How To Decorate A Christmas Tree With Ribbons

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 a ribbon tree topper in the Grandin Road catalog I had second thoughts. 

Christmas Ideas
Grandin Road Ribbon Christmas Tree Topper

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, I decorate for Christmas with non-traditional colors and the cost.

Decorate a Christmas tree with ribbon
Decorating Christmas tree with Ribbon

I really liked the cascading ribbon tree topper, so I figured out a way I could make one myself using my stash of ribbons. I also wanted to personalize it with my family members’ names.

I succeeded, using ribbons – the colors I decorate my house with for Christmas.

How to Make a Cascading Ribbon Christmas Tree Topper Using an Embroidery Hoop

supplies needed:

  • 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 Set
  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • White and Glitter Scrapbook papers
  • Beads
  • Beaded Garland
  • Paper Cutter
  • White Glue
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brush
  • Long Sewing needle or a wire ornament hook

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.

Ribbon-Christmas Tree-Topper

How to Make the 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.


How 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.


If you don’t have cardboard you can simply glue the paper squares together with the ribbon sandwiched in between.  I did that here with glitter scrapbook paper.


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.

decorate a christmas tree with Monograms-Ribbon
decorate a christmas tree with ribbon

How to Store the Ribbon Christmas Tree Topper

To easily and safely store the Ribbon Tree Topper, roll the ribbons up and secure each roll with a paperclip.

decorate a christmas tree with ribbon

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.

decorate a christmas tree with ribbon
decorate a christmas tree with ribbon
How to make a vertical ribbon to decorate a Christmas tree garland.

Looking for more Christmas tree topper ideas or how to decorate with ribbon? Check out how I use ribbon throughout my house all year long:

If you like all things Christmas don’t miss Readers Favorite, Easy Christmas Decorating Ideas.

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  1. I think I will do this over my white sheers in the dining room. I love red for Christmas, cobalt blue is my favorite color and I use that at Christmas too. Perhaps Gold, Red, and Silver together. Hmmmmm!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Joy – The streamers will look so pretty over sheers. Festive. I love seeing different colors used for holiday decorating, too.

  2. CHRISTMAS says:

    I love all kinds of decoration for christmas and this one about ribbons is so original and different so i think with this great idea im gonna improve my christmas tree for this year… Congratulation on this post!!!

  3. rebecca @ olderandwisor says:

    I’ve never been a fan of the “falling ribbons”…..I think I’m converted! SO FUN!!

  4. Honey We're Home says:

    So unique and creative! Thanks for linking up:)

  5. Janelle@domesticallyseasoned says:

    Hi i am a new follower and your tree absolutely BLEW ME AWAY. It looked super easy at first……..then looking and reading………it was a lot of work. BUT WELL WORTH it. I love it.

  6. Mod Podge Amy says:

    I agree with Lisa – didn’t really care for the original, but yours is awesome! So bright and colorful!!

  7. Lisa Heinz says:

    I did not like the “original” at all, but absolutely LOVE your version! So pretty and creative! I bet you smile every time you see it (I would!) :~)

  8. Diane–what a super tute on how to decorate this pretty tree! I think I’m too lazy to pull it off. :) Thanks for linking up and linking back to catch as catch can

  9. I am blown away by this! So pretty. We use ribbons on our tree every year, but it doesn’t look like that! I love it. The letters and snowflakes are so pretty. I would be so happy if you’d submit this to the Make and Takes spotlight page if you have a spare second–

  10. Lisa @ A Room with A View says:

    Absolutely stunning..another great tutorial, Diane, and it is so effective. Thank you!

  11. Wow! I just love the tree! What a wonderful idea and it turned out so very beautiful! Awesome job!

  12. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Oh Diane,

    I think your tree topper is just FABULOUS! I just love it. How clever and how beautiful. I wish I had a good collection of ribbons now… long enough that is.

