How to DIY a Flocked Christmas Tree

A flocked Christmas tree next to a glowing fireplace.
What You'll Need
Six bars of soap
Handheld cheese grater
Large bowl
Hand or stand mixer
Liquid cornstarch or white glue
Glitter glue and food coloring (optional)
Tarp, sheet, or newspapers
Safety goggles
Paint brush
5-6 cans white spray paint
Tarp, sheet, or newspapers
Glitter (optional)

With the holidays nearly here, it’s the perfect time to decorate your home and make it as festive as possible. From ornaments to lights, a Christmas tree is a great way to get the whole family in the spirit and to make your home look fabulous. A flocked Christmas tree is an even better twist on a classic holiday staple, so why not use your DIY skills to create one? Read the full tutorial below and you’ll be on your way to a winter wonderland within the comfort of your own home.

What’s a Flocked Christmas Tree?

You may be asking yourself, “What is a flocked Christmas tree?” You’ve likely seen them many times. These trees look like they're covered in snow or frosted. Tree flocking dates back to the 1800s, when those going for this look used substances like flour or cotton to get the desired aesthetic. The look really caught on in the late 1950s and 1960s. If you’ve ever pined for a white Christmas, a flocked tree is the perfect way to get just that—only inside four walls.

How to Flock Your Christmas Tree - Method One: Soap Shavings

A close-up image of a flocked Christmas tree.

The use of soap shavings to give your tree a snow-kissed look is a traditional way to go about it. It’s also economically friendly. Use a gentle soap such as the brand Ivory in order to keep the fragrance to a minimum. Keep in mind, though, that this method could take up to 30 hours to complete, so plan accordingly.

Step 1 - Make Your Shavings

Make your shavings by using a cheese grater and large bowl. Place the bowl under the grater and grate your soap bars until they are all adequately flaked. You will need two cups of flakes.

Step 2 - Mix the Flakes

Mix your shavings with two-thirds cup of liquid cornstarch or white glue. It's most effective to use a hand or stand mixer to do this. Add in four tablespoons of warm water and continue to mix until well combined.

Step 3 - Add a Tint

If desired, now’s when you would tint the mixture with food coloring or even something like glitter glue to give your snow-like substance the exact look you’re going for.

Step 4 - Continue to Beat

Beat the mixture until it turns into stiff peaks with a creamy consistency.

Step 5 - Apply the Mixture

Before beginning the application process, be sure to take the proper safety precautions. Wear a mask, gloves, and safety goggles for this part of the process. Place an old sheet, a tarp, or newspapers on the ground and set your tree up outside. Stand on a ladder close to the crown of your tree. You should work from the top down when applying the substance. Using a paint brush, scoop a dollop of the mixture and apply to the tip of the tree needles. Refrain from smearing the substance and from brushing the underside of the branches.

Step 6 - Allow the Flock to Dry

Allow the substance to dry for 24 hours or more to ensure that it's completely settled on the branches. Once dry, you can continue with your decorations.

How to Flock Your Christmas Tree - Method Two: Spray Paint

A close-up image of a flocked and decorated Christmas tree.

Another popular and effective method of flocking a Christmas tree is to use spray paint. While this method will cost a bit more to carry out, it provides a quicker turnaround time than the soap method above. It will take between three and four hours to actually perform and require only eight hours of drying time. Keep in mind that this is not a good method to use if you plan on using lights on your tree, as it could pose a safety hazard. For this project, you’ll need five or six cans of white spray paint, depending on the size of your tree.

Step 1 - Set Up Your Tree

Similar to what was done in the last method, set up your tree outside atop a sheet, tarp, or newspapers. Position a ladder next to the tree.

Step 2 - Spray the Tree

Before spraying the tree, ensure you are taking the proper safety precautions. Wear gloves, a mask, and safety goggles to protect yourself from the paint. Stand on the ladder close to the top of the tree, again working from the top down. Start by spritzing inner branches, working your way to those that are outer. If desired, sprinkle glitter onto the branches when they’re wet with paint to add more luster to your tree. Avoid spraying the underside of branches.

Step 3 - Let the Tree Dry

Let your tree dry for at least eight hours, but up to 24 depending on its size and how thickly layered the paint was sprayed onto its branches.

Creating your own flocked holiday tree is as simple as that, and then it’ll be yours to enjoy for years to come if you use an artificial tree. A snow-kissed tree is the perfect way to enjoy a white Christmas without having to actually brave the chilly temperatures outside!