At one point or another, you will be faced with an ugly tree. Whether it be fake or real there is a chance it will be holey, think or misshapen. The next question is should you thorw it out or how can you fix an ugly tree?
We have fake trees for the sole reason that it flares the asthma of one of the kiddies. The tree is 12 years old and I remember how PERFECT it looked when we first brought it home! No weird long branches jutting out, no spaces, or needles falling off. The best part was we didn’t need to water the tree!! The downsides were no smell, no adventure when buying it and no personality! Breathing trumps all the downsides so a fake one it was!
Our perfect plastic tree was dragged out and bedazzled every season! One year the lights died but NO worries, we threw more on! The branches started drooping and despite the bending of the wires it began to look a little travel worn. When we moved to our current house we realized that our tree was looking TIRED and weirdly small. The new house had higher ceilings and the tree looked too small. A newer, larger and fresher tree was bought and the sad little tree was shuffled to the hallway. Adorned with the ugly ornaments, bits of tinsel and it became an eyesore every year. It was officially the Ugly Tree.
This year I declared ENOUGH. I hated decorating it this Ugly Tree because there was no joy in humiliating it even further. Nostalgia told me to hang on to it because we had so many happy memories and my budget was telling me that we really couldn’t afford to invest in another taller tree.
Onto Pinterest I went looking for advice and ideas, I checked out the Dollar Store, haunted Michaels waiting for a sale and it all came together. The first decision was not using the ugly ornaments. Many of them were homemade by the kids, some were just so ugly and I cannot remember who gifted them to us! As a tradition, I have always used them. This year I announced to the kids that some stuff was going to the kid’s little tree upstairs and the rest was either being donated or tossed. For the first time Christmas decor was being curated, I wanted it to be pretty and loved!
The first thing I did was using an old garland with similar braches, I wrapped it around those super bare spots in the tree to fill up the holes! Easy peasy and free because I used what was on hand.
I did need to buy more lights because in the years past I have used colour lights but I love the white lights on a tree, the kids like coloured. The compromise? Our larger family tree in the living room has lights that switch from colour to white so we are all happy. The Ugly Tree was getting new white lights.
I bought from Michaels the Buffalo Snow and some rustic twine the snow was only $6 CDN and the twine $5 CDN. From the Dollar Store, I spied some skimpy little berry garlands. For $3 CDN each I bought 3 of them. I also found Pinecones for $2 CDN for a dozen and bought three packages.
Once at home we set straight to work. Using my glue gun I snipped the twine and made the pinecones into ornaments. The twine and pinecones made a bit of a mess but were an easy 2 minutes clean up. Now little tip when using a glue gun for crafts, you know those glue gun strings? Almost like webbing? They are a pain to clean up and pull off because some of them are so fine and thing. Use your hair dryer! It will melt them down for a quicker clean up!
Next, we opened the bag of Buffalo Snow. This is the snow that Michaels has for sale by the tiny miniature village. Not the sheets or the batting but this is fluffy fill (and finer then the polyfill you buy at Walmart for cushions!). First, we shoved it into the tree and then we dragged it along the branches. Now, my initial worry was that it would behave like the spider webs you buy at Halloween and string. This didn’t and rather stayed fluffy! We bunched it in our hands so looking looked a bit more like fluffy snow all over the tree. Stepping back the girls and I would look for bare looking spots and fill them up with snow.
Then taking those skimpy looking berry garlands, I used wire cutters and snipped the stems. I tried to keep as more wire as I could and then we placed them in the tree. If they drooped we bent the wire and again we would step back and if there was a hole or skinny spot, we let those berries stick out a bit more to give it a more balanced look.
I had some glittery silver balls and glitter ornaments I picked up at a yard sale two years ago, they were never my favourite but the girls loved the glitter (and why I couldn’t say no to a $1 box at a yard sale! lol) and finally, they seemed to be perfect! We stuck those ornaments in the tree a little bit because we didn’t want them to be centre stage but just throw some glittery light around. Had a very Frozen feel to it!!
Last we hung those snowy pinecones ornaments on the outside branches. We wanted those to be shown off a little bit more and the fast we made them was fun! The girls found a white snowy star in one of the boxes and that now graces the tree (instead of the sad little angel who is stained and falling apart).
The end result is a snowy wonderland of a tree! For the first time, the Ugly Tree looks full, balanced and a bit of a showstopper! I am not worried about the kids touching the tree, it doesn’t make a mess like a flocked tree and a tiny fraction of the cost! The ornaments are not breakable either!
As for clean up? I will pull off that snow and the rest I will take my vacuum and suck it off!
I am so pleased with the end result and I hope this has given you a few ideas on how to fix an ugly tree while on a budget!