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Friday, March 13, 2009

Before Bow Dazzlers

I meant to write these directions before Christmas. I never quite got around to it. Oh well......You can make Easter ribbons or Birthday ribbons. I was out running hither and yon with April this morning, so I decided that this was a good time to throw this tutorial in. No. I didn't work on the Clockwork cottage.

Back in the early 80s, when I was much newer at making minis, there was a fad for a while. Everyone was making mini Christmas trees. Some made them from natural materials. Some were loops of beads. Some were made with chenille stems. It didn't matter the materials. They all had to have tiny packages with tiny bows. Someone came up with the idea of making a bow maker. There were variations on the theme. I still have the first one that I made and it is still pressed into service whenever I need fluffy bows for a project. All you need to make one is a small piece of wood and some 5/8" brads.

The instrument of torture that you see at the bottom left is the one that I made. That one is about 3" long and made of bass wood. Don't try to use balsa or foam core. They won't hold the nails. I drew a 1/2" circle on one end and divided it into 10 equal spaces. Then, from the other side, I pounded in the brads. I then spread a bit of glue around the heads on the backside and let it dry.

Back then we were using either Hallmark or Tie Tie brand "sticks to itself" ribbon. It was easily split into thin(1/16" to 1/8") strips by tearing. I don't think that anyone makes this anymore. Sometimes you can get lucky and find old rolls in thrift shops or at yard sales. The reason for using it was that it worked with white glue. Some of the newer ribbons don't. If you use new ribbon, you may have to try some different glues until you find one that works. You can always make your bows with silk ribbon if you can't get the regular ribbon to work.

Anyway, here goes. It may help to number the brads on the outer edge of the wood with 1 to 10. First lightly glue a tiny piece of notebook paper in the center of the circle. This forms a base for the bow. Stick one end of the ribbon strip to this and let it dry a bit.

Second you start wrapping the ribbon around one brad and going to the pin directly opposite(6) for the next wrap. Put a tiny bit of glue between each layer of ribbon and hold it down with a toothpick. If you use the fancy Japanese toothpicks, you can use the pointy end for the glue and the blunt end to hold down the center. Coming back across you wrap around #2, then to 7, 3, 8,4, 9 and so on.... You keep doing this until you have 3 loops on each of the brads. Let it dry on the brads. Then gently lift it off of the pins with an exacto knife or tweezers slid under the center. You may have to go around and lift some of the loops one at a time.

When you get it off, start bringing the loops up towards the center top. I do this by gently pulling with my fingertips. Here you see the finished bow. These are another thing that takes practice, but if you do a few you will get the hang of it quickly. After that, it will be like Lay's pototo chips. Bet you can't make just one!

See you tomorrow


Debbie said...

Casey how spooky, I found my bow maker today in the garage, while I was having a root round and like you it was home made. I'll have to take a picture and post it on my blog!
I wanted it to make a bow for a Witches hat..

Caseymini said...

LOL Debbie, is that a case of "Great minds think alike." or is it "Fuzzy minds are muddled together."? I want to see your version. I have one that a machinist made that has 3 different sized bows in a heavy metal plate. I never use it. I like mine better!

Never Enough Time said...

How clever. Thanks for sharing the instructions for making the bow maker.

A. Wright said...

Thanks so much for this. I have a project that's been shelved for months because I hadn't found a good way to make nice bows!!

Kat The Hat Lady said...

Wow thankyou for this how to make article! I got one of these bow makers and never mastered it! So I will give it a try this week Kat the hat lady. P.S fab blog page!

Kathi said...

I tried this but took a short cut. No luck. Where do you put the glue???

susanne said...

Am I the only one who can`t get the link of the bow maker to open?

Poor me and lucky you then.....

Have fun


Caseymini said...

Susanne, how did you comment on the entry if you couldn't get it to open? Try putting "bow maker in the search box to the right. All of the onformation that you need is in the entry that is titled "Before Bowdazzlers". Good luck!

Chris P's Minis and More said...

perfect been wondering how to makr this kind of a bow!!!! TY Casey!!!