How to flock tree branches

How to Flock a Real or Fake Christmas Tree

If you want to create a little winter wonderland (without the ice and snow!), you need to learn how to flock a Christmas tree. Flocking the tree you just picked out at the Christmas tree farm can add a magical touch to your Christmas decorations, even in parts of the country that seldom receive snow. The best part? It's possible to flock both live and fake trees. (Although Ree Drummond says a Christmas tree should always, always be real!) No matter what your preference, flocking is a fun family project that adds a special sparkle to any Christmas tree. While creating a perfectly flocked Christmas tree can be a tad messy, it's not difficult if you follow a few simple steps.

"Even if you’re not crafty, you can do this project," says Diane Davis, co-owner of Grandma Buddy’s Christmas Tree Farm in Sebastopol, California. "It's also a biodegradable product which contains a fire retardant, and because flocking will coat and preserve a live tree's moisture, you will not have to water your tree for as long as you display it. "

In other words, adding a flocked Christmas tree to your home is eco-friendly, safe, and makes your life easier. Here’s everything you need to know about how to flock a real or fake Christmas tree.

Buy bagged flocking.

Professionals use machines to spray on flocking, but you’ll be doing it by hand. Typically, flocking is made of cellulose paper or corn or wheat products. Davis recommends choosing the bagged flocking instead of the type you find in a spray can, which is more like spray paint and doesn’t give you the proper effect. Plus, it can get expensive because you’ll need a lot of cans!

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You also can buy flocking in bulk; it's cheaper, lasts a long time, and you don’t want to run out mid-project if you have a very large tree. Typically, one 25-pound bag can flock about four 6-foot trees, so you can use the extra in subsequent years or decorate wreaths, branches, or pine cones with it, too.

Set up your work space.

Weather-permitting, set up your workspace in the backyard or in the garage with the door open. Lay down a plastic drop cloth around the tree to catch drips. Get your tools ready, including work gloves (latex gloves work well, too), a surgical mask, and eye protection. Wear old clothes; flocking material does wash out, but it gets pretty messy.

Wet down the entire tree.

Whether you’re dressing up a real or faux tree, the flocking will not adhere to a dry tree—so give the tree a good misting. If outdoors, mist the entire tree with the garden hose.

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"You want it damp, not dripping wet," says Davis. If indoors, use a spray bottle (which will take quite a bit of time!) or a new garden pump sprayer. Those come in various sizes, but they’re inexpensive and will help the job go a lot faster.

Apply the flocking material.

Wearing gloves and a mask, sprinkle handfuls of the material on the tips of branches. You can also use a big sifter, but Davis says she feels there’s more control when doing it by hand. For the best effect, stick with flocking only the tips of branches, just as it would appear after a light snowfall.


“If you try to coat the entire tree by hand, it turns out looking gray instead of white, which is really unattractive,” says Davis. “Don’t try to get it all the way back on the branches because it doesn’t look natural." Step back and check it out from different angles to see where you may want to add more flocking.

Wet the tree again.

Now that you’ve applied the flocking, mist it all over again to help the material adhere to the branches. Don’t blast it with a strong spray, which will remove the flocking—just a light spritz of water will do.

Let the tree dry.

Allow the tree to sit undisturbed in a covered location for 24 to 48 hours so the material hardens. It cannot be left outdoors in the elements or the material will be washed off by rain or snow. The flocking should feel stiff, not sticky, when it’s ready to be brought indoors. Humid weather will cause it to dry more slowly, so be patient. You can also direct fans on low toward the tree to circulate air to help it dry. Once it’s dry, you also can apply a second coat to enhance the effect.

Bring your tree indoors to decorate.

Now it’s time for the fun part! Add lights and ornaments as you always would. If you knock any flocking material off, you can carefully touch it up. Follow the same steps, but just wet the specific area with a small spray bottle and make sure you cover the rest of the area with a drop cloth, says Davis.

Photography by Rayleigh

Afterwards, check with your municipality for how to recycle your live Christmas tree. For faux trees, carefully place in cool, dry storage until next year.

Arricca Elin Sansone

Arricca SanSone has written about health and lifestyle topics for Prevention, Country Living, Woman's Day, and more. She’s passionate about gardening, baking, reading, and spending time with the people and dogs she loves.

This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

How to Flock a Christmas Tree

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Flocked trees have been out for a few years now I know,  and I absolutely love them.   There are all sorts of tutorials on how to flock a tree, but I am so happy with how mine turned out and I have a few tips so I decided to share my process for how to flock a Christmas tree with you.

Our plan was to purchase a new flocked tree,   I chose to wait until our local Christmas store opens so I could see what I was selecting, one of those large thickly branched heavily flocked trees with all those lovely branches.  The perfect tree, just like in the movies.

