me that is why I love dollar stores or better still I Iove my sister Marilyn. She hates to wrap but she makes wonderful, big, fancy bows for inside and outside. Yea yea yea fa la la la la!!!! Merry Christmas to you and yours Karen and all the best for a happy, healthy and safe New Year. Will drop of liquid gold maple syrup when I arrive this weekend. Take care.

  22. lori says:

    thanks, for the wonderful bow, now that i have wrapped and sent my presents, o’well, they got the homemade kind but just not in the way of a “bow”. More like but some ribbon around the package,tie a knot,use ribbon to attach a little something,like an ornament, or a sprok,(you know a fork spoon combination…. but this also has a knife all in one.) yep I did that. hehe No ugly bows on my gifts. just odd things. Can’t wait to see your other Christmas trees! and the bows….
    p.s. if your wondering where to get a spork… Eddie Bauer or REI.com but they are a bit more pricey there. oh and Eddie Bauer doesn’t have them on the “site” you have to go to the store.

  23. Joey says:

    Woooot Wooot Big Pimpin’ I love it!

  24. Alexandra Dare says:

    Ohhhhh that is a great idea. That bow looks soooo much better than the bows you buy at the store. Are you going to put up picture of your Christmas tree?!?! I didn’t even put up a tree this year because my family is too lazy. Plus the cats. The cats will eat the tree.

  25. Jodi says:

    Fa Freakin’ La! Love this idea!! Yes, I notice that even up north the spicy words come out the closer we get to Christmas…where are those wrapping elves, anyway??

  26. Cheryl says:

    What a woman!! All that to do and she still manages to coordinate her nail polish with her gift wrap. Karen, why do you set the bar so high for the rest of us?

  27. marilyn says:

    hey karen beauty bow! i however despise wrapping …reason 201 why i have kids, i delegate that task to them or my niece, the wierdo who LOVES wrapping gifts. but i will let them read this blog so i have a super nice bow on my gift this year. thanks and i too looove the snow falling…nice touch very festive! merry christmas to you and the big lug xo

  28. Julie shinnick says:

    Yes also trying to stifle the panic attack…..

    Yet again, fantastic!

    If I get all my Christmas poo-poo done then my family may enjoy your wonderful bows on their presents…..

    Love the snow as well, fake snow is the only type we get here….it’s likely to be heat haze not flakes this year!

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas


  29. Helen says:

    I’ve missed your daily posts and thought that you were happily enjoying the Christmas season, while I sat here grumbling why you haven’t updated your page in a few days.

    Of course, realizing now that you’ve been completely unaware of the holidays only makes me feel completely guilty of my grumpiness.

    Hope you aren’t too stressed. And on an up note, all those decorated trees you happen to have around the house seem to fit in real well with a Christmas type theme ;)

  30. Anemone says:

    That is beautiful…thank you alot…thanks for reminding me that i also have a s***load to do. AHHH yes i am panicking…
    thank you for the great idea…
    Btw…if that is your Christmas tree…it is soooo beautiful and Gorgeous… wooooooooo….(wasn’t like i was expecting any less from you?
    I love the snow falling on the page…

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Anemone! Yup. LOL. That’s one of my several trees. It’s a plain white one in my dining room decorated only with a variety of pinecones. Later in the week I’m going to be posting pictures of all my X-Mas decorations and trees. :) ~ karen

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