Florist bow tree toppers can make your tree appear whimsical and dynamic! I've been making florist bow tree toppers for several years now, and thought I'd write a how-to. I first saw these toppers on department store trees that were a floor and a half tall! They were quite dramatic. My tree is only 3 feet tall, so you will have to do some math to calculate how much ribbon you will need - I used 15ft for mine. (Hitting the after-Christmas sales is a good time to get lots of ribbon for next year.) EDITED 2/23/08 - I have posted ribbon measurements for a 6-foot tree.
You will need:
wired ribbon - getting the wired kind is important for shaping, unless you just want your streamers to hang straight down. Make sure you select a ribbon with a width that is proportional to your tree.
florist wire to hold the bow together.
an empty paper towel roll or other cylindrical object to form the waves
Make 2 florist bows - Make sure you make the tails a little longer than what you would like them to be on the tree (after you mold the ribbon, they get a little shorter.) This page has some good instructions on how to make the bow:
Making bows take some practice, so be patient if you don't get it the first time!
Now attach the bows to the top of the tree with the florist wire. One bow should face the front of the tree, one should face the back. I usually put the bows on after the lights are put on, but before all the other ornaments. Using the paper towel roll, form waves by putting the roll under the ribbon, and smoothing the rest of the tail under it.
Continue making more waves down the ribbon. After the one strand is done, finger-mold it more into the shape you want, using smooth movements - do not press or pinch as this will put unwanted ripples in your ribbon.
Experiment with wave-spacing - closer waves at the top and wider waves at the bottom give an illusion of movement:
(my tree from 2004)