DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

November 19, 2012

Ready for a fun no sew DIY? I thought I’d share a project with you that I recently worked on for the first time in my hotel room earlier this month in preparation for my book launch party at Anthropologie. I mentioned to my husband, Thorsten, that I wanted to give those who were helping me and speaking at my party a special tag to wear but a sticky name tag felt too generic and boring so I wondered if I should just skip the typical name badges and give them something pretty to wear on their lapels and shirts that would set them apart from the crowd AND that they can use and wear again & again. He suggested using fabric, in keeping with my obsession for textiles, and to create simple bows. Of course, it’s impossible for me to be inspired and then just do as I’m told – I have to spin it a million time around and around so that I can come up with my very own idea and so that is exactly what I did. I decided to make bow TIES with fabric button centers and pretty ribbons hanging from them. Easy!

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

STEP ONE |||  My first stop was Liberty where I found lots of ribbons and fabrics. You can approach this project two ways, using: 1) Neat fabric strips, ribbon or bias tape OR 2) Torn strips of fabric with frayed edges. I opted for the “neat” look but in the future, I want to try out the frayed torn fabric strips because I think those could be amazing too! At Liberty, I picked up several packs for their bias tape in, of course, iconic Liberty prints. So YOUR first step for this project would be to pick the fabric, ribbon and/or bias tape that you want to use.

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

STEP TWO |||  My next idea was, because I was in a hurry, to find already-covered fabric buttons. Liberty had loads in their haberdashery department so I bought a jar of them. You can also make your own with button kits (like the kit from Cath Kidston for Chronicle Books), or buy packages of button kits at your everyday craft and sewing store (the most affordable option). I made them for the first time in the beginning of 2011 at Sania Pell’s house when we were crafting together and have been hooked ever since – they are super easy to do, so don’t feel intimidated! After finding the buttons, I started shopping at Liberty for ribbons.

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

STEP THREE |||  The next step is to lay all of your tools out before you and start to think of the colors and patterns you wish to use and determine how many bow tie pins that you’d like to make. This past Saturday, I made 17 of them for students who will be attending the Blogging Your Way: Studio class in my home studio space.

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

STEP FOUR |||  Loop your bias tape (or whatever you decided to use) around your hand, with your fingers closed, 3 times and pinch in the middle to form a bow. You may want to use a pin to hold it in place for now. If you want your bow to be stiffer, you can use horsehair from a millinery supply shop.

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

STEP FIVE |||  Next, grab a covered button and put a ribbon or string through the center of your button.

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

STEP SIX |||  You will now tie the button to the bow by flipping it face down on your work surface. But first, before tying, lay two ribbons down to form an “X” over the ribbon that your button is on.

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

STEP SEVEN ||| Now tie everything together good and tight. I suggest making a knot.

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

STEP EIGHT |||  Now add a safety pin. I used gorgeous French Pins by Merchant & Mills that I bought at Liberty – but they are available online too. I am addicted to them now and will never use standard silver ones again – these are softer and more flexible but also elevate the craft a bit making it look more fancy.

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

STEP NINE |||  Flip over your bow and admire it, along the lines of, “ohlala”, and then do a little happy dance. Make some friends for your bow so there are more pretty ones to enjoy and giveaway. You can make big floppy bows for curtain tie backs, for jackets, for presents and everything else you can imagine topping with a pretty handmade touch. You can also add tags to them with the names of your guests for a party.

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie Pins To Wear & Decorate With!

STEP TEN |||  Finally, wear your bow with pride – you made it! No one has to know that it took you minutes to pull together. Doesn’t that feel good?

Note: If you share this project on Pinterest and your blogs, please add the link back to this blog post so your followers have the complete instructions and because, well, it’s just the nice thing to do.

(images: styling/project & photography: holly becker for decor8)


  • Reply Louisa Blackmore November 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    So EXCITED because I just spotted the name badge for me! Holly you are the sweetest person ever!! LOVE them xx

  • Reply mijk November 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    What an awesome hairaccessory for daughter to make herself!

  • Reply emma November 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Oh theses are lovely :D A super idea which I think I will make for my christmas gift wrap with vintage buttons :D:D Thank you for sharing :D:D

  • Reply Ashley {GirlyObsessions} November 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Supre cute, Holly! Lovely use of fabric!!

  • Reply Holly (Love,Thomas) November 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm


  • Reply Ivana @ Macarons and Pearls November 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    What an amazing and adorable idea! It’s really a perfect alternative to sticky name tags :)

  • Reply Giulia November 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I love the ribbon on them. I made my own bow ties earlier this year when I had trouble finding nice vintage ones. I also took the no sew approach and used fabric samples and scraps. I use the extra ones all the time now and have also glued a couple of them to headbands for my daughter.
    I might add some ribbon now that I saw yours.
    If you want to you can see mine here.