The moment didn’t happen, no “yes to the tree moment”.  I saw one, not too flocked, not skinny,  not quite enough branches,  it was lovely, and $850. The tree was nice, but not perfect and certainly not $850 perfect.  Hubs gave me an $850 smile when I said not happening. Who knows flocked trees may be as trendy as silver tinfoil trees were in the 70s. This year we are only doing one Christmas tree so I was willing to risk ruining my smaller tree, so I ordered self-flocking powder to try.

Supplies to flock an 8 foot Christmas tree.

2 bags of flocking powder

A spray bottle with water

A fine metal sifter

A large tarp

Gloves, safety glasses, and a nose mask

How Long will it Take to Flock a Christmas Tree

The total time is about four hours, which surprised me, I set aside a full day for it.  It took one hour to set up my work area, 2 1/2 hours to flock the tree, and an hour to clean up.

The instructions said to do it outside if you can do it that way.  But in Edmonton that wasn’t happening in November.  I am not working in the garage anymore, much less outdoors.  Heeding the warnings I assumed it would be similar to gyproc dust and it wasn’t quite as messy.  Let’s face it taking an 8-foot object and sifting white powder all over it is going to get dust everywhere.  I brought up the biggest tarp we have, moved my furniture out of the way as much as possible, budgeted a whole day for the process and got busy.

The Tree Flocking Powder

The stuff is wonderful.   I was able to get the snow exactly where I wanted it, it’s non-toxic,  and cost me $62 Canadian.  The $800 dollar savings will pay for any new Christmas decor, craft supplies, and make a dint in the food costs.  If you purchase a different flocking powder the method will be the same, just make sure to read the directions on the flocking powder you purchase.

While looking on Pinterest I found a few tutorials that used one bag, as I wanted my tree heavily flocked I ordered two, I wish I had ordered three and will add another one next year.  The amount of flocking is a matter of personal taste, and I wanted mine looking like the trees from my childhood, buried in snow.

How to Flock a Christmas Tree

The flocking comes with complete directions, but basically, you pre-wet the tree branches with a water sprayer, sprinkle the powder on using a fine mesh sifter while you spray it with water.  Then spray the tray with more water to set it Seems simple and it is, but as I am fussy I  thought I would share how I did it.

Wear safety goggles, a mask, and gloves.  The powder isn’t toxic but there is a fine mist of powder everywhere so it’s not a good idea to be breathing it in.  Follow the directions on the package.

Our tree has three sections and I rationed the amount of snow for each one section as follows,1 bag to the large bottom section, half a bag to the middle section, 1/4 bag to the top section, and the last 1/4 bag for final touch-ups.   I also filled the water sprayer 3 times.

Work in Sections

Do the tree in sections so you can see what you’re doing.  Put the stand together and the first tree section.  Using bungee cords tie up the remaining branches. Just hook them to a higher branch and scoop up a few branches, working your way around the tree.

Fluff the branches in each section like you normally do.   The picture shows the tree with half the branches fluffed, in case your not sure what I mean.

Work on each branch, spray until damp, sift the flocking powder while spraying, then spray to set it. Place less powder towards the trunk of the tree, but don’t skip it.  Add more to the outside of each branch, and remember more flocking will fall as you do upper branches.  I would put less flocking on the lower branches, and make it a bit heavier as you work your way up towards the top of the tree.

Keep an eye out on how much flocking powder you have left.  What a nightmare it would be to run out with the top third undone.

The flocking powder goes on the tarp as you work, so for the bottom branches place some paper under the branch you working on to capture the dropped snow and reuse it.  Keep an eye on how much of the powder you use.

Once done, use the last 1/4 bag to fill in any uneven areas.  I actually wore gloves and hand sprinkled little clumps of snow in specific areas.

Let your tree dry overnight before removing the tarp.

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You can see that my tree is pretty heavily flocked.  I would still like more, but you may actually want your tree with less flocking.   I am very happy with the results, it’s better than I thought it would be.

The Clean Up

You’re going to have dust.   If you live in a climate that still has you hanging outside its less messy to do it that way.  I had to do our insides, and because the powder turns solid when sprayed with water, don’t use water.  I swept first to get the bulk of it,  vacuumed, and then dry dusted using a microfibre cloth.  Easy peasy.

Once decorated I will update the post so you can see the final results.

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Here is the tree all decorated for the Christmas Holidays.

Rustic Christmas Tree

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hyphae, trees, repeating and differential lines (in Python) / Habr


Patterns have always fascinated me. It doesn't even matter what. I experimented with many: nets, leaves and their weaves, branches, lightning bolts, flocking, shape shapes, rivers, rock sediment, landscapes, slime mold, lichens, interaction and melting, cellular automata, some fractals and other things. I think the best part is how complex and intricate results can be obtained from a set of simple rules.

