How do they make tinsel? Inside the UK’s largest tinsel factory
So you may be asking yourself, how do they make tinsel? Here at Festive Productions Ltd. South Wales, we have the UK’s largest tinsel factory. In 1990 we opened our factory with just two machines imported from Germany – the birthplace of tinsel.
Now, we produce 600,000 metres of tinsel garland every day. That’s 22 metres of tinsel every second. In the 25 years that Festive has been producing tinsel we have made enough to wrap the world over 70 times.
A quick history of tinsel.
Tinsel as we know and love it today was invented in around 1610 in Germany. The original tinsel was made with strands of silver, which quickly became tarnished and consequently substituted with other shiny metals.
Modern tinsel, including the tinsel produced here at Festive is made from PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride film, coated with a metallic finish.
Step by step tinsel manufacture
- Step one: Widths of coated ‘ribbon’ are fed into a cutting machine where the edges are sliced into thin strips, leaving the centre intact.
- Step two: The sliced ribbon is then fed into a spinning machine which rapidly spins it alongside a galvanised wire thread which becomes twisted along the centre due to centrifugal force.
- Step three: Once the length of the ribbon has gone through the machine the completed tinsel is wound inside the centrifugal ‘drum’ ready to be lifted out by hand, measured and cut to the required length of garland.
The whole process is similar to that of making candy floss, but with added sparkle! You can watch the process on YouTube here: Tinsel making video.
Not all tinsel is created equal
There are several types of tinsel available.
You can have the ‘slices’ fine cut, chunky cut and have a single or a mix of colours for starters.
Looped tinsel: The coated ribbon ‘strips’ are looped back into centre when bound to the wire so you have a looped effect
6 ply tinsel: Thicker and more luxuriant, this tinsel can be made as a single colour or with a mix of colours
Die Cut tinsel: The original ribbon when sliced is also cut with a shape on the end, so you can have leaves, stars, holly and Disney’s Frozen snowflakes in your tinsel.
Pre-lit tinsel: These garlands include lighting
Not all tinsel has to be in garish colours, some looks more natural and can be used for table and room decoration, not just for the tree.
From humble beginnings to tinsel supplier to thousands
Festive Productions Ltd. are proud to be licensed to produce the only range of Disney’s Frozen Christmas decorations and tinsel, Hello Kitty range of Christmas decorations and tinsel and to be working in partnership with designer and self-proclaimed Christmas lover, Kirstie Allsopp to produce a beautiful vintage inspired range of Christmas decorations and tinsel.
Other than the Festive brand and licensed tinsel ranges, we offer a bespoke range of tinsel, from football club supporter colours to tinsel created from pantone colours to exactly match your requirements.
Festive proudly supply Christmas products to thousands of retailers each year including Costco, B&Q, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Truffaut, The Garden Centre Group, Pound Stretcher and Tesco.
Have a look through Festive’s brochure to find out more about the wide range of tinsel and tinsel products, like trees and garlands available and get in touch today to find out more about becoming a supplier of great British made tinsel.