{How-to} Make Curly Ribbon Hair Bows

Ribbon was on sale last week at my local craft store.  Regardless of the fact that I already own 5 times the amount ribbon any one person should own, I suddenly felt the need to buy more!

I found an adorable ribbon with rainbows on it, and knew I “needed” to buy it for a rainbow themed birthday I’m planning for a little girl turning one in June.

I thought the rainbow ribbon would be the perfect base for some pretty hair bows.  I’ve seen hair bows made with ribbon that is in beautiful ringlets, but I’ve never made them.  I thought this would be the perfect chance to give it a try.  A quick search on the web and I was ready to go  (I found the same general information on several different sites).

The process was quite easy, and I was really happy with the results.  I think my daughters are going to be wearing lots of hair bows this summer!

Step 1-

Select the ribbon you plan to use (I only used grosgrain ribbons, since that’s what I’ve seen used before.  I’m not sure if you could use satin type ribbon as well)

Wrap the ribbon around wooden dowels (available at Wal-Mart, or most any craft store) and secure the ribbon with straight pins (used for sewing) or wooden clothes pins (much easier- too bad I only had one around at the time!)

Step 2- 

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees (F).

Lay ribbon wrapped dowels on a foil lined baking sheet.

Bake ribbon for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely.

Step 3-

When the ribbon has cooled, remove the pins and gently remove ribbon from dowels.

At this point, I paused for a moment to admire the fact that it actually worked!

Step 4-

Cut the ribbon into pieces 3″- 4″ long, depending on how large you want your finished bows to be.

Note:  If you notice that the ribbon seems to want to unravel at the ends you may “heat seal” the ends. This can be done by using the heat from a lighter to ever-so-slightly melt the end. I was able to do this with no problems, but it obviously has great potential to burn your fingers. Hold the end of the ribbon with one hand, and bring the flame of the lighter up next to the ribbon, but not touching it, until you see the ribbon shrink or melt just the slightest little bit.

Step 5-

Attach the ribbons by either using a needle and thread to stitch them together, or by using a little dot of hot glue between each ribbon.

Step 6-

Assemble the bow.  There are about a thousand and one different ways to put these together.

You can use any number of ribbons to achieve whatever size bow you want.

Since I wanted to incorporate the rainbow print ribbon I looped the rainbow ribbon over several times and simply hot glued the loops in place.  Then I took the curly ribbons, with the needle and thread still attached,  and pushed the needle through the glued rainbow ribbon.  It took a bit of effort to get the needle through the area that had been hot glued, and I think I probably could have just hot glued the curly ribbons onto the rainbow ribbon.

Step 7-

Attach a hair clip (available at most craft stores, sometimes in the beading area). I found that using the hot glue on the high setting worked best to secure the ribbon to the metal clip.

 Step 8-

Admire your cute new hair bows!

Step 9-

Find a little girl to model the bow  =)


  1. Oh I love this idea ! Thank you.

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  3. I just have a quick question. My daughter is wanting me to make some like the curls for grand daughters birthday. We looked it up on a different site and it said to use fabric stiffener. I did. And it did not work at all. I didn’t see if you used any. Suggestions?

    • I use hair spray and put it in the microwave for 1 minute. Well let me back up a little bit. I use a wooden spoon, i wrap my ribbon around the wooden spoon, then i use a black hair band on either end that i twist until tight, then i spray ribbon on wooden spoon with hair spray, then cook in microwave for 1 minute. Works like a charm!! Just incase it’s the type of hair spray I’m using, it’s aussie. Maybe it will work for you.

  4. Fabulous ribbon deals!
    Valentine’s Day! Wedding! Easter!
    Check it out: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThisnThatCraftSupply

  5. Wow, these are gorgeous. i am looking for a designer to make hair accessories for my shop, but I might just make my own now, they look so much fun to make. xxx

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  7. My family recently moved and we had to trade in our beloved purple school color for red and black. It was homecoming week and we needed a fun hair accessory to go with the t-shirt we bought. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any school color accessories anywhere in town. So I set out to make my own! This tutorial was PERFECT! It was so easy to do and much cheaper than the bows you can purchase at Gymboree or other boutiques. I ended up making 14 (one for each girl and the teacher in my daughter’s class.) I got most of my supplies at Walmart. I bought a package of precut assorted size dowels 8 in a package (maybe about a foot each) for $.97. I used all the sizes of dowels which made for a neat look. I played a bit with putting the ribbons together and used some plastic gems found at JoAnns. Heating the ribbon on the dowels is like ironing a shirt. Overtime it might come undone and as another commenter stated using the starch might help (just like with ironing!) I didn’t try the starch because the bow isn’t something my daughter will wear a lot. Good luck crafting- enjoy!

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  9. I have used pencils -stick-skewers. The drawback to these is that for shirt decorating you need to secure every twist or it will wash out. Even starch will not hold it.

  10. I’m having some difficulty with this method; the ribbon curls but it is not stiff.  In fact, it’s very soft and droopy.  I tried spraying them with spray starch and hairspray to no avail.  Anyone out there having this problem.  I’m thinking of going back to mess, forever-to-dry Stiffy Stuff.

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