Learn how to fluff a Christmas tree like an expert with our easy guide. No matter the size of your tree, proper fluffing will make it look full and gorgeous. We break down how to fluff and shape a Christmas tree in six simple steps.

How to fluff a Christmas tree in 6 Easy Steps

To make things even easier, we asked our friend Ingrid Brown to show you how it’s done. She demonstrates it in this instructional video, using the Treetopia Balsam Spruce.


Ingrid Brown: Hi, my name is Ingrid Brown. I'm an interior designer, and I'm going to teach you today how to fluff or shape an artificial Christmas tree. Trees are compressed for shipping. When you unbox one, it's going to look a lot different than the ones you see in pictures or in stores. You will need to fluff and shape each branch to get the full result you really want. That's exactly what I'm going to do here today with you. I'm using the Balsam Spruce Christmas tree from Treetopia. Come on.

Before assembling your tree, pick the spot where you want to put it up. Somewhere near a power outlet is great, so you won't need any extension cords that people and kids or pets could trip on. Take your tree out of the box and lay each section out on the floor. Check the manual and make sure that all parts are there. Are you ready?

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You really don't need a lot of tools. Just make sure you have a pair of cotton gloves like these because it can get a little pricky, and you want to be able to feel the branches to space them out and fluff them the right way. I'm also going to be using a step stool because my tree is 9 foot tall. A ladder or step stool will help you reach the topmost part of your tree. Another option would be just to fluff them at eye level and then place it on the tree. Alright, let's begin.

Each section has a number labeled. Number one being the bottom section. Cue section one to the stand, making sure to insert and tighten the tree stand key. Let the hinged branches fall into place, taking care not to snag the lights and wires. Once all the branches are in place, it's time to separate the smaller branches, starting at the back of each branch. Put the individual needles alternately, upward and outward, working your way to the tip of the branches. One up, one down, or one up and two down. What you're aiming here is for a V-pattern. The point of this is to replicate the branches of a real tree, so minimize gaps between foliage and cover up the trunk. Next, pay attention to those tips. Curl them upwards or downwards according to your preference. I personally like putting the light bulbs outwards.

[music]

Now we move on to the second section. It's best to shape one section at a time. It can be a little bit overwhelming to work on five sections of the tree in one go. Pay equal attention to each, and you will end up with a gorgeous and full tree, I promise. Before attaching the fifth and topmost section, ready your ladder or step stool and fluff and shape this section in a smooth slope just like you'd see on a real evergreen. [2:50] This also makes it tree topper-ready. Another feature of this tree is that it comes with a socket affixed to the top. It's perfect for your lighted tree-topper. Isn't it amazing?

Now take a break to appreciate the shape and fullness of your tree. If you're a perfectionist like me, this is where you'll adjust until you're satisfied. Another thing that I really love about this Balsam Spruce Christmas tree is that it features a lighting technology—they call it a Quick Set. This basically means all the light strings are automatically connected within the trunk while setting up. All I need to do is plug it in the socket, and it lights up in one go. It's so convenient. This tree comes with clear and multi-LED lights that you can control with a foot pedal.

[music]

Just so you guys know, they also come with extra bulbs and fuses. Isn't that gorgeous? Now, to start decorating the fully fluffed artificial Christmas tree. I hope this video has helped you shape your Christmas tree to its full potential. Let me know if you have any comments and leave them in the box below. What are you waiting for? Head over to treetopia.com and get the traditional green Christmas tree or a colorful Christmas tree of your dreams. See you next time.

Step 1: Prepare Your Fluff and Shape Tools

You don’t need many tools to assemble and fluff your Christmas tree. Here are the basics and how to use them:

Use a Ladder or Step Stool

For taller artificial Christmas trees, these help you reach the higher sections without difficulty. Make sure your step stool or ladder is sturdy and in good working condition. You’ll need one to put your tree topper and the rest of your decorations, too.

use a step ladder to fluff your Christmas tree
Image and cor by Jess of The Celebration Stylist.

Tip: If you have a small tree and prefer not to use a ladder or step stool, opt to place each section on a level surface like a table, then proceed to fluff and shape. When you’re done, insert it into the stand. Note that the number of sections vary depending on the height of your Christmas tree.

Study the Instruction Manual

Most artificial holiday centerpieces come with a set of instructions on how to fluff or shape a Christmas tree. We recommend reading the whole manual before setting up. Also, keep it on hand in case you run into any snags.

