How to Make a Bow Maker

    by Melanie L. Marten

    About the Author

    Melanie L. Marten has been self-employed for more than seven years. She taught herself website design and development, as well as freelance writing techniques. Her concentration on articles about making and saving money reflect her interest in helping others improve their quality of life.


    When you need to churn out a large number of fancy bows for packages, projects or decorating for a special occasion, a bow-making tool can give you consistent results for a professional look. While commercial bow makers are available, you can create your own for custom sizes for very little money. Make a bow maker in just a few steps to create any bow you need, from tiny satin ribbon bows for scrapbooks, to giant fluffy bows for holiday wreaths.

    Things You'll Need

    • Wooden board or plaque
    • 1/2-inch wooden dowels
    • Electric drill with 1/2-inch drill bit
    • Saw
    • Sandpaper
    • Ruler or measuring tape
    • Pencil
    • Paint or stain, optional

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    Cut the wooden board or plaque with a saw so it is about 1 foot long and at least 6 inches wide. If you intend to make only very small bows, or want a bow maker you can slip in a handbag for easy transport, you can make the board smaller. Sand all the edges to make it neat and to prevent ribbon snags when you create your bows.

    Measure the board with your ruler or tape to find the exact center. Measure both horizontally and vertically, creating a line with your pencil at the center lines of each side. Lay the board in front of you so the longer measurement is aligned horizontally. This is the position you use the bow maker board in when it's complete.

    Make two marks with the pencil on the vertical center line approximately 1/2 inch apart from the exact center point. The space between the two marks should be about 1 inch apart. Use your electric drill to create a straight hole at each of these marks. The hole should be about halfway through the 1-inch board.

    Measure 1-inch increments out from the center on the horizontal mid-line next. Be sure that each pair of marks you make -- left and right of the center line -- are equal distances from the center. This ensures even bows. Drill the same-size holes at each of these marks as you did in Step 3.

    Cut the 1/2-inch dowels into equal pieces approximately 4 inches tall. You should make at least four of these dowels, but you may need more if you plan to make more complicated, double-layer ribbon bows. Since dowels are quite long -- and inexpensive -- create several equal-length dowels for the bow-maker project. Sand the edges of the dowel before use. If desired, paint or stain all parts of the bow maker.

    Inserting two dowels in the holes at equal distances from the center line to use the bow maker. Wrap a ribbon or string around both of the dowels and tie a knot around the loops. This creates a simple bow tie. For more complicated bows, insert the dowels above and below the center dot, loop the ribbon multiple times around the side dowels and secure the center with a wire or another piece of ribbon.