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Christmas Tree Ribbon: How To Choose The Right Ones

Have you ever stood in the ribbon isle at a store staring at all the choices and just feeling overwhelmed? You really like the look of ribbon in the Christmas trees you see on Pinterest and Instagram and you want to try to recreate those looks in your own tree. The problem is you don’t know which ribbon will work. You end up just grabbing some ribbon that you think is pretty, but you don’t really check out what type of ribbon you are buying.

When it comes to choosing ribbon for your Christmas tree, not all ribbon is equal. Plus, it really depends on the look you are trying to create as to what ribbon is up for the task. Let’s talk about different ribbon looks and what to look for in a Christmas ribbon.

Christmas Tree Ribbon Color & Design

Probably the first thing that draws you to a ribbon is it’s color or pattern. Maybe you see a snowflake or a cute santa or reindeer. Maybe you fall in love with a Christmas plaid or a luxurious velvet ribbon. Whatever it is, the ribbon should definitely compliment your other decor on the tree. It should be part of your theme or color scheme, but there are also other considerations.

Christmas tree ribbon

Ribbon Width

How wide is the ribbon? Ribbon can come in a variety of widths. For the most part, I usually use a 2.5″ ribbon or a 4″ ribbon. I prefer the 4″ ribbon on my larger Christmas trees. The 2.5″ ribbon also works on my larger trees when it is paired with the wider 4″ ribbon. Combining the two widths in a bow also adds a lot of interest to the bow. The 2.5″ ribbon works well on my smaller pedestal trees or in a wreath or wherever I need something on a smaller scale.

Christmas trees
Christmas mantel bow

To see more of this tree, see My Nature Inspire Christmas Tree Theme.

Wired or Unwired

Whether or not your ribbon is wired will have a huge effect on the type of looks you can create with that particular ribbon. A wired ribbon will hold its shape and an unwired ribbon will not. If you are thinking about a floppy bow or just a hanging ribbon style, and unwired ribbon will work for that. If you are wanting a bow that stands up or a cascading ribbon effect that comes in and out of the tree, you will want a wired ribbon that holds it’s shape. Some wired ribbon holds its shape better than others. Some inexpensive ribbon that is wired is wired with extremely thin wire that is not sturdy enough to hold the shape of the fabric of the ribbon.

Valentine Christmas Tree

To see more of this Valentine tree, check out Another Valentine’s Tree Idea.

Thickness & Stiffness

Some ribbon might even be wired with a sturdy wire, but the fabric is just not stiff enough to hold it’s shape. Some ribbons are made with one layer of fabric and of course there is no limit to the types of fabric used. This plaid flannel ribbon below is wired, but the flannel is soft. The ribbon struggles to hold its shape as a bow. Above, this same ribbon makes a great floppy one loop bow. It just boils down to the look you are wanting as to what type of ribbon to buy.

Mantel bow

Some ribbons are made with one layer of fabric, like the plaid flannel ribbon above. Other ribbons are made from two layers of fabric fused together which makes them better at holding their shape like the red velvet ribbon below. This red velvet ribbon is 2.5″ wide and tied into bows that I have placed as toppers on these table top Valentine trees. This velvet ribbon has a matching taffeta fabric backing. The layers of fabric are fused together and the wire edge is thick. This means the ribbon has lots of structure and is easy to shape. This ribbon has no problem holding its shape in these bows.

Red Velvet Ribbon

To see more of these Valentine trees, check out Valentine’s Decor Ideas.


One final consideration to make is how the light will play on the ribbon. Do you want a shiny fabric that will reflect the light? Do you want a ribbon that will provide lots of texture, but will block out the light. Sometimes you can find an open weave ribbon that allows light to pass through partially or completely. This ribbon below is a wired single layer ribbon and you can see the light will pass partially through this ribbon if it’s on a lit tree.

Christmas tree ribbon

How To Pick Complimentary Christmas Tree Ribbons

It is certainly more interesting to look at multiple ribbons than it is just one ribbon. People often want to combine different ribbons into one tree and that is how it should be. So, how do you pick ribbons that compliment each other. Well, sometimes it happens by accident like in the photo below. You have purchases several ribbons and by some happy accident, they just happen to work together. To see more of the tree below, read Santa Clause Inspired Christmas Tree.

Christmas Tree

If you are picking ribbons from scratch, however, here are some thoughts that might help. I would choose at least three different ribbons for my tree. I would include at least one ribbon with a pattern, another that compliments that pattern in some way, and a third that might be completely different, but offers some texture.

In the tree below I used a solid linen ribbon, a white birch ribbon, and a grapevine garland. Okay, I know. Technically the grapevine garland is a garland and not a ribbon. I am counting it here as texture, though. I also added bows that had birch ribbon paired with white velvet or white iridescent ribbons. This tree had a variety of ribbons that all paired well together.

Christmas Tree
Christmas bow

How Many Yards To Buy

So, how many rolls of ribbon do you put in your cart? Well, are you starting from scratch? If so, I would say you would want about 20 – 30 yards of each type of ribbon for a 9 foot slim tree and more for a larger or fuller tree. You might not use every inch, but you will use more if you make bow toppers. You want to make sure you have plenty because you might go back to get more and it could be sold out. I would definitely lean towards more rather than less.

On this 9 foot slim tree below, I only used two ribbons, I did not make bow toppers, and I ran the ribbons through the tree together. I used about 20 yards of each ribbon. There is definitely room for more ribbon in this tree. You might also want to use the ribbon elsewhere in the room, so consider that as well. In this room, I also decorated two trees on the mantel and used another 10 yards of each ribbon.

Red and green Christmas tree
Christmas decor

To see more of this Christmas decor, read A Classic Red Christmas Tree.


Through the years I have struggled to find the ribbons I wanted for my Christmas decor. I have shopped at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s and sometimes it turned out okay, but it wasn’t until I moved to Plano, Texas that I had access to designer Christmas shops. So, I know not everyone lives in Plano, Texas and not everyone has access to designer Christmas ribbon. Also, not everyone knows just how to find that perfect Christmas ribbon for their designs. So, I decided I would source my own ribbons and offer them to my friends.

Check out my designer ribbons on my Etsy shop below and keep watching for more. All of these ribbons are high quality, wired ribbon that will hold their shape in a bow or cascading down a tree. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions about these ribbons, but they all have multiple photos, a description, and a video included their listing.

Red velvet Christmas tree ribbon
Christmas tree ribbon with deer
gray velvet Christmas tree ribbon with glitter snowflake
black and white plaid Christmas tree ribbon
red velvet Christmas tree ribbon
beige and pinstripe Christmas tree ribbon

Pin How To Choose The Right Ribbon For Your Christmas Tree Here

Christmas tree ribbon

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