Paper Bows: Gift-Giving on a Budget

Birthdays are tricky holidays for gift-giving. A gift depends on how close you are to the gift-receiver, how long you’ve been close, how close they think you are, how much money you have, how much they expect, etc. Bad gifts can have awkward consequences. But bad gift-giving can be avoided with a little bit of paper, glue and crafty love.

I added a hand-made neon bow to an old salsa jar full of wint-o-green mints to make a cute study gift for any friend, roommate or significant other. Dress up your gifts without having to use another store-bought bow. Make your own by following the instructions below.

Paper Bow

Tools: paper cutter if possible, scissors or knife and a ruler if not, tape, glue, paper of your choice, stapler

Step 1: Cut eleven 0.5″ x 8.5″ strips from a 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. Six of those strips should be trimmed to 0.5″ x 8″. Four strips should be cut to 0.5″ x 7.5″. And the last strip should be cut to 0.5″ x 3.5″. These measurements will make a ribbon approximately 4″ in diameter. [Measurements and instructions for larger ribbon construction] I used two colors from a package of Astrobright Wausau paper with 100 sheets.


Step 2: Set the 3.5″ strip aside. Fold all of the 8″ and 7.5″ strips in half to mark the center points.


Step 3: Tape the ends of each strip together at the center point in a figure-eight shape with both ends curling upward. Be careful not to make it too tight; notice that my shape curls up off the table and has plenty of space in the holes of the figure-eight.


Step 4: Stack three of the six 8″ figure-eight shapes so they resemble a six-pointed star. Staple once in the middle. Repeat this step with the other three 8″ figure-eights.


Step 5: Stack the two stars that you made in step 4, glue them together. I offset them slightly so that the points do not line up.


Step 6: Set aside the stack you created in step 5. Stack the four 7.5″ figure-eight shapes so they resemble an eight-pointed star. Staple once in the middle.


Step 7: Stack the two stacks you made in steps 5 and 6, glue them together. Again, I offset them slightly so that the points do not line up. At this point, it is helpful to weigh the center down and allow the glue to dry before proceeding.


Step 8: Tape the 3.5″ strip that you set aside in the beginning into a small loop, big enough to fill the center of the bow and cover your staple.


Step 9: Tape the 3.5″ loop over the staple in the center of the bow. Your bow is completed!


For a fun, memorable bow, try using more than one color together, patterned paper or even ribbon to make this bow. Wrap up your box in a bit of newspaper and make a bow to match! Old scraps of wrapping paper, magazines, or brown paper bags are perfect for making a recycled bow and, because you used things from around the house, you saved money in the process.

If you want to test drive these paper bows, but don’t have any birthdays or holidays on the horizon, they also make great wall decor. My dorm wall is covered in posters, pictures and magazine pages, so I made a bow out of the Sunday coupon section to match. It now hangs on my wardrobe door.


Step 10: Attach your finished bow to your more personalized, inexpensive gift. Remember that your homemade bow gives any gift a personal touch. In this case, I am giving away a mini can of sour cream and onion Pringles and it still looks fabulous.


I spent no money making my paper bows, using an old package of paper and supplies that I already had. I kept each silly gift idea cheap, decorating a small tube of Pringles, an empty salsa jar and one bag of wint-o-green mints.

This post goes to show that even the cheapest of gifts can be made better with a little craftiness. This paper bow is cheap, easy and makes any gift more thoughtful and homemade whether it is a diamond ring or simply a box of Totino’s sausage pizza rolls. 


6 thoughts on “Paper Bows: Gift-Giving on a Budget

  1. Thank you, thank you! I quit buying these dang biws because they’d get amashed frim packing for Christmas, etc., lost because I couldn’t remember where I stashed them…

    Now my gifts don’t have to be plain anymore! I can make them as needed! Woohoo! Thanks!!!

    • No problem. That’s why I posted it. 🙂 And now you can match the colors perfectly and adjust the size as you wish. Happy wrapping!

  2. Pingback: Wrap Up The Holiday Season The Eco-Friendly Way | ecomom | it's all good - blog

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