    I like this so much more than the horizontal I have always done. It is just beautiful. How do you keep the kitty kats out of your tree?

    1. Trax thought it was pretty special and had a lot of fun playing with the ribbons while I was working on the tree. It was comical and I did take a few photos, but they came out blurry. Once I was done, he hasn’t gone over to it much at all.

  13. Very pretty! I am smiling, realizing I could never make this for my tree with 3 kitties, one who is sitting here with me. Shelly says she thinks it would make a very fun tree!

  14. Catherine In NJ says:

    Adorable! I wish I could have had this idea when I was first married and had no ornaments!!

  15. Diane @ home sweet homemade says:

    you did such a great job! brilliant way to pull all sorts of pretty things together for a pretty DIY Christmas tree and I love your name streamers too. :)

  16. Love this streamer and ribbon tree topper! Colors are looking great! Purple, Pink and Green!

  17. I love this idea! My daughter is a New Year’s Eve baby and every year for her birthday, I change out the Christmas tree to be a Birthday tree – in a theme that fits her taste/passion at that age. We’ve had a zebra tree, a beach themed tree, a “Hollywood hunks” and even a Lord of the Rings tree.

    This year she’s 18 and I’m going to use this and theme it up for this milestone birthday. Still playing around with a good theme – any suggestions?

    1. Hi Donna – I can’t believe your daughter is going to be 18 – say it isn’t so. :) What a nice way to start the New Year. I don’t have an idea right now, but I can email you later. This is something my mom was really good at. She always came up with the best ideas. I will have to channel her energy and see if something good pops into my head.

  18. Your is FAR more beautiful than your “inspiration” photo. Very, very tasteful and gorgeous. Your tutorials and photos are always great. Thanks so much!

  19. Barbara says:

    You knock me out with these fabulous tutorials you do. This one is above and beyond. Somehow you manage to make a complicated, expensive, tricky, professional-looking project, totally doable for the rest of us.

    I wasn’t even planning to do a tree this year, but now I’m having second thoughts. Love the look. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Barbara –

      Thanks. I took me longer to take the photos than it did to make it. It really is nothing more than tying on ribbons to a hoop. You can keep it as simple as that or add beads and the names. As Anita said above – you can change it up and make it your own.

  20. Anita @ GoingalittleCoastal says:

    So many ways to change this up and make it your own. Love the colors you used. And I can see how it would really sparkle at night!

    1. Hi Anita-
      I took a few photos of the tree at night, but my camera doesn’t do dark well and they didn’t come out – but it looks very magical. Some of the ribbons are metallic or have a subtle sparkles woven in. It looks so festive.

  21. Hi, Diane

    This is a great idea and you make it look so easy. I am going to do this. Thanks so much.


    1. Hi Vanessa-

      It truly is easy – especially if you just add ribbons and don’t make anything to hang from the hoop like I did. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I got pretty excited when it all started coming together.

  22. Shannon at madiganmade says:

    Love it, Diane! It is easy to make, easy to place on the tree and easy to store and bring out again year after year!

    1. Hi Shannon

      We love easy don’t we? I was not sure how it was going to turn out, but seeing it in my family room – it looks perfectly festive. Sometimes easy or shall we say “elegantly simple” turns out the best.

  23. Erin@ Out on A Limb... says:

    So pretty and clever, Diane! Love the colors you chose as well.

    1. Hi Erin-
      Thanks – I love pops of color, I think it goes back to my childhood and loving all the crayons in the crayon box. Purple, pink, and green were always may favorites and they still are..

  24. Laura @Ms Smartie Pants says:

    So pretty, I have been thinking of you when I have seen all the purple decorations out this year. I remember you love to decorate with purple!

    1. Hi Laura –

      I do love purple – any shade of it as a a pop of color in a room, but not on my walls. My friends always expect me to paint one of my rooms purple, but that doesn’t excite me as much as just seeing it on a pillow, a file folder, my wallet, and even my toothbrush. :)