Marlena’s paper bows


Now that you’ve got some cool ideas for DIY gifts, let’s continue along that theme with some crafty package décor! Here are two super easy (and pretty damn cute) DIY gift bows that you can make using bits and bobs from around the house.

What you’ll need:


  • Magazine pages, gift wrap remnants, pretty much anything that’s paper-y. Stiff fabrics and ribbon will work for this too!
  • A pen or pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • A stapler (optional)
  • Fancy paper edging scissors (optional)

How to do a ribbon-style bow:

Our first DIY bow is going to be modeled after a standard gift bow, like the ones you can buy at a store—except this one is going to cost you zilch!

Step One:


Fold your paper (here, I’m using a magazine page) lengthwise, accordion-style. I made the folds about three-quarters of an inch thick.

Step Two:


Cut along each fold to make three strips of paper of the same length as the original magazine page (12”), two strips that are 11” long, one strip that is 10” long, and another strip that measures about 4 ½” long. All of these together will make a bow that is about 5” in diameter. If you’d like your bow to be bigger or smaller, you’ll need to increase/decrease the length measurement of each strip.

Step Three:


Overlap both sides of one strip to form a loop and tape the open ends together to form a “figure 8” shape. Rotate the taped end to the middle of the figure 8 so it won’t be visible from the top side and, optionally, staple it in place.

Step Four:

Repeat steps two and three with the six other strips. After looping and stapling you’ll be left with six figure eights, plus one circular loop made with the shortest strip. Pair the loops into three “X”-shaped groups, starting with the largest loops and working your way to the smallest one. Staple or tape these individual groups together.

Step Five:


Arrange each of the pairings by stacking them on top of each other (again, starting with the largest to smallest) and securing them together in the center with loops of tape. Tape the small circle-shaped loop to the middle of the bow and you’re finished!

How to do a puffy bow with tails:

This bow design is a little less involved, but the end result looks just as cute! It’s a perfect use of all those scraps of paper you’re left with after wrapping presents. I’ve sketched out a little pattern that you can use for this bow. It makes a nice-sized bow at 4 ½’ wide, with a 9” wide tail:


1. Fold your paper in half and trace the bow pattern (or freehand your own design following the illustration above) along the folded edge.

2. Cut along the pattern with your scissors (fancy scalloped scissors are optional, but you have to admit that they really do add to the overall look!) You’ll now have three pieces in total: a tail, the base for your bow, and a small square that will be a cincher for the middle. Fold the cincher piece into a skinny rectangle.

3. Fold the outer edges of the bow base—the sides with the tiny tabs sticking out—inwards so they’ll meet in the middle. Tape or staple them in place.

4.Place the bow base on top of the tail, making sure the centers are aligned. Fold the skinny rectangular piece of paper around the middle of the bow and tape in place on the back of the bow.

5. That’s it! I wasn’t lying when I said this would be super easy… ♦