Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Adventures in DIY Flocking an Artificial Christmas Tree

I have always wanted a white Christmas tree. So badly, in fact, that I came very close to spray painting our hand me down artificial tree last year (seemed pretty messy and tedious so I skipped that idea).

Then one day in mid-November, I came home to a white Christmas tree. Hubby had surprised me with it, along with a new assortment of gold, silver and white ornaments (and six bottles of wine sitting underneath it - he knows me so well). Sweet man had taken note, and on the 8th anniversary of the day we decided to be more than just friends (a date we hadn't acknowledged for a while), he tried to fullfill my lifelong white tree dreams.

To make a long story short, I returned it. I found a bigger, better one for a better deal so tree #1 went back (yup, I'm that wife). I decorated it, and then stepped back and looked at it, and it wasn't working. White, for once, just wasn't right. It was just too white. It didn't have that magical Christmas feel to me. Perhaps had we splurged on an uber expensive one it would have felt different, but this tree just wasn't for me.

Tree #2 went back to the store, and a third tree put up in it's place. This time, it was our old artificial tree, the one we've put up every year since we've been married. But, I couldn't do the green anymore. Some faux trees are realistic looking - ours is not. The green is just... so greeny. So after some soul searching (and wine drinking), I decided that faux flocking my tree was the way to go.

There are a bunch of "recipes" out there including everything from soap flakes to shaving cream. I went the shaving cream route and was flocking happy with the results!

To flock an entire 7.5 foot tree (every single branch) it took TWELVE batches of the following recipe:

1 cup Elmer's All Purpose Glue (not the kiddie version)
3 cups Generic foam shaving cream
1 tbsp Corn starch

Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer for a few minutes or until stiff peaks form.

For application:
I started from the very bottom of the tree (I kept it in it's pieces so flocked the bottom third first, then put on the second tier to flock, and then put the top on to finish it up).

To help mask the nasty green, I decided to flock every single branch thoroughly. I filled my palm with my fluffy mixture and massaged it into each branch. After half the tree was done, I had dozens of little cuts in my hands. Learn form my mistakes - wear gloves! I put gloves on for the remainder of my flocking session and was much more comfortable.







Be warned - this is not a quick process. All in all, it took me about 4 - 5 hours to finish the tree, but I'm so happy with how it turned out.

Let the flock dry for at least 24 hours (preferably more). It dries nice and spongey - not hard and crusty. It DOES flake off when you move it, add ornaments, etc to a certain extent, but a quick sweep will clean up the mess and it won't effect your flocking result.

Also, if your tree is pre-lit, you really have two options (that I can think of). Tape off each light with painters tape (which would be WAY too much work in my opinion), or flock over those flocking lights and call it a day! I decided to go this route and then add more lights post-flocking (and leave the ones I flocked over unplugged.)

I'll try and get pictures of the finished and decorated tree up this weekend! Until then, is this something you would try, or have tried?


6 comments:

  1. I'm real tree girl...but I do think this looks great. That is commitment, too!

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    1. When we have kids we will have a real tree for sure!

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  2. Oh my gosh. This is amazing! It looks like you cut down a fresh tree from the forrest :)

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    1. Thanks! It still looks rather artificial in person but I am still loving it!

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  3. JEN!!! This looks amazing! It never would have occurred to me that a tree could be diy flocked. Genius! I'll be curious to know how it holds up after storage next year. Keep us posted... my tree could get flocked yet ;)

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    1. We have decided to store it intact in the basement so beyond relocating it, there won't be much storing involved, lol! From my interactions with it thus far, I can tell you it would shed a lot when stored, but would still retain some flock. If we were to store it and lose some flock, I think I would just do some touch ups next year :) So far I'm loving it - and didn't have anything left to lose because I'm planning on upgrading to a 12 ft tree next year! Eeeek!

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