Plus, the best ribbon to use for each technique.
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Gold Leaf-Sticker Wreath
Credit: Matthew Williams

The holiday season means decorating the house with lights, ornaments, and garlands of winter evergreens. And while the Christmas tree may take center stage in your home, it's the wreath that welcomes your guests at the front door. In most cases, this is the first thing that people see when they come calling at your door, and it's a hint at the rest of the holiday décor that awaits them inside. "Wreaths are like small, round Christmas trees," says Cynthia Sheen, owner and interior designer at Cinzia Interiors. "A lot of the bow styles that I do for Christmas trees can be done for wreaths as well."

Some wreaths don't seem complete until they are finished off with a large, lavish bow, which enhances the overall look of the wreath and can be complementary to the other décor in your home. A crisp ribbon will make the nicest bow; grosgrain, satin, taffeta, and velvet are ideal choices. You can tie different styles of bows on your wreath. We asked designers for their ideas on styling your own wreath bows.

Traditional Bow

Of course, a traditional bow on your Christmas wreath is a classic choice. Ideally, use a wide ribbon in one of these classic colors—red, green, gold, or white. Cut ribbon to the desired length. (A bow with extra-large loops or extra-long tails will require more length.) Form the ribbon into two equal loops with about 12 inches of ribbon between them. Cross the right loop over the left. Knot the loops by pushing the right loop behind the left, under, and through the hole. Pull the knot tight, adjusting loops and tails to the desired size. Lightly fold the ends and cut, creating a notch. Attach the finished bow to the wreath with a small piece of green florist's wire.

Rosette Bow

Rosette bows are tufted with several loops, and therefore, have a lot of fullness to them. Sheen makes large rosette bows using 16 to 19 loops, but you can make fewer loops for a smaller wreath. Satin ribbon is perfect for this style because it keeps its shape and does not easily fall flat. To tie a rosette, fold a length of ribbon accordion-style into a stack, with as many loops as you like. Cinch the middle of the stack with wire, and twist to secure. Cover the wire with more ribbon if desired (just glue it in back), and fluff the loops.

Curly Bow

Kade Laws-Andrews, owner and interior designer at Kade Laws Interior Design, is partial to the curly bow. For a large bow, you will need 24 to 36 inches in length for the ribbon. "Wired ribbon is best," Laws says. "Cinch the middle with a pipe cleaner." Then, roll up the ribbon and unroll it to make spiral curls. This style of bow is ideally placed on the top or bottom of the wreath. A bow with shorter curls looks nice on the top of a wreath, while one with longer curls looks best from the bottom.

Layered Bow

Layered bows can use two different types of ribbon. Try mixing colors, patterns, or even texture (as Law suggests) to add visual interest. One ribbon should have a larger width than the other ribbon, and the wider ribbon will be the ribbon that goes on the bottom layer. The bottom layer serves as an accent for your bow. Cut the ribbons to a length that is about twice the size of the desired bow. Hot glue the ribbon to the front of the wider accent ribbon and make a full loop. Flatten the loop and wrap a strip of the main ribbon around the center of your layered loop. A large layered bow can be the central bow for a wreath, while smaller layered bows can decorate a wreath akin to ornaments.

Leaf Bow

For an outdoor decoration, Laws made a bow out of live magnolia leaves and berries. "It looks very natural this way," she says. You won't actually be tying the leaves into a bow. Instead, you will be making the leaves resemble a bow. Shape the leaves to look like the two loops of a bow. Glue a piece of a leaf in the center of the bow to make it look like the knot part of a bow. You can layer the leaf bows and leaves to get the desired look. Secure with tarnish-resistant florist's wire to place it on the wreath.

Comments (3)

Martha Stewart Member
January 6, 2019
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Martha Stewart Member
October 27, 2011
It's the same as "Martha's Favourite Bow" found here:
Martha Stewart Member
November 28, 2010
I printed this project out 2 years ago, and the first phot still hasn't been fixed. Could someone please do this so that we might know what is meant in the instructions? Very helpful. Thanks much. LMK