Lately I've been particularly interested in biological imaging and differential growth. I have experience in computational mathematics, but not in biology. So I have little knowledge of how biological systems work. And yet, I experimented quite a lot on recreating various biological patterns. One of the difficulties is to try to recreate some patterns or patterns with as few simple rules as possible.

Sometimes I succeed in recreating the phenomenon I was about to create, and sometimes I don't. More often than not, I get something interesting, even if it's not always what was intended.


To be honest with you, I sometimes take the idea for my work from the work of other artists. Especially Jared Tarbell and Nervous System. For example, the algorithm I called Orbital (image below) is based very heavily on Tarbell's Happy Place .

I point this out because I've always had a hard time figuring out where the program is, and in my particular case, the images generated by this program are unique enough to be considered a standalone work.


I started working with generative algorithms when I was supposed to be studying for university exams. That's why I bought the domain, mocking how I shied away from my studies. The first thing I did was to copy some of Tarbell's algorithms using Javascript/Canvas. After a while, my own ideas began to come to me.

Hyphae was my first working algorithm besides Orbitals. It came about when I tried to recreate the behavior of the gifa made by Nervous System. At the time, I didn't realize how complicated this algorithm really was, and I spent a lot of time trying in vain to do something tolerable. I was able to make it though, and you can also read Sieggraf's (ENG) paper on the subject if you're interested. Fascinating read!


I post almost all my code on Github. All of the following sections have a link to the appropriate repository. Unfortunately, not all of them are well documented or up to date.


I started experimenting with a system where I grew connected circles that couldn't overlap. It works like this: you place the initial (circle) somewhere, and give it a radius and direction of movement. Then you try to add a new node around the perimeter of the first node in the direction of travel. It is important to have a direction of movement so that there is a little bit of "wobble" and each time the angle deviates a little. Also, every time you add a new one, make the radius of the new nodes slightly smaller than the previous one.

To get branches, you can choose nodes at random and try to grow a new node more or less perpendicular to the direction of movement of the branch. And either the nodes will collide or you will get a new branch. For more interesting results, you can make the deviation angles proportional to the width (radius) of the branch. Thicker branches tend to be straighter than thin ones. And you obviously can do many more things. For example, you will get drastically different results if you adjust how much "flexible" branches grow as they thin out.

And one more small note: when a branch splits from an existing branch, you need to make the radius for it much thinner than the predecessor branch. You can see it in trees in real life. The bottom line is that the mass should be approximately the same before and after crossing the branch. (I read this somewhere, but I can't find where).

Trees [GITHUB]

When we talked about branches, I realized that we can also mention a little experiment with trees, because they are essentially similar.

I wanted to try to grow branches in the same way as in Gifa, but only so that new branches appear only at the "ends" of other branches. Also, I didn't want to pay attention to collisions or anything like that in this simulation. The result is not exactly trees, but the result looks quite realistic, if you do not peer hard.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is that there is not a single real tree that has grown from a trunk of a fixed width, unlike these "trees". Trees grow both in height and width over time, and this is a very dynamic process with many factors. It turns out that this algorithm has very little in common with real trees, but a few simple rules of this algorithm still allow you to get a decent result by simulating real trees.

To give the trees an effect of depth, I add a shadow to the branches as they grow. This illusion is further developed by adding more and more shadows on one side.

Duplicate lines [GITHUB]

Unlike Gifa, which I was inspired by biology, and tree algorithms, the following example is based on John Frenzen's hand-drawn paintings. By and large, Frenzen draws lines, where each line follows the outline of a previously drawn line. Each subsequent line will change a little, and interesting patterns will soon appear.

Drawing shapes on a computer is quite easy. A line consists of a series of vertices (points) with an edge (segment) between them. To create a triangle, you need to take three edges and connect them with three vertices. To draw a circle, you need to do the same thing, only you need enough vertices that it's "impossible" to see that it's not really a circle. If you have any doubts about the approach, then I’ll say right away that there are more complex and accurate ways to draw shapes, but this one is quite simple and accurate.

This means that you can draw these lines in the same way as Frensen, by drawing rounded shapes with many vertices. Form tracking is a bit tricky, but there are several ways you can try it out. I wanted the behavior to mimic how a real figure is drawn, little by little, while continuing the previous lines. The algorithm I came up with didn't quite work that way. That is, it did not avoid collisions, but the results still looked very good.

To trace a path, you can select some of the adjacent edges in the previous line, calculate the average direction of those edges, and add a vertex to the current line along that direction. Then add a few random movements to simulate a freehand drawing. For a while, this approach works quite well, but there is some "inertia" that can be seen in the results, the shape adapts too slowly.
The amount of noise you add to each vertex is critical. This noise is what causes the whole system to create interesting shapes, because shape correction forces the process to try to repeat both the general movement and some random distortion.
Next comes a slightly more complex system, which also includes lines.

