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Jon's Staple Gun Bow

Carol Duvall makes a festive bow with just ribbon and staples.

Since my friend Jon Smouse taught me how to make this bow many years ago I have always referred to it as "Jon's Staple Gun Bow" although the truth is that you do not need a real staple gun. A small, simple stapler will do the job.

The rather large bow that I demonstrated making on the show was made with a wide #40 ribbon which measures about 3 inches wide. Narrow ribbon can be used but in that case you would use shorter lengths of ribbon. The measurements given below are for the #40.

Materials and Tools:
3-1/4 yards of #40 ribbon*
flexible wire or chenille stem

*the yards are required if you make the full bow of 12 side loops, a center loop and a tail.

1. Cut ribbon as follows:

  • one 4-inch length
  • two 15-inch lengths
  • two 17-inch lengths
  • two 19-inch lengths
  • one 18-inch length

2. Form the 4-inch length of ribbon into a cylinder and staple through the overlapping ends to hold. Staples should run parallel to the edges of the ribbon. Use three staples (Figure A).

3. Form a cylinder with one 15-inch length of ribbon. Again staple three times through the overlapping ends but this time staple through all three layers of ribbon (Figure B) forming "goggles" instead of a cylinder (Figure C).

4. Repeat step 3 with all lengths of ribbon except the 18-inch length.

5. Place index finger and thumb of each hand on the bottom of the small cylinder where the staples are located and push together, crunching the ribbon. Hold in the left hand, or right hand if you are left-handed (Figure D).

6. Place the first 15-inch length of looped and stapled ribbon underneath the squashed cylinder and at a right angle to it. Holding it with the left hand push with the right hand, again squashing the ribbon in the center (Figure E).

7. Repeat step 6 with all the remaining pieces of the looped ribbon turning each one at an angle to the one preceding it and holding them all together with the thumb and first two fingers of your left hand (Figure F). Add the ribbons in size sequence — first the 15-inch lengths, then the 17-inch lengths, then the 19-inch lengths.

8. Pick up the remaining 18-inch length of ribbon, gather it in the middle and place it under the gathered loops (Figure G). This is the tail to your bow.

9. Thread a length of wire or a chenille stem through the top cylinder (Figure H). Thread one end of the wire or stem between the third and fourth fingers of your left hand and bring both ends of the wire together under the bow loops (Figure I) and twist to tighten.

10. With the wire securely holding the ribbons all together, poof out the loops of the bow and arrange as desired to give you a full, beautiful bow. The wire can be used to secure the bow to a package, a wreath, a garland, etc.

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