Make Dog Bows

Make dog bows in just a few minutes!

Below are instructions for four designs: flat bow, bow tie, pansy or carnation, and rosebud.

Choosing the Fabric and Design

Select colors and textures to match the outfit your dog is wearing.

If you can't find matching ribbon, you can make your own ribbon from scrap cloth.

You can also consider using contrasting fabrics for a different effect.

Use varying widths of ribbon/material and glue or sew them onto each other.

Make dog bows that are freestanding or glue them to a barrette.

Design 1: Flat Bow

  • Fold your piece of ribbon in half and mark the center line.
  • Turn the ribbon so the wrong side is facing up.
  • Put a thin line of glue down the center line.
  • Fold each end of the ribbon inward to the center and glue it down.
  • Do the next layer but make it a little shorter to the outside than the layer beneath it.

This is a ruffled type of bow.

When done, glue or sew a rosebud or pansy (see below) in the center.

Design 2: Bow Tie


  • Follow the instructions above to make a flat bow but only make one or two layers.
  • When the glue is dry, take a threaded needle and wrap around and sew through the center several times.
  • Cover the constricted area with a pansy,  rosebud or button.

Design 3: Pansy or Carnation

This uses about 3.5 inches or 90 mm of ribbon and a sturdy thread (color does not need to match).

You are basically going to sew through the ribbon with thread and then pull the material to bunch it. This can be done by hand or with a machine - either way, it should only take a few minutes.

  • Start about 1/8 inch (4 mm) from one of the long edges and do an even running stitch about 1/8 inch (3 mm) long.
  • Leave at least 3 inches (75 mm) of loose thread on each end.
  • When done, pull on both thread ends at once.
  • Your ribbon should bunch up and form 3/4 of a circle.
  • Tie the two ends of thread together in a knot and cut off the rest.
  • Experiment with different lengths of ribbon for larger or smaller pansies or carnations.

As an alternative, make stitches 1/4 inch (6 mm) long or alternate short and long stitches.

Design 4: Rosebud

This design starts in the middle, using one end of the ribbon, and then you form a spiral around it.

It's a bit more difficult than the other designs to get right so may take a few tries.

  • Secure your thread at one end of the ribbon.
  • Keeping even tension as you twist, wrap the ribbon tightly in a spiral around the end you're holding. Make sure to keep the same side facing you (i.e., keep the wrong side out of view).
  • Sew through the middle of the ribbon to hold this first wrap.
  • Wrap another section of twisted ribbon and sew through.
  • Keep adding until you're done. Secure your thread.
  • Note: If any parts are sticking out, you may be able to sew them back down.

Make Dog Bows Tips

If you get frustrated, walk away until you calm down. You may be surprised how much more easily you can complete your bow after that.

Doggie bows can be fastened with latex rubber bands or a covered elastic band (used for holding hair) to attach to your dog's fur. Please don't use regular rubber bands as they will pull and hurt the dog.

Now that you have some basic design patterns, you can experiment and make dog bows in different combinations, at different angles, etc. Go wild - you may surprise yourself!

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