11 Christmas Tree Skirts, Collars, and Stand Ideas
Think outside the box (or rather, below the treetop) by using a clever container—a skirt, collar, stand, or something else entirely—to anchor your Yuletide evergreen.
A Christmas tree—the ornaments, the garlands, the shining topper—and not to be forgotten, a bottom. A tree skirt is ideal for covering up the unsightly "legs," trunk, or stand of the tree. They're purposeful, too: a skirt will protect your floors from any fallen pine needles or dripping candle wax (as was the case in 19th century Germany where it's believed to have originated).
If you've decided to forego the traditional tree skirt, there are several ideas to use in its stead: a collar is more compact than voluminous spreading skirts, making it a good option for condo and apartment dwellers or anyone short on living space; a stand will comparably cover the base and can elevate the height of the tree itself. This is a simple, yet effective idea for smaller tabletop trees such as the one pictured here, atop a rich tablecloth and buffet of desserts.
There's a tree skirt, collar, or stand to suit any style. And most household staples can be upcycled into something of use: Wooden crates, bins, and woven baskets are sturdy enough to withstand a hefty Douglas fir.
Materials like hand-woven natural rattan work for a folk-inspired alternative to traditional fabric skirts. Galvanized tubs and buckets are ideal for an outdoor tree, as they will weather the winter snow and ice. For smaller tabletop trees, the options are even broader: try a pretty vase, tray, or tart tin.
Regardless of the reason, consider it the finishing touch on your well-dressed tannenbaum.
Silver Twig Tree Stand
In keeping with a metallic mode, the container for this splendidly decked-out concolor fir is made from silver-sprayed twigs glued to a round pot. (We used a silver cylinder, but you can start with any straight-sided vessel and paint it.) To make the tree stand, use floral shears to cut twigs so they're one inch taller than the container. Spray-paint the twigs and let dry; then, glue them around container. To anchor the tree, screw a wooden disk (cut to fit inside the container) to the bottom of the tree and place it in the container. (Or use rocks to anchor the tree.)
Shop Now: D'vine Dev Round Modern Fiberglass Resin Planter Pot, in Matte Grey, 8", $35, amazon.com. Martha Stewart Metallic Finish Spray Paint & Primer, in Sterling, $8, michaels.com. Magna-Tac 809, 8 oz., $11.39, walmart.com.
Sequined Tree Skirt
Store-bought tree skirts often come on the small side, which means you either expose part of the stand or have presents spilling off. Our do-it-yourself design extends well pa the bottom branches, so your tree gets the stage (and stage lights) it deserves.
Scalloped Tree Skirt
The skirt is made of felt, which won't fray, and has one open seam, so refilling the stand with water is a snap. Download and print the template; cut out. (Our skirt fits standard tree stands, but you can adjust the size if necessary.) Piece together printouts, and trace the template 16 times onto a 36-by-36-inch piece of felt; cut out. Place two pieces of felt next to each other so the right edge of one abuts the left edge of the other. Starting at the rounded ends, sew the edges together using a zigzag stitch; repeat until you have eight pairs. Sew one pair to another using the same method, but stop 1 1/2 inches from pointed tips. Continue adding pairs, leaving the first and last pairs unattached.
Shop Now: A Child's Dream Come True Holland Wool Felt, in Salmon, 36" by 36", $32, achildsdream.com.
Tree Bucket of Nuts
A living Christmas tree offers so much more than a mound of mulch at the end of the season. But how to cover its not-so-pretty pot during its indoor tour of duty? Amass a squirrel's cache of nuts, and pour them on: Line an orchard basket with a garbage bag, place the pot inside, and fill the space around it with Bubble Wrap. Then top with nuts still in their shells. (Leave a small opening for watering.) The nuts' simple beauty and warm palette complement a tree done up in woody neutrals—just be sure to stock extras for cracking and snacking, to keep everyone from nibbling away at the display.
