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DIY Tutorial – Steps on Decorating a Tree + Tips

Welcome to Part 4 of my Christmas Tree Ornament Posts – the finale!
In this post I’ll show you the steps I took to decorate our tree.  I also have a few tips I followed that really made a difference!
Here’s a few close-ups:
Did you see my previous posts about how I made many of our ornaments?
Part 3 – Acorn Ornaments (Garland Option) + Pine Cone Ornaments

I wanted to make my own ornaments to cut down on cost and so I could create exactly what I wanted.  I enjoy using what I already have (in the house and from our yard) and I’m not a fan of bright and colorful – so natural was the way to go (as much as possible).
Gather all your ornaments and get ready!
Let me tell you a little bit about what I have.
I bought 2 spools of wired-ribbon from Costco for around $7 each (great deal – you get a ton)!  The 3rd smaller spool was after I took the ribbon off the tree from the 1st time I decorated it and wound them up together.  I probably used less than half a spool each for my whole tree.
The flowers and glittery sprigs were from the Dollar Store (I used Modge Podge spray to keep the glitter from peeling off).   Those wispy-feathery things are actually from the tall grasses in our front yard!
…use what’cha got, right!?  Small branches and twigs would also work well.
I got the glittery tree topper (hard to see) from Hobby Lobby for around $9 and the large snowflakes from the Dollar Store (again, I sprayed Modge Podge on these because they were already starting to peel).
 And yes, ANOTHER Dollar Store find were these large orbs!  They’re really thin plastic but they’re better than the glass bulbs I was contemplating putting on the tree (maybe in a few years when kids aren’t playing with the tree).  I’m 95% sure these are stock from last year because I went to 5 different stores trying to find more and they all had other (cheaper looking) plastic ones.
Acorn-jute garland.
 Pine cones with feathers.
 Twine balls.
 Wood slices with photograph transfers.
 Cornstarch snowflakes.
Most people use pipe cleaners for attaching ribbon to the tree but I had these evergreen wires already on hand.  You’ll want scissors for cutting ribbon.
Clear the space around your tree and put some Christmas tunes on!
Just a little information about our tree.  I got it last year from the thrift store and was surprised it was only $10 because it looked amazing and high-quality!  Now that I’ve decorated it I can see a few reasons why it’s not ideal.  Where the top attaches to the base the branches are VERY sparse (see picture).  The individual branches are about 3″-across so it’s hard to put them through ornament loops and because the branches are so wide there’s not very many to hang ornaments from.
If your tree isn’t pre-lit, add lights now.  I used 2 strands of LED lights I bought at Costco.
The first time I decorated this tree (a few weeks ago) I spiraled & twisted the ribbon around.  It didn’t fill in all the areas I wanted and I thought I would try the ‘cascading method’ this time and I LOVE it so much better!
You will essentially be tying your ribbon off on the top 1/3 of your tree and bubbling it out over your branches and pushing it inside your tree, bubbling it out, etc.  You tie your ribbons off by rolling your ribbon ends over half of a pipe cleaner…
… and pinching it down over a branch where you want your ribbons to start (on the inside of your tree).
Most places where I pushed my ribbons in to create a bubble the branches held it in place just fine, but where my branches were sparse I had to clamp the ribbon with a pipe cleaner to keep it in place.
 When you want to end your ribbon you can fold it in half and cut from the fold down at an angle to create pretty ends.
 The biggest tip I can say to getting the ribbon looking right is start and end in different places around your tree and don’t have the ‘bubbles’ going in/out at the same places around the tree.
 Next I spiral-wrapped my garland around the tree.
It was surprised how good it looks just like this!
 To create dimension on your tree add ornaments INSIDE the branches.  It makes it more interesting.  This was the best use for my twine balls because they slip right over the lights and I’d have enough branches for hanging my other ornaments.
 See the difference with the light inside (left) vs just hanging (right)?  It’s amazing how they light up!
 I turned the lights on for this step but I find it easier to place ornaments with the lights off.
 Next I added my large orbs and made sure to stagger where I put them since they stand out so much.
These ornaments stand out because they’re blocks of white so I added them next to ensure I could place them where they worked best.
I added my pinecones by altering between laying them inside the branches and hanging them from the edges of the tree.  They grab onto the branches well so the ones laying down will stay in place.
I added all my photograph ornaments.  I had so many there’s one on practically every branch! 🙂
I kept my large snowflakes for last so I could fill in any dead space.  Remember my tree is very sparse with it’s branches?  These snowflakes nestled right into the tree without needing a hanger.  See the difference?!  Thank goodness for huge ornaments.
 It’s coming along!
I added a handful of the wispy sprig-things from our yard in random places around the tree where it needed more filler.
The last and crowning moment is adding the sprigs, flowers and tree topper at the top!  My snowflake topper didn’t fit over our huge branches so I used one of the evergreen wires to tie it on the top, ha!  I added the wispy things around and adjusting as I thought it needed.
Here’s some close-up shots:
Here’s the tree at night:
It feels good to be done!
I love seeing the tree, especially as we pull up to the house at night.
I’m so glad it all came together so well… and although there were some hiccups along the way at least I ironed them out for you! 🙂
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