It’s that time of year again! Christmas is just around the corner. For most people, the holiday period officially begins when the tree goes up. It’s the most important, bright and shining decoration that brings the warmth of the celebration into our homes.
For crafty people, Christmas is also an exciting time of year when we can let our creativity run wild. If you want to experiment by decorating your tree with ribbons and bows this year, but don’t know how to get started, this article is for you.
Choosing the Ribbon
This may sound like an easy enough task, but it’s more difficult than it sounds. Your local craft store is also in full-blown pre-Christmas mode; it surely has an array of holiday ribbon that will make your head spin. Yet it’s an important choice because the color and pattern of the ribbon will set the tone for the entire decorating project. The good news is that you don’t have to choose just one; different but complementary colors and patterns can give your tree a unique look.
Stiff, wired ribbon is preferable for Christmas tree decorating. This will make it easier to position the ribbon and get it to stand up for better visibility. You might also consider using a mesh type of fabric, rather than a satin material, because it stays in place better when positioned among the branches and pine needles. For larger trees or for a bigger aesthetic impact, select a ribbon that is at least 3 inches wide. Once you have decided the kind of ribbon, you should purchase a total of 20 to 30 yards for decorating purposes.
Decorating the Tree
There is some disagreement among holiday crafters about the right order to apply lights, ornaments and other decorations to the tree. Once the Christmas tree is set in the stand, we recommend starting with the strings of lights. All white lights or single-colored strands illuminate the tree without making it look too busy.
After the lights, it’s time for the tree topper. Many families have a special angel or star heirloom tree topper. You might also consider crafting a super-sized bow out of the ribbon as a customized topper to match this year’s theme.
The next step is to apply the ribbon and bows. Finally, hang all your Christmas ornaments as the perfect last touch. If you have a lot of ornaments or are planning to buy a few boxes of new ones, pick out those that complement the ribbon.
Applying the Ribbon
Cut the ribbon into manageably sized strips – about 4 to 5 feet – in length. Working with shorter pieces will give you much more freedom and flexibility to decorate than trying to work with the entire length. Start applying the ribbon by working from the top of the tree downward. Anchor one end of the ribbon on a sturdy branch near the trunk so that the tip can’t be seen. Wrapping the tip around the branch should keep the ribbon firmly in place as you work your way around and down the tree.
There are a few different styles of ribbon positioning to choose from, such as cascading from top to bottom or clusters. Feel free to play around with different styles on your Christmas tree. For that traditional draped style, aim for a soft flowing shape in the ribbon. Provide plenty of slack so that it can practically fall into what looks like a natural draped position. Use the entire length the of ribbon to weave in and out of the branches to create a peekaboo effect. Be sure to shape and curl the ribbon in order to add a fluid movement to the ribbon. It shouldn’t look flat or straight at any point.
When you have reached the other end of the ribbon piece, anchor it in a similar way. Strategically tuck the tip in between the branches and wrap it around a hidden point.
Add the Bows
You will want to tie your bows ahead of time. Obviously, the number of bows needed will depend on the height of your tree and the overall effect that you desire. Next, cut enough floral wire into 3-inch lengths to secure each of the bows.
Watch and learn how to make the perfect bow to decorate your Christmas tree.
Now, comes the fun part! Decide where the bows should be situated. Unlike fancy Christmas ornaments, bows are very lightweight. This means that even small branches will be able to support the bow decoration without drooping. Stagger the position of the bows to adequately cover the whole tree. You can fluff the bow and crimp or curl the loose ends as you go.
As you work to add the bows, step back from the tree occasionally. This will give you a better idea of areas that need more decorations and ensure that the overall look is balanced. Finally, take the time to relax and enjoy your lovely Christmas tree with your loved ones.
Happy Holidays from Dietz Floral Studio
Join one of our hands-on floral experience workshops and learn how to make beautiful flower arrangements and crafts to decorate your home this holiday season. Check out our upcoming Christmas Sips and Stems Design Class and holiday Kids Craft Day events.