Accordion-Folded Paper Tree Skirt
For a tree that's trimmed to the nines, fashion a skirt out of red cotton fabric and white grosgrain ribbon. Cut a 13-by-18-inch rectangle of fabric (you may need to link together several 13-inch-wide strips with fabric glue, overlapping ends, to create one long strip). Coat with fabric stiffener, using a foam brush to distribute evenly. Air-dry for one hour. Press with an iron. Lay an 11 1/2-foot length of grosgrain ribbon on each long side of skirt, positioning ribbon so that there's 10 inches of overhang on both sides (these ends will form ties). Starting at one edge, affix each ribbon with fabric glue; stop 2 inches from opposite edge, and leave the remaining ribbon loose. Repeat with a third 11 1/2-foot length of ribbon, positioning it 2 inches from one side. Using a quilting ruler as a guide, make 2 1/2-inch-wide accordion folds in fabric (last fold will be slightly narrower). Press the fabric, and unfold. Working along the side with one ribbon, punch holes through the ribbon and fabric at each fold, about 1/4 inch from crease. Thread 1 yard of cord through holes. Wrap skirt around tree, tying cord and ribbons at back.
Dollhouse Tree Stand
At Martha's caroling party, each of her trees were trimmed in a different style. In the Summer House, an 18th-century Colonial on her Bedford farm, its interior sparkled with golden wreaths and ornaments. This gold tinsel tree was decorated with younger guests in mind, including her grandchildren Jude and Truman: salt-dough animal ornaments, polar bear toys, and a wooden dollhouse to surround the trunk.
Shop Now: Crate and Barrel Kids Plan Toys Victorian Dollhouse, $350, crateandbarrel.com.
Birch Tree Stand
To create the look of an enchanted forest, glittered birds look all flutter around these sparse trees. We used birch, but any sturdy tree stump can be used. To make the stand, cut a stump (measuring 8 to 11 inches in diameter) to approximately 10 inches tall. Choose a paddle bit for the drill that is equal to the girth of the tree's stem. Find the center of the birch stump and drill to the desired depth with the paddle bit. Tip: Be sure to drill perpendicular to the stump so the tree stands straight. (For a snow-laden look, paint glue on the bark sparingly, where falling snow would catch naturally and sprinkle with glitter.) Add surface protectors to bottom of stump. Insert the tree post in hole.
Barnyard Tree Fence
This Nordmann fir—decorated for young children with colorful animal ornaments and popcorn garlands—is erected at the center of vintage tree fence and a mound of fake snow at its base. These collectible fences can be found at antique stores, markets, and estate sales.
Pinecone Tree Vase
A pyramid of dried pinecones dressed with silver spray paint conceals the tree stand of this Fraser fir. Unpainted pinecones also make a decorative camouflage for the base of a Christmas tree, and blend in especially well with a "live" tree, hiding the roots while they insulate and keep them moist. In a well-ventilated area, coat dried pinecones with silver floral spray or silver spray paint; let dry. Using two-inch-wide masking tape, tape around the tree stand to create a pyramid, leaving an opening for watering the tree. Place the tree stand on top of a large circular tray. Then, arrange pinecones in a mound around the taped tree stand and on the tray.
Shop Now: Afloral Natural Pinecones, 3 1/2", $32 for 100, afloral.com. Martha Stewart Metallic Finish Spray Paint & Primer, in Sterling, $8, michaels.com. 3M Highland Masking Tape, 2", $7.39 for 60 yds., officedepot.com.
Ornamental Tree Skirt
Baubles and ball ornaments—clustered at its base—make any holiday tree look merry and bright. This light-green tree displayed from Martha's personal collection of vintage tinsel trees is covered with a coil of beaded garland. (The added benefit of having ornaments on a single string is that post-holiday cleanup is made easy.)
Shop Now: Balsam Hill Jeweled Christmas Tree Garland, in Classic Bead, 72", $69, balsamhill.com.
A fantastical Christmas tree can be made to look like it's magically grown up from the ground indoors. Instead of a tree skirt, this Douglas fir sits on a mossy bed. To create it, we protected the floor with plastic sheeting, then put clump moss around the base and tucked rocks, tree stumps, and potted plants around it for a fantastical look.