1. Sandi
    November 27, 2012 @ 10:20 am

    I will never try this. Because I am inept with anything that isn’t a keyboard. Or a turkey baster. Neither of which will do me any good in the realm of bow-creation. But. I wanted to say that your OTHER DIY skill is the How To Blog and I hope to goodness that you’re considering a YouTube channel or something.

    You can even bring a stapler. :)


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 27, 2012 @ 11:07 am

      I considered a video. But I would first need to write my dialogue. Because A- I am a control freak. And B- I am a rambler. And C- I LOATHE when people ramble on and on…

      Plus, the obvious benefit to simply blogging—I am wearing a ten-year-old sweatshirt and looking not at all holiday-glam-ish. :)


      • Clarissa Porche
        December 3, 2014 @ 11:24 pm

        YOU ARE HYSTERICALLY FUNNY!! I came here for the bows..but I STAYED because you made me laugh and now I don’t so much care about whether or not I can master a bow. HA!!!


        • Misti Gray
          November 14, 2015 @ 12:46 am

          I completely agree. You are a hilarious delight!


      • Dayanara
        November 28, 2015 @ 10:05 pm

        NICE and EASY!


  2. travelgardeneat
    November 27, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    I can hear it now. . . Stuart Smalley’s “Bow Affirmations” . . . “I’m good enough. I’m pretty enoug. And doggone it, I don’t care if you like me or not.” Great post ~ Kat


  3. TKraft Art & Interiors
    November 27, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    GREAT READ. I totally relate… however my mother is a cross between Martha Stewart and Rachel Carson. I just found your blog last night and already I’m obsessed with your banter, I consider myself lucky for this find. Not only did you pull off and create a fabulous door bow but you managed to make two matching ones. hehe


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 27, 2012 @ 11:15 am

      The reason the bows match is because I stood outside on a ladder yesterday afternoon for FAR longer than is remotely reasonable. Twitching and adjusting and fidgeting and generally acting like a meth addict. But, thank you.

      p.s.- I am the crazy vegan environmentalist in my family… I’d love to add Rachel Carson to my mom’s personality hybrid. If I could keep Edith, that would be the ultimate combination.


  4. the home tome
    November 27, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    Looks so professional! Am impressed – and don’t think I didn’t notice the sparkly hanger. :) I do in fact have a bit of a ribbon collection – will have to see if they are wire rimmed…I think I will have to start small with this project and build up to your fabulous-ness. :)


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 27, 2012 @ 11:36 am

      The sparkly hanger is the best part!

      I kind of worry that I have either not explained well enough, OR made the post so incredibly long that no one will read the whole thing… but oh well. It’s my contribution to the blackhole of Christmas DIY posts. I now have greater appreciation for the effort behind how-to blogs.


  5. patinaandcompany
    November 27, 2012 @ 11:03 am

    HAHAHA! The running out of ribbon, calling all the stores and asking to have it mailed, all because of “minuscule details that are both irrelevant and of utmost consequence”! Been there! And I’m adopting that phrase as my personal mantra from now on, by the way.

    Since you are the Julia Child of Bows, then I am going to have to link you when I post about my Christmas planters later today, so that readers will be able to upgrade from the lame bow-making technique that I used!

    You’ve definitely started my day with a few LOLs.


    • TKraft Art & Interiors
      November 27, 2012 @ 11:19 am

      “Julia Child of Bows” how clever, she crossed my mind as well as I read Victoria’s blog. Then proceeded to check out your blog… it’s a snowy morning and somehow it just feels right to be doing twenty things at once… one being reading blogs.


      • patinaandcompany
        November 27, 2012 @ 11:22 am

        Yes, I’m into avoidance again, knowing the next project is to go out in the snowflakes and do my outdoor planters! I was thinking of how Julia Child says “don’t apologize; nobody knows what you’re doing in the kitchen” or words to that effect.
        Have a good one and good luck with your twenty things.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 27, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

      That IS good ribbon, isn’t it?? It was stupidly expensive compared to the standard stuff… but I loved it so much I couldn’t resist. Julia would approve—the craft equivalent of using 5 sticks of butter.

      I can’t wait to see what your Christmas planters are… I thought I’d kind of run out of steam for decorating, but that perked me back up, so maybe I just need something new!!


      • patinaandcompany
        November 27, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

        The bows really are gorgeous and, yes, it’s the choice of over-the-top components like your ribbon, that really make it something you couldn’t run out and buy imported from China at a fraction of the cost of making it.
        I am enjoying your Christmas decorating–keep writing!


