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I’m sure you’ve had this happened to you before.
It’s almost midnight on Christmas Eve and you are tired and cranky because you were all over the world looking for that toy that your child has been wishing for. You finally find it in the last toy store, buy it, and you figured, you can wrap it yourself when you get home.
The cookies and milk are waiting for Santa under the tree and you are barely getting your second wind. You start to wrap all the presents you’ve been hiding all over the house and you find out…you ran out of bows.
Now, I know you can just wrap the darn thing without the bow but it would look so bare and careless.
What. do. you. do?
Make your own bows our of old magazines!
Believe it or not, you’ve been wasting your money buying bows all these years because these are so easy to make. And what’s better? You can recycle any magazines you have lying around to make them.
See these beautiful bows? My friend Jennifer of Green Earth Goodies was generous to offer this step by step tutorial on how to make these beauties.
How about with buttons in the middle like these? Aren’t they cute?
Thanks for this tutorial Jennifer!!
Recycled Paper Bows by Green Earth Goodies
- paper trimmer (I like my rotary trimmer for smaller pieces of paper as my big paper trimmer would wreck it); of course if you don’t have one, just use scissors!
- pieces of paper of varying sizes (I like using sheets from magazines – stores will often give them away free as they get credit from companies when they return covers; I also like using music sheets I find at the thrift store or used book stores)
- double-sided foam tape
- embroidery floss, string or thick thread & needle (I use thicker needles as the eyelet can fit floss and it can punch through paper/cardstock easier)
- leftover cardstock, paperboard, even thin cardboard
- buttons (optional)
- Select pieces of paper that have a decent front side and back side. The pieces I used for this example were from a holiday themed cookbook magazine which I knew would yield nice reds/greens and the backside was pink.
- Trim your paper along the long side of the paper, (Figure 1) making them the width of about 3/4″ (you can go thinner for a wispier bow or thicker for a chunkier bow). I find that a standard size magazine page will be enough for one bow, but sometimes you need a little more, so play around with it until you’re happy with it.
- Then fold each strip into a figure 8 (Figure 2 & 3) with the image you want showing on the outside of the strip. Tape the backside of the strips to keep the figure 8 shape in place. To make a fluffier, wispier closed bow, keep the figure 8 loose (Figure 4) or if you want pointy edges and an open faced bow, keep the figure 8 tight (Figure 5). I like mine somewhere in the middle.
- Once you have a pile of “folded” figure 8 strips (Figure 6) start aligning them loosely (Figure 7) saving the best pieces for the top (Figure 8).
- You’ll see that the more piece you add, the more the bow starts to close in on itself (Figure 9). If you find that after you have gathered your bow that it’s not closing in, just add more strips.
- Then thread your needle doubling your thread (sorry, don’t know the official term of this!) and tying a knot at the end (Figure 10). My piece of thread/floss is usually 18″ long (or 9″ when folded).
- Taking your top strip and insert the threaded needle through the bottom (Figure 11) pulling through so the knotted end is underneath. Then sew back through the top to the bottom (think if you were sewing through an imaginary button.
- Now your threaded needle will be hanging from the bottom of that first strip. Now keep adding more strips, this time just punching straight through (Figure 12) as if you were stringing popcorn for a garland. This part goes really quick.
- When you’ve added all your strips and are content with the fullness of the bow, punch through a piece of card stock, cut your string and tie a knot (Figure 13). Add a piece of double-sided foam tape for easy application onto gifts (I’ve found they work much better than regular double-sided tape with staying on). Voila, you’re done (Figure 15).
Here is my bow. I was – um, lazy, and stapled the middle. But shhhh…don’t tell Jennifer I took a short cut.
So plan ahead and make them now to save yourself from having a heart attack on Christmas Eve. That won’t be cool. Besides, you should stop wasting your money and buying any more of those cheap plastic ones…even if they are cheap, literally. And use up any paper you were going to recycle anyway and make these yourself.
Thanks Jennifer for sharing your tutorial!
See you tomorrow on Day 23! Sadly, we are almost “there.” Hope you are ready for the big day!