A Designer Christmas Tree, Deconstructed

Close up of a designer christmas tree showing layers of poinsettias, ribbons and ornaments

We’ve all seen those gorgeous designer Christmas trees on TV and in magazines that are dripping in decadence with no branch left unadorned. Layers and layers of glistening ornaments, perky bows, shimmering ribbons, and snow-covered florals create a visual wonderland sure to get even the scroogiest into the Christmas spirit. 

We recently had the opportunity to disassemble this designer Christmas tree after the unthinkable happened…the built-in lights quit working. Since the plan was to remove everything including the original lights, re-light it with new, long-lasting LED lights and then recreate the original design, we thought it would be fun to put together a breakdown of the materials  and quanities of each to achieve this look. Fair warning, this style would require a significant investment.


Even if you don't go full-on in this direction, there are a lot of tips to elevate any style.

Let’s jump right into the materials list, which we’ve broken down into categories. The quantity of each item is shown in the upper right corner of the image, and the size (where applicable) is shown in the lower right. Keep in mind that since the tree is so packed with decorations, you don’t really notice the detail of every individual item so you can really improvise here. 



There are 7 variations included, 5 in a color palette of creamy white with gold, silver or bronze accents along with 2 styles that leaned more pale rose gold, all ranging from around 9″ to 12″ wide.



A variety of ball ornaments were used (109 total, including the clusters of 3 in the Decorative Ornaments section below.)



This is where the specific style really doesn’t matter, they just need to be cohesive with your overall color palette and provide a variety of shapes and textures.



The ribbon and bows used on this tree are essentially pretty gap filler. Five different ribbon elements and one garland were used, and were surprising simple clusters to recreate. Here its really about the texture variety and having one signature print for the showpiece classic bows.



Now for some sparkle! Not pictured below are the strands of pearls and beads draped over the bottom of this tree. 



The grand finale, dripping from the lower branches are 2 styles of glass drop ornaments.


Before we get into the how-to, here is some background information as well as a few interesting tips we picked up along the way:

  1. This tree is 7.5 feet tall and a standard width (not slim or wide)
  2. Get creative and make it your own! The above list is meant to show the variety and quantity of materials used, but by all means, modify the specific items to suit your taste and color scheme. 
  3. As originally designed, this tree sat on top of a decorative urn so the drops and beaded swags on the lower part of the tree were enhanced by the tree being raised off the ground. The ceiling height in the owner’s home prevented them from using the urn, however they built an 8” platform that the rotating base sits on, so is still elevated a bit. 
  4. Utilize the rule of 3’s. A cluster of 3 balls, drops in groups of 3, a pairing of 3 ribbons, 3 colors overall, etc. 
  5. Décor-wise, the tree was divided into 3 zones (see above!). The top 1/3 was very dense with flowers, the middle 1/3 had the most ribbon and bows, and the bottom 1/3 featured the glass drops and garland. You wouldn’t have to follow this formula exactly, but breaking things up into regions does contribute to the resulting designer look.
  6. This took two of us around 6 hours from start to finish. Bows and ribbon clusters were already made, but we did fluff everything, including the flowers before they went on the tree.
  7. We found that dark green pipecleaners and floral wire worked best to attach everything to the tree. In most cases, we clipped off the ribbon/string that came with the ornament (unless it really added to the look) and replaced with a pipecleaner or floral wire. This way we could position each item exactly where we wanted it and there was no risk of anything falling off. See below about storage between holiday seasons. 

Since were reconstructing vs. starting from scratch, you’ll see in the timelapse video that we worked top down. But, normally here’s the approach we’d recommend:

  1. Star: Securely attach the star at the top of tree, making sure it is nestled down into the first layer of branches, not floating too high above. Yes, we’re telling you to do the traditional last step first and it will become clear why soon.
  2. Star Base Branches: Insert the various style branches just below the star base covering where the star meets the tree. In this example, the branches are layered. One style of branches are placed closest to the star and each style of branch cascades down ever so slightly. 
  3. Garlands: Add the leaf garlands, 2 starting at the top on opposite sides of the tree in an s curve down as far as they go, and 2 starting at the bottom in the space between the ones coming from the top, on opposite sides of each other, winding upwards.
  4. Large Ball Ornaments: Use the oversize ball ornaments mostly deep in the tree. These are great to fill any large gaps in the trees structure. Don’t overspend on the oversized ornaments as you only catch glimpses of them in the final result. 
  5. Medium Ball Ornaments: These are used on their own, but also in clumps of 3. In this example, when connecting them in clumps of 3, they are paired with two smaller ball ornaments. ( 1 medium ball ornament with 2 smaller ball ornaments)
  6. Small Ball Ornaments: Similar to medium ball ornaments, these are used on their own and in clumps of 3. ( 2 small ball ornaments with 1 medium ball ornaments)
  7. Special/Uniquely Shaped Ornaments: When placing these ornaments you want to be sure that you are not only filling empty space but also that you aren’t placing any too close to an identical piece. In this trees design, all the tear drop or I like to call them “dangly” ornaments are placed near the base of the tree for effect. 
  8. Flowers: The flowers are placed semi-randomly throughout the tree filling any gaps or spaces that look sparse. They look amazing even when placed near each other but be sure not to place the same style flowers right on top of each other. When placing flowers closely with unique ornaments be sure to tuck the flower back a bit so the unique ornament can shine. There are more than enough flowers that they get their moment. 
  9. Sparkly Sometimes “Dangly” Branches: These can be placed randomly throughout the tree again as a filler for empty spaces. Be sure to let these pieces protrude from the tree a bit so they stand out and add more dimension. 
  10. Pearly Strings: These can be draped anywhere on the tree you see fit. In this example, the draping is focused on the bottom 3rdof the tree. 

Storage tip:

The owner of this gorgeous tree keeps it fully decorated and wrapped between holiday seasons. If you have the space and are using an artificial tree, we highly recommend this since it take a considerable about of time to start from scratch. After the holidays, you simply tuck and compress everything in place as much as possible and then wrap with plastic shipping wrap that you can purchase from any hardware store. 

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