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How To Shrink-Wrap Your Christmas Tree For Fun & Profit!

Monday, January 7, 2013

When I posted my update before Christmas on how well our shrink-wrapped tree had fared its year in the garage, I had a surprising amount of requests for a tutorial. Which just goes to show that I've accumulated all the right sorts of readers here at Epbot, including the crazy, Christmas-tree-shrink-wrapping kind.

Now, I realize that you well-organized go-getters have already packed up all your Christmas decorations, so I guess that just means you guys are missing out this year. HA. That's one for the procrastinators!
 
And without further ado:  

HOW TO SHRINK-WRAP YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE FOR FUN & PROFIT

(Well, not so much profit, per se, but if you enjoy getting dizzy then this will definitely be fun.)


Step 1: Strip your tree of its ornaments and garland (but not the lights!), until it looks fresh and naked as the day it was manufactured in China:

NAKED TREE. 

Then set it somewhere away from walls & furniture, so you'll have room to work.

(Note that you're leaving the lights on your tree because the whole point of shrink-wrapping it is to save you time and effort next year. [I have somewhere between 8 and 10 strands of light on this tree.] YAY LAZINESS!)

Step 2:  Procure a roll of cheap no-name brand cling wrap, which any nearby felines will find, like, totally irresistible:

 Trying to work here, Lily. 

Lily. 
Lily. 
Hey, Lily. 
LILY!


Fine, can you at least stand still, then?


Thank you.


Step 3: Bend the top-most branch of your tree down, and use the end of your cling wrap to tie up the first few top branches into a big bunch:

Tie it tight! 
If it helps, think of all those in-laws you won't have to see again for a whole 'nother year.


Step 4: Without cutting the cling wrap, start wrapping the top of your tree:

You'll want to have at least four or five layers of cling wrap, and be sure to loop one or two passes over the top of the tree, too, to seal it. Hermetically.


Step 5: Keep on wrapping, G-Dawg.

You may find it helps to throttle the tree, as John demonstrates here:



Step 6: After you've wrapped each section thoroughly, add in the next lower section of branches by bending them up:

It helps to have a second person there to steady the tree and help you get as tight of a wrap as possible. That person could also take pictures of you while you work and make squeaky little "HELP MEEEE!" voices on behalf of the tree, but I'm just spitballing here.


Optional Step 7: If at some point you need to take a break to rest and/or vomit from the constant walking in tiny circles, just tear off your end of cling wrap and pat it in place. If you've done your job properly, it should hold just fine:

Feel free to take this time to mock your tree with exclamations of how silly it looks.


Step 8: Back to work!

As you wrap lower on your tree you'll really need that second person to keep it from falling over while you yank on it. I found it also helped to give the tree a giant bear hug while John wrapped, both to hold the branches in place and to look extra superior when I asked John if HE had hugged a tree today.

Step 9: Only add in half of the lowest branches at a time:

The lowest branches are the biggest and heaviest, so adding them in two batches will help support the extra weight.

Step 10: Wrap all the way down the pole to seal the bottom of the tree:

Ta-da! TREE POP.

Step 11: Hang your shrink-wrapped tree upside down from the ceiling of your garage to freak out the neighbors. ("Shelob's Lair" sign optional.)

And that's it! When it comes time to unwrap the tree next year, just slice up the side of the cling wrap with a pair of scissors, fluff the branches back into shape, and have an extra cup of eggnog while you contemplate your intellectual superiority to all the poor tree-assembling schmoes out there. Easy-peasy!


Well guys, I hope you enjoyed this ridiculous tutorial as much as I enjoyed watching John do all the work. 'Til next time!

Posted by Jen at 5:29 PM Labels: , ,

54 comments:

  1. We do living trees (in a pot) to then plant on our property, but I have Pinned this for my friends who use artificial trees. :-)

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  2. You left out: "Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to shrink-wrap the cat."

    (Glad I could help.)

    What a great idea. Does the wrapped up tree makes anyone else think of Whoville?

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  3. We put our tree away just last night! Wah....
    At least there's always next year, it'll be here before we know it :)

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  4. this won't work for my tree as it is the kind with the branches you take out one at a time...but I LOVED your tutorial. :D

    Hey Lily!

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  5. I may well be forcing my husband to do this next year. My mom bought me a 1/2 price 6 ft xmas tree, and we're Jewish, so this is my first once since 1998 when I had a live one for the first time and made all my ornaments out of gumdrops because Martha Stewart told me I had to and then cursed the pine needles that stabbed my feet for the rest of the year and the ant infestation.

