There are those of us who like to decorate a Christmas tree by draping garlands around the tree horizontally and others who prefer vertically. I am usually in the first camp, but when I saw this ribbon tree topper in the Grandin Road catalog I had second thoughts. Their description of it reads as follows - Fabulous ribbons of color on a Ribbon Tree Topper make for effortless tree trimming. Vibrant ribbons and beads cascade down your tree. With its sophisticated simplicity, this ribbon tree topper may be the only decoration your tree needs. The downside- it cost $79.00, plus s&h.
Grandin Road catalog version:
Something I liked, but was out of my budget was all I needed to get my mind racing with ideas on how I could make one myself using my stash of ribbons. I also wanted to personalize it with my family members’ names. To do this- I used paints and stencils from the Martha Stewart’s Craft line from Plaid that is sold at Michaels.
I succeeded, using ribbons – the colors I decorate my house with for Christmas. I haven’t bought my real tree yet, but plan to use this new Ribbon Topper when I get it. It will be a much bigger tree and I will add all my ornaments.
What You Will Need
1 Embroidery Hoop – I used a 3” diameter hoop. If you have a large tree you can use a bigger hoop that will accommodate more ribbons.
Ribbons – the length of the height of your tree, plus 6-inches. I used all different colors, patterns, and widths to create interest.
Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Craft Paint in Seaweed. Glitter Paint in Florentine Gold Glitter and Sterling, and Metallic Paint in Gold Metallic and Sterling Metallic
Martha Stewart Crafts Stencils # 37 and #20
Martha Stewart Crafts Monogram Serif Stencil SetCorrugated Cardboard White and Glitter Scrapbook papers Beads Beaded Garland Paper Cutter White Glue Scissors Paint Brush Long Sewing needle or a wire ornament hook
How To Make The Embroidery Hoop Topper That Will Hold The Ribbons and Streamers
Paint the embroidery hoop using Martha Stewart Crafts paint in Seaweed. Set aside and let dry.
Cut your ribbons to the desired length. When the paint is dry on the hoop, start tying your ribbons on the hoop. Leave about 4-6 inches of ribbon above the hoop to act as a festive tree topper. You can roll up the ribbons and secure each roll with a paper clip – this is only temporary, but will make it easier to get on top of the tree. Once the hoop is in place remove the paperclips and let the ribbons fall down the tree.
When the ribbon-covered hoop is on top of the tree, it will look like this.
I found these gold beaded garlands at a yard sale last summer – a big box of them for $2. They add shine and interest. To attach them to the hoop, I used florist wire. I wrapped one end under the first bead and the other end of the wire around the hoop.
The outside of the hoop will look like this when it is completely covered with ribbons.
To Make The Name Streamers
I wanted to make my ribbon tree topper a bit more personal and added the names of my family members’ along the length of some of the ribbons. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money and like to find ways to re-use and re-purpose. I ended up using these cardboard pieces that came in the packaging of wood blinds that I hung recently for a decorating client. I kept it knowing someday I would find a use for it.
I cut the cardboard into 2 – inch squares using my handy paper cutter. I also cut white scrapbook paper to the same size. I counted all the letters in my family members names and cut out a square for each letter. For the white paper – I doubled the number of squares needed because each cardboard square has a front and back that will require 2 of each letter.
I used Martha Stewart Crafts paints to stencil the letters onto the squares. The Gold and Silver Metallic along with the Florentine Gold Glitter and Silver Glitter.
I had a hard time choosing which stencil pattern I wanted to use as an accent at the bottom of each of the name streamers. I tested out the paints and stencils on a scrap piece of paper to help me decide. I ended up using the large snowflake stencil…
and the Monogram Sans Serif Stencil Set.
I also used one of the foam stencil pouncers. They are the coolest tool – much better than using a stencil brush. They come in different sizes and are so easy to clean up. I put a little bit of Florentine Gold Glitter paint and the Gold Metallic paint on a plate. I dabbed into the gold and then the gold glitter and dabbed a few times on the plate to remove the excess paint. Then pounced it over the snowflake stencil.
I did the same for the letters, but used the Silver Metallic paint and glitter paint also. At first it didn’t look very shiny and metallic-like, but once it was dry – it sparkled and looked very glittery.
I then cut some notches into the snowflake square.
To Assemble Name Streamers
If you don’t have a thin long sewing needle – you can make one with an ornament hook. Just bend it as shown and add a bit of tape. Instant needle that will make it very easy to thread beads and the cardboard squares onto the ribbon.
Thread the needle with your ribbon and push it through the center corrugated side of the cardboard as shown.
Use a pair of pliers to pull the needle out the other side.
Move it up the length of ribbon leaving about 12-inches from the top edge of the ribbon. Then string a bead on. Repeat this process until you have all the letters for the name on the ribbon. Brush white glue onto the cardboard to attach the stenciled letters. Flip the cardboard and attach a second letter to the other side.
At the end of each name streamer, add a stenciled snowflake and a bead or two. Knot the end of the ribbon, but do not cut.
I cut a bunch of different color glitter scrapbook paper into festive shapes and sandwiched the ribbon along with some white glue between them.
After they are assembled – neatly stack them and then place a heavy book on them to keep them from curling as they dry.
How To Curl The Ends of Wire Ribbon
I used mostly wired edge ribbon for my topper. To curl the bottom so each falls gracefully -wrap it tightly around a cardboard tube. ( You will be standing at your tree and picking up the end of each ribbon when you do this.)
Slip the tube out and you will be left with a nice curled ribbon. You can make smaller or larger curls depending on the size cylinder you use. A pencil would create a corkscrew curl. Wrapping around an OJ can will create a loose curl.
I used up a lot of the ribbon and beads I had already. I am so happy to have found a project to use them in a decorative way.
In the photos, you really can’t see how nice and sparkly the glitter and metallic paint get when they dry.
I agree with the Grandin Road catalog description – With its sophisticated simplicity, this ribbon tree topper may be the only decoration your tree needs.
How To Store the Christmas Tree Ribbon Topper
To easily and safely store the Ribbon Tree Topper, roll the ribbons up and secure each roll with a paperclip.
Place 2 –3 rolls into a sandwich bag and staple the bag closed. Repeat until you have all the ribbons rolled and in a bag. Lift the hoop off the tree and place the topper in a box or safe place until next Christmas.