Let’s face it, artificial Christmas trees never look quite as good as real trees unless you want to spend hundreds of dollars on one. Instead, why not get a cheaper tree and use these inexpensive and quick tips to make it look more realistic? Both you and your wallet will be happier, and you’ll have a tree that looks like you just cut it down from your own backyard.

Step 1: Fluff the Branches

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When trying to make an artificial tree look realistic, you need to take the time to fluff out and shape the branches. Starting with the bottom row of branches, fan them out first by separating each individual branch tip and moving it out and away from the trunk. Then, take each branch tip and bend it up in a natural curve. Remember that for a real tree, each branch is trying to soak up as much sun as possible, so move your branches so they could all get light if your tree was real.

Step 2: Add Garland

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If after fluffing and bending every individual branch on your artificial Christmas tree your tree is still sparse and has holes, you can use garland or wreaths to make it look fuller and more realistic. Find cheap garland that matches the color of your tree as closely as possible. Start by wrapping the base of your tree and working your way up in a zig-zag pattern. Wrap the garland around the pole of your tree as well as around the branches. You can use pre-lit garland for added lighting effects. If using a wreath, use the wreath to cover up where the sections of your tree connect.

Step 3: Use Ribbon

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Ribbon will become your best friend when you’re trying to make an artificial tree look like a real Christmas tree. Ribbon is extremely versatile and it’s available in endless patterns and colors so you can easily find some that will match your Christmas tree’s unique look. For artificial trees in need of dire help, opt for 5” wide ribbon. Using wide ribbon will take up more space on your tree, making it look fuller. As an added tip, don’t lay the ribbon on the branches of your tree. Bend a branch around the ribbon to hold it in place and to give it an elegant, professional look.

Step 4: Use Ornaments


Start with the biggest ornaments you have when decorating an artificial Christmas tree. These ornaments, like the wide ribbon, will take up extra space so you won’t be able to see through any holes in your tree branches. If you have a set of large ornaments, use them on the entire tree rather than only the bottom. This will create a pattern that your eyes are drawn to so you won’t focus on any minor holes or empty spaces in your tree.

Next, use the rest of your ornaments to fill in any gaps or holes. If you don’t have many ornaments, you can use pinecones from your backyard (though be sure to get any bugs out first). Pinecones are wonderful decorations for any Christmas tree because of how much authenticity they lend to an artificial tree. If you want the added bonus of having your artificial tree smell like a real tree, use scented ornaments or keep scented candles burning nearby.

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