Tie a Trouble-Free Gift Bow

Have you seen on TV when a gift is unwrapped, the ribbon gracefully falls to the side?

Normally a ribbon tied around a gift is hard to undo. You can try to unknot it, slide it, or pull it off the side, stretching it as well as you can. Men usually reach for their pocketknives to get the job done.

Making a great-looking gift bow is actually pretty simple, even without using knots.

I made this little video to show you how.

Our family also wraps a lot of gifts using gift bags.  We reuse them every year, so some have been exchanged back and forth for years. Seeing an old familiar paper gift bag is almost a tradition in itself. (Don’t trust the tags, they could be from a prior year at our house!)

How do you like to wrap your gifts?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Thanks so much… I always wondered how they did that!

    And your helper is too cute!


  2. How awesome is that?!! Thanks for sharing – my presents are going to look HOT this year :) My daughter loved watching the second part of the video :)

    Sarah Klass´s last blog post..Simplifying……

  3. LOL Can I borrow your darling helper? All of mine are growed up and it would be so much fun to have sloppily-kissed packages oozing with punkin’ love!

    Betsy´s last blog post..AS I WANDER OUT UNDER THE SKY…

  4. Thanks for the tutorial. I always use knots and this is so much nicer. I think your helper is adorable.

    Jen@OurDailyBigTop´s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: Santa edition 2008

  5. Great tutorial, and I loved the outtake at the end!

    maryanne´s last blog post..Work in progress

  6. That was a great tutorial and I loved your little helper in the outtake!

    CC´s last blog post..The unadmired, yummy house

  7. Thank for the video. I always tie my own bows ,but after watching the video, I realized I was making it way more difficult than I needed too!

  8. I wrap according to the gift recipient. If it’s my grandparents the gifts go in bags and are easy to pull out. Smaller cousins get loosly wrapped paper they can tear. My dad (an engineer) gets precisely wrapped gift boxes. And friends receiving gag gifts usually are wrapped in tissue paper and secured with 200 feet of fishing line.

  9. Kelly, those are such thoughtful ideas!

  10. Rachel, what a great video! I didn’t realize it was you until the very end, and I just love your sweet little helper!

    I save every gift bag that I am given, as well as carefully fold and save any tissue paper I receive. It all gets stored in my closet and that’s what I primarily use for Christmas. Occasionally there will be a gift that’s too big or doesn’t fit the bags I have. If it’s just for a family member, I’ll just use something around the house, like a random box with a bow or even a blanket. If it’s to give to someone, I might use plain brown paper with ribbon, or just purchase a bit of wrapping paper or the correct size bag from the dollar store.

    Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home´s last blog post..Simple Woman’s Daybook- December 16

  11. Nifty! Can’t wait to try it! And your little one is too cute!

    Meriann´s last blog post..Daily bread in the way of good deals

  12. Rachel – I loved hearing your voice! How wonderful!

    I *used* to be quite the gift wrapper – several years in retail when I was younger helped me perfect the art. Then I went to gift bags. Last year, I gave all of our presents in reusable grocery bags from HEB. (hey, they were green. that’s festive, right?)

    LOVED this simple way of tying a ribbon. Dacey said, “Hey! Let’s DO THAT!” :)

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog post..Troubleshooting and Testing (with a big dose of GRRRRRR)

  13. Sigh. You are adorable. Your blog is so lovely…the only one I check now that I am all blogged out. :)

    Laura´s last blog post..Epiphany

  14. Okay, I’ve now used this bow on 14 gifts today! I love it! Thanks so much :)

    CC´s last blog post..The unadmired, yummy house

  15. Nice work with the bow! I’ve never tried crossing it on the top before- now I know how! I am glad I procrastinated my wrapping in time to see your post. I think that the way a gift is wrapped really says a lot- even a humble gift can seem more special if it is wrapped up nicely. I’ve also seen some people use strips of contrasting wrapping paper in place of ribbon, so I may try that. Thanks again for the info!

    KaseyQ´s last blog post..Need a Last-Minute Gift?

  16. I’m sitting here cracking up! As sooooooooooooon as my little boy heard your little girls’ voice, he ran over to my computer to see what I was looking at. Too cute!
    Thanks for the bow tutorial too! I’ve never seen it done that way before!
    Blessings today,

    Shilo´s last blog post..Who is This Person?

  17. Thank you so much for making this video! I’m one of those who really needed that – I’ll definitely use this one!! And I loved the surprise ended!!

    I love the idea of using a wide piece of gorgeous ribbon and then knowing the recipient could reuse the ribbon any way she wants!!

