Flocked Christmas Trees: Everything You Need to Know

No snow in the forecast? No problem!

When it comes to holiday decorating, Southerners go big. We start planning months in advance, and we tend to leave our decorations up a little longer than everyone else. That's because we just hate to see the season end. If there's a way to extend the holiday spirit a little longer, we'll find it. While garlands, festive wreaths, and clusters of mistletoe can be found decking the halls, the tree is always the main attraction. There are plenty of ways to put up a tree, but one strategy has caught our eye lately, and that is flocking. A flocked tree adds a snowy ambiance even if a white Christmas isn't in the forecast for your area this year. For those deep South spots that rarely get snow—and only receive a dusting every decade or so—a flocked Christmas tree gives a nod to a classic seasonal sight in the form of an evergreen tree decked with tufts of snow.

Flocked Christmas Tree by Jan Showers
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Jan Showers

What is a Flocked Christmas Tree?

Southern Living has previously described flocking as "a synthetic dust or powder that you can use to achieve the look of a Christmas tree with snowindoors." The flocking effect can be achieved by purchasing an already-flocked tree or by flocking a tree yourself. An expert flocking lends the look of freshly fallen snow, which is a beautiful Christmastime decoration.

How Do I Flock My Christmas Tree?

The DIY approach utilizes mists, paintbrushes, or self-adhesive powders to add the white and powdery snowy cast to branches and needles. There are plenty of tree flocking kits you can buy that will help you in flocking your tree. If you're ready to try a flocked Christmas tree, read our how-to on flocking your own Christmas tree and test it out for yourself this year. Then check out Christmas tree ideas for every style for some decorating inspiration to get you and yours in the mood for holiday decorating.

What Is a Flocked Christmas Tree?
Steve@Colorado/Getty Images

Are Flocked Trees Messy?

If you buy your flocked Christmas tree from the store, it shouldn't be too messy at all. These trees have been professionally flocked and sealed, so the mess from them should be minimal. You're likely to have some of the "snow" shed a bit each time you take it out of its container, or string the lights, but other than that, you're looking at a pretty neat tree.

However, if you are flocking your own tree, this process can be messy, and you should plan to do it in a big area, like your garage or back patio, so you can make a mess with it. Putting down a tarp or dropcloth under the tree will help catch some of the shedding and residue from the flocking process.

How Do I Store My Flocked Christmas Tree?

The most important tip on storing your flocked Christmas tree is to make sure your tree is stored upright. Storing your tree horizontally can result in a loss of flocking. To keep as much flocking as possible, store your tree in plastic wrap or in a tree-size storage plastic bag vertically in a cool, non-humid environment.

Glitzy Flocked Christmas Tree
Icy white and pale pink filler ornaments set a backdrop for statement-making metallic textured balls and geometric spindles. Modern-day steel magnolias will flip for blush-and-bashful accents like mauve plastic foam flowers. Blue floral wrapping paper completes the wintry scene. Hector Manuel Sanchez

How Long Does a Flocked Artificial Christmas Tree Last?

Many flocked artificial Christmas tree companies have warranties for 10 years on their trees! If stored properly, your flocked tree can last even longer. If you go the DIY route, your tree may not last as long due to the quality of supplies used in the flocking process, but it should still last quite a few years if handled and stored with care. And if some of the "snow" comes off in the process? You can always flock your tree again.

How Long Does a Flocked Real Christmas Tree Last?

Your real flocked Christmas tree should last about two to four weeks.

Do I Need to Water My Real Flocked Christmas Tree?

The flocking will lock in the moisture in your tree. Because of this, watering your flocked tree is not necessary, but it could help increase its lifespan.

What Is a Flocked Christmas Tree?
arinahabich/Getty Images

Is a Flocked Tree Safe for Pets?

If you have pets in the home, you should not have a flocked tree. The materials used to flock the tree are not safe for pets to consume, and we know just how curious our furry friends can be. Real Christmas trees can also be unsafe to some pets, like cats. The pine needles and water the tree is placed in are toxic for cats to consume. So, if you have pets, you should probably opt for an artificial, non-flocked tree.

How Do I Remove the Flocking from My Tree?

Good news! If you aren't in love with how the flocking looks on your tree after you've flocked it, it's a pretty simple process to remove the flocking. First, lay down a dropcloth to help catch all the fallen "snow" that falls on the ground. Make sure everything is off the tree before starting, including ornaments and lights. Give your tree a good shake to try and get as much off as you can. After, take your vacuum and use its bristle brush or upholstery attachment to get off as much of the flocking as you can. Brush the pine needles in the direction they are going to minimize damage. You can try getting off whatever is left with a rag and water or with acetone for a quicker process. If you decide to use acetone, go over it again with a damp water rag to get the remaining acetone off. Do this in a well-ventilated area with a mask if necessary.

So, what's your go-to Christmas tree style? Do you go all-out with flocking or stick to lights and ornaments? Do you opt for an artificial or real tree? When do you put the tree up every year? Let us know!

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