How to Add Ribbon to a Christmas Tree

Add ribbon to a Christmas tree

I’ve always loved the way twirls of ribbon look on a Christmas tree, but it was such a hassle (and expense!) to get “just right”. After some experimenting, I found an easier way to add ribbon to a Christmas tree. Ready to learn?

Do you remember the tinsel garlands that were oh-so-popular on your grandma’s tree? Can you believe that you can actually still buy that stuff?! It would either wrap around the tree like a candy cane, or it would be sort of draped from limb to limb.

I can hardly remember a Christmas tree that didn’t have tinsel strung around it while I was growing up.

But then, someone had the bright idea to use yards and yards of ribbon instead! The style stayed the same for a while…either wrapped or draped…and then people got creative with how to attach it.

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Christmas tree decorated with ribbon

The Problem With Christmas Tree Ribbon

The problem, as I discovered, is how time-consuming it is to attach the ribbon so that it actually looks pretty. Not to mention how expensive it can be to decorate a full tree!

Some of the ribbons that I’ve fallen in love with have a price tag upwards of $25 for a single roll! I’m just way too frugal to go for that.

One way to address the cost issue is to purchase your ribbon right after Christmas when it all goes on clearance. I’ve been lucky to find rolls for 90% off during those sales! If you get lucky, you can buy several rolls to store for the next year.

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However, the pickins do get slim by that time of the year, so you’ll have to take what you can get if you wait for closeouts. If you like a certain style, color, or pattern, you might not be able to find it at a good price…especially if it’s a popular style.

Also, you might not have the same taste for how you want to decorate the following year, and then you end up storing ribbon that you never use. I’ve done my fair share of that, too!

Today, I’m going to teach you my method for adding ribbon to a Christmas tree that saves time, as well as money! That’s my kind of decorating hack!

Be sure to pin this post for ideas on how to decorate your tree, too!

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The Best Ribbon for Decorating Trees

When you’re choosing ribbon to add to your Christmas tree, the most important thing is to find wired ribbon. Wired ribbon has a thin, flexible wire the runs along the edges of the entire length of ribbon. This helps to give the ribbon just a little bit of shape.

If you use non-wired ribbon, it will flatten and sag in no time. But wired ribbon keeps its fluffy shape indefinitely!

Also, if you’re decorating a standard height tree (around 6-8 feet tall), make sure to pick a ribbon that is around 2.5″ to 3.5″ wide. Anything more narrow than that, and it won’t properly match the scale of your tree.

If you have an especially tall tree, choose an even wider ribbon. And, if you’re decorating mini trees, pick something smaller.

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Should Ribbon Be Added to a Tree Before or After Hanging Ornaments?

Always add your ribbon first, before decorating with any ornaments. If you were to hang the ornaments first, it would be very difficult to gain access to the parts of the tree you need to add the ribbon. This could lead to bumping ornaments off your tree and maybe even breaking some of your treasures!

That said, after you’ve added your ribbon, you might find that you need to adjust it a little bit here and there to look “just right” with the ornaments you’ve added. With the method I’m teaching you in the next section, that’s no problem! You can easily make adjustments as you need.

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Cutting lengths of ribbon to add to a Christmas tree

Steps to Add Ribbon to a Christmas Tree

The process to add ribbon to your Christmas tree couldn’t be easier than this method!

  1. To begin, cut your ribbon into lengths of approximately, 12″, 24″, and 36″. You’ll use the shorter pieces near the top of your tree, and the longer pieces toward the bottom.
  2. Each branch of your tree will have “forks”. These are the places where the branch splits. Pinch one end of the ribbon and gently tuck it into a fork within the tree. This will hide the terminal end of the ribbon.
  3. Next, wrap/drape/fluff your ribbon in a diagonal direction across your tree. Because the ribbon is wired, it will be easy to keep in your desired shape. Tuck the other end into a different fork further down the tree.
  4. For longer sections, you will likely want to create multiple poofs along the way. Do this by pinching the ribbon and tucking into forks as you go.
  5. If you’d like to see a brief 2-minute video that demonstrates exactly how I added ribbon to our tree, click here to watch!
Ribbon wrapped around a Christmas tree

What Makes This Method Easier?

For starters, you’re working with shorter sections of ribbon than you would if you tried to wrap many yards around the tree. This allows you greater control over where the ribbon is tucked and fluffed along the way.

If you should need to adjust a section (either intentionally, or because it was jostled), you don’t have to worry about unwrapping the entire tree–you only need to tweak that one piece.

You will also be using much less ribbon overall to achieve the same look. When you use a continuous length of ribbon, at least half of it is tucked deep within the tree where it’s not really visible. Or, if your tree backs to a wall or corner, much of the tree is unseen altogether! This method effectively removes those wasted bits, which means you don’t need to buy nearly as much!

I hope this tutorial helps to save you time and money as you decorate your Christmas tree with lots of beautiful ribbon! Goodness knows, we could all use more of both this time of year! Happy Christmas, everyone!

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