How to make a Paper Bow for Gifts (from Recycled Comics or Magazines)

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Today we have a super easy paper bow tutorial! These paper bows can be used as Christmas Bows or Birthday Bows. They can be made from any paper – from magazines, to wrapping paper, to recycled comics! These paper bows are also a little easier than the popular origami bow!

DIY Paper Bow
How lovely is this paper ribbon bow?!

This post is sponsored by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) – Making Christmas Greener! First sahred in Nov 2021

I always get excited this time of year.. there is nothing quite like the Christmas Season! In our house, we love to make Christmas not just about the gifts on Christmas Day, but everything in the run up to it as well.

That includes making homemade cards and special DIY Gift Wrap ideas. We are big fans of keeping things eco-friendly, recycled AND recyclable (glitter is a big no no!). So today we have a fabulous Paper Bow for Gifts How To brought to you in association with the North London Waste Authority.

Let’s make Christmas, greener, eco-friendly and as it happens, cheaper too!

How do you make a gift bow out of paper? How do you fold a paper bow?

There are a number of ways you can make a gift bow out of paper – origami paper bows are amazing. But definitely something for intermediate Origami peeps. Then there are a number of paper bows made from paper strips! These bows are often called a “loop bow” too.

Today, we will show you how quick and easy it is to make one of these paper bows. All you need is a colourful magazine or old comic, a rule, scissors and a glue stick. These paper gift bows can be made in minutes. We plan on making a little “production” line of these… cut, glue, repeat.. as one of our Advent activities!

Eco friendly gift wrap

How to make a small bow with paper? How do you make a large gift bow?

Today’s paper bow really is one of the EASIEST gift bows you can make. And you can make them any size you wish. We made quite a big one today, as we chose to use our ruler as the “width of the bow”. This means you don’t have to do any fiddly measuring etc.

However, if you cut our strips of paper in half, to make a thinner strip, you will be able to use the same strips of paper to make smaller bows. Easy!

The best thing about today’s paper gift bow, is that you do not need a bow template! The strips are easy to cut and assemble!

How to wrap gifts with comics or magazines?

Large gift wrap
Tape sheets of comics together to make a large sheet for large presents

There are lots of ways you can use old comics to wrap gifts with. We have been using comics for years – they look super fun and funky. You can wrap small gifts and you can wrap large gifts (by carefully sellotaping pages together). You can even make fabulous gift bags for those “awkward shaped” gifts or use them as comic party bags!

comic book bags

Today we combine our love for comic gift wrap with our love for sustainable brown paper gift wrap too. A funky way to make your comics “stretch” to more gifts, as you only need on page per DIY Paper Bow!

DIY Paper Bow for Gifts – Materials needed:

simple paper bow materials
  • One comic page is enough per bow (it will in fact make one and a half) A GOOD SIZE STRIP is 2.5cm x 24cm or 1inch x 9.5inch
  • A rule
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick (I find pritt sticks are the best adhesive when working with paper)

As this paper bow is made literally out of paper and the tiniest bit of glue, these bows are fully recyclable. The best bit, is you can make them out of any paper:

  • comics
  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • brown paper
  • gift wrap leftovers

You don’t even need a printable paper bow template as these are so easy!

How to make a Paper Gift Bow Tutorial:

As per usual we have a little video tutorial on auto play for you today. As well as step by step photo instructions for making a DIY Paper Bow! I hope you will see from the photos, how very quick and easy this bow is.

Select the page you would like to use to make your bow from. It doesn’t matter too much, what page you use.. but you may prefer a page for its colour over another!

Cut your bow paper strips

Using your ruler, draw 5 strips. We decided to neaten off the edge of the comic – so our paper bow starts at the edge of the comic image and then make the 5 strips the exact width of the ruler. This is the easiest/ neatest way of getting strips the exact same width.

Cut out your 5 strips. A GOOD SIZE STRIP is 2.5cm x 24cm or 1inch x 9.5inch

OPTION: as mentioned above, you could now fold your strips in half length AND width ways and cut again – to make narrow and smaller paper bows. This would make four times as many bows!

Now it is time to loop your bow pieces

Take your first stip. Turn your PREFERED side face down. Some people like to staple them, but I think a little bit of glue is more eco friendly (especially if using something like a pritt stick vs a hot glue gun).

Add a little glue to the end of prefer side and loop that down towards the centre (see image). Note that the loop is glued down on the diagnoal!

Turn your strip of paper around (so the loop is at the bottom). Repeat to the other end of the strip.

You should now have two loops as per the image above. Make sure the loops meet as centrally as possible.

comic paper bows

Make four of these loops.

Final assembly of your loop paper bow

Take one loop. Add glue to its centre.

Place a second loop perpendicular across.

Make a second set with loops three and four.

how to make paper bows

Now add glue to the centre of the first set of 2 loops and glue the second set inside.

Now to add the final loop to the the centre of the bow to finish it off.

Take your 5th strip and cut it in half.

Glue it into a little loop.

Glue the loop into the middle of your bow.

DONE!! Your DIY paper bow is finished. Wasn’t that easy?

You have made your DIY Paper Gift Bow! Wasn’t that super easy? We can’t wait to make more!

how to make paper gift bows

What other sustainable gift wrap DIYs can I make?

If you are looking for more Sustainable Gift Wrap solutions this year, we are also GREAT fans of home sewn “gift sacks” (old kids’ pillow cases work REALLY well as gift sacks too) – they can be made in any size, to fit any gift. Or the art of the Japanese Furoshiki? gift wrap. Taking one large square piece of fabric and wrapping your gifts in that. We have been using both these methods for FAMILY gifts since the kids were little. The comic book gift wrap is perfect for friend’s gifts, teacher’s gifts or family gifts where you won’t necessarily get your fabric sacks of Furoshiki fabric back!

We also love this upcycled crisp can gift box – perfect for giving experiences this Christmas:

How to paint a Nutcracker Gift Box from a Pringles Can

How can I make Christmas more sustainable and eco friendly?

Oooh I could write a whole blog post JUST about this!! But here is a summary of some thoughts around the topic:

  • Use upcycled gift wrap (as per our lovely DIY paper bows shared here today)
  • Avoid all glitter and foil
  • Use recyclable Christmas Crackers – or better – make your own Christmas Crackers
  • Gift the gift of experiences and not “tat”
  • Consider buying second hand (discuss this with family first)
  • Gift large, better “joint” presents, rather than smaller, cheaper “tat” – ask your recipient what they actually want or need
  • Make your own gifts – this could be DIY Christmas Crafts or edible items or even making Christmas Hampers (but do not wrap these in foil)!
  • Simply stop and think: do I/ do they really need this? Will this end up in landfill by January? Can I reuse this for years to come?

Happy Christmas Season to you all!