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          November 27, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

          You know, when I was at the craft store I saw some pre-made bows that they wanted $29.99 for. That is outrageous! I mean, they were nice bows. But not THAT nice!! Who pays $30 for a bow?


          • patinaandcompany
            November 27, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

            That is NUTS to just WRAP the gift–you may as well buy another gift with that! I did not get my floral arrangement posted today, but I just came from the grocery store where they had large outdoor “inserts” arranged/slapped together for $99 each. They were not unique either, let me tell you. Somebody must be buying an awful lot of this stuff, though.


  6. Karen B.
    November 27, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    If I make typos in this comment, it’s because my eyes are teary from laughing so hard! Does your mom try to “help” you become more of a MS or does she just let you run wild? :-)
    I am the family bow expert. It’s because when we were transferred to Dallas from our homeland of Southern California (years ago) I took a bow making class. It WAS before the internet, where you can find out how to build a car if need be. I’m not sure my bows are quite as pretty as yours, so I will be practicing your technique in hopes of honing my skills.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 27, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

      Lol… What did we do before the Internet? Paul and I were just joking the other day that he doesn’t need to go in for minor surgery—I can just look it up on YouTube and do it for him in the kitchen!

      I’ve watched my mom make bows a million times (her neighbors/friends ask her to make them.) At first, she did try to help me… but (as you know,) I kind of think it’s one of those things where you really just have to do it, and the more repetition you have, the better they turn out. My mom will whip out a set of six in no time at all, while simultaneously making pie… but I am MUCH slower.

      p.s.- my ribbon is a perfect example of how I said to you that now the blog is my best excuse for buying stuff. Even if other people are totally inconvenienced and have to mail it to you…


      • Karen B.
        November 27, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

        Well, clearly, you are a multi-talented blogger and I can only wait in anticipation of what other DIY project you have for us. :-)
        I confess, I’m not sure my bows have ever turned out as perfect as your example, but maybe it’s all about the ribbon, I don’t think my ribbon has been wide enough. It’s wired but maybe I need to graduate to wider ribbon, I’ll get back to you on that.
        I’m borrowing your excuse for purchasing items…Mr. B. will be none the wiser that I got the idea from a blog friend!


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          November 28, 2012 @ 7:59 am

          If nothing else, the wider stuff cuts down on the sheer number of loops… which makes it easier. I also think the simpler look is nice. Although it’s possible that if there was more ribbon on the spool, I would have kept going and it might have been twice as good…


    • Darlene F
      December 13, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

      Like you Karen B. I am the family bow expert. I love making all my pkgs. beautiful and looking like I spent hours decorating then when in fact all it took was a few minutes. These beautiful pkgs make the person on the recieving end feel special, that’s becaust they are.



      • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
        December 15, 2012 @ 10:35 am

        A gorgeous bow REALLY does make a gift look special! (In my case, they may have actually upstaged the gift, on occasion.)


  7. Alex @ northstory
    November 27, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    You know what I am most impressed with – aside from your calling your mom’s Michael’s and the priority mail thing b/c I do that all the time with my mom’s Walmart and Joe Fresh – is that you took photos that were clear while holding the ribbon with your hand. That is one of the biggest challenges of a craft post. Add glitter and you’re SOL and cursing for weeks at digging that crap out of the shutter release button come Easter. Bows are hard. This is talent.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 27, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

      LOL… well, the other 50 photos I *didn’t* post are completely out of focus. And I think actually, a few of the above are maybe not as clear as they could be.

      Okay, I’m glad you ask your mother to mail you stuff… I felt bad calling mine. I mean, I am an adult who theoretically understands she has better things to do than run around and mail me ribbon. But true to form, she claimed it was totally fine and did it right away.


  8. Tia Lavoria's Famous Salsas
    November 27, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

    Reblogged this on Tia Lavoria's Famous Salsas.


  9. justjamee
    November 27, 2012 @ 8:36 pm



  10. Stacey
    November 27, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

    Oh Victoria you never cease to amaze. I bow to your bow… PERFECTION! Honestly people think these might be easy but I have really screwed up a bow or two. The bigger the bow, the bigger the screw ups (at least for me) Bravo you little bow maker, you! And hugs to your mom for being there when those bow emergencies occur. Now that is true (crazy) love!

    My mother also taught me to make bows but they were mostly for gifts and I got pretty darn good at it. I don’t think, my entire life, I ever saw her buy or use a store bought bow. To this day I haven’t either. Your doors are beautiful, classy, and bowtastic! A reflection of the people inside, no doubt.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 28, 2012 @ 9:38 am

      Bowtastic is the title I was looking for but failed to think of… I hate that.