    Anyway, I'm excited, but I only have like 10 ornaments, so I am trying to entice crafters to send me their nerdy/cute/weird mutant first try ornaments that don't work out (or that do if they are feeling generous) so I can have ornaments for my tree since crafting is no longer an option for me. And then I can take pictures next year, and put it on my blarg and link to all of their shops. I have gotten two so far, so I guess when they get here, I will have 12 ornaments.

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  6. At the After-Christmas Sale at the Christmas Shop near my sister's town, I noticed they did this to all the pre-lit trees they were selling from the floor. The really tall ones were done in 2 pieces for ease of transport in a car. It looked pretty simple up close and personal so I think I am trying this next year. Thanks for the tips!

    Susan

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  7. I think I'll have to take our tree out and try this. We've got one like yours, the branches fold up but don't come out. We live in a small apartment, there's no box for the tree, and our storage are is tiny, so that damn tree is taking up so much room. Think I'll grab some shrink-wrap this weekend.

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  8. I don't even own a Christmas tree and I thoroughly enjoyed this tutorial.

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  9. None of the awesome people have put their trees away. We've all been waiting for your tutorial. Either that or we are lazy. Or keep or tree up until at least Epiphany. Or we're lazy. Or love our trees and their sparkly wintry goodness so much that we like to leave them up well into January. Or we're lazy. ;)

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  10. Jen, I didn't think 'Shelob's Lair' as much as 'Don't Bogart that Joint'. Lots of laughs though.

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  11. About how long did it take y'all to wrap the tree?

    Rapidly doing scheduling in my head. And as it is just me (and a darling marmalade cat), I'll need to bribe *ahem* ask politely a friend to help.

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  12. For even better ease and lack of dizziness you could maybe put the tree on a lazy susan to spin it :D.

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  13. I chuckled WAY too much at the thought of a hanging body xmas tree in the garage. And I don't even have a garage. Maybe I'll wrap one and bring it out for halloween and hang it from the porch!

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  14. You killed me with the descriptions. Killed. Hope you're happy.

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  15. Reminds me of spider prey all wrapped up in silk.

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  16. @ Anony - It didn't take long at all - only about 10 minutes, and that was with me stopping John every few moments for pics. :)

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  17. *huff*

    Where was this three days ago before the tree got hauled to the basement?

    Next year all the trees are getting shrink wrapped. MWUAHAHAHA!

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  18. My question is: How do you keep the cats from using the tree as a climbing toy? I bought a real tree this year because my cat thoroughly destroyed my artificial one last year.

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  19. Ha, bunchof tree huggers. Brilliant idea, though. I took 7 strands of lights off my parent's tree for them. Maybe I can talk them into shrink wrapping next year.

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  20. My first thought was "Frodo!" My second was you have saved time decorating the tree next year but also have a cool Halloween decoration ready to hang up in the yard on a tree limb and a giant spider nearby.

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  21. Yay! I have yet to take mind down yet, my middle kiddo always request it stays up through his birthday. So now I can wrap it. I wondered how you did the bottom half, I did the top last year but left the bottom undone. Wish I had a place to store mine like that, but it'll be two pieces. Even still, it saves my arms a ton of scrapes and will be so much easier to get into the attic!

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  22. Make sure all jewellery and small pets are accounted for before and after.

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  23. Really entertaining tutorial! :D I don't have a tree to call my own yet (well, I do, but it's three feet tall, so not really worth storing this way...) but someday when I do, I think I may go this route!

    It also definitely looks like it's been wrapped up by some really big spiders (Shelob or no)... Maybe it can be a Halloween decoration, too? Haha.

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  24. Fantastic tutorial. Maybe now I can convince my hubby we need a new tree- one with branches that fold up- so we can try this. :)

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  25. I've done this with our mini fake trees for some years, but I always start at the bottom. With a large tree, that would definitely require assistance. And perhaps hanging it upside down to begin!

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  26. Literally just as I came to the clingwrap pic, my cat jumped up to see what I was looking at.

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  27. I abso-freakin'-lutely love you people. That is all.

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  28. Completely and utterly superhero awesome! It's much better than trying to stuff it into a box- only to have it bulge out on one side. It made me believe that the tree was clamoring to get out and eat me.

    Great idea!!!

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  29. I see Pho beat me to it--I, too, was going to suggest a large lazy susan under the tree.

    Or, you know, an old turntable with nothing else to do.

    But what do I know? I built this year's "trees" from inverted tomato cages wrapped in garland. They nest/stack for storage.

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  30. Step 11 is my favorite. I almost spit my tea out.
    Can't wait to have a house with a basement so I can wrap and hang. Dang crawl space...grrrr.