  • Reply Juliette November 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Oh, I love this! I picked up some of those buttons when I was at Liberty this fall and have been mulling over possible crafty ideas. This is perfect b/c I’ve also been wanting to make a pin to perk up some of my teaching outfits, so this lets me kill two birds with one stone (or should I say fabric covered button?).

  • Reply Dee November 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Very sweet, this would be a very cute gift for a little girl.

  • Reply Shannon Willey November 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Great idea! I’m hoping to try it myself to use for name tags for participants at a few workshops we’re having in our shop. Thank you!

  • Reply Rekha November 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Amazing! I love this idea and way better than a boring generic name tag! Very creative!

  • Reply Pilar November 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Lovely! :)


  • Reply Gabrielle Treanor November 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    So simple and so gorgeous, I love it!

  • Reply FrauSchmitt November 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Wow, I loved this idea at once and made one for myself. The best thing about it is that you don’t need to sew. A very easy but oh so beautiful and fast project. Thank you very much for sharing this idea.

  • Reply Christine November 20, 2012 at 1:40 am

    I’ve been looking around for a neat project, and looks like just the thing! Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply fenny setiawan November 20, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Holly, thank you for sharing this sweet and easy DIY. First time I saw it on your Instagram and I really hope that you shared the steps, and you did..yay!

    I have tea party gathering at my house with my girl friends next month for Christmas, so I will make this for them as well… I think it is a very nice gesture to give your lovely guests something that you made by your self.


  • Reply hueisei November 20, 2012 at 2:36 am

    I love this tutorial! Thanks for sharing

  • Reply Glenda Childers November 20, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Ah … you and Thorsten are a good pair.


  • Reply Pysselbolaget November 20, 2012 at 9:10 am

    We love it and we’ve shared it on Pinterest! We will also try it out soon. It’s a perfect craft for us mother-daughter crafters.

  • Reply salma November 20, 2012 at 10:30 am

    lovely ^^

  • Reply Anna November 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

    These are really cute and so simple. Holly you just inspired me for all my god children’s christmas presents!!

  • Reply Suzanne Morris November 20, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Great! Going to post a link on my site and do something like this with my toddler, she is as obsessed with buttons as I am and she love ribbons and pieces of fabric! thank you.

  • Reply Nat @ Dear Little House November 20, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Amazing! They are gorgeous. I could imagine myself getting carried away and having a billion different colour combinations for any occasion!

  • Reply Alison @Brocantehome November 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Even though there is no doubt that I am the most hopeless crafter in the blogosphere, I do believe even I could whistle up a few of these little darlings… Thank you.x

  • Reply Tina Ramchandani November 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    The name tag/bow tie combos are a really good idea + they look fairly easy to make. I’m a little jealous I won’t be attending this BYW event. I’m going to make you make me a bow tie pin next time I see you Holly!

  • Reply Sam November 20, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Love it, thank you

  • Reply Lucianna Samu November 21, 2012 at 10:59 am

    So simple and cute. Great way to use the classic fabric I have collected. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply FrauSchmitt November 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I’ve posted my bowtie today on my blog and linked back to you, so people can see how to make them.
    Great idea, I’m sure, it was not the last one, I made.

  • Reply Trisha Brink November 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Hello Miss Holly! I just wanted to stop by on my rounds today to say how thankful I am for wonderful you! I have been inspired by all that you do and share here on your blog…and since it’s my week to give shout outs to those I’m thankful for (Thanksgiving here in the USA tomorrow!) I thought I’d stop by and let you know.

    Cheers for a great Christmas Season, may you be blessed beyond measure!


  • Reply Barbara November 22, 2012 at 8:28 am

    simply adorable, Holly …

    thank you so much for sharing!

    Barbara :)

  • Reply Lyndsey November 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

    What a fantastic idea! Now I just have to think up a colour scheme!

  • Reply kellie - fireworks display November 24, 2012 at 12:56 am

    This is very easy to do! I’m sure my daughter will enjoy doing this with me. :)

  • Reply Juliette November 30, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I totally made this and loved it and wore it to class! Great idea Holly! Thanks!

  • Reply Anna Steffi December 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Oh, the buttons are so cute. Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing! <3

  • Reply Catherine December 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Love these.. just made one with wired ribbon, vintage button with a sprig of rosemary for the holidays !

  • Reply dani February 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    merci pour cette jolie idée de broche et le tuto très bien expliqué ! bravo !

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