Hair Bow Tutorial and the History Behind It

Hair bows have been around for years and in general the consensus is that they are a cute accessory for little girls. However, the hair bow has a bit more history to it than just being cute. Discover the unique story and how to make a high quality hair bow for kids or adults. 

Hair bows have been worn since the 17th century. During the 17th and 18th centuries men and women used them with their wigs, with men tying their longer hair in the back with a bow. Though the trend for men dissipated, women continued the trend in the 19th century until the roaring twenties came about. At that time headbands with beads and feathers became the trend along with short hair.

It wasn’t  until the 1940’s the hair bow made a glorious comeback  with a secret message. Girl’s would wear hair bows to reveal their love life. A bow on the top of her would mean she is single, a bow on the back would mean she is not interested. Bow worn on the right side is indicating the girl is deeply in love and the left side is to show that she is going steady.


So now that we have a few fun facts about hair bows, let's start our small project and make one!

What you need for this tutorial:

First, cut a strip of fabric the width you want your bow to be. We used the shorter side for a small bow, but if you want to make your bow bigger, just cut long ways. Lay out the strip in front of you and take each side and fold it up to the middle point. Let one side go, but keep the other side exactly where you have it. With your available hand, take your trusty hot melt glue gun and add some fabric glue to the underside of the side in your hand then glue into place. You should have one side folded over and glued down. Once one side is in place, glue the other side into the middle so the two ends meet each other. Surebonder glue guns make this easy because of the insulated nozzles. They are ergonomically designed and help keep the user safer.


If they are not perfectly even, just take your scissors and trim them so that each side is proportional to the other.  

At this point we want to fold the fabric accordion style with the open ends folded towards the back. This will give you an idea of how your DIY bow will look.

To secure the bow, cut a small long strip from your fabric that will wrap around the center. This time, after folding your bow like an accordion, place your new strip of fabric around it. In the back of the bow, place a small dab of craft glue in the middle of each fold. Finally, add a dab of hot glue to the center and secure one side of your fabric strip, then glue the other side. Cut off the excess and you have a bow!


If you want to add the tails to your bow, lay your bow out on your fabric and cut out a strip just a little bit larger than the bow itself. Proceed to cut larger triangles from the long sides of fabric, this should look like a bow when you’re finished. Next, cut a smaller triangle out of the short sides starting at the ends to give your tails beautiful points.


Lastly, fold the piece in the middle so the tail points are both facing down and use your craft glue gun to glue it onto the back of your bow. For this bow, we added an alligator clip on the back at the very end due to the face we added the tails. If you prefer not to have tails, you can always secure the clip during the process of securing the center of the bow.

Have you tried the specialty detail glue gun in this tutorial? Tell us how you like it!

1 comment

  • Chloe

    I love hair bows thank you so much to the person that posted this article up. I never realized that in different places of where you wore them meant different things. Thank you thank! God bless hair bows and long live hair bows ❤️🍀👗🍯

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