Tuesday, November 22, 2011

...tied up with string

If you read last week's post about wrapping gifts, then chances are you came back this week to learn how to tie on your ribbon.

To recap, you collected these items before sitting down to wrap your gift:
  • A box, if your gift is not already in one. Boxes are infinitely easier to wrap than oddly shaped items (though personally, I love the challenge!).
  • Wrapping paper. You want a nice, medium weight wrapping paper. The super-thick (read: expensive) stuff is sometimes tough to get sharp edges and smooth folds with. The thin (read: cheap) stuff will rip when you try to pull the paper tight.
  • Tape. I keep both double-sided and traditional scotch tape on hand.
  • Scissors. I keep two pair on hand--one to cut paper and one to cut ribbon. Trying to cut fabric ribbon with scissors used mostly to cut paper will frustrate you and destroy the ribbon.
  • Ribbon. I love a two-inch grosgrain, because it makes beautiful simple bows. If you're going to make a fancy bow, use a wired ribbon. By all means, feel free to use curling ribbon if you like a pile of curly ribbon on the top of your package (and use the paper-cutting scissors for that one).  I'm using a one inch grosgrain ribbon in the picture below because it is easier to see what is going on.
...and you followed the instructions until you had a neatly wrapped package.  Now, you're ready to add ribbon to finish off the look.  I decided to do this tutorial mostly in pictures.  If you're at all a visual person, this will help.  If you're a word person, I'll try to explain what is happening in the pictures.

First, unroll a few feet of ribbon but don't worry about cutting it off the spool.  Make a loop with the end of the ribbon, about as long as you'd expect half of your bow to take.

Then, with your loop held in your left hand, stretch the ribbon horizontally toward the right side of your package, then down and under the package before coming back up the left side to complete one circuit around the box.

At this point, cross the ribbon over the loop-end and fold it down toward you.

Wrap the ribbon down the front of the package, underneath toward the back and back up to the top.

When you bring the ribbon to the top of the package from the back, pull it to the center of the package (where your knot will be), measure off eight or so inches (about as much as looped off at the start) and cut your ribbon off the spool.  Take the now-free end and slide it under the horizontal ribbon on the right side of the knot. 

Tie the two loose ends using an overhand knot and pull tight to be sure the ribbon wrapped around your package is snug.

Before we move onto tying the bow, ou might wonder why I suggest wrapping the ribbon this way.  It is, in all likelihood, different from how you've always done it.  Here's why:

When you wrap the ribbon around the box to the bottom, then twist it and bring it back up to the top to tie your bow, you're left with a knot on the bottom.  The knot will cause your gift to rock when you set it on a flat surface.  When you tie your ribbon this way, it smoothly overlaps on the base of the box.
To make your bow, make a loop with each end of ribbon (it should look like bunny ears), holding a look in each hand.

Tie the two loops using an overhand knot to create your bow.  When you do this, you may pull your loops too far which makes them a little floppy.  It's possible that you might like them that way, but I don't.  To tighten your bow and neaten your loops, pinch the inside of the loop and tug on the tail coming out of that loop.  This should simultaneously tighten the bow and shorten the loop.  Do this to both sides for an even bow.

Finally, finish the ends of your tails.  You can certainly cut across the ribbon on a diagonal, but I generally dovetail the ribbon.  To do this, fold the tail in half length-wise like this:

Then, cut across the folded ribbon at a 45-degree angle.  When you open the ribbon back up, it makes a nice dovetail.  If you fold the ribbon at all at an angle, instead of lining up the edges, your dovetail will be asymmetrical.  If you cut along a curve, your dovetail will be curved.

So there you have it:  a neatly wrapped gift with a professional looking bow on top (okay, this is an unwrapped gift box with a professional looking bow on top, but if you started with last week's tutorial, then you've got both the neatly wrapped package and the bow!).  Happy giftwrapping this holiday season!!

Like last week, I'm linking up with Beth's linky party.  Head over there for more great tutorials!

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