Like most bow maker machines, the popular EZ Bow Maker tool appears confusing at first glance. With clear EZ Bow Maker instructions and a little practice, however, most users find it to be quite straightforward.
Considered one of the best bow maker tools by crafters, it's a sturdy wooden board with printed ruler guides, a set of three dowels fixed in the center and another removable dowel at one end. The center dowels act like a third hand to hold your ribbon loops together as you work, and the dowel at the side is a handy holder for spools of ribbon. Understanding these basic EZ Bow Maker instructions will help you create all kinds of beautiful bows.
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Basic EZ Bow Maker Instructions
Things You'll Need
Spool of ribbon
You can use wired or unwired ribbon of any width and material with this type of bow maker machine, and you can also make bows of any size. Paper twists, raffia, fabric strips, burlap and tulle strips are also suitable for bow making. Note that the EZ Bow Maker is designed to hold a spool of ribbon, but it is not essential that the ribbon is on a spool.
Place the bow maker machine on a flat surface in front of you and place the spool of ribbon on the tall dowel at one end of the tool.
Slide a chenille stick, ideally in a color that will blend in with your ribbon, between the dowels in the center of the bow maker flush with the board. If you are making a small bow, such as a hair ribbon or small gift, use the shorter dowel and adjacent taller one. For larger bows, use the two taller dowels in the center of the tool.
Center the chenille stick between the dowels and pivot it so the two ends are perpendicular to the board of the EZ Bow Maker.
Unravel an arm's length or more of ribbon. It is easier to create a bow if you have plenty of slack in the working ribbon, and unraveling a generous amount means you don't need to pull at the spool.
Decide on the length you want for the tails of the bow. If you're unsure, allow extra length and plan to trim the tails later. Place the cut end of the ribbon at your desired tail length from the left side of the center dowels. Use the ruler markers for guidance.
Make a firm half-twist at the point where the ribbon meets the center dowels and slide the twist down between the dowels so that it's flush with the board. If your ribbon has a contrasting side, this will put the contrasting side facing upward on the right side of the center dowels.
Decide on a length for the loops of your bow. Smooth out the ribbon to the right of the center dowels to that desired length and fold it back on itself to meet the center dowels again. If your ribbon has contrasting sides, this will make the correct side visible on the top again.
Make another firm half-twist in the ribbon and slide it down between the center dowels, flush with the board and sitting on top of the first twist and chenille stick.
Repeat the loop-making step on the left side of the center, making sure the loop is the same size on both sides.
Returning to the right side of the center dowel, measure a tail-length of ribbon and cut the tail. Trim both tails at an angle, either straight or with a "V" shape.
Lift both ends of the chenille stick upward and bring them together above the center dowels. Cross the ends over each other and tug them to cinch together the ribbon twists that are sandwiched between the dowels.
Carefully lift the bow out of the dowels and twist the chenille sticks to the back of the bow. Make sure the bow is secured by the chenille sticks with the ends of the sticks available for attaching the bow wherever you desire.
Fluff and arrange the loops with your fingers to get the look you want for the bow. This will generally only work with wired ribbon; nonwired ribbons will create a softer, looser bow.
Making Fancier Bows
Once you have mastered making basic bows, it's time to take advantage of using the tool for fancier, more elaborate bows. The easiest way to make fuller, fancier bows is to simply create more loops with the ribbon, matching the loops on both sides before cutting the tails. You might also add more loops with one or more complementary ribbons. Vary the sizes of the loops, with smaller loops at the front of the bow and larger ones at the back. You can also tie in other decorations – any suitable-size ornamentation with a wire or stem will work – such as sprigs of faux flowers or greenery and silver bells or candy canes for the holidays.