In this post, I’m going to add to your Christmas decorating bag of tricks by showing you how to decorate with vertical ribbon on a Christmas tree for a unique festive look.
If you’ve read my post on some of my most effective Christmas tree-decorating tricks and secrets, then today’s post will just be adding to those holiday decorating ideas a little bit. In that post, I mentioned some tips for adding ribbon or garlands to a Christmas tree in a way that allows your eye to move around the tree and appreciate the whole thing rather than breaking it up into sections. This creates a more dynamic, interesting “framework” for your tree before you add the tree ornaments, berries, and Christmas ball decorations. For a bit of a different variation that will still look right at home with all your classic Christmas decorations, you can try adding vertical ribbon on a Christmas tree. Whether you prefer a spool of burlap for a cozy, rustic look, grosgrain ribbon, shining satin ribbon, plaid ribbon, or elegant velvet ribbon, this technique will elevate your Christmas decor this holiday season. The best part is that it’s deceptively simple and easy to do!
Adding Vertical Ribbon to a Christmas Tree
So here’s how to put ribbon on a tree vertically for a merry look no matter what color scheme you use when you decorate your home this year.
The first thing you’re going to need to think about is how much Christmas ribbon you’ll need to buy, or take out from your ribbon stash. I usually use between one and two rolls of wide, wired ribbon for my 7.5 foot tree, and each roll measures about 25 feet. I often have a little leftover to make a bow or two for wreaths, but it’s good to have a little extra just in case you need to fill in an empty spot on the tree.
If you want a more “serious” traditional look, purchase several rolls of the same style of ribbon, and if you want your tree to look more playful, use 2-3 different widths and patterns. Widths between 2.5″ and 4″ usually work very nicely to deck the halls.
With my trees, I usually go with just one type, and I buy an extra roll as well to make bows as well as my favorite Christmas bow tree toppers.
When vertical ribbon is done well, it looks like it’s cascading perfectly down the tree, creating kind of a dynamic effect, rather than rigidly running down the sides of the tree in very straight lines. Creating this effect takes a few clever tricks!
See more from this space: How to Use Elegant Red Christmas Decor Without Overwhelming a Small Space
How to Put Ribbon on a Christmas Tree: Tricks for Success
The secret to this whole process is that while it looks like you have long lengths of ribbons, joyfully descending down your tree, each length of ribbon is, in fact, cut into several smaller pieces. Add your vertical ribbon right after you add the Christmas lights if you’re using a natural Christmas tree. If you have an artificial tree, add the ribbon right after you fluff up all the branches.
I find it easiest to work with pieces about three feet long. Tuck the top end into the tree near the trunk at the top, tuck the bottom end into the middle of the tree as well, then push the middle of the ribbon in towards the centre of the tree as well, creating two “loops”.
When you move onto your next three-foot piece of ribbon, don’t have it start directly below the one above it, but instead, move it a few inches to the right or left. This will create that dynamic, “cascading” effect and make it seem like the ribbon is dancing down your tree, rather than just falling straight down. You can also adjust your bottom ribbons so they fall at a bit of an angle if that looks right to you from where you’re standing.
Complete these steps until you’ve worked your way all around the tree, from top to bottom.
Read next: DIY Foraged Christmas Door Swag
Completing the Process and Finishing Touches
Stand back and look to see if there are any bare spots that could use an extra length of ribbon. You’ll probably need a few more lengths of ribbon at the bottom of your tree than you will at the top. When it comes to Christmas trees, more ribbon is almost always a good thing, so don’t worry about adding too much. Here are some examples of vertical Christmas tree ribbon from a few other trees that I’ve used this method on in the past.
Here’s a tree with blue and green black watch plaid ribbon from our kitchen one year.
Here’s a year where I used printed ribbon that looks like birch bark in a vertical pattern on the living room tree.
And now you know all the secrets. I always thought that adding ribbon vertically would take a lot of fussing to get it just right, but now that I’ve figured out that you can do it in smaller lengths, it’s really a super easy and gratifying experience.
What’s your favorite trick for adding ribbon to a Christmas tree?
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.