Bows Galore

Having a 19 month old daughter with curly, wild, blond hair has lead me to my latest project. All you curly-haired folks out there know that you can't really have bangs with curly hair. My childhood photos are an excellent example of what curly hair looks like with bangs. It was the 80s though and the time of the feathered bangs, so I guess I was trendy for the times and who knows, my daughter may look back at pictures of herself and say, "Mom, what were you thinking?" But back to my point, her wild, blond curls are always right in her eyes and every morning almost the first words out of her sweet little mouth are, "bow, bow, bow," which I take to mean, "Get this hair out of my eyes!"

As her hair has gotten longer and thicker, those little baby bows are no longer cutting it. I've found some bows at craft shows and such, but they tend to be pricey and for the life of me I can never remember what color my daughters' clothes are when I'm trying to pick one out. Inevitably I pick one, get it home, and it matches nothing in her wardrobe. No big deal you say, well, kudos to you, because it bothers me to send my kids to bed in unmatching pajamas that they don't even leave the house in; so an unmatching bow is a no go in my book. Yes, I'm very matchy, matchy.

After careful examination of a super cute, curly bow that my mom recently bought at a craft show, I thought, I can totally make this bow. Little did I know that I was getting myself a new hobby. I started by searching for curly bows on Google and I found out that the official name of the new bow I sought to make was the "Korker Bow." The first tutorial that I read said that you had to sew the bow together, no way. I don't have anything against sewing, I actually have a sewing machine, but I don't really know how to use it and in the past two years I have yet to find the time to figure it out. One day I definitely will, but not to make a Korker Bow. I read another tutorial by and thought it was doable.

Then I was on my quest for ribbon. You need 3/8in grosgrain ribbon, which I foolishly bought full price from JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts for $2.97 for 12 feet. Don't buy it full price, you can always find it on sale or cheaper. For example, at the beginning of October I found Halloween ribbon at Wal-Mart for $1.00 for 9 feet. Now that's more like it. Especially because now I want to make a bow to go with every outfit my daughter owns. Maybe I have a little obsession. Shh, don't tell.

This past weekend I set out to make my first bow, following The Frugal Girls guide to a T. It made a super cute bow, but I didn't realize until I held it up to my darling little girl's head, that it was more for a 4-6 year old head, not a 19 month old head. So I'll be saving that bow for a few years. Next I followed the same directions but made it half the size. But to hold the bow together you have to tie a square knot around the curled ribbon, which makes it look a little like a rectangle instead of the little curly pom-pom I was hoping for. 

So I was back on the search. This time I searched for mini korker bows and found another tutorial on . The first sentence in this tutorial explains that you can't tie a square knot for a mini korker bow because it won't work. Duh! Reading further I find out that there is no sewing involved either, just a little extra glue-gunning (is that a word?). Perfect. I did adjust the instructions slightly. Here is how I made my 3rd, very perfect Korker Bow. Warning, this is a Mommy craft, not a child craft.

First, you need: a high-temp glue gun, 3/8in grosgrain ribbon (I used 4 different colors), 4 wooden dowel rods (I used 1/4in by 12in), 1 cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil, hair clips (I used Conair Section & Set clips), scissors, 8 wooden clothespins, and a lighter.

Start by wrapping the ribbon around the dowel rod at an angle. I wrapped one type of ribbon around each dowel rod, securing the ends with the clothespins.

Wrapped Dowel Rods

Next place the wrapped dowel rods on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes. This sets the curls in the bows, kinda like a perm I guess.

Baking Ribbon

When the ribbon comes out of the oven allow them to cool for 5 minutes, then gently remove the ribbon from the dowel rods. 

Curly Ribbon

Next cut each 12 inch ribbon into sixths (about 2 inch pieces). You know me, I didn't measure. I cut the strip into thirds, then cut each third into half. Who said you would never use fractions in real life?

Ribbon Small

After your ribbons are cut into 2 inch sections, then you have to melt the edges of the ribbon with a lighter to prevent fraying. Don't touch the ribbon with the flame or else the ribbon will catch on fire (I speak from experience). Hold the ribbon up in your non-dominant hand with the edge flat and put the flame close to the edge. You will see the edges melt together. It's really kinda neat! 

Next you will begin hot gluing the pieces in the center by stacking two of each color in x's alternating the colors. Just use a little dab of hot glue in the center of the ribbon before placing it down, you don't want a big glob because it will be too bulky and glue will leak out of the sides. I could try to use words to explain this process further, but I think a picture would be better.


After completing steps 1-4, continue to alternate the colors in x's one more time so that you use 4 sections of each color (you should have 2 sections left over for a future ribbon). I used 16 pieces of ribbon total, which was perfect. Also, the clips helped to weigh down the pieces that I glued so that I could still access the center of the bow for more gluing. Before I show you the finished product, you have to glue one more thing, ribbon onto the metal clip to protect little scalps and cuten (another made up word?) it up a bit.


I also put little hot glue dots on top of the ribbon to help prevent slipping. The ribbon really dresses up the clip, but is sometimes slippery on baby hair. I actually saw a vendor use self liner on the inside of the ribbon, but I didn't have any so I improvised. 

Next, hot glue your adorable curly pom-pom on top of your ribbon covered clip. 

Korker Bow

And there you have the most perfect, mini Korker Bow. I really see one for every outfit in my daughter's future, well, maybe for the next couple of years.