      The bow also works like camouflage, on gifts you are not sure meet the recipient’s personal style… the Christmas before Paul and I got married, I gave my MIL a scarf, and put a giant bow on the box… I have seen the bow on the tree every year since, but never seen the scarf… LOL.


      • Stacey
        November 28, 2012 @ 10:35 am

        GREAT STORY! (bursts of laughter)
        I decided to go the very personal and thoughtful route with my MIL for that very reason. She gets a box full of cash! With a homemade bow, of course.


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          November 28, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

          LOL… smart!
          I am not one of those daughter-in-law who is excellent at shopping for their family-in-law. Paul always looks at me with dread when I tell him he needs to TELL me what to get them.


  11. RedCandy
    November 28, 2012 @ 2:48 am

    I adore your bows. There’s no shame in having only one crafty skill, especially when you’ve mastered it! They look beautiful. :)


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 28, 2012 @ 9:34 am

      Thanks! It would be better though, if my sole craft skill were not limited to four weeks of the year… ☺


  12. Danielle
    November 28, 2012 @ 2:52 am

    Victoria, you continually crack me up! This is the perfect bow making tutorial… I’m sure you are making your mama proud. I was just thinking I need to redo the one on my front door wreath and now I KNOW I absolutely have to.

    Making sure you have the right amount of ribbon is a great tip. One year I bought 5 rolls of red ribbon for our Christmas tree. They had 15 feet on each roll and it was the perfect amount. Several years later when I wanted to update our tree, I bought 5 more rolls of gold ribbon not realizing it can come in such a variety of lengths. I am now the proud owner of 500 feet of gold ribbon. If you are ever in need of gold ribbon to go with that styrofoam turkey, I am the gal to hook you up!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 28, 2012 @ 10:04 am

      Laughing… Well, I hope you REALLY like that ribbon! At least you got a bargain. And you will never have to buy ribbon again. (Or you will buy new ribbon in a few years and feel vaguely guilty for not just using the stuff you have.)

      The spools I bought were only 3 yards!! I literally could not believe I didn’t even think to check that… I mean, what can you do with three yards of ribbon? Not much…


  13. Dramatic Indoor Holiday Arrangement | patinaandcompany
    November 28, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

    […] 8.     The bow.  Bows seem to be all the rage, and I wasn’t sure whether this was overkill at first, but I prefer it with the bow.  Bows being so very Christmassy and exciting-looking!  I made my bow as follows, but for a much better bow-making discussion, click here. […]


  14. our heritage home
    November 28, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

    Love the bow and the post (had a good laugh, you know how to lighten my day), makes me want to put a bow around my entire house!


  15. Stefanie
    December 1, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

    I found your blog searching for how to make bows (because I found wired-ribbon in my Christmas box and decided I wanted to try to be crafty). Your blog is absolutely the most humorous! I laughed nearly the entire time. I’m not sure how much ribbon I have on that spool, and it will probably be the situation – I think this is actually gonna work … oh NO! I ran out of ribbon! … no store has the same because I have NO idea when or where I bought it! … well I have to buy new ribbon because it’s going so well!! haha But I am going to try :)


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      December 2, 2012 @ 8:05 am

      I’m so glad you found me among ALL the other nine million, bow-tutorial blog posts!!

      I hope it goes all right for you… expect your first few to NOT look the way you had imagined. Unless you’re already pretty crafty? If nothing else, maybe you get an excuse for a trip to the craft store to buy ribbon (and probably ten other things you don’t need). :)


  16. patinaandcompany
    December 2, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

    Alright, I think I just may have made the loudest, proudest bow in my town after these instructions! Using, I must add, 5 1/4-inch wide red ribbon with a glitter pattern all over it! No, not out of my ribbon bin, either, but having had to buy more new ribbon again. Looking forward to seeing it hung in all its wild and crazy glory tomorrow, by somebody who climbs very tall ladders (not me).


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      December 3, 2012 @ 7:43 am

      Literally laughing out loud… can’t wait to see it!
      The wide ribbon makes ALL the difference in the world, doesn’t it? 5” PLUS glitter? You have outdone me…


  17. donnellday
    December 7, 2012 @ 1:53 am

    Thats so cool! I know the feeling, my mum was an occupational therapist who could whip up teddies, basket making, hessian figurines, leatherworks, silver work, baking in the blink of an eye. I couldnt handle fabric If I tried and sewing machines give me the jitters (give me a piece of timber however and i’m fine to design you something grand). BTW, menioned you on my blog re: a Leibster award (if you follow those kind of things, im not too good with pass the parcel things – but hey if I can spread the blogging love then its all good).