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  31. I am lazy and we just carry ours down stairs to store in the basement with a huge trash bag placed over it.

    Lol.

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  32. When you mentioned hanging it upside-down in your garage, I couldn't help but get a mental picture of Frodo being guarded by a giant, crazed spider. I think you need to search the interwebs (ha!) for a giant plastic spider.

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  33. I lol-ed multiple times during this post. Helllpp meeeee! Tree pop! Shelob's Lair. Only you can make wrapping a tree in plastic wrap hilarious.

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  34. my dream has always been to have a closet large enough that I could take my tree - completely decorated with lights AND ornaments - and put it on a piece of wood with caster wheels. Cover it with a tarp, unplug from the wall, and wheel the whole thing into the closet. Following year - wheel it out, uncover it, plug it in and DONE! LOL

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  35. Brilliant! Now, would you please talk my husband into artificial trees?

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  36. i put our tree away today as well. but it's a real one. so in addition to the ornaments i removed the one strand of light and all the real candles and just threw it out the window to be hacked into firewood. and then i vaccumed up all the needles. *sigh*

    but i still don't want to budge and by an artificial one. we get the real one for free each years because my sister in law owns a patch of wood. and we don't have to store it. and it's not as dense, so you can really put a lot of oraments on.

    i think if i had a tree like yours i'd hang it upside down to make room for all the ornaments to hang. like a chandelier.

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  37. And, as you pointed out, it's all wrapped up nice and early for Halloween. There will be spiders at Halloween, right?

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  38. I do this with my fake tree too. It makes storage so much easier!

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  39. Great post!! I'm sure my cat would enjoy this process very much, though perhaps not as much as she seemed to enjoy batting ornaments off the tree... always while I was sleeping, of c ourse.

    Until this post, I did not even know that some trees fold up this way! I grew up with real trees, though now I'm on my second fake tree -- the first I got for free when some friends upgraded to a pre-lit one, and I eventually passed it on and picked a smaller one up at a garage sale for $8 because the old one was too wide for my current living space. Both have been of the rigid branches-on-branches-off type. I can't speak to the folding-up type, but I find this type to be as painful (if not more) and needle-dropping as real trees. Someday I will buy a nice tree...

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  40. Hahaha BEST HOW TO TUTORIAL EVARRR! :D

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  41. You are soooooo awesome!

    If we had a fake tree, and a place to store a fake tree, I would totally do this!

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  42. The first time in years I actually get my tree put away before Valentine's Day and then I see this great tutorial! Well, there's always next year. Love the idea!

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  43. I think this is a useful idea for the separate branches tupe of tree too. I get all kinds of scratched up trying to fit all the branches back in the box and they never fit in completely. I think I will wrap each branch down tight before packing them to save some space and skin!

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  44. I've done this (not as well) before, but then when I have to pull the tree back out for the 4th of July (or "Treason Day" as our group calls it) local Parade anyway, I decided it was too much bother. :)

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  45. This post made me giggle so much. I didn't have a tree this year, so I just read it for the entertainment value.
    Thanks Jen and John(thoJ)!

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  46. This post made me laugh. I wish I had an artificial tree simply so that I could see the look on my hub's face when I recommend that we shrink rap it.

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  47. Or ... you could just put your tree in the garage as is, then next year put it back in the living room, no fluffing, no hassle, no nothing.

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  48. We cut our own real tree every year (yay, New England!) but I have a few mini-trees for the porch that I do this with every year. It totally is easier. I think I got the idea from one that came wrapped that way.

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  49. We finally put our tree away today and totally did this.

    Not going to mention that it took me, my MIL AND my FIL to do it. :)

    Thanks for a fun tutorial!!!

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  50. Jen, I think you're great and I love your blog. But talk about bad for the environment...I hope your have soft plastic recycling in your town!

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  51. I live in Kentucky and have used old bedspreads to cover our trees. This idea is great, but I am worried about heat and humidity in the summer. Advice anyone?

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    1. I'm in Florida, the heat & humidity capital of the South, and our tree has done great shrink-wrapped out in the garage all year. Granted, it probably only gets up to maybe 110 in there - not quite as hot as an attic - but I can't imagine additional heat causing any trouble at all. (Well, unless it gets hot enough to melt the shrink-wrap, but I can't imagine that would happen naturally!)

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  52. So now that you've unwrapped it (twice?) are you still pleased with the method? Does it crush your tree needles too much?

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    Replies
    1. Yep, still loving this method! Everything spruces up just fine after I cut the wrap off, no damage or excessive crushing at all.

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