    Thanks for sharing!

  18. So fun to hear both your voice and Lane’s little voice in the tutorial!
    Love the way the bow comes undone so smoothly. Give it that “Voila!” factor. And gets the ribbons less wrinkled up, so they can be reused.

  19. Thanks everyone, I love making these little videos.

    CC – 14 gifts?! Wow, you’ve been busy!

    Jill, you can iron old ribbon to make it look new. (I don’t like ironing, but it’s fast to just do a ribbon.)

  20. Oh, I love this so much. Thank you! As much as I love all those craft tutorials (my delicious bookmarks attest to that) do I really have time to make all those crafts? I DO have time to tie gorgeous bows, though!

    I use grosgrain and satin ribbon for most packages, and I keep the pieces afterward. I wind the pieces around my fingers after and paperclip them into a ring. Then I toss these into a ziploc bag for next year. They don’t wrinkle this way.

    I love plain brown paper and tissue paper for wrapping things. This year I also got some preprinted shirt boxes, which can’t be beat for simplicity.

    liz´s last blog post..yummiest cookies ever– really

  21. Thanks for this! I love using real ribbon for gifts since it can be reused. I’ve been focusing on using up a bunch of Christmas wrapping paper. After it’s used, I’m planning on a combination of either brown paper or an all-occasion solid color as well as some fabric bags that we can recycle year after year(plus be easier for my husband to wrap with!).

    Mary Ann´s last blog post..Tour of Homes: Come see Our Christmas Decorations!

  22. Wow! That was cool!

    Dana @ Letters to Elijah´s last blog post..She has no clue…

  23. Thanks! Loved the out-takes, too!

  24. great video & technique – bows are my definite holiday shortcoming, so can’t wait to give this one a try! thanks, thanks, thanks!!

    jodi @ bpr´s last blog post..A little Merry Christmas Love!

  25. Oh you crack me up. Thanks for not editing. That is basically the soundtrack for every phone call I’ve ever made from my house! Funny.

    Lisa´s last blog post..A Man and His Ass

  26. That is a great little trick and I love the little “outake” at the end! I posted it on my blog! :)

  27. Lane is too cute!

  28. Well, I’ve already wrapped all my gifts. I’ll have to send the loved ones some extra treats in order to try out your great technique. Thanks SO much for sharing this!

  29. Thank you! Do you have any advice about judging how much ribbon to cut?

  30. Great trick, but too late this year. I’ll have to try it in February when my daughter has her birthday.

    Geri´s last blog post..The 411 on Weight Loss and Nutrients

  31. KS – if I’m not sure about the length, then I just hold on to the roll, and cut it at the end.

    Great tip for keeping them, Liz!

  32. I’m going to try this.
    By the way, your hands are beautiful and your voice is so cute :)

    Chrissie´s last blog post..Writing Down What your Child Narrates

  33. My favorite part of this video was the outtake at the end.

    How do I wrap? – recycled easy. Whatever I have on hand that doesn’t take too much effort. Usually by the time I’ve finished making the present I don’t have much creative juices left for wrapping.

    Loved this video and I linked to it on my post below.

    renee @ FIMBY´s last blog post..FIMBY Finds on a Cold, Dark Night

  34. Outtakes are always the best. :)

    I love brown craft paper for wrapping, too. I’m a stamper, so I cut the paper for the gift then lay it out and stamp random holiday images/sayings on it. Simple & customized. My kids, when they were younger, would wrap presents to relatives in the Sunday comics we’d save. Nice way to recycle. :)

  35. THANK YOU!! I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve done all of my gifts this way and they look so cute under the tree with all of their little bows. :)

    Merry Christmas!

  36. Thank-you for this video. My wrapping was dismal this year. I’m hoping to actually use gift tags in 2009. All I had this year was sticky labels.

  37. You forgot to give instructions on how to make the bow lie straight. You are doing it right by making the first loop with the piece that comes out the bottom, then folding it over and crossing from top to bottom with the ribbon tail that comes out of the top of your “tie”. This way, your ribbon will form a straight and pretty bow every time! GREAT video though — you just didn’t “finish” the process!

  38. Cute! Also check out the instructions you can find at http://www.LearnHowToMakeHolidayBows.com hope that helps!

    enjoy! :D

  39. Darling video…..the bit with your little one is a treasure….and the tutorial is so helpful..


    Spencer´s last post…Happy Pink Saturday……I’m So Glad You’re Here….

  40. LOVE the outtake! And this tip is really helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    Rachel´s last post…NYR #23, Treeskirt

  41. good Merry Christmas