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      December 8, 2012 @ 8:49 am

      Well, architecture is amazingly creative! So you must have gotten a version of your mom’s ability. I can think stuff up, but lack the skills with a sewing machine (or wood) to actually make it happen. Also I DON’T enjoy cooking or baking. Even though technically I can do it, I really don’t find it relaxing… where as my mom seems to genuinely love it.

      Thank you so much for the mention, you totally made my day!!!


  18. helpwithyourlife
    December 10, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    Beautiful! Thank you! :)


  19. Char Henderson Wegleitner
    December 10, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

    Forget making the bow! This is the funniest tutorial I’ve ever read! You are hysterically funny!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      December 11, 2012 @ 7:57 am

      I hope it’s obvious that you are now my favorite person in the world.
      You totally made my day, thank you.


      • Char Henderson Wegleitner
        December 11, 2012 @ 9:34 am

        And I hope it is obvious to YOU that you are now my favorite blogger! I can’t wait to read the other stories, and I am so thankful that I had to make a ridiculous bow for the office holiday tree or I never would’ve found you! And your instructions DID work; I focused heavily on the “get the center really scrunchy” and “you can just shove your stapler in there and go to town”. Those tips were critical to my new-found hobby (career?) of making bows. So, I thank you, my office holiday tree thanks you, and my insatiable need for laughter as often as possible thanks you!


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          December 11, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

          I’m glad you embraced the stapler. It’s an underrated craft tool.
          AND I’m relieved it worked for you. I was afraid people would try it and end up with nothing you’d want to display… Although? I guess it’s possible those people exist, and simply failed to leave me comments.

          p.s.- your picture is fantastic. We have the exact same taste in wigs and glasses.


  20. Becky Elmuccio (@craftygrdenmama)
    December 22, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

    I now have a plan for my doors for next year. Good tutorial and since I read a newer post first, it was very cool to see you on page 1 of Google Images search!!


  21. Creative gift for your best friend... fun, easy, thoughtful present!
    May 14, 2013 @ 11:41 am

    […] fact, I’m in danger of being fined by the blog-police for the absolute dearth of bows, tutorials, and burlap-related projects […]


  22. Marjorie Flowers
    November 20, 2013 @ 10:51 am

    Beautiful!! Just a question though — what did you do with the ends? When you started, did you start with the end flush with the center of the bow? And when you finished, how did you get the streamer to fall flat behind the loop? Thanks!


  23. Marjorie
    November 20, 2013 @ 10:58 am

    Beautiful! I have a closet full of wired ribbon, and I’d love to make bows like there. Just a question, though —

    What did you do with the ends? When you began, did you leave a long streamer, or did you cut it flush with the middle of the back of the bow? Or did you get the streamer at the end of the process? If so, hoe did you get it to lie flat?



    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 20, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

      When I started, I used the very end of the ribbon and pinched it into a loop… no excess at end.

      I used the whole spool, so there wasn’t any extra on the other end either (how this worked out so perfectly, I cannot say!) but you could cut any extra off.

      The flat piece hanging the wreath is a separate piece, not connected to bow. Look at the photo with the cardboard, and I think you’ll see how I kept it flat.

      Hope this helps! I know following other people’s instructions can be confusing! Good luck!!


  24. Melissa V
    November 21, 2013 @ 7:09 am

    Excellent post! I too have a Mom who is excellent at this bow-making skill. I secretly believe she never taught me because she liked that it was something she could always do for me; that I would always (in a sweet way) rely on her for. Unfortunately, here I am at 40 years old and three states away and I still can’t make a darn bow! :)

    So, here’s my question for you. After you made the center loop, what did you do with the end of the ribbon? Cut it really short or twist it underneath the bow somehow. This is where I keep messing up! Thanks for such a great tutorial! Melissa


  25. Melissa V
    November 21, 2013 @ 7:10 am

    Okay – so just saw your response to Marjorie and I think that answers my question! Thanks!


  26. I’m like Gollum. But much taller. - Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
    November 21, 2013 @ 8:45 am

    […] with my manic, glassy-eyed hauling of stored ornaments. Less of my frantic bow-making when I realize the ribbon I used last year is undeniably hideous. Less of asking myself, where did […]


  27. Nicole
    November 23, 2013 @ 10:21 am


    You slay me like a dragon! How I missed this post of perfection I can’t fathom! Not only do you inspire to create bows and buy impossibly huge mirrors, you also inspire me to use “college” words like fathom and slay. Which is saying a lot since I am a Kindergarten teacher. Not only that but now I have a new phrase (“Like Spanx for.. [insert choice word] ) that I will use over and over until my coworkers become impossibly annoyed by me and remove me from their presence. Just imagine..”hey, this glue is like Spanx for art projects!” or “Look, this paper clip is like Spanx for a stack of papers!”