Wear Gloves

It’s a good idea to wear gloves while you shape or fluff your artificial Christmas tree. The needles can be rough on your hands. Consider choosing a pair that’s thin enough for you to feel the branches minus the pricks.

Find a Photo Reference

This isn’t a must, but it will make fluffing your tree easier. Use photos of Christmas trees that have the shape you want. As you shape or fluff, compare yours with the image. Let it serve as your visual guide.

For instance, the Frozen Fir Flocked tree is a good reference for tree branches with a downward sweep. On the other hand, the Alexander Fir tree is ideal if you’re going for an up-swept look. You can use a photo of a live tree for a more natural vibe.

Step 2: Shape from the Bottom Up

Fluff your Christmas tree starting with the bottom section

Start by securing the bottom section of the tree to the stand. Then gently drop each fully-hinged branch, making sure each one falls in place.

Image by Jennifer Perkins

Tip: Working with a pre-lit tree? Take care when dropping the branches, making sure not to snag any wires. Plug in the lights once you’re done with step two. Check to see if they work. Make sure to turn them off before resuming the fluff and shape process.

Step 3: Fluff from the Inside Moving Out

fluff your artificial Christmas tree's inner branches first

Begin with the tips nearest to the center pole. Fully fanned inner tips help cover gaps and prevent light from passing through. Then, check to see that the tree trunk isn’t exposed.

Image by Jennifer Perkins

Fluff the outer needles

Once the inner tips are fluffed, move on to the outer needles. Check your photo reference for what direction they should point.

Image by Jennifer Perkins

Tip: One technique is to arrange your branches by alternating them in opposite vertical and horizontal directions. These don’t have to be perfectly aligned for a more natural look.

Fluffing and Shaping Basics:

hands shaping artificial tree upwards

#1 With each branch, separate out the individual tips and angle them out and away from the center of the tree.

hands shaping foliage to look like a peacock's tail

#2 Angle the tips sideways and outward to resemble a peacock’s fanned tail, starting from the back of each branch.

hands separating individual branch tips

#3 Shape the branches vertically upward as much as possible to give the tree its full appearance

Step 4: Fluff and Shape the Tree by Section

Fluff your artificial Christmas tree a section at a time

Make sure you’re done fluffing and shaping one section before moving on to the next. You can make tweaks once you’re done shaping the rest of the Christmas tree.

Image by Jennifer Perkins

Fluff the top section of your artificial Christmas tree last

Repeat from step three until you’re ready to shape the top of your tree.

Image by Jennifer Perkins

Step 5: Shape or fluff the Top of the Tree

Shape the branches of your top section facing upwards

For the last section, position the topmost branches straight up to form a smooth slope. This enhances the triangular shape of your tree.

Keep your tree topper in mind as you shape the branches. It’s a good idea to position it as you fluff to see the actual effect.

Image by Jennifer Perkins

Tip: If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these fantastic tree topper ideas!

Step 6: Evaluate, Adjust, and Decorate

An artificial Christmas tree fluffed and shaped well

Take a step back and survey your work. Make a few extra fluffs here and there until you’re satisfied. Then give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back!

Image by Jennifer Perkins

It might take a bit of work but all your effort will pay off. An artificial Christmas tree with a superb shape is so much fun to decorate!

When you're done fluffing your Christmas tree its time to decorate
Image and décor by Jesse Coulter.

Take the time to fluff and shape your tree so you can do your unique decorating theme justice. No matter what height or profile your Christmas centerpiece is, aim for full foliage.

Tip: Looking for gorgeous and unique tree decorating ideas? We’ve got lots more in store!

And One More Thing…

If you’re reading this, then you probably haven’t set up your tree yet. Fluffing and shaping are just some aspects of artificial Christmas tree assembly.

Watch this quick video tutorial on how to assemble a Treetopia tree with a basic setup. Or, check out our post on how to set up an artificial Christmas tree. It covers everything you need to know.


All that’s left to do is choose the Treetopia Christmas tree that’s right for you. Browse our selection to pick from a variety of colors, shapes, heights, and amazing features.

Tip: Still stumped on what colorful Christmas tree to choose? Take this Color Personality Quiz to find one that suits you to a tee.


Do you know anyone who wants to learn how to fluff a Christmas tree? If so, share this post with your friends. You might want to pop on over to their place to lend them a helping hand, too. Now that’s what we call spreading holiday cheer!

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