Different Types of Hair Bows and How to Make Them

By: | Last Updated: August 18, 2021

Did you know that, at one point in history, hairbows were predominantly used by men to symbolize their relationship status? [1]

Back in the 1590s, French men grew a long strand of hair, called the “lovelock,” that was then braided and secured with a hairbow. The lovelock was placed over the man’s left chest, above his heart, to symbolize his devotion to a woman. [2]

But that is not the only awe-inspiring story that comes with the history of hair bows.

Over the years, hair bows became a symbol of resistance, loyalty, and identity. 

Today, hairbows mean a lot of different things–innocence, femininity, and confidence.

If you plan to make your hair bow, then make it a special one; and give it a meaning that is as unique as you are. 

Read on to know about the different materials that you can use to make your special hairbow. 

In this article, you will learn about:

  • the different types of ribbons used for hairbows
  • the best material for hairbows
  • the different types of hair bows and how to make them
  • how to make hairbow clips

What type of ribbon is used for hair bows?

1. Grosgrain Ribbons 

Grosgrain (pronounced as /grow-grain/) ribbons are the most common ribbons used in making hairbows. [3]

These ribbons have a matte finish and have ridges in them that make them sturdy.  

Because it is sturdier than most ribbons, grosgrain ribbons are a better option for children’s hairbows.

2. Silk Satin Ribbons

When we think of “ribbons,” the first picture that comes to our mind is probably silk satin ribbons. These ribbons come in a wide variety of solid colors. 

They are soft and glossy. You may use these ribbons for a more elegant finish on your hairstyle.

Usually, these ribbons are silky on one side and rough on the other. 

But today, we can find double satin ribbons that have two silky sides.

3. Organza Ribbons

Organza ribbons are those that are sheer, translucent, and shimmery. These look expensive when properly used and designed. 

They usually have satin edges on both sides to prevent the organza threads from running.

These ribbons are very thin and lightweight, which does not make them an ideal material for children’s hairbows. But these are great for making loose and puffy bows.

4. Cloth Ribbons

Cloth ribbons are ribbons made from thin cloth strips. 

They could be any kind of fabric with different patterns. These ribbons are durable and washable. 

Unlike other kinds of ribbons which are better glued together, fabric ribbons are better when sewn.

Since these ribbons are sewn, we can use them for various hairbow patterns and designs.

5. Velvet Ribbons

Velvet ribbons look and feel luxurious. 

Velvet fabric is characterized by a dense pile of evenly cut fibers, making it feel smooth and soft. 

These ribbons have a right side and a wrong side. Their edges are sewn using very fine, almost unnoticeable stitches. Velvet ribbons come in different solid colors.

Since velvet is heavy, we cannot use them for puffy hairbows. Hairbows made from velvet ribbons have a fixed shape.

READ: The Fascinating History of Hairstyling

Aside from ribbons, what other materials can we use for hair bows?

1. Felt Paper

Felt paper can also be used to create cute bows easily. These are thick paper-like sheets but with a wooly texture.

Felt paper is sturdy enough to maintain a bow shape, but it is not as durable as other materials on this list. 

The advantage of using felt paper is that it can easily be cut, glued, or folded however you want to. You can create hair bows using felt paper without sewing them. 

2. Crocheted Yarn

If you want to be extra craftsy, you may opt to learn how to crochet a hairbow. A crocheted hairbow gives off that cottagecore aesthetic.

The good thing about crocheting your hairbow is that you get to control how big you want your hair bow to be. Unlike when using ribbons in which your hairbow’s size depends on the ribbon’s width.

Also, you can create cute and unique patterns on your hairbow. These basic crochet patterns are all over the internet.

You can control whether you want your hair bow to be loose and limp, for a laidback style, or firm, for a prim look.

3. Lace

Lace is a thin, see-through fabric whose threads have open, web-like patterns. 

Since lace is thin, we can use it to make large yet limp hairbows or small yet puffy ones.

We often use lace with other materials to help maintain the shape of the hairbow. But we can also use it on its own. 

Lace can be sewn or glued using a glue gun.

4. Tulle

Tulle is the kind of fabric you often see on ballerinas’ skirts. They look like nets with very fine holes but are sheer and stiff.

Tulle comes in bright and pretty colors. When making a tulle hair bow, you can mix and match various colors according to your taste.

Since tulle is light and stiff, we can use it to make puffy hair bows. However, tulle hair bows can look plain on their own. 

Which is why it is better to embellish tulle hair bows with shiny stones, sequins, or anything–really! It all depends on how craftsy you are.

What is the best material for hair bows?

Grosgrain ribbons and cloth ribbons are the most popular ribbons in making hair bows because they are durable and easy to cut into a pattern. They are neither too soft nor too stiff.

Both grosgrain and cloth ribbons are sturdy enough to hold different kinds of embellishments.

They are cheap and easily available in the market. They also come in different colors, patterns, and widths.

To use these ribbons in making a hair bow, you would need to sew them. So, hair bows made from cloth or grosgrain ribbons are much more durable than hairbows that are glued together.

However, you should also take into account the wearer of the hairbow. 

For babies, the best material would be satin silk ribbons because they are lightweight and soft.

For children, the best material would be grosgrain and cloth ribbons because they are washable and durable.

For teens and adults, any material would do for as long as they know how to take care of their hair bows properly.

In choosing the materials you want to use to create hair bows, you have to consider the wearer, the design you want to achieve, and the process you are willing to undergo (whether you can sew or crochet or prefer no-sew procedures).

