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How to Make Korker Bows to Match Anything

What are "korker bows" anyway? We've all seen the tightly curled ribbons bouncing from ponytails across the country, but finding the right hair bow to go with that perfect outfit isn't easy. It can be especially daunting if you're trying to match accessories for a little girl. If that's the case, you need to be certain the hair bow you offer is the perfect one.

The best way to do that is to make it yourself.

make korker bows match

Curling Up the Perfect Korker Bow

Korker bows are the best because you can use just about any type of ribbon to make them. A huge selection of gorgeous ribbons are available, so be sure to check the composition of your perfect ribbon before you start working.

To get corkscrew curls in ribbon, you bake them -- yes, bake. As in, put in a hot oven. This works with just about all ribbon types: polyester, grosgrain, and even satin or organza.

Most modern fabrics have at least some polyester, a plastic, in the threads. When it bakes, the plastic melts and conforms to the corkscrew shape on the dowel. It fuses into that shape when it cools.

The ribbon type you cannot bake is nylon. Don't put nylon in the oven; the result won't be pretty.

Get Everything Together

Once you've decided on the method you're planning to use, it's time to get your supplies together. Here's what you need:

  • 1/4" or 3/8" ribbon
  • 1/4" wooden dowels (sand them smooth if needed)
  • Wooden clothespins or metal bulldog clips
  • Scissors
  • Fray check, lighter or clear fingernail polish
  • hot glue gun
  • French clips, headband or alligator clips
  • strong thread or dental floss
  • oven with temperature control
  • timer
  • can of heavy, professional spray starch (optional)

Making Your Own Korker Bow

Now that you've got all your materials together, you're ready to start making that perfect korker bow.

  1. Turn on the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. While the oven is warming, wrap your ribbon on the dowel.
  3. 2.1. If you're using 18" dowels, you'll need about a yard of ribbon per dowel. You don't have to precut the ribbon, but you can if you prefer.
    2.2. Wrap the dowel by attaching the end of the ribbon to the tip of the dowel with a clothespin or bulldog clip.
    2.3. Hold the ribbon tight while wrapping it in a spiral to cover the entire dowel. It's OK for the ribbon to touch but do not let it overlap. Cut the ribbon at the end and secure it with a clothespin or bulldog clip.

  4. Some like to spray the ribbons with a light coat of heavy, professional spray starch before baking. This is an optional step.
  5. Place your dowels on the baking sheet. They can be close together, but they shouldn't touch.
  6. Place your baking sheet in your oven, then set the timer for 20 minutes.
  7. When the timer sounds, remove the baking sheet and allow the ribbons to cool.
  8. You can spray them now (whether you did earlier or not) with the spray starch if you wish.
  9. Once the ribbon cools, remove it from the dowel by gently sliding it off or carefully uncurling it.
  10. Cut into 3" lengths for assembling your bow.
  11. 9.1. Seal the ends using fray check, lighter or clear fingernail polish.
    9.2. Center a bundle of ribbon on a length of thread long enough to wrap around it.
    9.3. Gather the thread around the bundle and pull it tight. Tie it off with a secure knot, then repeat and tie it off again. Fluff.

  12. Using the hot glue gun, secure your hair clip or headband to the bundle. Once the glue is set, turn it over and check the ends for any cleanup needed.

Viola! One gorgeous korker bow.
Now go make a little girl -- or big a one -- very happy!

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