As an interior decorator and I get to do a bit of holiday decorating for my clients this time of year.  I'm getting pretty adept at decorating Christmas trees, because I do a lot of them... and I decided to share what I have learned and to break it down into easy to follow steps so that you can feel confident about decorating your tree.   

(Here is Part I, in case you missed it
and Part II)

Part III starts with.....

While it is not absolutely necessary to add these components - it does add texture, color and interest to your tree, so I recommend it.

There seems to be hundreds of ways to add ribbon and/or garland to a tree.  There are thousands of variations on the ribbon and the garland itself.  Its completely your call on which you use, based on your personal taste - but I will share my favorites and also the way I like to add ribbon and garland.
CBID Design

   I like a wider ribbon, but not so wide that it overwhelms your tree.  It should be an added texture and not upstage your beautiful ornaments.  I also don't like the look where the ribbon is floating around the outside of the tree or falling down the tree on the outside.  I prefer to weave it in and out so that it looks more organic - if you can ever call ribbon organic - not too symmetrical, but twisting and turning a bit.

Garland should be a little more visible, but I still like to weave it a bit into the tree and then to the outside.

You can use only garland, or only ribbon, or combine the two.  But, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a thousand explanations - so ....

This is exactly how I like to add ribbon...
You can't see the clear path of the ribbon, only that is peeks in and out of the branches.
You almost miss that there are actually two colors of ribbon doing that,
and the ribbon does not hamper the ability to add lots and lots of ornaments...
Image from Pinterest

This is one of my favorite trees - by Ella Claire
I love the flocking, and the woodland/vintage theme.  The ribbon here cascades down the tree, but dips in and out, leaving generous loops, and because the ribbon doesn't contrast too strongly - it blends in and adds that texture and design I was talking about.
Ella Claire
 Here's another tree by Ella Claire - flocked again -
and the ribbon seems like it is flowing down the tree.  If you like this style, it looks to be about a 2" ribbon and remember not to bring it straight down - this is done at an angle to keep your eye moving around the tree.
Ella Claire

 I love to go to Rogers Gardens each year, and this red tree caught my eye a couple of years ago.  The ribbon is not one continuous roll of ribbon - but lengths of it are added as accent
CBID Design
Quite a bit of ribbon is used, and its a great filler to hide any holes - the tree below has a more vertical ribbon, but it is tucked in and out
CBID Design

The perfect ribbon on a tree enhances the color scheme, and adds interest and texture
CBID Design
 On this tree, the silvery organza ribbon is nearly invisible, but adds extra silvery sheen
CBID Design

Simple paper chain garland is a big feature on this lovely tree
Town and Country Living

On of my favorite ways to add ribbon to a tree is with clusters of looped ribbon - not exactly bows - with long streamers like this tree I photographed at TPT Home.

CBID Design

You can introduce more color, design and texture into a tree this way
CBID Design

CBID Design

 Ribbon unifies a tree and sets a theme.  The country homespun style of this tree's theme is firmly set with the ticking stripe ribbon.

The Rescued Home

This tree has great ribbon placement - just enough to add color and add to the design without overwhelming it.

 This type of beaded garland and bows, (which I usually hate but which look great on this tree) has to be added after the ornaments, as it all sits on the tips of the branches
Trendy Tree

 This is my tree from last year.  I used red and regular burlap ribbon and then added a garland of paper stars -
CBID Design

CBID Design
Another paper chain type garland - and although you see a lot of it, it does tuck into the branches so it is in the background to the ornaments.
 This was my favorite tree last year.  I would guess the sale of fringed microfibre dusters skyrocketed when it was discovered she used them for the 'snow' effect and garland on her flocked tree.
Craftberry Bush
 I think she found hers at the dollar store, but what a great idea and what a fabulous look!
Craftberry Bush
She created a wreath with the leftovers.  I'm so in awe of this kind of creativity!  
Bravo, Craftberry Bush!
Craftberry Bush

So, here's the final rule of thumb for me.  No skinny ribbon.  At least 2" wide for the downward looping ribbon, and 3 to 4" for the hide and seek (tuck in and out) style of application.  Never wrap the tree with one long spool of ribbon.  Cut it into manageable  lengths, and apply (usually) at a downward angle.  I like to use wired ribbon because it behaves much better - and actually stays where you put it.  Looping groups of ribbon into bows with long ends should be applied in such a way that it is not on the tips of the branches - settle it inside a bit and weave the longer ends in and out a bit, if they are long enough to do so.

Garland, with the exception of beaded garland which needs to go on last, is applied much the same way.  It usually comes in management lengths, and should be an accent and not take over the design.

I hope this has been ribbon and garland inspiration for you...

Next Post:.... THE ORNAMENTS!


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