How-to

Brad Schmidt’s Ribbon Decorating Ideas for Christmas Trees

Ribbons give you endless ways to dress up your tree, whether you want a classic look or prefer a dramatic design. Style expert Brad Schmidt shares easy ribbon decorating ideas for Christmas trees in this video:

Video transcript

Brad Schmidt: Hi, I’m Brad Schmidt. I’ve worked with Balsam Hill to create some signature decorated trees for the 2015 Catalog. Using ribbon effectively on a tree can look complicated, but I’m going to break it down into two ribbon techniques; cascading ribbon and finishing a ribbon. With these two techniques, you can recreate any of these looks at home. No, you will need wired ribbon since the wired edges let you twist and sculpt the ribbon to get the exact shapes you want. The trick to creating this look effectively is to tie your ribbon into the tree so that it comes in and out.

The PVC tips that are already inside the tree are the secret to anchoring the ribbon down. They’re already there, right there where you need them. Just make sure you use the PVC tip. That’s the easiest for wiring the ribbon and creating end. Also, when you’re cascading ribbon, you don’t need to use just one ribbon for the silver and gold tree. I layered two ribbons of varying width for interests. When you come to the end of the section of the ribbon, rolling the ribbon is a great way to finish it without cutting it. I’m going to show you three methods.

The first is what I call croissant twist. Just curl the ribbon starting with the end, about six curls, then pull it down. It becomes like another ornament. The second is the reverse roll. It’s similar to the croissant twist, but it is great for ribbons with such beautiful backing. It lets you show off the back of the ribbon.

The third is to cut the end of the ribbon at an angle or fishtail shape. If you want interest, you can do a bow tie knot. With these two basic ribbon techniques, you should be able to decorate a tree in a variety of ways.

See all of the ribbons and ornaments that were used to create these looks as well as more holiday decorating tips on balsamhill.com.

Use Wired Ribbons for Decorating

Ribbons with wired edges make it easy to create loops or rolls. They also hold their form longer than ordinary ribbons.

Apply the Cascading Technique

Balsam Hill holiday ribbons
The cascading technique creates an interesting ripple effect

Starting from the top, tie one end of your ribbon to the tree, and position it so that it drapes in and out of the foliage in waves. Anchor the ribbon at intervals by securing it to PVC needle tips within the tree using floral wire. This technique gives your tree movement while adding dimension and depth.

Layer Contrasting Ribbons

Balsam Hill Christmas ribbons
Layered ribbons result in a play of textures and color

Try this using two ribbons layered together. Combining ribbons of different widths emphasizes the contrast of textures and colors.

Add Finishing Touches

Try different ways to style the ends of your ribbon. Brad has two techniques to finish off without cutting the material. This way, you can preserve the whole ribbon and reuse it for your next decorating projects.

The Croissant Roll is easy to make and adds an elegant touch to your display. To do this, roll the end of the ribbon tightly six or seven times, then pull down the center to create a spiral.

Decorate with Balsam Hill ribbons
The croissant roll looks complicated but is easy to achieve

The second technique is called the Reverse Roll, where you roll the end of the ribbon back loosely. This is perfect to show off ribbons with beautiful backing.

Ribbons by Balsam Hill
Finish off ribbons with either a knot or bow

If you have a lot of excess fabric, cut the end of the ribbon at an angle or in a fishtail design. For added visual interest, you can also tie it in a knot or bow.

Brad Schmidt decorates with Balsam Hill ribbons
Brad putting the finishing touches on a tree beautifully adorned with ribbon

With some practice, you can turn ribbons from simple accents into stunning decorations for your Christmas tree. Find more decorating ideas for your holiday centerpiece here. Visit Balsam Hill for a wide selection of decorative ribbons to choose from.

18 Comments

  1. Great post to visualise how to apply ribbon to your tree. How much ribbon would I need to purchase to apply a similar effect to a 9′ tree?

  2. How is the ribbon loops made with the red and white jeweller. How they get that tight loop effect

    • BalsamHill Reply

      Hi Laura, great question! For this, Brad used wired ribbon and floral wire. When creating intricate designs, he recommends using wired ribbon because they are easier to form into shapes and they retain the design much longer. Brad formed the loops first then tied the loops with wire to secure them together, giving them a tighter look. You can then shape the loops to make them fuller or slimmer, whichever you prefer. Do let us know how yours turn out!

        • Balsam Hill Reply

          Thank you for reaching out to Balsam Hill, Tracy. The amount of ribbon depends on the tree’s width and technique. Start with 3 yards of ribbon per foot of tree. This means you need around 22.5 yards of ribbon for a standard 7.5′ Christmas tree. Simply adjust the length based on how you drape or cascade the ribbon. If there is anything else we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us by going online and using our chat feature, emailing us, or calling our Customer Care Center during regular business hours.

        • Balsam Hill Reply

          Thank you for reaching out to Balsam Hill, Tracy. The amount of ribbon depends on the tree’s width and technique. Start with 3 yards of ribbon per foot of tree. This means you need around 22.5 yards of ribbon for a standard 7.5′ Christmas tree. Simply adjust the length based on how you drape or cascade the ribbon. If there is anything else we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us by going online and using our chat feature, emailing us, or calling our Customer Care Center during regular business hours.

        • Tracy Cawley Reply

          My tree is a cathedral 32 cm Width and 7foot 5 height. I did get your feedback on how much ribbon I would need to cascading the ribbon.

      • Tracy Cawley Reply

        Yes I did receive your information on your website regarding how many yards of ribbon for 7.5 tree. It is a cathedral fir slim line tree the width is 32 cm. Thank you for the answer 3 yards of ribbon per foot.

  3. uge thanks. Un énorme merci à vous Brad. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and explaining more to me. so grateful…………..

    Sincerely Marielle Comeau , New Brunswick, Canada

  4. Question for Brad how many yards of ribbon do I need for a7 foot 5 tree.

    • Balsam Hill Reply

      Thank you for reaching out to Balsam Hill, Tracy. The amount of ribbon depends on the tree’s width and technique. Start with 3 yards of ribbon per foot of tree. This means you need around 22.5 yards of ribbon for a standard 7.5′ Christmas tree. Simply adjust the length based on how you drape or cascade the ribbon. If there is anything else we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us by going online and using our chat feature, emailing us, or calling our Customer Care Center during regular business hours.

    • Balsam Hill Reply

      Thank you for reaching out to Balsam Hill, Tracy. The amount of ribbon depends on the tree’s width and technique. Start with 3 yards of ribbon per foot of tree. This means you need around 22.5 yards of ribbon for a standard 7.5′ Christmas tree. Simply adjust the length based on how you drape or cascade the ribbon. If there is anything else we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us by going online and using our chat feature, emailing us, or calling our Customer Care Center during regular business hours.

  5. Anne Hurst Reply

    I can’t believe that I’ve never heard of you, Balsam Hill until the end of 2021. Everything you have is so elegant & stunningly beautiful to me. Thanks for all of the great tips from Brad about the ribbon. I’ve been watching & reading from a lot of other people, but Brad explained it perfectly. I’m a new beginner with ribbon. This will be my very first year ever putting ribbon on my tree. I’m trying to practice so when it does come time to put it on then hopefully it will be easier for this newbie to get it done right!

    • Balsam Hill Reply

      We’re so glad to hear you’ve found the guides helpful! Practicing will definitely help you build confidence and skill so you’ll be all set when the holidays arrive. We can’t wait for you to try it out on your display. Let us know how it goes.

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