How to Flock a Real Christmas Tree
Posted by Mike and Tina on Dec 21, 2017
We have always admired the old fashioned Christmas trees in classic movies. They were always flocked and fancy, but never too perfect. This year we decided at the last minute to do this to a fresh, real tree. Every year Tina decorates our tree using the blue ceramic old time bulbs and it's always beautiful. In the movies you don't see lights on the flocked trees so we were guessing the stuff is highly flammable at least back in the day. We did a little research and found the flocking material (non flammable) on Amazon and got started. We purchased a 5 lb. bag for this tree.
We picked out an 8' Canaan Fir which is a short needled tree, with firm branches and has a lot of separation between the branches. Seemed to be a good candidate for flock so we went with it. Also found out that the Canaan Fir is much less expensive than the Fraser Fir which we also like a lot. Yes, I always pick out a tree much too large for our house!
Under the tree we threw down a couple of old bed sheets (not bamboo sheets of course), because the writing was on the wall about the mess that was coming. I would suggest doing this outside or in a garage if possible. We did not do this, because we were worried we'd lose too much flock moving the tree into the house.
Next we got our items ready to start this job. You'll need your flock, a scoop, a spray bottle filled with water, and a sieve or sifter. You will need to have your flock material opened up and easy to get at. We thought it best to put our bag of flock into a box to keep the mess to a minimum. You are also going to need a sieve and/or flour sifter. We pulled out our regular kitchen sieve and an an antique flour sifter with a hand crank, so we could experiment to see which worked best. You'll need a spray bottle that will produce a fine mist. I filled with lukewarm water because it just seemed like it would be better than cold. Also, if you are using a sifter with a handle and a crank this will take two people. One to work the sifter and one to spray the tree. But now days most sifters are made with a one handed trigger. Regardless, its not a bad idea to do this as a team, because 4 hands are better than two, and it's just more FUN!
Start at the top of the tree and mist it liberally. Have the flock loaded sieve or sifter about half full (you can fill sifter a bit fuller). After the tree has been misted, you will be sifting and misting at the same time. Keeping the mister about 6"-8" below the sieve or sifter, start sifting and misting the powder as it falls onto the tree. The mist with disperse the flocking material. As you go along you will get the feel for the coverage. We started with the sieve, by shaking the powder through the wire mesh. It worked well, but came out slowly. So we decided to try the sifter, because the holes in the mesh were a little larger. This went much quicker. I'd compare it to a heavier snow fall, so we continued with this method through the rest of the tree. However, we did use the sieve at the very top, because it was easier to get at the branches up close to the ceiling. We repeated the process doing sections of the trees at a time and went over a lot of areas where we wanted heavier coverage.
As you would expect, the flock material will get all over the place (like drywall dust) and cake up on that sheet. You may even want to use a mask, but we did not. We got a fair amount on our hardwood floors, but it came right up. The dusty material can be easily wiped up with a rag or vacuumed. We had a few spots were we had tracked the cakey material onto the floor, but cleans up easily with warm soapy water and a sponge. The great news is that old sheet is now covered in fluffy flock and makes for a great tree blanket.
Here is the tree when we were done with the flock. It took about an hour. We used about 3/4 of the flocking material. If you have to trim your tree down you can use the branches an extra flock to make nice holiday decorations.
Here is the tree with just the flock and the lights installed. Notice the sheet (tree blanket). You will have excess glitter at the bottom of the sifter that you can throw on the tree or mist the sheet and it will stick, we did that.