How to Criss Cross Ribbons on a Christmas Tree

Creative Commons Image 2.0 by Mastery of Maps on Flickr
Creative Commons Image 2.0 by Mastery of Maps on Flickr

Christmas Tree Ideas with Ribbon

Criss cross ribbon Christmas trees are not only beautiful, but very elegant. The ribbon adds design, texture, and color to any tree, regardless of the theme. The criss crossed ribbon creates a very full and densely decorated appearance for a lavish, designer look.

This idea works well with both expensive and inexpensive trees. The look works wonders on cheaper trees with a low tip count since the eyes are drawn to the decorations and ribbon, so the bare spots in the tree are not as noticeable. Since this technique is fairly new, it offers a unique approach for any decorator looking to create an beautiful and elegant looking tree.

Criss Cross Ribbon
Criss Cross Ribbon

Materials Needed

This look is very simple. All you need is

  • a roll of wired ribbon
  • craft wire or bread tie
  • scissors, and
  • about 20-30 minutes.

You can use any color, style, or patterned ribbon as long it is wired ribbon. I would suggest that you use ribbon that is 2-3 inches wide so that it is easier to work with and doesn't look like you went overboard.

Depending on the size of your tree, you will need 6 to 8 pieces of ribbon cut about twice the length of your tree.

  • For example, if you have a 6 foot tree, you will want to cut 6 pieces of ribbon 12 feet long.
  • If you have a slender tree then 6 pieces will be plenty.
  • If you have a very Christmas tree that is very full and wide, you will want to do 8 pieces.
  • Extremely large trees over 8 foot high and 3 feet wide will probably need 10 to 12 pieces of ribbon.

If you don't get it right at first, don't worry. You can easily add or take away ribbon as needed when you get to the first step.

How Do You Decorate Your Christmas Tree?

  • My tree is always a specific theme or color scheme.
  • Somewhat of a theme but I always put the special ornaments on whether they match or not.
  • Theme? My theme is whatever I have to use...
  • I don't decorate a tree.
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Secure Your Ribbons at One End: How to Prepare Your Ribbon

Secure the ribbon pieces at one end.
Secure the ribbon pieces at one end.
  1. After cutting the ribbon into individual lengths, gather them and make sure that any patterns or designs are all going in the same direction.
  2. Once you have them in order, secure them tightly using a rubber brand, bread tie, or other method to keep them held together tightly.
  3. Leave 2 to 3 inches so that you can secure it to the tree.

Drape and Secure Your Ribbon to Your Tree

Drape the ribbons over the tree evenly.
Drape the ribbons over the tree evenly.

After securing the ends of the ribbon, it's time to drape them over the tree.

  1. Place the secured end on top of the tree and drape the ribbons evenly around it.
  2. Pull your ribbons straight and then secure the top to the tree by pinning, using wire or tucking it under the topper. I have a star topper that fits snug on the tip of the tree so I hide the end of my ribbons under the base of the topper.

Making the First Cross

First row of sections will look weird....don't worry! It's normal.
First row of sections will look weird....don't worry! It's normal.

Now that you have the ribbons evenly distributed around the tree, it's time to make the first criss cross.

  1. Starting anywhere on the tree, select two ribbons that are next to each other and cross them. You want to make your cross about 12 inches from the top of the tree.
  2. Twist these two pieces together twice by pinching the two pieces where they intersect, and twisting it tightly and in a fashion so that the metal wraps kind snugly to hold the cross in place. Continue doing this all the way around the tree until you have every ribbon paired up with the next and they are all crossed. (From here on out, we will refer to the two pieces of ribbon crossing as "sections" and round of sections will be referred to as "rows.")
  3. Once you have criss-crossed the ribbon on the first row it will look weird. Don't worry — it will all come together shortly. It's normal for it to look too close together at the top and too wide between the sections. Just make sure your sections are even around the tree. If not, adjust and straighten them accordingly. Each section will be a guide for keeping your sections straight on the each row.

How to Criss Cross Ribbon on the Tree

Your twists should look something like this on each section of your criss crossed ribbon Christmas tree.

The Next Step

On the second row, you will criss cross ribbons again but with different ribbons.

  1. Start with a section and cross the left ribbon with the first ribbon of the section to the left, and the right ribbon with the first ribbon in the right section.
  2. Criss cross the ribbons with their new mates and continue until the row is finished. Again, all the ribbons should be matched up on this row and there should not be any left over ribbons not criss crossed on any row.
  3. Once you have completed the second row, continue on to the next row until you make it to the bottom of the tree. The sections of each row should cross in between the sections of the previous row creating a webbed pattern.
  • Try to keep the sections straight. The sections in the first, third and fifth road should line up evenly, while the second, fourth and sixth line up evenly, but are off-centered in the odd rows.

The Final Step

Once you have criss crossed the ribbon to the bottom of your Christmas tree you are almost finished.

