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Floral Occasions & Holidays

How to Flock a Christmas Tree

December 20, 2017

If ornaments and twinkle lights just aren’t enough to give your Christmas tree that “wow factor,” it may be time to try something new, like flocking. Flocking your tree will give it that snow-kissed look that only real trees in the forest have been able to attain, until now. So throw on some Christmas music, make hot chocolate, and get your crafting clothes on because it’s time to transform your home into a true winter wonderland.

flock a christmas tree

What is Flocking?

If you want to get technical, flocking is the process of creating texture by attaching tiny fibers to a material. But when talking about Christmas trees, flocking means to give it that natural, snow-covered look by applying a white, powdery mixture to the branches. We love flocking a Christmas tree because it gives it more dimension and mimics the look of a tree sitting in the forest.

When Did the Tradition Start?

The idea to flock Christmas trees has been around for quite a while — since the 1800s, in fact. Back then, homeowners tried to get the snowy effect by using cotton and flour mixed with glue or cornstarch. But flocking as we know it today became popular around the 1950s and 1960s (though we can’t imagine metallic trees of the time looked all that natural, even after being flocked). It was around then that flocking powder became mass produced and marketed, meaning people could now quickly and easily flock their trees at home.

Creating Your Own Flocking Spray

With flocked trees becoming more and more popular, most stores now carry pre-flocked trees for sale. But for all of you DIY-enthusiasts, you can really get into the Christmas spirit by flocking your tree with either pre-made flocking powder or by creating your own from scratch.

Around the holidays, flocking powder can be found at nearly any craft or convenience store. Most kits just require you to add water to the powder and mix it for a few minutes before you’re ready to go!

But for the most extreme DIYers, you can also make the flocking powder yourself with a few household items. The only catch here is that this solution won’t last until next year, meaning it should only be done on a live tree that you’re planning on getting rid of after the holidays. All you’ll need to cover a traditional 5-foot tree is:

  • 2 cups white soap shavings
  • 2/3 cup liquid cornstarch or white glue
  • 4 tablespoons of warm water

Once all of your “ingredients” have been mixed, flock your tree outside, just as you would with traditional flocking powder.

Things to Keep in Mind:

For the best, most natural results, make sure to:

  • Always flock your tree before decorating it with any lights, ornaments, or tinsel.
  • Leave roughly two days for this projects, since flock can take anywhere from 20 and 48 hours to dry.
  • Never brush the underside of a branch with flocking powder.
  • Only flock the tips of branches.
  • Allow some of the mixture to fall onto branches below.
  • Dollop (don’t spread) the mixture onto needles.

If you used flocking powder to flock an artificial tree, all you have to do in January is throw a cotton cloth over it and store the tree standing up. Live trees with our DIY flocking powder can typically be left on the curb (or better yet, recycled) with any flock still on it.

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