Tying the perfect bow is but one step in the process, and not the first one. First, you must navigate the wide variety of fabric types and colors available, then select the right mix that complements your wedding theme. The next step is tying the perfect bow for your maple syrup party favors, embellishing your wedding favors exactly as you envisioned to enhance your wedding day theme.
Whether you have nimble fingers, or all thumbs, learning the proper techniques is key. Over the years I've been asked a ton of questions about hang tags. How to affix them to the bottle? The proper way to tie the perfect bow? Where to purchase supplies? This guide is a FAQ of all the information I've gathered over the years, compiled in one convenient spot. The information, links, and videos included here should answer your questions about selecting the right ribbon and then easily attaching them to your party favors.
Get Setup from the Beginning
Regardless of what type of tie you end up choosing, you need to set the conditions for your workspace. Grab a clean dish towel and fold it in thirds like a letter. This is where you'll lay the bottle and it will stay put, not sliding around and making it much easier for you to work. Avoiding the game of slip and sliding over the table or countertop is a must. Over the last couple of decades, this is the first piece of advice I've shared to inquiring couples looking to solve their bow tying woes, it is always received with a grateful, "Thank you! What was I thinking?".
Not all Ribbon is Created Equal
You probably already have a decent idea regarding your skill level in the field of bow tying. Understanding your abilities will weigh heavily on your choice of material (or who you decide to ask for help!). Remember, not all ribbon is easy to work with.
Scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram looking for inspiration on hang tags and ribbons will have you quickly experiencing decision fatigue. This is when you need to take a deep breath and think about how difficult a project you're equipped to handle. I would advise you to first pay attention to the different types of ribbons. There are wired ribbons that hold their form and can make the tying process a bit easier. Then some ribbons have a different face on each side, a factor that will need to have close attention paid while you're fashioning your bow. Satin, organza, and tulle are extremely popular as well, each with its pros and cons (which I'll dig into a bit more below). I'll also get into curling ribbons, pull bows, and burlap as well. Arm yourself with the information below and go select the right type of ribbon for you! I'll link to some helpful how-to videos and blogs so you don't need to waste time searching on your own.
How to Tie a Bow with Ribbon?
It's complicated, much like building relationships, but no need to worry about that now, there are bows to be tied and party favors to embellish.
If you aren’t using a hang tag and just need a ribbon, I suggest watching this video and creating a beautiful little bow that you can attach to the front of your favor on the neck of the bottle. Plus, any type of ribbon works with this method.
If you already own one, attach the ribbon with a hot glue gun. Easier yet, use a glue dot, Michaels sells glue dots for around $5 for 200. There are also some you can get in a neat little dispenser. Dots can be found at almost any local craft store or an office supply outlet. I've used both the glue gun and dots, in my opinion, it's not even a competition, the dots are so much easier to use.
Pull Bow Ribbon
Pull bow ribbon?! You may have never heard about this nifty bow, but it must have been designed by the decorating Gods. I've used these bows throughout the years from everything to wedding favors, all the way to our maple gift baskets. All you need to do with the pull ribbon is measure the desired length, cut, pull the ends of the string, and then tie the strings off in a knot. You can use the string to wrap around the bottle and attach the hang tag if you're using them, or cut off the strings and attach the bow with a glue dot. It doesn't get any easier than these!
Papermart has a princess pull ribbon that is a perfect size for a syrup favor. The colors go with any theme and you can still add a hang tag for personalization. Be careful and don't go too wide with your ribbon selection, they are pom-pom shaped and if you go too big it will overwhelm your favor.
Satin Ribbon Bow
For this type of bow, I like using the smaller widths of satin ribbon on a spool, for the same reason as the pull ribbon. Any craft store will have an abundance of these, my town has a Joann Fabrics which ends up being my go-to for craft ribbons. Joann also has a slew of colors to match the season and occasion as well.
It's important to note, that a satin ribbon can be slippery to use if you tend to be a bit clumsy. However, a little practice and perseverance will make a big difference and you can enjoy multiple elegant shiny bows at your event.
If you're all thumbs, Papermart has you covered with their tiny, pre-tied satin ribbons. The last time I looked they offered 16 different colors.
Raffia is the new rage for rustic-themed weddings taking place in a barn or some other outside rural setting. It's used to tie up bouquets, wrap around mason jars, and, yes, you guessed it, attach hang tags on maple syrup favors.
What I like about raffia is it doesn't have a right or wrong side. This makes it much simpler when it comes time to tie your bow.
If you think raffia is right for you, wait, you still have some decision-making to do. Three types of raffia are all popular for different reasons, synthetic, paper, and natural. Synthetic raffia is made from nylon and is soft and pliable. Paper raffia is biodegradable and better for the environment, and natural raffia is made from leaves. Nashville Wraps has the market cornered on all styles and colors.
I am a real purveyor of natural products, so I want to delve a little deeper into what real raffia is all about. Made from gathered leaves of Palmyra trees native to Madagascar and then dried. The roll of ribbon is a bit more uneven and might take a bit more work to get some uniformity to your ribbon look from bottle to bottle. The sections of natural raffia tend to be wider on one end than the other. I find that it's not very pliable to work with, however, it will work if you have your heart set on a natural product.
If you have zero bow tying skills, then I would highly recommend curling ribbon. This is the stuff your Grandma probably tied on a gift package for every gift-giving occasion when you were young, and she probably had a ton of it in all different colors.
One of the best things about curly ribbon is it always adds a festive look and feel. Whimsical curls of ribbon just haphazardly flowing around maple syrup bottles on your wedding place setting sets the tone at the table.
The next best thing about curly ribbon is you just need basic knot tying skills and know-how to use scissors or some flat end to curl the ribbon.
Premier Packaging has over 100 options for curly ribbons if you can’t find what you want at a local craft store near you. The 3/8” to 1/4” width ribbon cut to a 12” length is a good size for maple syrup party favors and won't outcompete your favors.
There are a few techniques to recognize, like how hard or soft to hold the scissors to curl depending on your desired outcome. I've provided a nice video from YouTube showing exactly the way I do it here in the sugarhouse. Once you know how to do it yourself, you may get a few good ideas for sprucing up a gift bag or box with an inexpensive curling ribbon instead of an expensive pre-tied bow from the party store.
Here's another easy bow option that is simple, fun, and elegant. This elastic material has a pretied bow already in the loop. Slip your hang tag onto the bow, hold the bow and tag in one hand while you hold the bottle in the other. With your thumb hold the bow and ribbon on the neck of the bottle and wrap the loop around the neck until it's firmly held. I use a six-inch loop, the smallest, and that will give you 3 to 4 wraps around.
You can also get these at Papermart, they even have some selections in satin as well. The minimum order quantity appears to be in lots of 50 for about $2.49.
Have a Wedding Favor Assembly Party
Nothing makes a couple feel better about wedding preparations than knocking something off the long list of things to do. Gather the wedding crew for refreshments one evening and get to work embellishing your party favors. There's no reason you should struggle alone, get your local friends and family together, plus, they're probably looking for an excuse to get together anyhow. What might otherwise have been a tedious project, is now a positive part of the overall experience. There's no better way to get something done while also having a chance to talk about your final plans and expectations over food, fun, and favors.
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