Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tree Decorating 101... by BLUMZ

Tree Decorating 101... by Blumz

Tree decorating themes vary widely according to individual tastes. Many people like to decorate with a specific color or color combination. Here are a few basic tips, which may be helpful to you. The suggested sequence for decorating a tree is as follows:
  1. Select a Theme
  2. Tree Selection and Preparation
  3. Lights
  4. Bows / Ribbon
  5. Garland / Fabric
  6. Tree Trims/Novelties
  7. Ornaments / Balls
  8. Tree Top and Skirts

Steps in Tree Decorating
1   1.    Select theme, i.e., Traditional, Woodland, Snowflake, Silver & Gold, White Christmas, Decorator Color, Old World, etc…
2   2.    If using an artificial tree, “fluff” the branches so that they take on their largest volume and give the tree fullness.  Fluffing is not as necessary to the back of the tree if it is placed in a corner or against a wall. 
3   3.    If using a fresh tree, make sure the tree has been given a fresh cut and has been allowed to sit in a bucket of water for several hours to allow it to drink as much water as possible.  A good tree food is also recommended.  Trim branches and remove broken branches and dead foliage.
4   4.    Light tree, starting at top and working down so that the male plug end is at the bottom.  (approx. 100 small twinkle lights per foot of height)  Place larger bulbs inside tree closer to trunk first (C-7, C-9) … then add smaller lights to outer edges starting at the base of the branch and going to tip and back.  TIP**Step back from the tree and look at it with your eyes squinted until the tree is blurry. Wherever you see dark holes on the tree, rearrange the lights as necessary to fill in. To remove the lights without tangling them, work in reverse.
5   5.    Place bows on branches uniformly.  Mixing coordinating ribbons for unity, but various combinations of the ribbon, can help reduce monotony.
6   6.    Add Ribbon streamers or garland next.   Fabrics can be placed deep inside trees to add dimension and texture.
7   7.    Beginning with the largest ornaments and trims place deeper in tree and more heavily to the bottom of the tree.  This allows better balance.  Use of “Over size” ornaments can create drama and visual excitement by the sheer size of the items.
8   8.    Add medium sized ornaments next.
9   9.    Smaller ornaments go last.  Using lesser expensive “ball” ornaments tied together in clusters of 2 or 3 can create a “larger” look.
1   10. Novelty or collectible ornaments can be added to the “focal” area, the area most frequently seen, approximately eye level… so that they are noticed.. However, if there are several, don’t just cluster them in the one area, spread them around.
1   11. Ornaments look better when they are hanging rather than sitting on branches.
1   12.  Place the Tree topper or the tree top décor, i.e. branches, feather, sticks, etc… to create the “crown” of the tree.
1   13.  Add the coordinating tree skirting to hide the base of the tree.

Tips to JAZZ UP a “Tired” Tree
1   1.    Add an over-size element.
2   2.    Alter an existing theme by adding a new element, i.e., changing a traditional red and green look to a red and white.
3   3.    Unique and different items… non-traditional ornamentation, ie., picture frames of family members, kitchen items, sports memorabilia, etc..
4   4.    “Glam” up an existing tree with crystals, beads, sparkly items…
5   5.    Reduce the confusion by introducing some repeated décor
6   6.    Select one “look” and using some of the existing items, add others to complete the “theme”
7   7.    Use silk or permanent florals, foliages, etc… to add a “new” look
8   8.    Change the ribbon out… for a new pattern or color.
9   9.    Add a new novelty light set
1  10.  Do a single color lighting

    LED Light
     LED (Light emitting Diode) while more expensive initially (approximately 3-4 times higher than miniature incandescent), can save up to 90% on the electrical bill over the season.  When compared to miniature incandescent lights, the same number of LED lights use only 1/5th the energy.  The life of the LED bulb, if properly taken care of, is 25 - 50000 hrs compared to 3000 hrs for the miniature incandescent (LED lasts over 8 times as long).  The LED light also generates significantly lower heat which reduces the chance of fire.  Additionally, the LED light is much less likely to be broken since the bulb is plastic, not glass.
    Do's and Don'ts of Lights:
1    1.    Never connect mini lights and C-7s or C-9s end to end. Connect only the same type of light sets together. They must be on their own outlet. This is also true when hooking your treetop to your light sets.  The 3 outlet cords work very well in this situation.
2    2.    Do not hook more than 3 sets of lights together end to end (300 miniature lights, total). This can cause overloaded circuits and may blow fuses in your light sets. Note*  Some lights are commercial grade and you can connect up to six light strings (600 lights) together. (Check packaging).
3    3.    Discard damaged sets (broken/cracked sockets, frayed/bare wires or loose connectors).
4    4.    Turn off all indoor lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house or place on 24 hr timers so that they go off automatically at a preset time.
5    5.    NEVER use electric lights on a METAL tree (metal needles/foliage).  A short in the wire could lead to electrocution.

Tree Trim Guidelines
Tree Height
Miniature Lights
# of Bulbs
Feet of
  Novelty Tree Trim
& Ornaments
   35 to 40
 24" to 3'
     30 pieces
  70 to 80
 36" to 4'
     42 pieces
  200 to 400
50' to 55"
     35-50 pieces
  400 to 600
85' to 90'
     50-75 pieces
  500 to 700
100' to 110'
     75-100 pieces
  600 to 800
130' to 145'
     175-225 pieces
  800 to 1000
185' to 200'
     200-300 pieces