Learn how to fluff like an expert with our easy guide to fluffing or shaping an artificial Christmas tree. No matter the size of your tree, proper fluffing will make it look full and gorgeous!

How to fluff a Christmas tree in 6 Easy Steps

We break down how to fluff and shape a Christmas tree in six simple steps.

Step 1: Prepare Your Fluff and Shape Tools

Use a Ladder

For taller trees, this or a step stool helps you reach the higher areas without difficulty. Make sure its sturdy.

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

You’ll need one to put your tree topper and the rest of your decorations, too.

Study the Instruction Manual

Most trees come with a set of instructions for shaping or fluffing. 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. Its 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 absolutely necessary, but research for photos of Christmas trees that have the shape you want. As you shape or fluff, compare your tree with the image.

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 and check that every hinged branch falls into place.

Image by Jennifer Perkins

Tip: Working with a pre-lit tree? Plug in the lights once you’re done with step two. Check to see if they work. Unless your tree uses LED lights, then make sure to turn them off before fluffing and shaping.

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 furthest back on the branch and sideways out from the branch to resemble a peacock’s fanned tail

hands separating individual branch tips

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

Step 4: Shape the Tree by Section

Fluff your artificial Christmas tree a section at a time

Make sure to get most of your shaping done in one section before moving on to the next.

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 your tree so you can do your unique decorating theme justice. No matter what height or profile your Christmas centerpiece is, aim for lush-looking 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.

Tip: 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.

Do you know anyone who needs help with shaping his or her tree? Share these tips with your friends on social media. You might want to pop on over to their place to lend them a helping hand, too. Now that’s what we call Christmas spirit!

Shaping and fluffing images by Jennifer Perkins

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