Christmas Ribbon Garland or Chain




This is just like the paper chains that we used to make in elementary school every Christmas except we use ribbon instead of paper for the links. You can either buy ribbon or recycle the ribbon off of your presents. For this Instructable I bought ribbon on clearance after Christmas last year. ( I only paid $1 for a 100 yard spool!)

My children love doing crafts with me and I wanted something simple enough for them to do and yet would still look elegant on our tree. My children who are three, five, and seven, all loved making these ribbon garlands! Make it as long or as short as you like. This is a great project to set aside and pick up again whenever you have a few spare moments or a few spare friends to help!

Really this can be made for any special occasion i.e. birthdays, Easter, graduation, etc. depending on the colors you use, but I find Christmas is my favorite time to decorate.

Put on your favorite Christmas playlist, grab some ribbon and start gluing!

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Step 1: Gather Supplies

~ribbon (either recycled from presents or by the spool) In this Instructable I used 9.33 yards of 1/8" red and green ribbon. This made about a 10' garland. Every three feet of ribbon will make approximately one foot of finished garland. Note that the wider your ribbon the more ribbon you will need to make a garland of a certain length.
~hot glue gun
~hot glue sticks
~exacto knife or razor blade
~ empty wrapping paper tube with about a 2" diameter

Step 2: Wrap Ribbon

I found that cutting the ribbon into 6" strips made nice size links for my garland. Rather than measuring out a six inch length of ribbon and cutting it over and over again, you can make many ribbons the proper length with just one cut. To do this wrap your ribbon around the wrapping paper tube overlapping some, but be sure not to twist your ribbon as this makes it difficult to cut.

Step 3: Cut the Ribbon

Now take your cutting tool and carefully slice down the tube in a straight line all the way through your wrapped ribbon. You should be able to feel your blade scoring the wrapping paper tube, but not cutting through it. Now you have a pile of ribbons which are approximately 6" each in length.

If you have additional colors, repeat the wrapping and cutting of the ribbon until all of your colors are the proper length.

Step 4: Glue Ribbons

Pick up one piece of your cut ribbon and put a small dab of hot glue on one end. Bring the other end around to make a ring. Be sure your ribbon is not twisted. Overlap on top of the glue and press the ends together carefully as the glue is hot.

Take your next piece of ribbon, alternating colors if desired, and place it through the first link. Put a small dab of glue on one end and bring together to make a ring looped around the first link.

Continue repeating this step until your garland is the desired length, or your ribbon is gone, or your Christmas playlist has repeated too many times for you to stay in the Christmas spirit.

*Caution: Help children handle the hot glue gun. My children took a while to get the ribbon into a ring after putting on the glue. I thought the glue might dry before they could put it together, but it ended up being the perfect amount of time for the glue to cool to the touch and still stick.

Step 5: Oops!

If you or your child accidentally glues the wrong color link or puts a twist in it, don't worry, the hot glue is very forgiving. Just pull on the link until it pops open. Scrape off the cold glue and glue it again the correct way.

Step 6: Hang the Garland

Find a place around your house or on your tree that you want to hang your garland. If you put it on your tree you can string it back and forth along the front sides. Do not circle it around the entire tree unless your tree is in a central location that can be seen from all sides. This makes it appear to go farther and saves you from wasting your beautiful garland where it will not be appreciated fully.

If you are hanging it as a border, count out the links and use a thumbtack or tape every tenth link i.e. to keep it looking evenly spaced.

Hanging the garland may prove to be complicated as you realize you want one over there, and over there, and around that, and up there......

You better keep the ribbon handy, these are just too satisfying to only make one!

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    8 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I know im like 2 years late, but i must say this is amazingly awesome! i remember these in elementary school, mines still hanging up in our house :) i left the last ring on there for well im not really sure, lol. :)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I kept looking for the perfect thing to use. My cell phone was the right size, but I accidentally put deep scores in it from the razor blade. Haha!

    What a great project. It looks easy to set up and easy to clean up (a plus for me). I will definitely be doing this project with my kids - but for New Years.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love this garland its so delicate. Thank you for such great instructions and pics. I can't wait to see what else you come up with.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! Great pics! I really like the idea of using the ribbon garland on the tree...and so kid friendly! Great idea! ~your favorite cousin ;)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love how the author used wrapping paper roll to make each piece even, then cut it with a razor. This made it so simple. And including pictures of the kids lets me know that it is definately something I can do with them.

    Hey, this is a really nice decoration that can be made to look rather elegant, using the ribbon, not construction paper, which can make the chain look a bit tacky and old-fashioned. I like the idea that was suggested, that it can be used for all sorts of occasions (i.e. not just Christmas.) The author made the instructions quite easy to follow with good photos to illustrate the steps. Thanks for sharing!