    Oh and P.S. thank you for a tutorial for THAT I will never be able to replicate! I am that person who will buy a $30 dollar bow just to avoid the crying and curling up into the fetal position due to my inability to make one stinkin’ bow!


  28. Sylvia
    November 29, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

    Do you do tutorials on small gift bows? I’ve tried these and they look like something a couple of kittens found and really went to town with. Any help would be appreciated.


  29. Marina
    November 29, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

    Yesterday, I decided to make up a new wreath, I went to my trusty ribbon box where I just knew I had spools of gorgeous white snowflakey Christmas wired ribbon…….to find odd bits of totally unsuitable, red, green, purple, gold, silver Christmassey, but not white ribbon. Had to make a dash to our local odds and sods store, which by the way are completely inadequate compared to yours! (I live in australia) and came home with ten different spools of ribbon, because they did not have more than one of any pattern. My wonderful new bow will nw have several different patterns in it. Will let you know how it goes, unless I screw it up and put it in the bin in a fit of crafters rage!
    Love your blog, especially love your sense of himour!


  30. Screendoorgirl 3
    December 1, 2013 @ 8:26 am

    Thank you ! I’m not crazy–only for ribbon. Made my day..


  31. Janet
    December 2, 2013 @ 11:37 am

    Your bows are a perfect solution for the home with double front doors. I am reluctant to pay retail prices for two of everything I would choose to hang on mine, but even making two wreaths with trims can be very expensive. Your two bows are a happy medium, and you can afford to buy a lavish ribbon if that is all the cost involved. I mean, what, two simple wreaths would normally run you $60 for both, and they aren’t half as attractive as this treatment. So, there. My gift to you is justification without apology. Tell Paul. And your adoring readers.


  32. Kristne
    December 2, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

    well done! As a professional bow maker here (I’m a florist by trade) Bow making is the hardest thing to learn and teach! [I’m right handed but tie my bows as a leftie] Wired ribbon is the best, you can tuck and pleat till your hearts content to get the correct size. Couple hints I’m happy to pass along. When you cut your tails, carefully pull the wire about 1/2″out of the ribbon casing and cut it. Then you don’t have that pokey wire ready to stab you. AND Chenille stems AKA Pipe cleaners are great to tie off bows and they come in many colors including sparkly and they don’t scratch the way a wire may on furniture, bannisters etc.


  33. Susan
    December 2, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

    OMG!!! WE’RE SISTERS!!! Who knew?? (You just described my mother….)

    PS: Your bow is fab. :-)


  34. Making Simple and Easy Christmas Decorations | That Bloomin' Garden
    December 5, 2013 @ 11:56 am

    […] to get my wreath made. If you haven’t read the tutorial on how to make a bow over at Victoria Elizabeth Barnes, you are in for a real treat. The large […]


  35. HomeGoods
    December 6, 2013 @ 10:17 am

    Hi Victoria, not sure what we enjoyed more – the tutorial or your commentary! You made us laugh and taught us something new. Thank you for stopping by our blog link party. We love meeting new bloggers. Your friends at HomeGoods


  36. Karen
    December 8, 2013 @ 11:17 am

    Thanks so much for the great blog and tutorial on bow making. I bought a book on bow making, watched YouTube videos and tried many times not too successfully to make different sized bows for all my projects. I like the idea of stapling the first loop as I’m beginning to get arthritis in my fingers and holding all the loops eventually starts to hurt. Your humor is so contagious; I’ll try to remember to laugh when the loops all fall apart right at the end and I have to start over. :) I look forward to reading all your blogs! Have a very Merry Christmas!


  37. KathyJB
    December 8, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

    I really love your style of writing. Have you thought about writing a book? Like maybe a whimsical mystery?


  38. Christmas Dress Code, A Festive Saga (Part the First) | being mrscarmichael
    December 9, 2013 @ 11:01 am


  39. Last Minute Holiday Decorating on a Budget! | The Budget Decorator
    December 19, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

    […] Let it ribbon through holiday centerpieces, over mantels, or stream it across doorways.  Learn how to tie bows from Victoria Elizabeth […]


  40. Jennifer
    December 20, 2013 @ 5:36 pm


    Thanks for the great post! I’ve never commented on someone’s blog before but I found your sense of humor and obsessiveness over details so similar to my own that I just had to drop you a line. As my husband and I recently purchased an 1880s Victorian, I am looking forward to delving into the rest of your blog as well.



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