How to Make Dog Bows

Learn how to make dog bows for a chic dog look!

Biewer Yorkie with homemade hair bow

Photo of Imaree, a special type of Yorkie, with her pretty yellow bow. 

Read here for more about Imaree and owner Cheryl's experience with making dog bows.

Types of Bows    

There are so many varieties of bows - you're limited only by your imagination! A good place to start is by making simple dog bows from ribbon

How to Size Your Bows

Before you start, there are a few things to consider:

Determining the length:

  • A bow that is too long may dwarf your dog.
  • A bow that is too short may get lost in your dog's fur.
  • A 2.5 inch (65mm) long bow may work well for a single bow in the topknot between your dog's ears.
  • For two bows on a small dog, make each under 2 inches (50mm) long.

Determining the width:

  • 1.5 inch (38mm) wide ribbon would probably be the widest you'd want on a small dog.
  • You will want to keep things in proportion for a balanced look; in other words, a wide ribbon may look ridiculous if it is too short, whereas a skinny ribbon might look silly if it is too long.
  • If you have a bunch of old ribbon of varying widths, why not experiment to see which looks best?

Dog Bow Designs

There are a few basic designs that I've dubbed the bow tie, pansy (or carnation), flat bow, and rosebud. Learn how to make dog bows like this at Make Dog Bows.

You can also add designs to barrettes. Options are the Layered Barrette and the Ruffled Barrette.

Materials to Use

As mentioned above, standard ribbon works well for constructing bows.

Make Your Own Ribbon - However, if you've made your dog some clothes and have enough leftover scrap material, you can easily make your own ribbon for a matching outfit. Talk about inexpensive and stylish!

I made this ribbon from an old plaid shirt of mine.

It's easy to do:

You can use just about anything: fabric remnants, old clothes,  or buy a piece of cloth 1/8 to 1/4 yard (about 110 to 250 mm) long.

It helps if the fabric is not too thick; cottons, acrylics and satiny types should work well.

Instructions for making your own ribbon:

Besides fabric, you'll need an iron, cloth scissors, and either fabric glue or sewing tools.

  • Heat up your iron to the setting suitable for your fabric.
  • Cut a strip of fabric 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) wider than the width of ribbon you want and 1 inch longer than the length wanted.
  • Fold one edge over about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm); then press flat with the iron.
  • Likewise fold the other edge over 1/4 inch and press it. Make sure both folded edges end up on the same side of the fabric!
  • Glue or sew the pressed sides in place.
  • For the pointy ends, cut either in an arrow shape or half arrow.
  • Fold the edges over 1/4 inch and press, then sew or glue.
  • Cut off any loose thread ends or fabric that is sticking out.

How To Make Dog Bows:
Alternative Materials

Consider trying out other materials to make bows such as:

  • crocheted, knitted or woven yarn 
  • nylon or polypropylene webbing
  • pipe cleaners
  • plastic ribbon
  • sturdy paper´╗┐

Video Tutorials on How to Make Dog Bows

Here are a couple of tutorials found on YouTube that I thought might be helpful to you.

One way to make a bow

How to prevent dog bows from falling out

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