How to Tie a Wreath Bow in 5 Different Styles

Learn how to make a Christmas bow using these traditional techniques.

how to tie wreath bows
Photo: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

The holiday season means decorating your house with lights, ornaments, and garlands of winter evergreens. And while the Christmas tree may take center stage in your home, it's the wreath that welcomes your guests at the front door.

In most cases, this is the first thing that people see when they come calling, and it's a hint at the rest of the holiday décor that awaits them inside, notes Cynthia Sheen, owner and interior designer at Cinzia Interiors. "Wreaths are like small, round Christmas trees," she says. "A lot of the bow styles that I do for Christmas trees can be done for wreaths, as well."

Some wreaths don't seem complete until they are finished off with a large, lavish bow, which enhances the overall look of the piece and can be complementary to your other seasonal décor. Before you get started, consider fabric: A crisp ribbon will make the nicest bow (grosgrain, satin, taffeta, and velvet are ideal choices). Then, choose your desired style. We asked designers to teach us how to make the most popular varieties, so you can tie your own wreath bows with ease.

traditional wreath bow
Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

Traditional Bow

When you picture a traditional bow, this is it—and it's a classic, nostalgic way to upgrade your Christmas wreath. Ideally, use a wide ribbon in red, green, gold, or white to emphasize the classic look.

  1. Cut ribbon to the desired length. (A bow with extra-large loops or extra-long tails will require more length.)
  2. Form the ribbon into two equal loops with about 12 inches of ribbon between them.
  3. Cross the right loop over the left.
  4. Knot the loops by pushing the right loop behind the left, under, and through the hole.
  5. Pull the knot tight, adjusting loops and tails to the desired size.
  6. Lightly fold the ends and cut, creating a notch.
  7. Attach the finished bow to the wreath with a small piece of green florist's wire.
rosette wreath bow
Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

Rosette Bow

Rosette bows are tufted with several loops, which is why they look so full. Sheen makes large rosette bows using 16 to 19 loops, but you can use fewer if you're creating a smaller wreath. Satin ribbon is perfect for this style; it keeps its shape and volume, so it won't easily fall flat.

  1. To tie a rosette, fold a length of ribbon accordion-style into a stack, with as many loops as you like.
  2. Cinch the middle of the stack with wire, and twist to secure.
  3. Cover the wire with more ribbon if desired (just glue it in back) and fluff the loops.
curly wreath bow
Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

Curly Bow

Kade Laws-Andrews, owner and interior designer at Kade Laws Interior Design, is partial to the curly bow. For a large bow, you will need 24 to 36 inches in length for the ribbon. "Wired ribbon is best," Laws-Andrews says.

  1. Follow the steps for a traditional bow.
  2. Cinch the middle with a pipe cleaner.
  3. Then, roll up the ribbon and unroll it to make spiral curls.

Pro tip: A bow with shorter curls looks nice on the top of a wreath, while one with longer curls looks best on the bottom.

layer wreath bow
Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

Layered Bow

Layered wreath bows can use two different types of ribbon. Try mixing colors, patterns, or even textures (which is Laws-Andrews' suggestion) to add visual interest. One ribbon should have a larger width than the other; the wider ribbon will make the bottom layer, which serves as an accent for your bow.

  1. Cut the ribbons to a length that is about twice the size of the desired bow.
  2. Hot glue the ribbon to the front of the wider accent ribbon and make a full loop.
  3. Flatten the loop and wrap a strip of the main ribbon around the center of your layered loop.
  4. A large layered bow can be the central bow for a wreath, while smaller layered bows can decorate a wreath like ornaments.
layered wreath bow
Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

Leaf Bow

For an outdoor-inspired decoration, make a bow out of live magnolia leaves and berries. "It looks very natural this way," Laws-Andrews says. You won't actually be tying the leaves into a bow. Instead, you will be making the leaves resemble a bow.

  1. Shape the leaves to look like the two loops of a bow.
  2. Glue a piece of a leaf in the center of the bow to make it look like the knot part of a bow.
  3. You can layer the leaf bows and leaves to get the desired look.
  4. Secure with tarnish-resistant florist's wire to place it on the wreath.
Was this page helpful?
Related Articles