How to Make a Vintage-Inspired Christmas Tree Skirt

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This retro felt circle skirt is easy to make.
Image Credit: Susie Delaney

Whether you have a fake or a real tree, covering the bottom of the tree with a skirt hides the hardware and equipment used to make it stand and provides a beautiful place to present your holiday gifts. It's fairly straightforward to make a 1950s vintage tree skirt out of felt, as well as non-traditional Christmas tree skirts and half Christmas tree skirts.

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Things You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 yards of felt

  • Measuring tape

  • Chalk

  • Ribbon

  • Glue gun

How to Make a Vintage Christmas Tree Skirt

Step 1: Make the base

Begin with the base, a large piece of material to which you'll attach all the other decorations. Start with a huge portion of felt, larger than you want your skirt. It should be whatever color you want for your tree skirt's background.

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Fold it in half twice so it's in quarters. Use a tape measure or piece of yarn to determine how far out you want it to go from the tree's base. Once you have that measurement, draw a semicircle in that length around the edges and cut. Use the yarn or tape measure as a compass to get it even all the way around.

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Step 2: Carefully cut the circle

Next, carefully cut out the circle that you drew using a pair of scissors.

Step 3: Embellish the edge of the skirt

To add more flair, you can bevel or scoop the edges using the outline of a circular object like a lid from a container. Cut along its contour on the edges or cut a piece of lace, ribbon, or other material to go around the edges. You can use a glue gun to attach it. Once you've perfected the outside of the base to your liking, it's time to add the decorations.

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Step 4: Cut a slit and a hole in the center of the skirt

Use your scissors to cut a slit in one place only from the edge of the circle to center. This will allow you to place the tree skirt around your tree. Then, cut a small circular hole in the center of the tree skirt. It should be sized appropriately to go around your tree.

Step 5: Decorate your skirt with felt circles

Now that the base of your tree skirt is complete, add holiday decorations. To make it a truly retro 1950s skirt, add layers of felt to form holiday-themed photos. Some examples include religious images of the Holy Family or Santa Claus and his reindeer.

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A popular style of 1950s or 1960s style vintage tree skirt is to add a series of Christmas balls. These different-sized balls radiate on poles out from the center. The lack of symmetry is part of the design. It will also look like a mid-century modern chandelier or light fixture.

A popular technique is to layer felt upon felt, with each smaller piece adding a bit more detail to the image. Start with a hexagonal background to look like a stained glass window and then go from there. You can also use just single-layer felt circles, however, if you so choose.

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First, cut out felt circles and lay them on the tree skirt in a sunburst pattern. Don't glue them down yet.

Step 6: Add ribbon embellishments

For a lovely retro design, you can also add ribbon to your tree skirt. Use it to connect the circles you have glued down to the center of the tree skirt. Don't glue down the circles yet; rather, lay the circles on top of the ribbon after you glue the ribbon down.

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Step 7: Glue felt circles

Use your hot glue gun to attach the felt circles to the top of the ribbon in the places you had laid them out.

Step 8: Glue a decorative circle around the center hole

Use felt to make a decorative shape to go around the center hole of the tree skirt. This can be shaped like a flower or sunburst. This will help to cover up any strings of hot glue or frayed ribbon edges.

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Caring for Your Tree Skirt

Can you wash a felt tree skirt? Technically, you can, but it's not advisable. It's better to spot-clean. For instance, if sap from a natural tree drips onto the skirt, dab it with a bit of Goo Gone and wipe clean.

If you have a significant spill on your tree skirt, experts recommend hand-washing. Soak if you need to, but use cold water to ensure that the colors don't run and the pieces don't come off.

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