How to Decorate a Christmas Tree With Ribbon

silver ribbon on christmas tree

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It's no secret that Christmas trees look beautiful when adorned with ribbon. If you've always admired this look and are eager to try it out in your own home this season, we're here to help. Below, design experts share their top tips for what to keep in mind when shopping for and decorating with ribbon. Get ready to create the tree of your dreams!

christmas tree with shiny ribbon

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Add Ribbon After You Hang Lights

First things first: You'll want to put lights on your Christmas tree before doing anything with ribbon. However, Anna Olsen, JOANN crafted content trend lead explains, you'll want to add ribbon prior to hanging any ornaments to ensure that none of them fall off!

Weave Ribbon Throughout Your Tree

Michael Giannelli of East Hampton Gardens shares one of the ways he enjoys using ribbon on a Christmas tree. Giannelli suggests purchasing a four-inch wide wire ribbon and starting at the top of the tree. "Secure the ribbon with floral wire to a branch, then working vertically, loop the ribbon and tuck it into the tree and work your way down the Christmas tree," he explains. Giannelli suggests looping the ribbon to the left or to the right to create movement. "I use the back of my hand to help make the loop and then tuck it into the tree and secure it with wire," he explains. Giannelli advises keeping the ribbon on the spool during the process. "You don’t want to pre-cut the ribbon because eventually, you’ll run out," he comments. "If I’m working from the top of the Christmas tree down, I would make the loops continuously working left to right, and then when I get to the bottom of the tree, I would leave a tail and then continue again starting at the top," he adds.

Olsen offers some tips on how to achieve a dramatic look with ribbon. "For ribbon that cascades from the top of the tree, you'll want to start with the end of the spool at the top and tuck deep inside the branches intermittently as you go, taking advantage of the wired edge to create different-sized, sculpted billows that stand out from the tree," she explains. "You'll want these billows to just clear the branches so they don't droop. When you reach the end of the spool, cut a fishtail in the end or curl it for a finished look."

Another method involves cutting three-foot lengths of ribbon and bending them in the middle. "Tuck the fold back into the tree and use the ends to create two sculpted billows," Olsen instructs. "Repeat these at random angles all over the tree, then go back and add a second kind of ribbon for extra color and fullness."

silver ribbon on christmas tree

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Keep Your Ribbon Interesting

Don't be afraid to have fun with the ribbon that you choose. "I look for double-sided ribbons, so sometimes they have a plaid on one side and a gingham on the other or contrasting patterns, which makes the tree more interesting," Giannelli says.

Be Sure to Purchase the Proper Amount

You'll want to stock up on a sufficient amount of ribbon ahead of time so that you don't need to run back out to the store mid-decorating. Olsen offers a trick for determining exactly how much you'll need. "Measure your tree's height, and multiply by three," she says. "This is how many yards to start with, but it's always a good idea to buy a little extra to be certain you don't run out."

patterned ribbon on tree

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Make Use of Various Widths and Styles

Julie Kleski, Frontgate’s holiday expert, suggests incorporating two to three different ribbons onto a tree, opting for various widths. "Using a four-inch, a two-and-a-half-inch, and then a one-inch ribbon adds visual interest to the tree," she says. Kleski likes her four-inch ribbon to be velvet and feature the dominant color she plans to use on her tree, while the two-and-a-half-inch ribbon can be textured. "Your one-inch ribbon is your statement color or pop of color," she adds. "Utilize this as a final step in your ribbon design."

Esther Parkhurst, senior director of designs and trends at Lowe’s, agrees that a statement ribbon is key. “Shimmer, plaid, or even velvet ribbon is a chance to add dimension and texture to your tree—or a way to dip your toe into a new tree theme like the non-traditional pink tree décor we’ve seen trending over the last few years or dark glam, jewel tone hues, which offer a rich, elevated look for the holidays."

Evaluate Your Setup

Feeling like your tree may be fully trimmed? "When you feel you've added enough, stand back to see if the billows are evenly spaced," Olsen advises. "Make sure the ribbon doesn't overwhelm your tree and still allows room for floral sprigs and your favorite ornaments to shine."