Different types of hair bows and how to make them

To create the following patterns, you can use different kinds of materials mentioned earlier. 

But note that it is best to use grosgrain ribbons for the more complicated patterns such as the multi-loop bow and the pinwheel bow.

The thin and fragile materials mentioned above such as tulle, organza, and lace are best used in simple patterns such as the butterfly hair bow and the oversized ribbon hair bow.

For a more detailed guide, check out our post on DIY Hair Bows to learn how to make hair bows out of ribbon and other materials.

1. Butterfly hair bows

A butterfly hair bow got its name simply because its shape resembles a butterfly. It has two equal-sized loops on both sides, separated by a center ribbon.

This pattern is pretty simple. You only need to cut, fold, and sew your chosen ribbon to make two pieces of basic single bows. [4]

Then, sew the two bows together and wrap the center with a ribbon. 

Finally, attach it to a hair clip of your choice.

2. Oversized hairbows

As the name suggests, oversized bows are simply oversized. You can create this bow using any pattern as long as you make it larger than usual.

However, the most common pattern for oversized bows is the simple ribbon similar to the loop you make when you tie your shoelaces.

To make this ribbon pattern, you have to cut your big ribbon however long you want to. Note that a longer ribbon makes a bigger bow. [5]

Loop it so that it resembles the shape of a ribbon. Make sure that the loops and the bow tails are equal in length. Then, sew the center of the ribbon. Cut the bow tails to any angle that you prefer.

Some ribbons have running threads when cut. For these instances, you have to slightly burn the ribbon edges to stop the thread from running.

Wrap a ribbon around the center and secure it with a stitch as well.

Attach the oversized hair bow onto a hair clip of your choice.

3. Pinwheel Bows

Pinwheel bows have four loops and two tail ends, one facing upwards and another facing downwards. 

To make a pinwheel bow, you have to loop your ribbon twice, each loop should be according to your desired hairbow length. [6]

Make sure to place the loops on top of each other so they don’t overlap. Stitch the center and wrap it with a ribbon or embellish it with something else. Attach to your chosen hair clip.

Patterned grosgrain ribbons are perfect for making pinwheel bows.

4. Multi-loop bows

Multi-loop bows have several loops made from ribbons with different patterns and sizes.

Ideally, one must use four different ribbon sizes, each with a different color or pattern. [7]

Twist each ribbon to create four equal-sized loops. Then, stack the looped ribbons on top of each other. 

The thickest ribbon will be the base bow and will be placed on the bottom and place the thinnest at the top. 

Decorate the center ribbon however you want to. Attach the bow on a hair clip of your choice.

How do you make hair bow clips?

Now that you know the common hair bow designs, it is time to know how to attach them to your hair clip. There are two most common methods to secure your hair bow on to a hair clip.

  • Glue Gun

Hot glue is very useful in crafting. You can use this to glue your bows together, to stick your embellishments to the bows, and to attach your bow to a hair clip. Make sure to press the bow and the hair clip together after applying hot glue.

  • No-sew and no-glue

Simply slide the non-toothed metal bar of your hairclip into the center ribbon of your hair bow. Alligator clips or French barrettes are the most ideal hair clips for this method. 

CHECK OUT: Different Types of Hair Clips

Embellishments for hair bows

Ribbons alone can look boring over time. If you want to further hype your hair bows, you should decorate it with all sorts of embellishments!

Buttons are great for hiding center ribbons. They look cute and playful, especially if you use colored buttons. You can also sew sequins into your ribbons to add sparkle to an otherwise matte finish.

There are also beads with different shapes and designs. You can stitch those to your center ribbon or add them on the loops or tail bows.

You can also attach bows into headbands.

Unique hair bows for a unique girl

You have learned about the various materials used for making hair bows and the different designs of hair bows. Now go and create your unique hair bow! 

Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors, patterns, and sizes. Because that is the point of crafting, right? 

Over time, you will know what you like best and you will create a hair bow that is specially made just for you. 


  1. Kambhampaty, A 2019, From Marie Antoinette to JoJo Siwa, Hair Bows Have a Surprisingly Meaningful History, TIME Magazine, accessed 24 July 2021, <https://time.com/5642621/jojo-bows-history/>
  2. Love Lock, 2018, Fashion History Timeline, accessed 24 July 2021, <https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/love-lock/>
  3. 18 Different Types of Hair Bows n.d, Threadcurve, accessed 25 July 2021, <https://threadcurve.com/types-of-hair-bows/>
  4. How to make a butterfly hair bow, 2016, Think Bowtique Craft Supply, accessed 26 July 2021, <https://thinkbowtique.com/blog/how-to-make-a-butterfly-hair-bow/>
  5. Brooks, J. n.d, How to make a cheer bow, Woo! Jr. Kids Activities, accessed 26 July 2021, <https://www.woojr.com/how-to-make-a-cheer-bow/>
  6. How To Make A Pinwheel Hair Bow, 2015, The Ribbon Retreat Blog, accessed 26 July 2021, <http://www.theribbonretreat.com/blog/how-to-make-a-pinwheel-hair-bow.html>
  7. How To Make A Big Loopy Stacked Hair Bow, 2016, The Ribbon Retreat Blog, accessed 26 July 2021, <http://www.theribbonretreat.com/blog/how-to-make-a-big-loopy-stacked-hair-bow.html>

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