How to Tie a Gift Bow:
The Crisscross Loop

A Crisscross Loop is THE simplest, THE quickest,
and THE most economical way to tie a gift bow,
for any size of package. It's pretty, too!

Tie a gift bow: Use a crisscross loop for a narrow box.The gift wrapping department of a chic Westport, Connecticut store uses the crisscross loop to tie a gift bow. This attractive bow is easy to learn, fast to assemble and totally versatile, and it uses a minimum of gift ribbon. You'll love it for personal gift wrapping, too!

The plain crisscross loop is symbolic of many causes and sentiments - support our troops, for example, or with a pink ribbon for cure breast cancer. It's commonly seen as lapel pins, car magnets, and so on. But with the least bit of embellishment, the simple loop becomes a flattering accessory for the well-dressed gift.

The crisscross loop works best with a reasonably firm ribbon. Since both sides are visible, choose a ribbon that looks good on both sides - for example, the reversible "splendorette" ribbon frequently used in ready-made bows. A velvet ribbon with satin backing a good choice, too. The larger the gift, the wider the ribbon should be to provide good coverage.

Tie a Gift Bow: Crisscross Loop

Tie a gift bow: a crisscross loop uses very little ribbon.1) Cut a length of ribbon slightly more than twice as long as you want the finished bow to be. If your gift ribbon looks different on each side, begin with your favorite side down. If the ribbon is curved from being on a spool, begin with the ends curving up. Grasp one end of the ribbon with each hand, thumbs on top.
Tie a gift bow: Rotate both ends of the ribbon toward you.2) Rotate both hands toward you, and lay the ends of the gift ribbon side by side (thumb-side down) on the table. Imagine a scarf on a person's shoulders - the center of the ribbon will be upright, like the scarf behind the person's neck, and the ends lie flat, as on the person's chest, with best-side up.
Tie a gift bow: Cross the ribbon ends to omplete the loop.3) With a crisscross loop, you don't actually "tie" a gift bow but simply cross one end of the ribbon over the other to form the loop. Adjust the position and angle of the crisscross to determine the size and shape of the loop and length of the tails. Fasten the loop in place at the crossing point with double-stick tape or a staple.
Tie a gift bow: Cut the ribbon ends at an angle or make a V-shaped notch.4) Shape the ends of the gift ribbon with angle cuts or a V-shaped notches. A gift tag and/or a decoration affixed at the crossing point complete the Crisscross Loop. We often use a small graduated loops bow, as in the photo, for a nice finishing touch.

More Tips & Techniques

The plainness of a crisscross loop bow lends itself to all sorts of decorations and other options to make it a bit fancier. Here are a few, and I'm sure you will think of more:

Tie a gift bow: Stack 2 crisscross loops for added depth.
Double-dipper - Make a separate, smaller crisscross loop and lay it on top of the first, matching the spots where the tails cross. Secure with staple or double-stick tape. The second layer adds depth and gives you an opportunity to tie a gift bow with mixed or matched ribbon colors.

Tie a gift bow: A narrow contrasting ribbon makes a snappy stripe.Striped loop - Choose a fairly narrow ribbon and a wider Make a stripe with wrapping paper.ribbon of a different color or texture, and cut the same sized length of each. Place the narrow ribbon face down under the wider ribbon and tie a gift bow according to the instructions above. Secure with a bit of double-stick tape between each layer, at the crossing point - and here and there along the loop if needed.

Perfect coordination - Make a "Striped loop" with a strip of the gift wrapping paper in place of the narrow ribbon.

Other decorating ideas - Tie a gift bow that features something attractive and/or interesting at the crossing point:

  • Silk or paper flowers, one or more, with or without greens.

  • A small star bow or puffy bow - or 2-3 TINY ones in a row or triangle.

  • For Christmas: Sprig of holly and/or mistletoe, jingle bells, tiny candy canes, cluster of little ball ornaments, small pine cone & greens.

  • A favor or accessory related to the gift within, or to recipient's interests.

  • A self-stick gift tag or ornamental seal - if it's long/wide enough, use the sticker in place of tape to affix the bow to the gift.

  • Party favors or ornaments depicting the theme of the occasion are always appropriate.

  • Tie a gift bow with printed gift ribbon - either a seasonal/thematic design or a message like "Happy Birthday."

Tie a gift bow: A crisscross loop with silk flowers.Tie a gift bow: A crisscross loop with a snowflake medallion.Tie a gift bow: A crisscross loop with a minibow.Tie a gift bow: A crisscross loop with a Christmas Tree ornament.Tie a gift bow: A crisscross loop with a red plaid bow.

Simple, chic and versatile,
the crisscross loop bow is sure
to become a favorite.

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Logo photo by Jane M. Sawyer, courtesy of
Other photos courtesy of Libby Graphics, all rights reserved.