bowHow to Make a Bow Graphic

Wouldn't you like to wrap up your Christmas web page or e-card with a festive holiday bow? Making a bow like the one at left is very easy, even if you're not too artistic. As a big fan of the pre-tied stick-on bows this graphic resembles, I can tell you that I have much better luck making these virtual bows than I do trying to make fancy ribbon loops in real life.

I used Macromedia Fireworks to make the images in this tutorial, but any graphics program that lets you make triangles and octagons should work just fine.

The Instructions

  1. step 1 First, make a right triangle. Use a bright, medium-dark color.
  2. step 2 Make a copy of your triangle and flip it horizontally. Use the color picker in your graphics program to make the color lighter (increase brightness, keep hue and saturation the same). Now put the second triangle next to the first triangle to form an isosceles triangle. Group those two triangles together -- this will become important in later steps.
  3. step 3Draw an octagon the same color as the first triangle, then use the color picker to make it a lot darker, almost black.
  4. step 4Rotate the two-tone triangle so it can be placed against one of the sides of the octagon. Make a copy of the triangle, rotate it some more, and put it along another side of the octagon. Continue all the way around until there's a triangle on each side. Don't worry if the angles don't match up precisely, or if the triangles don't completely cover each of the octagon's sides. If your bow isn't perfect, it will look more realistic.
  5. step 5Once you've completed the outer circle of triangles, arrange more triangles in a smaller circle inside the octagon. Try to arrange these so that they cover up any blank spaces between the triangles around the edge.
  6. correct incorrectNaturally, these triangles in the middle are going to overlap. To make the bow look more realistic, make sure that you can only see a side overlapping a point, never a point overlapping a side or another point. Bring triangles to the front and move them to the back as necessary to accomplish this.
  7. step6Fit the inner circle of triangles in any way you can. They don't have to make a perfect circle, and you don't have to fit one between each triangle on the outer row.
  8. step7You should have one big gap left in the middle of the octagon. The last loop of "ribbon" to fill this spot will be a square. Make two rectangles the same colors and approximately the same size as the right triangles making up the rest of the bow. Group them together into a shape that's more or less square.
  9. step8Rotate the square and resize it as needed so it fits into the gap left in the middle of the octagon. That's it! You're done!

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