How to tie a scarf into a hair bow | step by step guide

how to tie a scarf into a hair bow

Clockwise from Top L – pink vintage scarf from Lifeline Vintage Manly | sash from Annelise for Sussan Vintage Robe | Never Too Many Bunnies scarf by Kirbee Lawler, vintage Japanese silk scarf from Vinnies Rozelle


You may have noticed that I am a fan of hair bows, especially when tied from vintage scarves.  I guess they’re my signature look.  I do love a hair bow.  They’re brilliant for styling dirty hair, and tops at disguising regrowth.  When I was out shopping recently, I gave the lovely girls at my local Mimco store a crash lesson in how to tie a scarf into a hair bow.

Although there are multiple steps, it is easy peasy lemon squeezy and retro cute to boot!  Let me walk you through how to tie a scarf as a head bow.


How to tie a scarf into a hair bow | folding the scarf

How to create a kimba likes hairbow

Step 1 – take a square scarf and lay it flat.  I prefer vintage silk scarves as I like the quirkiness, the thrifted price is right and silk is more comfortable on your head.  Check for marks or rips and make sure these are folded inside the scarf.

Step 2 – fold opposite corners into the middle to make a lozenge shape.

Step 3 – fold one half of the scarf towards the middle.  If you have a rectangular scarf, start at this step.

Step 4 – fold the other half on top of your previously folded half.

Step 5 – fold the remaining scarf in half.  If you prefer a wider scarf, skip this step.

Step 6 – gently twist the scarf a little to help hold the folded shape.


How to tie a scarf into a hair bow | creating the bow


how to tie a scarf into a hair bow


Step 7 – place the scarf at the base of the hairline.  For this look place the folded scarf under  your hair. Place the open ends where you would like to position the bow. I find the side where my hair parts works best for me.

Step 8 – Just like tying a shoelace, tie a knot in the scarf, pulling firmly in opposite directions.

Step 9 – Tie your bow and rearrange until you are happy with the look.  For a longer scarf, you may like to double knot the bow.  You can tuck the triangular ends under the bow if you like.

Step 10 – All done!  You can choose to brush your hair straight back off your forehead, or brush to one side or pull sections of hair to fall under or over the scarf hair bow.


How to tie a scarf into a hair bow | alternative styles

  • Using a longer scarf, you can place the middle of the folded scarf on the front of your hairline, crossing it over at the nape of your neck, and tying it in the front of your head.  This works particularly well with long rectangular scarves.
  • You could also choose to tie the scarf over your hair, rather than placing it under the hair, for more of a Great Gatsby style look.  Tie the bow on the side of your head, rather than the crown, to emphasise the 20s look.
  • Create a rosette bow by tucking the open ends under the scarf to create extra loops, similar to the bow you’ve just tied.
  • Another way to tie a a scarf into a hair bow is to use a wider scarf, skipping a few of the folding steps, as a sort of snood to hold your hair.  With longer hair, you may prefer to put it into a bun or knotted ponytail.  Place the scarf around the back of your head, tucking your hair inside it and then tie in a bow on the front of your hairline.  This look evokes the WW2 icon Rosie the Riveter.
how to tie a scarf into a hair bow

Never Too Many Bunnies scarf by Kirbee Lawler

I simply adore rescuing unloved vintage scarves from thrift stores and market stalls, especially Kiwiana souvenir scarves and printed silk with handrolled hems.  Don’t necessarily discard a stained or torn scarf, as you may be able to hide this in the folding process.

I’d love to hear your hair bow tales.  Have you always wanted to know how to tie a scarf into a hair bow?  Well, now you do!  I’d love to see you wearing a hair bow!  If you’d like to share your images with me, just tag @kimbalikes on Twitter or Instagram or on the Kimba Likes Facebook page, with the hashtag #kimbalikeshairbows.  I’ve set up a group Pinterest Board too, called Kimba Likes Hair Bows.  Let me know if you’d like an invitation!


how to tie a scarf into a hair bow


Kimba Likes Image Credits

  • Photographs by Kim-Marie Williams

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  • Kell Kelly - 9 July 2015 - 5.45 am

    I have always loved the idea of headbows but have never actually tried wearing one. Not sure I could pull it off.
    I will give it a go though! Thanks for the tutorial Kimba.ReplyCancel

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  • Lisa Mckenzie - 15 December 2013 - 1.23 pm

    Lovely they really suit these Kimba i might have a go at wearing one xxReplyCancel

    • Kim-Marie Williams - 19 December 2013 - 10.19 am

      Go on, Lisa. Try it with natural curls on a day when you’re at home. You know, one of those stinky hot Sydney summer days.ReplyCancel

  • Trish - 11 December 2013 - 12.15 pm

    Very cute , I must pin this.ReplyCancel

  • Steph Allen - 11 December 2013 - 7.39 am

    So cute! I’ve never tried this look as I’m not the retro type but I might just have to give it a go, nice to try as different look every now and then 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Kim-Marie Williams - 19 December 2013 - 10.20 am

      Always fun to try out a few different styles. Definitely a great one for rocking dirty hair on hot summer days too.ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa - 10 December 2013 - 7.43 am

    Love a bit of retro Kimba! Thank you for the tutorial. I’d love to wear one of these with a pair of very retro bathers on the beach this summer.ReplyCancel

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