Using tulle to decorate a Christmas tree is something a lot of people are starting to be interested in. In the mid 1980’s and 1990’s I used it to decorate theme trees at the Albany Institute of History and Art’s Festival of Trees. With this post you will see how easy it is to work with tulle, and you will soon be on your tulle-tree swagging adventure.
On the average, tulle comes on bolts and measures 52 to 58 inches wide, though you will also see tulle that is double wide at about 108 inches.
Step 1 ..If you are working with 58 inch wide tulle, cut it down the center so you have two strips that are each about 29 inches wide. I find that different colors and textures of tulle suggest different visual weights. White and light colors of tulle with a small mesh(screen) might look more ethereal, whereas dark and bright colors of tulle with larger mesh(screen) sizes suggests more visual weight.
Step 2 ..Take the height of your Christmas tree and multiple it by either 3.5 or 4. If you have a six-foot tree, 6 x 3.5= 21 feet. A 21 foot long strip of tulle will give you 4 1/2 feet of extra fabric to swag /work with on each side of your tree. (ex. 6 feet up one side, 6 feet down the other side, and 9 feet of fabric to swag with (4 1/2 feet on each side). If you multiple 6 x 4 which equals 24, you will have 6 extra feet of tulle to form your swags with on each side of the tree. If you are decorating a wide tree go for/multiple by 4.
Step 3 ..Look at the tree that I decorated for the institute. I took two long strips of tulle, folded then in half, and at the half way point fastened both strips together with florist wire. I cut the florist wire long enough so I could attach the fabric strips together, and have enough wire to also attach it to the base of the top tip of the tree. On the tree for the institute I used 2 long strips of tulle which gave me four lengths of fabric to work with. The tree was average width. If I had to decorate a really wide tree, three long strips of fabric would probably have been needed. Step 4 ..Making the first Swag Starting at the top of the tree, in the front center, take your first piece of tulle and bring it loosely down to just under the second or third row of branches. Take your fingers, and from both outside edges, start gathering toward the center, until your fingers meet. With a length of florist wire, tie off the fabric to form the first poof and then wire it to the underside of the branch. Next skip a row or two of branches, as you did from the tree’s top, and repeat the gathering, tying off, and wiring process. Skip another row or two of branches and repeat the process until you have worked to the bottom of the tree.
If for any reason you run out of tulle, work to the underside of the last row of branches you have enough fabric to cover. Wire off the end of that strip and wire it to the bottom side of the tree branch. Cut off any excess tulle. Next gather up and wire an extra piece of tulle and wire it right below where you left off and continue working until you get to the bottom of the tree. See Illustration #2.
After finishing the first side, start on the side directly opposite it. Work front then back, and side to side. Try to make all the swags the same size on each side so there is uniformity of poofs. If you are using 3 pieces of tulle, which gives you 6 strips, first work on the front, followed by the back. Next divide the 2 halves into thirds.
On the tree that I decorated for the institute I just ran four lengths of tulle vertically from the top of the tree down to the bottom. A variation on that theme is Illustration 3. First apply your tulle vertically as I did for the institute tree; then starting at the bottom row of branches, take a strip of tulle that you have gathered and wire, and attach it behind the fabric that is running vertically on the tree. Start working horizontally around the tree, making poofs the same size as you did, when you worked vertically. Work around the tree until you have completely encircled it with tulle. After that look at your tree and decide if you can divide the space between the top and bottom with two or three equidistant rows of tulle poofs. Start the horizontal rows at the bases of the vertical swags (look at illustration 3).
When it comes to decorating a tree with tulle, first apply your lights as I instruct in my post titled Putting Lights on a Christmas Tree the Easy Way, then add the tulle swagging. If you like the bows I put at the bases of the tulle swags, read Make an Easy No Tie Bow for your Christmas Wreath. For more information about decorating a tree read Christmas Tree decorating, step by step, like a Pro.
Finally, on the tree that I completely covered with flowers for the institute, I used 5 inch squares of tulle that I tied off in the center with matching thread, see illustration 4. I then inserted them into empty spots on the tree for lacy visual interest and filler. They are the dark burgundy spots on the tree.
I hope this post showed you how easy it is to work with tulle on a Christmas Tree.
Happy Tree decorating Everyone!
Companion Posts ..It’s easy to make a Tulle Christmas Wreath 11-8-2012,
Putting Lights on a Christmas Tree..The EASY WAY 11-3-2011,
Christmas Tree Decorating..Step-by-Step, Like a Pro 11-13-2011,
Cutting / Making Paper Snowflakes 10-27-2011,
Turn your Paper Snowflake into a Snowflake Snowman 12-14-2011,
A paper Craft Project for Kids, Make a Christmas Tree out of your Name 11-18-2011,
Some Outdoor Christmas Decorations that you can leave up ALL Winter 11-26-2011,
It’s EASY to Fluff a Fake / Artificial Christmas Wreath 12-8-2011
(Unrelated, but Really Popular Interior Decorating Posts)
Arranging Living Room Furniture, so Sofas talk to Chairs, like the Pros do 9-7-2012,
Arranging Furniture TWELVE different ways in the Same Room 9-15-2012,
Arranging Furniture around a Fireplace in the Corner of a Room 9-29-2012,
The Right way to Hang Curtains and Drapes 5-3-2011,
The Right height of Table Lamp for your End Table 5-19-2011