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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Homemade Holidays: Holiday Decorations