How to Decorate a Christmas Tree With Ribbon

    by Kate Lee

    About the Author

    Kate Lee's how-to articles have been published in "Sew Simple," "Craft Stylish" and "Soft Dolls & Animals" magazines. She has been sewing for more than 20 years and has a master's degree in technical writing.


    Try using colorful ribbon as a substitute for garland and tinsel on the Christmas tree this holiday season. You might even craft a beautiful matching ribbon bow to serve as a tree topper. Garland adds a festive look to a tree, and helps fill in any gaps between the branches. Wide ribbon with wire works best for this type of project and you’ll need enough to circle the tree several times, plus extra if you want to make a matching bow topper.

    Things You'll Need

    • 3-inch wide fabric ribbon with wire
    • 1/8-inch wide curling ribbon
    • Scissors
    • Cardboard

    Ribbon Garland

    Unroll a spool of 3-inch wide holiday ribbon. Cut the ends of the ribbon at a 45-degree angle to help prevent unraveling.

    Begin at the back of the tree near the bottom and secure the end of the ribbon in the branches. Drape the length of the ribbon over the branches of the Christmas tree like a garland. Let the ribbon hang softly over the branches in a gentle wave-like pattern.

    Circle the tree with the ribbon, ending in the back. Cut the end of the ribbon at a 45-degree angle and nestle the end securely in the branches to keep it in place.

    Drape another ribbon around the next layer of branches, several inches above the first layer of ribbon. Repeat until the whole tree is decorated and looks well-balanced.

    Ribbon Tinsel

    Choose a narrow curling ribbon, about 1/8 inch wide. A yard of ribbon will be enough for three pieces of tinsel, so you may need several spools to decorate a large Christmas tree. Choose a ribbon that sparkles and catches the light, such as silver or gold, or a ribbon color that contrasts with the Christmas tree, such as white or red.

    Cut the ribbon into strands about 12 inches long and carefully curl each strand loosely by running it over the blade of a scissors, taking care not to cut your fingers.

    Drape the center of each curly ribbon strand over the end of a Christmas tree branch, so that the ends of the ribbon hang evenly over the branch.

    Continue adding ribbon tinsel to the Christmas tree branches until the tree is as decorated with ribbon tinsel as you like.

    Ribbon Bow Topper

    Cut a piece of cardboard about as wide as you would like your finished bow.

    Wrap the ribbon around the cardboard about 12 times, with the loops on top of each other. Leave extra ribbon on the ends of the loops to make tails.

    Remove the loops of ribbon from the cardboard, being careful to keep the loops neat.

    Fold the loops of ribbon in half and tie them tightly in the middle with a short length of matching ribbon. It might be easier to hold both ends of the loops and have a helper tie the middle.

    Fluff out the ribbon loops so that the bow looks full and even and tie or wire it to the treetop.

    • You can also use holiday ribbon to hang and embellish regular Christmas ornaments.
    • Watch out for paper cuts -- the edges of ribbon can be sharp.

    Photo Credits

    • christmas bow and ribbon image by leafy from