How to Shape Your Artificial Christmas Tree Branches

Artificial Christmas trees are brilliant solutions to pine allergies, inconvenience, and mess but the trouble is that sometimes they can look like what they are--fake. When you’ve taken the time to drag your tree down from the attic, set it up, and decorate, the last thing you want is to leave it full of gaping holes. Today, we’re sharing five steps to helping you get the perfect, beautifully fluffed tree!

1. Get Ready for the Tree

The most beautiful tree in the world won’t be much good if it’s stuck in a corner somewhere. Before you even starting setting up your tree, make sure your space is ready for it! You’ll want to identify a spot for it in your home that’s clean and level and allows your tree to takes its rightful place as the main attraction in your Christmas decor. Popular places include in front of a window, by the fireplace, or in a dining area near a Christmas tablescape. Don’t be afraid to rearrange furniture to help you tree shine!

Once you prepped and cleaned your space and moved furniture (if necessary), you’ll want to get ready to start working on the tree! Assemble the materials you’ll need, including lights, decorations such as ornaments, ribbons, garlands, and a tree skirt, and grab a tree stand and extension cord from the garage (if called for). You also might want to grab a pair of gloves; sometimes the bristles from the tree can irritate your hands, especially if you’ll need to do a lot of fluffing.

Finally, don’t forget to include your family and friends! This whole process is much more fun when you make it a party. Put on some of your favorite Christmas music, pop some popcorn, and have fun!

2. Give Your Tree a Once-Over

Before you begin to assemble your tree, give it a careful examination. It’s amazing how fast you can forget about problems with the tree you put away just a year ago, and it would be a pity to spend tons of time putting a tree up only to decide you’re ready for a new one.

Plug it in and make sure all the lights work (if it’s a pre-lit tree). If lights are out, you have two options: first, you can try replacing bulbs or gently twisting or twiddling with the bulbs. Sometimes that helps, but we don’t recommend messing with this option if you have lots of lights out, as it will take forever.

Second, you can add a strand of lights to the unlit area. This is usually the simplest option, though it might be costly and will require you to possibly make an additional trip to the store, delaying your decorating!

3. Fluff the Branches

Now it’s time to start massaging the individual pine shoots, opening them up and freeing them from being bundled up tight all year. This might take a little time but go slow, be consistent, and it will be over before you know it. You want to think like Mother Nature: all the individual leaves on a tree out in the wild will need to find sun, so the leaves closest to the branch will be pointed up.

All the stems won’t be uniform, either; they’ll usually alter on the branch, one pointing slightly to one side while the next points slightly to the opposite side. As you progress towards the end of the branch, you’ll note the leaves start to point outwards. Also, at this point, you should consult your manufacturer, as some trees are designed so that the outermost branches and leaves slope down, and some are designed to be much more upright.

Special note: depending on your tree, some manufacturers have you fluff and then assemble, and some require you to assemble and then fluff. Either way, make sure you follow the directions and you’ll be in great shape!

4. Shape the Tree

One of the key points to remember during this process is how important the “stand back” is! If you don’t take a second to walk about ten or fifteen feet away from your tree to look it over as you go, you will definitely miss branches or holes. As you assemble and then begin to shape your tree, keep this in mind!

You’ll want to start at the bottom of your tree and work your way up (though, if your tree is over six or so feet, you’ll want to start with the top section). Arrange each branch so that they’re pointing the right way and that they roughly alternate with each other. Keep an eye out for holes in the branches and lights that stop working.

5. Fill and Hide

Once you’ve fully assembled your tree and fluffed every branch, you’ll want to keep adding filler and you’ll want to hide the stem.

Even if your tree is high quality and/or well-filled, the best way to get a designer, beautiful tree is to continue to fill every hole and gap. You can use ornaments, of course, but we love to use lights (use different sizes to add a twinkly effect) as well as things like artificial poinsettia stems, garlands, and bows.

The quickest way to make your tree look fake and not real is to allow the stem to be seen. There are two ways to hide this. The first way is to wrap garland or ribbon loosely around the stem, itself. This helps to both fill your tree and camouflage that unsightly trunk.

The second way to hide the stem is to not forget the very bottom trunk and tree stand. You should use a decorative tree skirt to hide all of this and make your tree look extra luxurious and beautiful. Tree skirts don’t have to be anything overly expensive over fancy; even a beautiful decorative blanket can double as a beautiful skirt!

Now that you’ve gotten ready for your tree, carefully examined it, fluffed the branches, shaped it, filled the holes and hid the stem, you’re ready to finish your decorating and enjoy your beautiful tree! Happy Christmas!

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