  1. You can either cut the excess ribbon off and tuck the end into the tree or make a final criss cross between the sections, cut off the ends and tuck it neatly along the bottom branches to create a solid ring around the bottom of the tree. Work with the ends until you have it the way you like it.
  2. Once you have finished criss crossing the ribbon on your Christmas tree, go back and adjust the sections, rows, and individual ribbons so that they are evenly lined up, the ribbons are nice and straight and your tree has an overall nice and neat appearance.

What Do You Think of the Criss Crossed Ribbon Christmas Tree?

  • Love it!
  • It's okay...
  • Not really my style.
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Share your thoughts, tips and ideas for decorating your own tree.

Suggestions, Tips, and Ideas 30 comments

anonymous 3 years ago

Thank you so very much. I had seen this and wanted to it this year. This was just what I needed. Mine turned out wonderful because of you sharing...Yhanks again! Merry Christmas!

Art Inspired profile image

Art Inspired 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. It is always good to learn something new. Make it a creative day!

heehaw lm profile image

heehaw lm 3 years ago

Very elegant way of decorating xmas trees with Criss Crossed Ribbon. this is a wonderful creative idea. thanks for sharing with us. great lens!

writerkath profile image

writerkath 3 years ago

I know my hubby would like this - it has a real symmetrical appearance as well as just beautiful! :)

oztoo lm profile image

oztoo lm 3 years ago

Great idea, it looks lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Scraps2treasures profile image

Scraps2treasures 3 years ago

That makes a gorgeous tree! Thanks so much for the instructions. Blessed.

DeboraR profile image

DeboraR 3 years ago

I've never seen ribbon done this way on a tree before. I'd love to give it a try!

Michey LM profile image

Michey LM 3 years ago

We wish you a Merry Christmas;

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;

Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

SoSimplyStephanie profile image

SoSimplyStephanie 3 years ago from DeFuniak Springs Author

@Michey LM: Thank you Michey! You and yours, too!

casquid profile image

casquid 24 months ago

I always wondered how to do this. Beautiful!!

Eliza Brito 23 months ago

Love you should check my tree from last year with criss crossed mesh(: give it a try(:

Heatherro 23 months ago

Beautiful cannot wait to try this on my tree this year!!

Jon 23 months ago

wish I had to know this last year took me a long time to do it last year

BrendaLea 23 months ago

Thanks for the wonderful directions. Will be doing this on my tree today. Hope it looks as good as yours does. Merry Christmas.

Daniel 22 months ago

The bondage veidos make me VERY grateful that I can watch these over and over whenever I need a refresher, I've never been very into' rope but being able to refer to these clips inspires me to add more of it into my play and sessions.

Tushar 22 months ago

LOL. The sad part is that it's true! I rmeember that year. I just don't rmeember which year it was exactly and why it happened.And for the record, our tree is not up either. Only going up next weekend because we don't have J the weekend after that or I'd wait until then. Too much work to keep kids from taking off ornaments!

Rosie 22 months ago

Thanks for the great directions. Tried it for a change today and the family loved it

susanna 22 months ago

I didvnot have a chance to buy a wired ribbon what should I do?

Renee 11 months ago

Loved this idea!

Susan 11 months ago

The crisis cross tree was a great idea !!!

Elsie Hagley profile image

Elsie Hagley 11 months ago from New Zealand

With Christmas nearly here it's time to start decorating the tree.

I came across your article, it's so beautiful and you have explained how to do it very well.

Hope you have many more readers spreading this simple idea for decorating a tree all around the world.

I will pin it on my board. Here's to a great Christmas and happy 2016 to you.

Mara 10 months ago

You need more than one roll of ribbon.

Patricia 10 months ago

Beautiful and elegant look and easy for grandchildren to help:)

earninroom 10 months ago

Helga Silva profile image

Helga Silva 10 months ago from USA

Looks gorgeous. Thanks for detailed instruction.

Ilonagarden profile image

Ilonagarden 10 months ago from Ohio

This looks really cute. It seems impractical for a large tree that we have in our living room, but I'm going to try it anyway. I like the look of ribbons on a tree.

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 10 months ago from Home Sweet Home

wow those are beautiful ribbons, you are indeed talented

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 10 months ago from Northeast Ohio

This is so beautiful, festive and easy to do. I would love to do this next year for my artificial tree, since I assume it would work on either a fake or real tree. Great pics to show how it's done, too.

Sophiiasstyle profile image

Sophiiasstyle 10 months ago

Looks gorgeous! Stunning idea for making festive tree. Thanks for sharing! In addition, some more tips for making Christmas preparations

listsnthings profile image

listsnthings 10 months ago from London, United Kingdom

This style of decorating the tree is so effective but simple enough especially if you have left your decorating until the last minute or need to decorate a tree quickly for a party or other event.

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