Have you ever seen a beautiful holiday tree and try to recreate it with no success? Florists Supply Commercial Decorator, Pompei, provides his insights on how it’s done by the professionals.
See how Ava and Shane from our marketing team decorate a tree based on his instructions below!
Step 1: Identify focal point(s) on your tree
First establish a focal point by identifying how your tree will be viewed. To do this, imagine the tree divided into four vertical quadrants. If your tree is in the corner or against a wall, the focus will be the front and two side quadrants; you can completely skip decorating the back section. If your tree is in the middle of the room where all sides are visible, all sides are a focal point and should be decorated uniformly as such.
When you decorate, start in one quadrant (usually the “front” of the tree), and work to replicate that design section by section. Keep that in mind as you move around the tree. What you do to one side you do to the other and, depending on how many ornaments you may have of each style, remember to stagger your decorations.
Step 2: Select decorations
Selecting decorations is a strong contender for the best part of putting together a tree. Try to pick a motif, and stay within a colour scheme or general theme. Using a mix of sprays, picks, ornaments, and ribbon is always a good idea for an interesting and professional looking tree.
How many decorations do you need?
A general rule of thumb for buying the proper amount of décor is to remember that for 1 ft of your tree height, you will need one of each of your design pieces (repeated in each quadrant).
If your tree is 7 ft tall, for that quadrant you will need 7 sprays, 7 picks, 7 ornaments, etc. Multiply that by the number of quadrants you are focusing on. For example, if your tree is in the corner and you are not designing the back, on a 7 ft tree, you will need 7 ft × 3 sides = 21 pieces of each design element, if that same tree was in the middle of the room and all quadrants were being decorated, you would need 7 ft × 4 sides = 28 pieces of each design element.
Step 3: Assemble your tree
The first step in decorating your tree is to assemble it. Starting from the base up, put your tree together at the stem. One section at a time, fluff the branches so you cannot see the trunk in the middle. Creating V-shapes between the branches and needles helps make the tree look full. Add the next level and fluff as you go. This step usually takes the longest, but is also the most important to making a tree look full and fluffy.
If your tree is pre-lit, attach the cords as you go so you know they are working. If any issues come up, you’ll know where.
Step 4: Lights
As noted above, if your tree is pre-lit this step is done for you. If not, wrap the tree with lights before decorating. Insert the lights in an in-and-out motion to create the illusion of depth with light. Starting at the middle stem and work out to the branch and then go back to the stem. Don’t pull the lights too far out (you don’t want to see any cords!). Work from the top down and in a spiral motion around the tree. Whether the tree is pre-lit or you are placing lights on the tree, make sure they are all working, and keep them lit while you weave them into the branches to ensure balanced coverage.
We used the The 1-2 Glow Lights, which are easy to set up. We offer a variety of lighting options, including cluster lights and twinkle lights, in different lengths for all tree heights. Below are guides for using these lights and finding the right fit for your tree.
Step 4: Decorating
We selected a variety of ornaments, permanent botanicals, birds, and ribbon for our tree display.
From left to right:
Rose Glittered Queen Anne’s Lace Spray 69-0G16310-PK, Snowy Ranunculus Bush 69-0S33051-WH, Snow Frost Peony Stem with Leaves 69-0S33939-CR-PK, Velvet/Sheer Poinsettia Stem 69-0280609-BG-PK, Faux Leather Ribbon 71-0RW4923-PK, Coated Styro Ball Spray 95-0H59636-WH, Pampas Grass Spray 28-0FSG542-GD, Velvet/Feather Birds on Clips 38-0610864-AS.
Now the most exciting part, decorating the tree! Start your design with the focal quadrant and once you are completely done that section, replicate that design around the tree. Start from the top of the tree and work down when adding decorations in the section you are working in. The tree topper is always placed on first! If your tree is pre-lit, you can design the top of the tree at eye level and then connect it to the top once you are finished. If it is not pre-lit, you will have to assemble the entire tree, add lights and then design the top on a ladder.
To create the illusion of a taller and grander tree, add sprays to the top as a unique and decorative tree topper. Stick them in upwards to add interest and height. Use the tree branches as twist ties to hold the sprays in place, and to tuck the stem of the picks/sprays in and out of sight.
Creating Balance and Continuity with Sprays, Florals, and Berries
Make sure one of each spray is placed from the top of the tree. Carry the theme through the rest of the tree by placing them upwards to mimic their growth in the wild. Continue adding sprays all the way down by alternating the orientation to create a visually balanced tree (zig zag motion). Work with one spray type at a time. Continue doing this for all florals, berries, and sprays.
Applying Ribbon and Garlands
Cut ribbon into 1-3 meters long (smaller pieces in top and longer pieces in the bottom). Working from the top down, tuck the ends into the tree where you don’t have any decorations. Create a woven in-and-out illusion by meeting the next strip near where the last one ended. This creates the look of the ribbon being wrapped entirely around the tree while not needing too much of it. Option: Place bows in the empty spaces where the strips of ribbon end.
Final Touches: Design Motif
Applying ornaments, birds, gnomes, or flowers? You don’t want to hide these elements! Add these pieces of your motif to the tips of the branches (usually these are ornaments, plush, or clips). If you are using bulb ornaments, attach them closer to the inside stem, these will help reflect the lights from the inside of the tree outwards. All other ornaments can be placed closer to the end of the stems so they can be seen. Place ornaments on the tree smallest to largest, this way your tree is balanced, and your eye will be drawn from the top of the tree to the bottom where the focal point is (the presents)! You typically want to use 70% shiny ornaments to 30% matte finish, and balance your ornament placement by placing plain colour ornaments beside decorated ornaments. Layer your ornaments from inside to outside of the tree branches to create depth.
Final Step: The Base
The last step is to add the base! Using tulle is a fun way to make a colourful tree skirt, attach your tulle higher up the stem to help hide the base and pull it out along the branch, and attach again at the stem. Continue the A-line of the tree with the tulle all the way to the ground. This will help it look full all the way down! Match the tulle to a colour you have already used on the tree for consistency.
If you have a large tree (think 12-18 ft tall), make bouquets with your decorations and insert those in the tree so you don’t have to add each decoration individually! This is a great way to save time, but still create a beautiful looking design (and can be reused every year). Note: the top of the tree will still need the elements added individually so don’t make a bouquet for the topper.
Want to see more? Check out these videos from Kaemingk: How to decorate a tree and 1-2 Glow UK on Vimeo.
Share your your tree decorating skills with us on Instagram by tagging us and using the hashtag #FSLiving.