Making an easy wreath bow

For years and years I have been shredding my fingers on holly and making wreaths for the Christmas farmers' markets. During this time I have picked up a bunch of knowledge on what foliage works best and lasts longest, which colours look great together and how not to get wire under your fingernails.

So now that my speed and technique have improved, I thought I would pass on a wee bit of experience to anyone else venturing into the spiky but rewarding world of making your own wreaths. It is especially nice when you use all the greenery from your own garden.
I am running a workshop at the Nursery on Sunday, so I will post up the final 'How to..' when I take some photos that night, but till then I though I would put down a few tips on making the accessories, firstly the bows.
Now there are people out there, who can do a wee bit of dexterous origami with a piece of ribbon and wham bam hey presto, they have a tight neat bow, but i am not one of them, and find my attempts come out rather lopsided and loose. Therefore I have made my own method which is quick and neat and holds up to the tough Scottish weather.

So here we go - step by step, with three different colours so you can easily see what's what, though of course you use whatever you like. My ribbon is not cloth, but some florist plasticy style malarky that is very easy to tear to size length ways.
The longest piece(Red) is twice as long as you want your finished bow to be, ie: cut a big long piece for a big bow, or a wee piece for a wee bow, though there is a limit to how small you can get without it becoming ridiculously fiddly.
The second longest (Green) is going to be the tails of the bow, so again judge accordingly, but i find about 2/3 the size of the main piece is about right.
The wee piece (Gold) is to cover over the centre of the bow at the end, so as long as there is sufficient to tie, it doesn't need to be much.
And a wee piece of wire, thin and pliable is best, again I have some florist stuff, but e-bay is a great resource for cheap crafty stuff.
Fold the longest piece in half so the ends over lap and the holding the overlap in the centre of the bow, concertina the ribbon together till it is gathered tightly in the centre, but flaring out at the ends, it may take a wee bit of practise to get it the way you want, but i find the more folds the better for the end result.
(note my dirty gardeners fingernails - very attractive)
When you have it folded tight, use the piece of wire to wrap around the central point to bind it together, leave a tail of a few cm of wire sticking out the bottom.

Take your medium sized piece of ribbon and cut out a triangle off each end to make the points on the end of the tails, then pinch the ribbon together at the half way point and tie it in with piece of wire so it fits nicely under the bow, again jiggle it about until it lies the way you want and the wire is all wrapped round making the whole thing secure. You could stop at this stage and have a nice wee bow to use for decoration, wreaths etc, but to cover the wire and make the whole think even nicer, i use the smallest piece to cover over the join, tying it round the back and snipping off the ends. And you are done - Tah Dahhh!!!

Another wee piece of wire on the back to attach it to whatever you like, or string to hang it, or glue to stick it - go crazy!

1 comment:

  1. Cat, this is very useful and very well documented for people learning how to make bows. I studied floral design at college in Toronto, and one day we had a "demo" on bow making. It took me forever to get the hang of it, I wish the instructor had been as clear as you are.
    Looking forward to seeing the finished results.
    By the way, my nails are just as dirty, and I seem to have pine sap stuck to me everywhere!


Thank you for leaving a comment - it is always great to hear about other peoples gardens and lives. If you ever drop by the nursery, make sure you say hello. (Margaret & Donald)

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