I bought a Bow Easy from Sharon Johnson of No Time To Stamp. She has great photos on her site but I thought I’d add a bit more adding how to include extra tails and an extra ribbon to tie around a panel or jar etc. I also took my photos very close up so hopefully it can help some of you out there. Now I already tie a pretty nice bow so I was skeptical of how much I would end up using this little gadget but for $6, why not! I actually really love it. I find myself wasting less ribbon because I know exactly how much I need after making the same bows over and over.
When you are new to this, choose a long piece of ribbon so you don’t have to worry about it being long enough. A short ribbon is very hard to work with. Start with a piece you don’t care much about to practice and try different sizes out. You might also want to check your Bow Easy for little sharp pokey things on the edges, I just used a nail file to remove them before I went any further. I think they were just leftover from the manufacture, the edges weren’t cut perfectly smooth. If you don’t, they will catch on thinner ribbons, snagging them and make thicker ribbons harder to remove!
Bow Easy Tying
Step 1. Starting at the left side of the Bow Easy template, lay your ribbon over the plastic.
Step 2. Wrap your ribbon under the template and back across to the right side. The tail is under my right thumb.
Step 3. Thread the tail into the groove in the plastic above the ribbon you have already laid across. If you are using wider ribbon, you may need to scrunch the ribbon lower on the template to make it work.
Step 4. Bring the ribbon tail from the back, up in the groove on the lower edge of the template. Do not pull the ribbon tight, YET! This will create a loop. (Keep in mind that the ribbon you just looped around the back is the center of the bow front so you might want to check and make sure that your ribbon is right way up if it is one-sided!)
Step 5. Cross your ribbon tail over the loop.
Step 6. THIS IS WHAT NOT TO DO!!! A big mistake and one I’ve made often! This bow will not tighten and stay tied.
Step 7. This is the RIGHT WAY!! Tuck your tail into the loop and out to the right. (not out the bottom)
Step 8. Now all you have to do is tighten it!
Step 9. Remove it from the Bow Easy. If you like a ‘shabby chic’ bow, stop here!
General TIPS I think bows look classic (my favourite look) when the loops are 1-1.5 times as long as the ribbon is wide and the tails are 1.5-2.5 times as long as the ribbon is wide. Of course you can do what you like but this is a great guideline to start with if you aren’t sure how you want your bow. One the Bow Easy, I use the 1 1/4 width for 3/8” ribbon and 1 3/8” for 1/2” ribbon. I haven’t got a ‘rule’ for ribbon sizes beyond that yet.
Part 2! Adding extra ribbon to your bow.
If you read my blog much, you will know I don’t like the look of a bow glued right on to a ribbon unless the ribbon is puckered making it look like you really tied two different ribbons across the panel. So I tried adding a ribbon at different places in the tying sequence, here are the results.
Extra Bow Tails
Please perfect your bow tying before you try this! It is easy to get confused. I recommend you practice with different coloured ribbons!
Step 1. To get extra bow tails, lay another ribbon (or as many as you’d like) across the first ribbon wrapped around the template. I will have to shimmy my ribbon down before I can tie it! Place the ribbon face down if it is one-sided.
Step 2. Tie as normal. Try your best to ignore the extra ribbon.
Step 1. Tie ribbon up to the point where you are ready to tuck the tail into the loop.
Step 2. Lay a ribbon across the template. Because I was taking photos holding the template in front of my camera, the ribbon slipped down. This actually makes it easier to tie! You can see I am holding the ribbon tail at the back so it doesn’t slip out of the slot. If your ribbon is one-sided, place it face down during the tying.
Step 3. Tie as usual.
Step 4. This is what it looks like in the end. Now you can tie these around a jar or basket handle. Or glue the ends around the back of a panel like in my example above. Don’t worry about exactly where on the ribbon you tie the bow, you can slide it along later. however, if your ribbon is very delicate, you might want to leave extra at both ends to help you with placement. You could even use embroidery floss, fishing line or twine instead of the second ribbon if you want to tie the bow around a 3-D object and not have much showing. You could also bead the ribbon etc. for a really cool look.