How to Hang Garlands & Tinsel on a Christmas Tree

Master the art—and it is an art—of hanging garlands and tinsel on your Christmas tree.


Up next in Christmas Trees & Decorations (38 videos)

Get all your questions about Christmas trees and Christmas decorations answered, and pick up a few new tricks, in this Howcast video series.


You Will Need

  • Garlands or tinsel
  • Craft wire or ribbon
  • A stepladder


  1. Pets are sometimes attracted to eating tinsel, which can cut up their intestines.

  2. Step 1

    Pick one

    Decide whether you want to hang tinsel—those silvery strands hung from branches to add shimmer to a tree—or garlands, which are long, decorative pieces that wrap around the tree. Using both can be a bit much.

  3. Step 2

    Hang the lights first

    String the lights the way you want them before you put on the tinsel or a garland.

  4. Step 3

    Hang tinsel individually

    If you’re using tinsel, commit to hanging it one piece at a time. Yes, it will be time-consuming, but the end result—even instead of clumpy—will be worth it.

  5. Follow the six-six rule: Don’t hang more than six strands per branch, and leave about six inches of space between tinsel-decorated branches.

  6. Step 4

    Choose a garland

    If you prefer garlands, decide what kind you’d like. Choices include ones made of tinsel, popcorn, cranberries, candy, and beads.

  7. Buy or make 10 feet of garland for every foot of tree. You can use one long garland or several shorter pieces.

  8. Step 5

    Drape the garlands

    Start at the top. If you need to, use a stepladder to reach. Drape the garlands around the tree, creating evenly spaced dips. To keep your garlands' shape, secure sections to branches with wire or ribbon, or just wrap it around branches.

  9. Step 6

    Consider vertical garlands

    For a more unusual look, hang garland strands vertically, knotting them to top branches and letting them float to the bottom of the tree.

  10. Ukrainian Christmas-tree decorations often include a fake spider and web because of a folk tale that a spider spun a beautiful web to decorate a poor family’s tree.