How to Keep a Flocked Tree From Shedding and Making a Mess

By Marilyn Syarto


Flocked Christmas trees are stunningly beautiful. If you want a Christmas tree with that snow-kissed winter wonderland look, you’ll want a flocked one. Flocking, an old art from the 1800s, became all the rage. And with the invention of flocking spray in the 1950s, the look hasn’t let up since.


You can buy artificial Christmas trees that are already flocked or DIY the look yourself. No matter how you flock, the bottom line is you'll want to know how to keep a flocked tree from shedding. It’s not the easiest task, but you can reduce the shedding using our guide, which will teach you a few tips and tricks to keeping your flocked tree from shedding.

flocked Christmas tree with red and white bulbs

Photo via Laura | Where the Winds Blow


What is a Flocked Tree?

A flocked tree is one (live or artificial) that has been treated with a white powdery or liquid mixture to make it look like it has been dusted with snow. A pre-flocked tree is made from synthetic material made to look like snowflakes. Some trees are completely white while others have a subtle dusting of “snow,” or an adhesive mixed with cellulose fibers to create the look.


Along with buying a pre-flocked Christmas tree, you can create a flocked tree yourself using the following methods. Christmas tree and garland retailer Balsam Hill’s site also has tutorials on flocking a tree using these methods:


Flocking and Pets

According to PetMD.com, consumption of flocking material can cause significant tummy aches. If you have a curious pet, stick with non-flocked trees. If you want to try a pet-safe method, flock a tree with coconut and corn starch for a snow-encrusted look.


Why Do Flocked Trees Shed?

Flocked trees can be messy, whether you bought one or are going the DIY route. The tree will shed some of its flocking when it's fluffed or jostled. It’s especially important to be careful when decorating a Christmas tree that has been flocked, especially if many hands are going to touch it. The flocking can end up all over the room and will even magically travel into the far corners of other rooms in your home. That’s because the flocking is sort of like glitter—it’s not encased in resin or another protective ingredient. So, it shakes loose. Luckily, modern pre-flocked trees are a bit less messy thanks to improved materials and technology.


Does Hairspray Keep Flocking in Place?

You will read everywhere that hairspray keeps flocking from shedding. But, hairspray is highly flammable and is hazardous to use on trees with lights. The same goes for clear-coat spray polyurethane—do not spray this combustible product on a lit Christmas tree.

flocked tree branches

Photo via Alicia W


How to Keep a Flocked Tree From Shedding During Setup

The best way to keep a flocked tree from shedding is to take these steps when setting it up. This method helps when you unbox a pre-lit, pre-flocked tree.


Use the Right Tree Skirt

Use a textured white tree skirt (a shag one works well) so that the shedding of the white flocking isn’t so obvious.


Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Non-fleece clothing
  • Old sheet, tarp, or plastic
  • Tree stand
  • Extension cord
  • Timer
  • Vacuum


Step 1: Wear the Right Clothes

Put on some old clothes you don't mind getting a little dirty, and definitely no fleece—flocking sticks to fleece like glue.


Step 2: Turn off the Air

Before unboxing your tree, shut windows and turn off any fans or HVAC systems that forcefully move air in the home. Doing so will minimize flocking from flying around the room. Close off any vents or registers that are near where the tree will be unboxed.


Step 3: Prepare the Space

Clear the space where the tree is going and put down the tree stand or base over an old flat sheet, tarp, or plastic. Plug in any extension cords and timers you plan on using.


Step 4: Open the Box

Open the tree box as close to the stand as possible. You can unwrap the tree in the box or take the tree out and place it directly on the stand. If there is an inner plastic or bubble wrap covering on the tree, keep it on the tree while taking it out of the box and putting it on its stand.


Step 5: Assemble Without Fluffing

If your tree has included lights, plug in the tree: If the lights do not work, then you will need to return the tree. If the lights are working, go ahead and assemble all parts of the tree without fluffing the branches yet.


Step 6: Unwrap and Fluff the Top of the Tree

If there's plastic still on your tree, start at the top and unwrap the plastic covering the top of the tree. Carefully begin to fluff the branches on just the top of the tree.


Step 7: Vacuum

Vacuum any flocking that has fallen on the floor outside the floor covering. Vacuuming as you go will reduce the amount of flock that can move to other parts of your house.


Step 8: Unwrap and Fluff the Middle of the Tree

Unwrap and fluff the middle of the tree.


Step 9: Vacuum

Vacuum the flocking that has fallen outside the covering on the ground.


Step 10: Unwrap and Fluff the Bottom of the Tree

Unwrap and fluff the bottom of the tree.


Step 11: Adjust the Tree

Adjust all of the parts of the tree into place. This will jostle the tree and release more flocking to the ground.


Step 12: Vacuum

Before removing the sheeting from the floor, vacuum the floor around the covering.


Step 13: Remove the Floor Covering

Carefully and slowly fold up the floor covering with all the flocking on it so it does not transfer onto the floor. Take the covering outdoors. Shake out the flocking (if it’s windy, wait until the breeze dies down). If you used a flat sheet, wash the sheet by itself in your washing machine.


Step 14: Vacuum Consistently and Turn Air Back On

You will want to vacuum once again after the floor covering is removed. During the season, stay consistent with vacuuming the area near the tree for any flocking that has fallen.


Now, you can turn your air and any other fans back on. As long as the tree doesn’t get jostled too much, it should hold onto its flocking just fine.

green Christmas tree bag with handles

Photo via Nadine Hartman Bourne


How to Store a Flocked Artificial Christmas Tree

So you love the flocked look and want to preserve the tree for next year, right? Storing a flocked tree differs from storing an unflocked tree. White flocking, as well as white artificial Christmas trees, can potentially turn a subtle yellow if they’re stored in hot or humid spaces. Help your Christmas tree keep its crisp white flocking by following these steps:


Tools and Materials Needed:


Step 1: Keep Branches Outward

Do not try to move the branches or compress them when storing a flocked tree. This can cause flocking to fall off.


Step 2: Lightly Dust Branches

After removing all ornaments, extra lights, or other decorations, gently shake the parts of the tree to remove any dust particles that have built up over the few weeks you’ve enjoyed the tree. Some flocking will shed along with the dust, which is OK.


Step 3: Slip on the Cover

Gently slip the upright tree cover, fabric, or plastic cover over the tree with minimal jostling.


If you don't have an upright cover, carefully disassemble the tree into a few parts, slip them into a case, secure the case closed.


Step 4: Store in a Dry Space

It’s important to store a flocked tree in a consistently dry, cool space, such as a finished basement. Any humidity that reaches the tree can ruin the flocking.


Step 5: Vacuum

Immediately vacuum the space where the tree once stood so that no flocking particles are left to float around the home.


Do you have a flocked Christmas tree? How do you control its shedding? Let us know below—we’d love to hear.

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  • DN DN on Dec 23, 2021

    Your tree is GORGEOUS! Are those pom-pom ornaments??? So very elegant and festive! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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