How to Make Your Artificial Flocked Tree Look Fuller
On ASK THE DESIGNER: How to Make Your Artificial Flocked Tree Look Fuller?
One of the main questions I always get asked this time of year is, How to Make Your Artificial Flocked Tree Look Fuller? My answer is the same whether your tree is flocked, or not. There are several “tricks of the trade” that designers use to make those show house trees look super full and without a lot of heft. I can say have bought the most expensive trees and some inexpensive trees and with these simple tricks you can make them ALL look exactly the same, no matter what the price tag. In fact, if you buy a less expensive tree you can put more money into your ornaments and filler products; which saves money in the long run.This is our Peppermint Twist tree from our Vintage Holiday Home Tour this year. I used the exact same technique as the DIY I published below from last Christmas on the exact same tree. This shows that the results are the same even with different ribbon techniques and decoration layers. The only real difference is I use different ribbon and colored ornaments. My ribbon technique was similar multiple bows at the top except instead of a tuck and weave method I did a vintage twist instead.
First and most important thing is that you want your tree to be well lit. If you are buying a pre-lit tree or even a live tree, you want to make sure that the lights go deep into the tree and not just sit on the surface of the tree. I always add extra lights to all of my trees, even the pre-lit trees, whether it be a speciality set of lights or an alternate color. This will create a very custom look. Designer Tip: A great packing tip between years is to store your polyfill and even tree skirts with your trees in their boxes. This keeps all of your supplies together for next year and you do not have to go searching a bunch of different boxes, especially if you have multiple trees, like we do.The next step is for artificial trees, you must fluff the branches, which is spreading them out and opening them up to create more surface area of green to be seen from all angles. This is when I add the fluff to the core of my flocked trees. During the assemble and fluffing process is the perfect time to add in the polyfill fluff; which will save your arms and hands from getting scratched up by reaching into the tree after the fact. You can use polyfill available at craft stores, or if you are like me and did not buy enough and want to try a green cost effective measure….. So funny story, I may have underestimated how much polyfill I would need, with just two bags. So, to compensate I decided that I would cut open my old outdoor cushions, since it is the end of the season, and use the fluff from inside….LOL. I know this may seem like an odd tip, but I learned these techniques working in many showrooms, HOA’s and event homes. You see, you have to decorate every year for the holidays, and they always give you the same boxes filled with of the same old decor and no new budget. However, they want it to look new and fresh every year which is always a challenge. So you learn to be very resourceful, you have to get crafty, and make something out of nothing. Think of it like “Chopped”, but the Decor Version and you have my entire job description during my twenties and early thirties….LOL. I should really should pitch that idea to HGTV as a reality show! Oh geez the things we did….Since your old worn out cushions can not be (should not be) donated and you will probably be buying new ones next year, why not? It breaks down the filler of the cushion that would just be going to the landfill. Plus the cushions are waterproof, so the fluff is clean and you can always pitch it end of the season if you don’t want to reuse it next year. (Let me warn you, some cushions do not have white fluff inside, so you might want to check them first before committing to this route.)
So here is how the process goes: as you are opening up the branching and fluffing each branch, you add the fluff to the middle sections. Then lower the next set of branches down and fluff. This process makes adding the polyfill super simple and saves your arms from getting all scratched up from the reaching up into the branches. Once you have the tree fluffed and filled, you can add your ribbon or garland. You can use either, or both. I tend to mix it up depending on my overall tree theme which varies from year to year. On this tree we will be using two types of ribbon. I have purchased three, 30 foot bolts of each ribbon type. The is the most common thing I notice, is that people never get enough ribbon to create the proper fullness you see on the professional trees in magazines. Sometime I will use as many as three to four coordinating ribbons in the same amounts, if I want a lot of ribbon or a large bow at the top. My best advice is whatever you think you need double or triple it, because it always take more than your think. There are several ways to install the ribbon. You can go in a vertical garland like fashion, or more of a woven in and out fashion. When I first learned how to weave ribbon on a tree, the lady that taught me said “think of the tree like ice cream and the ribbon is like the hot fudge running down your sundae.” To me that painted a very vivid picture of how to “tuck and weave” the ribbon into the branches. I know a lot people that prefer to cut ribbon and feed it into the tree, in smaller pieces. I personally work with the entire bolt in one long strand, directly off the bolt. This preserves my ribbon to be used again for other things, later on, instead of being stuck with a bunch of weird and odd sized mini strips of ribbon, but hey it is whatever works best for you. I think this comes from my background work with flowers and hair. I mean you can’t sections of your hair off when you are creating a french braid and then just tuck it back in somewhere else, to make it pretty, same with floral design too, are just left with a big old mess, LOL. So you train yourself to design and create in the parameters provided.
My method on this tree is to make a mini bow that mounts into the top of the tree; while the tail will weave around in a vertical fashion going deep into the tree and back out to create the illusion of depth. Once you add several mini bows at the top of the tree you will have created one large tree topper bow. This method also prevents a large bow from being limp or droopy…..wan wha… and no one likes a droopy bow. 😉 Once your ribbon is in placed this is when I add my base ornaments. These are usually large single color ornaments that you see on most designers trees every year. These will always be in a neutral color of silver, white or gold then an accent color can be added to create a new look each and every year, along with new ribbon and picks. These are my Pottery Barn mercury glass ornaments, they are neutral enough to go with any type of tree theme and make a great base ornament, so they are a great investment. They also reflect a lot of light, so it just adds to the glow of the tree. The next step is to add in accent picks, this year mine are in a neutral gold and silver. Since I decided to use a dark blue ribbon this year, the same gold and silver picks from last year will still work and can be reused again.
I do like to pick classic items that can be repurposed from year to year in new themes or rooms, that way I always have a nice stock set to choose from.I store them by type and color like a store in holiday area, which is a post for another day.
Since this is my Lenox collectible tree, it always gets my annual vintage collectable ornaments that we have been collecting each year since we got married. I order 2-3 new annual ornaments each year to continual build my collection. Some of these ornaments are worth a staggering amount of money now, and I probably should not put them out, given the state of our home around the holidays, but why have them if you are not going to use them, right? So when my $250-$500+ irreplaceable ornaments hit the floor because a cat knocked them off, you may very well hear me screaming in Canada! Finally, I top the tree off with some smaller solid ornaments in an accent color, these could be a focal color to go with your tree theme or still neutral. I like to think of these like jewelry, the earrings that pull the entire tree together.
This was the end result, a tree that glows from within, and by following these easy steps, it is so easy to do and takes no more effort than a basic tree assembly. The trick really is the order and multi-tasking by fluffing and stuffing at the same time.
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