Differential Line [GITHUB]

The differential is the algorithm that I have long wanted to do. At some point, the solution just popped into my head, and I managed to make the algorithm work. I wanted to create a system that would behave just like the surfaces in nature that unroll from each other. For example, like walnuts or layers of cabbage (I won't even go into how much time I spent googling images of red cabbage cut in half), our intestines, and certain types of leaves and flower petals. And probably many other things.

Before I started thinking about ways, I only saw Floraform by Nervous System, but you should also see Cellular Forms by Andy Lomas. Another important document that I discovered much later is here.

First I tried to use the Koch fractal curve method. But with random growth, and not symmetrical and regular, as in a fractal. I didn't finish it and quickly gave up. However, after some time (give or take six months), I realized that I could introduce new nodes while the Koch curve "grows", but you need to make these nodes move relative to each other. Thus, they could adjust their positions dynamically, like pearls on a string. So they can keep the right distance from other nodes (pearls).

The algorithm looks like this. First we create a set of nodes connected in some form (circles or lines are fine). We then randomly introduce new nodes between pairs of existing nodes. In each iteration, the nodes will try to optimize their positions. They will "want" to be close, but not too close to their two neighbors. At the same time, they will want to be as far away from all other nodes as possible. Note that there is no possibility of them colliding here.

There are a number of factors that can affect the behavior of this system. One of them is how often we introduce new nodes. The other is the maximum distance within which the nodes will avoid each other. And the most interesting thing (in my opinion) is how we choose where to insert new nodes. We can do it evenly, like in the gif above, or we can prioritize where the curve is sharper, like in the gif below.

The difference is not very easy to see in these examples, but becomes very noticeable in large simulations. The image below uses curvature-based insertion and took about 40 hours to create.

Another way to get interesting results from this algorithm is to color the curve specifically for each time step. The visual and textural results are noticeably different, but it is easy to recognize the same characteristics of the system.

And if you are interested in generative art and data visualization, check out other degenerative_art posts, here are the most popular ones at the moment:
  • How to make generative images look natural using mathematical algorithms
  • Beautiful and detailed geological map of Mars made in Python, GDAL
  • Create the effect of a fast flight through space (or falling snow) in 10 minutes on p5.js

Ideas for decoration using artificial snow from Winter Story designers

New Year's celebrations take us to the magical, delightful, inimitable atmosphere of a fairy tale! Creating an aura of magic in your home or work is easy. It will take only 4 things: a little imagination, beautiful decorations, a wonderful mood and snow ... We will tell you about what types of snow are, in what cases they are used, how they differ - in this review.

1. Spray - artificial snow

Artificial snow in cans is often used to decorate windows and shop windows, decorate the branches of a fluffy Christmas tree and other interior items. The advantages of such sprays are that the coating adheres perfectly to any surface, and after the holidays it is easy to remove it (washed off with soapy water or glass cleaner). This decor is sprayed in a thin layer to avoid yellowing and cracking, with short pressure and at a distance of 10-20 cm.

Beautiful drawings on the windows will be obtained if you use special stencils that are available in the assortment of our store.

You can also add grace and color to window painting with sprays of gold and silver, and if you spray them on spruce branches, you get an incredible effect, as if shimmering frost covered the needles.

* There is a smell when applied, it disappears quickly.

2. Glow in the dark

The spray lays down like thick snow and very naturally imitates the surface of a real fluffy snow cover, and it also glows in the dark and will look very advantageous on the paws of a Christmas tree and in decorative compositions. The texture of snow is creamy when applied, in the air it hardens and becomes crumbly over time, and when applied to glass it forms a uniform white coating.

3. Artificial frost

Frost spray – suitable for decorating mirror and glass surfaces, creating the effect of frosty windows. The texture of the spray is creamy, it hardens in the air over time, and when applied to glass, it makes it frosty, as if covered with hoarfrost. Easily rinsed off with a glass cleaner.

4. Flocking Spray

Flock is a voluminous thick spray that realistically simulates snow that has just fallen on branches in fluffy flakes. The flocking spray lays down volumetrically, like loose snow, so it will look advantageous on the paws of the Christmas tree and in decorative compositions. Like the Artificial Snow spray, it is suitable for applying patterns on glass, but lays down in a denser layer.

5. Snow flakes

Sparkling snow near the Christmas tree, on bookcases, on the windowsill… A wonderful idea, just right for the New Year! And for its implementation, you do not need to open the window wide and freeze in the December frost. Skillful imitation of acrylic, cotton and polyester is a simple and effective solution. The material is light, snow-white and sparkling! Fantasize, invent and implement ideas for every taste and style!

6. Snow cloth

Snow-white polyester blanket can be used to decorate a festive interior, furniture drapery, the lower part of the tree trunk or the floor. This luxurious carpet, imitating soft white snow, will be the perfect basis for all kinds of holiday arrangements.

Learn more