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How to Make Hair Bows for Dogs

| Updated September 26, 2017

Long hair from the top of your dog's head can easily fall into his face. Stray hairs can scratch his eyes, causing them to become irritated and possibly infected. His irritated eyes may weep, staining his fur with pinkish tear stains. Sure, you could pull his hair back with a simple rubber band, but what would be the fun in that? Hair bows can be as utilitarian or as fun as you want them to be -- and they can be easy enough to make a variety that is suitable for all fashions and occasions.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric ribbon

  • Ruler

  • Scissors or pinking shears

  • Sewing needle

  • Thread

  • Barrette or alligator clip

  • Glue gun and glue stick

  • Fabric stiffening spray (optional)

  • Decorative beads or glitter (optional)

  • Select Your Ribbon

  • Choose ribbon that contrasts with your dog's fur. For toy-sized dogs, select ribbon that is between 0.5 and 1 inch in width. For medium-sized or larger dogs, ribbon less than 1 inch in width will seem too small for your dog's face. Do not use paper ribbon, which will tear or will fall apart if it gets wet. Choose two or more ribbons of different colors or patterns if you will be making a layered bow.


    • Fabric ribbon that has a tight weave or is slightly stiff or heavy will be easiest to work with. Softer or lighter-weight ribbon can be made easier to work with with a light coating of spray starch or fabric stiffener.

  • Measure and Cut the Ribbon

    • Decide how wide you want your bow to be. A bow should be in proportion with the dog who will wear it, so that it will not overwhelm him or look silly or odd when it is in his hair. A bow 2.25 inches or 2.5 inches wide is appropriate for a toy-sized dog. 
    • Measure double the length of ribbon for the width of bow you are making. Add 0.5 inch for an overlap for a toy-sized bow. Add 1 inch for an overlap for a larger bow.
    • Cut slightly shorter ribbons for additional layers, if desired.
  • Assemble the Ribbon

    • Thread your needle and set it aside.
    • Form a loop with the ribbon, overlapping the ends by 0.25 inch for smaller bows or 0.5 inch for larger bows.
    • Center the overlapped ribbon edges behind the solid length of ribbon. Press down on the top of the ribbon, forming two loops.
    • Tack the overlapped ends in place behind the ribbon, bringing your needle up through the bottom at the center of the bow.
    • Wrap the thread around the ribbon, gathering the ribbon to form a bow tie shape.
    • Use glue gun to attach the alligator clip or barrette to the back of the bow.


    • Baby hair clips can hold very short hair. Use them for puppy bows or for breeds with shorter hair.

  • Embellish Your  Bow

  • Embellishing is a task limited only by your imagination. Wrap the center of the bow with a contrasting ribbon and glue it in place -- or glue feathers or rhinestones there for a more luxurious effect.