The Art of the Messy Bow

Studio 5 Contributor Jennifer Heslop introduces the art of the messy bow.

Several different materials cut to differing lengths and widths, are combined into one single bow that is big on visual interest and intensity. This type of bow is a great use for fabric and ribbon remnants, as well as paper scraps and fringes.

Top a gift with a messy bow, or use one (or more!) to add whimsy to your home décor.

Layering to get the Look:

• The bow is created in layers. Begin with the base layer. This should be made up of the bigger “pieces.” Items such as newspaper, tissue paper, wide ribbon & strips of fabric work well as a base.

• The second layer consists of the medium weight materials, such a sheer fabric or ribbon, burlap, netting & medium width ribbons in various complimentary patterns and colors.

• The third and final layer is made of the lightest weight materials- shredded papers, twine, floss, laces, trim, thin ribbon, yarn, etc. Remember, anything goes in this project. Interesting fibers, even thin paper strips add flair.

Once you have all layers stacked on top of each other, simply tie it all together by wrapping a ribbon or string around all layers and securing in the middle of the bow. Then fluff and adjust each piece and form the bow into shape.

To add even more pizzazz, alter the state of the items you are adding to the bow. Fabrics and ribbon can be dyed, crumbled and frayed, so experiment with each item and layer of the bow to give it your own unique look.

Tea-Dye for an Aged Look

A good way to automatically “age” fibers and papers is to dye them in tea. To do this:

• bring a large pot of water to a boil

• and add 4-5 commercial tea-bags.

• Let the tea steep for 5 minutes.

• Add the fabric or paper the tea-bath and let soak until the desired color is achieved.

• Remove from tea and let dry (no rinsing is necessary).

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