Have you wanted to make a Dress Form Christmas tree but been a little intimidated about doing it?
Well we have designing them for over 10 years, and have some short cuts to share that will make it SUPER easy for you to make one. Even if you don’t consider yourself crafty.
We used to make this style of Dress Form Tree using chicken wire for the underpinning of the skirt. But a tomato cage will do just fine, provided you use full and thick garland to give you that dramatic ballgown look.
When we first starting showing people how to make them way back in 2014, we called them Dress Form Christmas trees. But now we refer to them as Dress Form HOLIDAY trees, because you can use them to celebrate various holidays year round. And we want to be inclusive to include a range of holidays that people celebrate.
The first item you need is a dress form. It doesn’t have to be a new dress form it just has to be on a sturdy and tall stand. FYI – we sell new and used dress forms at Mannequin Madness, which is what lead is to become the become the Dress Form Holiday tree experts.
We chose this used form because we liked the leather like material and the color was perfect for a fall theme. We also like the decorative neck cap. If yours does not have a decorative neck cap you can attach a finial that is used for drapery rods.
If you buy a used form and it has stains or is not the color you want, you can always conceal it with a a jacket or camisole or a dress form cover.
The next step is to purchase a tomato cage in the desired size you want. As you can see from the photo even though the two cages are pretty similar in height, the circumference is different as well as the spacing between each row.
We used the cage on the left because we wanted a wide skirt and were using bushy pine garland. So we needed the extra space between each row.
Remove the form from the stand and put the stand inside the cage
If the base of your dress form is wide you will need to make sure it can fit inside the circumference of the cage, like in the photo below.
Now comes the only part that is slightly tricky. Most dress forms have a gap of space on either side of the piece that attaches to the stand. Slide the form down so that the top of the cage goes inside those gaps.
You might need to enroll someone to help you. One person can hold the form as the other one gently squeezes on the tips of the cage to position them inside the form. Then lock the form in place on the stand.
If you form doesn’t have the gaps of space in the bottom you can either cut the top of the cage to fit. Or if the form is made out of styrofoam, poke the tips inside the styrofoam – but be careful doing that. If you push too hard you can damage the cage or the form.
This is the look you are going for –
Now comes the easy and fun part. If you want a wide skirt, make sure to select lush, thick garland. I believe we used a 9 foot length. Better to have more than you need and cut it off and use elsewhere than to not have enough.
Take the end of the garland and bend back the leaves so that the wire is exposed. Wrap the wire on the garland securely around one of the wires at the base of the cage. The in an upward circular motion wrap the garland around the cage. Let the garland rest up against the cage wires for support.
Let your imagination go wild with the decoration you use on the skirt. Decorate the bodice with ribbon, jewelry, deco mesh or leave unadorned.
We designed this one with an autumn/fall theme to put up in October and keep until Thanksgiving. In December we will swap out the decorations for a Christmas theme. Then a winter wonderland look for Jan and Feb and in March we will turn it into a Spring display with flowers.
Consider the green skirt to be the equivalent of the green foam oasis used in floral arrangements. It is just the base and you can attach any type of floral and decorations to it. And it doesn’t have to be pine garland but other types of foliage, just as long as it is on a vine and lush.
For resources for garland, dress form covers, angel wings and other decorative items that people use for a dress form holiday tree, check out our list of recommended vendors on Amazon.
Join our Dress Form Christmas Trees and Holiday trees group Facebook to see examples from others and to post your design.