How to Make Ribbon Bows for Dogs

by Mary Lougee, Demand Media
    Bow-tie-style ribbon bows are generally for topknots.

    Bow-tie-style ribbon bows are generally for topknots.

    Groomer’s bows, though cute, can be expensive. You can make your own ribbon bows for topknots and ears for just pennies apiece and in just a few minutes. Make several bows to keep your pooch looking freshly groomed.

    Items you will need

    • Grosgrain ribbon (5/8-inch wide)
    • Ruler
    • Scissors
    • Cigarette lighter
    • Needle and thread
    • Groomer’s elastic
    • Hot glue gun
    • Toothpick
    • French barrette
    • Bow embellishments (buttons, rhinestones)

    Bow Tie Bow

    Step 1

    Measure and cut your grosgrain ribbon to double the desired finished width plus 1 inch. For example, to make a 2-inch-wide bow you will need 5 inches of ribbon.

    Step 2

    Hold the ribbon in one hand close to one end. Light a cigarette lighter and quickly pass the flame back and forth at the end. Heat-seal the other end of the ribbon in the same manner. This seals the cut ends of the ribbon so it will not fray.

    Step 3

    Cut a 12-inch length of thread, thread a sewing needle and tie both ends in a knot. Pick up the ribbon and hold it right side up. Fold both loose ends underneath and overlap them by 1 inch to form a loop. Hold the ends in place with one hand. Press the top center of the loop down onto the bottom folded ends of the loop.

    Step 4

    Insert the needle and thread from the bottom center of the bow upward through the overlapping ends and through the top of the bow. Pull the thread tightly and wrap it over the top of the bow. Pinch the top center of the bow to make a fold from top to center. Wrap the thread around the back of the bow, underneath it and up to the front bottom. Pinch the bottom edge into the middle. Wrap the thread tightly one more revolution around the center of the bow ending in the rear. Pass the needle through the thread in the back, form a loop, insert the needle in it and pull the end tight to tie it in a knot.

    Step 5

    Cut a 1-inch length of grosgrain ribbon. Cut the ribbon in half lengthwise and lay it wrong-side up on a table. Center the thread area of the bow right-side down on the ribbon.

    Step 6

    Place a groomer’s elastic on the rear center of the bow. Wrap one of the two loose ends of the small ribbon to the back of the bow with the groomer’s elastic inside. Place a dot of hot glue on the ribbon, pull the other end over to overlap it and press it in place.

    Flat Bows

    Step 1

    Measure and cut grosgrain ribbon to twice the width of your finished bow.

    Step 2

    Fold the two ends together and pinch the opposite end to make a crease. This marks the center of the ribbon.

    Step 3

    Lay the ribbon wrong-side up on a table. Apply a thin line of hot glue on the crease. Fold both ends of ribbon into the center in the glue. Press the ends down into the glue with a toothpick and hold them in place for a minute or so.

    Step 4

    Make additional pieces of ribbon in the same manner, with each one 1/4-inch smaller than the one before, for a layered or stacked bow.

    Step 5

    Place the largest bow right-side up on a table. Apply a dot of hot glue to the center and press the next-smallest bow on top of it. Attach each smaller layer to the bow in the same manner.

    Step 6

    Apply a dot of hot glue to the center of the bow and press an embellishment into it, such as a rhinestone or button.

    Step 7

    Turn the bow face down on a table, open a French barrette and glue it to the back center.


    • Experiment with different widths of ribbon for topknots or ear bows. Ear bows are generally smaller so as not to overwhelm your pooch.
    • Keeping your dog’s hair up and away from her eyes can prevent eye irritation.


    • If your dog is new to wearing bows, watch her carefully so she does not pull them out and eat them.

    About the Author

    Mary Lougee has been writing since 2004 and specializes in pets with publications in "Modern Dog" and "Pet Planet." Lougee gained extensive pet knowledge and expertise in care and rehabilitation, built a farm, and cares for rescue animals from small to large. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/ Images