These space-saving ideas pack a ton of holiday cheer.

By Nashia Baker
November 16, 2020
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Credit: Getty / Laetizia Haessig / EyeEm

Whether you are tight on space or are simply looking for a new way to display your favorite holiday accessory, a nontraditional Christmas tree requires some creativity—but it has a majorly festive payoff. "As someone who has a smaller space, I have to get creative every year with how we feature our Christmas tree and decorations. An unconventional Christmas tree can help you utilize unique spaces in your home and usually with less mess than a real (or even a fake) tree can create!" Lauren Duletzke, a crafter and Cricut spokesperson, says. With the right tools, you can tailor your tree project to suit your space—which means that it is time to break out your best crafting supplies.

Don't forget that your Christmas tree, whatever form it takes, isn't the only holiday décor detail that has impact within your home. "Christmas is all about setting the mood: cozy, festive, merry spaces," Molly Machmer-Wessels, the designer and co-founder of Woodland Design Company, shares. "We love using layers to build your holiday décor. Deep, moody colors, soft ambient light, and robust, spicy candle fragrances can be displayed and enjoyed throughout the home—making them more impactful than just a singular moment in the living room with a Christmas tree." Ahead, our experts share six ideas that will help you deck your halls with nontraditional Christmas trees.

Wall Tree

"The beauty of making a Christmas tree wall decal is that your walls look festive and you'll have little to no cleanup after the holidays," Duletzke shares. You can even make ornaments out of vinyl stickers to make the tree even more fitting for the time of year. The craft expert's recommendation? Use Cricut's app, Design Space, to make a large-scale, "off-the-mat" tree project. To begin, choose your image in the app. From there, you will need to measure your wall and size your image, she says. Next, space and slice your image into sections using the slice tool—she recommends using a Cricut 12-inch by 24-inch mat ($15.49, michaels.com) and the Cricut Maker ($300, walmart.com) to make the cuts. After you separate each section, you will transfer the vinyl image to transfer tape. "Use [a] scraper tool ($9.49, walmart.com) to burnish the vinyl so you can transfer it more easily from the backer to the transfer tape, and then from the transfer tape to the wall," she says. "Take your time as you line up each piece. Once you transfer all the designs, you're done!"

Cardboard Tree

Another way to add some Christmas tree-inspired art to your space is by using items you already have on hand. "With COVID, we've all definitely been shopping online more than usual these days, so why not reuse cardboard boxes to create a sculptural wall tree?" Machmer-Wessels says. "Once you've generated a stash of cardboard, we love the idea of painting or papering the boxes in a single color." For a more traditional interpretation, the interior designer recommends choosing shades of moody green. If you want a tree that feels modern, she suggests white or cream. "Stack the boxes in a place where they won't get knocked over and add bows and trimmings if desired," Machmer-Wessels adds. "This is a fun activity to do with the family and is like a living piece of art. As the season continues, you can modify as you wish!"

Tree Mantel

A smaller space doesn't have to lack holiday décor. All you have to do is take advantage of the surface area you do have and dress it up, preferably with tree-inspired motifs for Christmas. "We love seeing this achieved particularly with fireplace mantels," Machmer-Wessels says. "We suggest bringing in some greens—live or faux—to drape onto the mantel for an earthy and effortless holiday look." Since a fireplace is already a focal point, covering yours in fragrant pine eliminates the need for a full-blown tree elsewhere. "I would also suggest a really spicy candle to fully embrace the merry mood!" the designer adds. "And of course, you can't have holiday cheer without string lights. Add them to your real or faux greenery, hang a few ornaments, and adorn with candles, and you have a festive scene without the hassle of a tree. To top off this vignette, stack gifts at the base of the fireplace, as well."

A Coaster Tree 

Create a nontraditional Christmas tree that is also multifunctional—like one made of coasters. "We love this idea because your tree can not only be different, but have a utility!" Duletzke says. To make this project you will need a Cricut Maker, a Cricut True Control Knife, a strong grip mat, a chipboard or cork material, spray paint, glitter, and a foam cone. Here are the DIY expert's steps: Begin by opening a new project in Design Space and choose a circle image. Next, cut different sizes of circles (make sure they are the right size to use for coasters) to create the bottom to top branches. Spray paint the foam cone ($1.49, target.com) in your preferred hue. After your coasters are cut, spray paint them the color you'd like. Take your Cricut TrueControl Knife ($17.49, michaels.com) and create slits in the foam cone. Place your coasters in different sections to add the tree leaves, and display! 

Forage Tree Décor

Foraging for tree branches is another way to set up an organic holiday scene inside. "This is all the rage now, too; trimming big beautiful branches and bringing them indoors to enjoy," Machmer-Wessels says. "I would take it up a notch and use those branches to create a tree-shaped wall hanging that can be decorated or left plain for a more simplistic feel." Round up your materials from your own yard or while out on a hike, including branches, acorns, leaves, and berries in your gatherings. "If this feels daunting, you could also use faux stems and branches—such as an artificial Kinsley Pine branch ($18, shop.magnolia.com) or red berry branches (from $29.50, potterybarn.com)," the design expert shares.

From here, you can use the branches and any string that you have handy to create different levels: "Start with the longest branches on the bottom and move upward with the shorter branches so that they reach a peak at the top," Machmer-Wessels explains. "To mount, just use one picture hanging hook, and adorn with ornaments and even a paper mache star ($1.59, factorydirectcraft.com)!" A plus about this project? You can add this as a centerpiece above a sofa or in your home's entryway, all while keeping your floor space free.

Suspended 3D Star Tree

"In this idea, you'll create 3D paper stars suspended from the ceiling to create a shape of a Christmas tree," Duletzke says. To bring this project to life, you will start by cutting cardstock paper stars on the Cricut Maker and then assemble. "Depending on how big you want your tree, you'll cut enough stars to create a triangle shape," the DIY expert shares. "I would suggest 15—giving you five rows (start with one star, then two stars, and so on)." From there, you will thread the stars with fishing wire ($2.09, michaels.com) and attach the craft to the ceiling—try using a command strip and hook ($6, target.com). Make sure that you hook each star individually, so they float effortlessly from the ceiling. If you want a visual step-by-step example, you can even view this Design Space project. Similarly to how you would decorate your Christmas tree, make sure there's some glitter, color, and touches that remind you of loved ones. "Ornaments are nostalgic for many people and if you can find a way to add your own personal touch to your tree—even adding hanging photos of your family—it can be truly special," she says.

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