Complete Your Retro Christmas With This DIY Tree Skirt

Whether you like a blue Christmas, classic red and green, or more of a colorful mid-century modern Christmas, this DIY tree skirt should complement your style beautifully.

It’s designed to be retro while maintaining a modern look in simple gray, topped with white snowflake-like Sputniks. And the felt is a fun material for a DIY tree skirt, because you can cut any shapes you like and the fabric doesn’t fray.

You can opt for sew or no-sew, use my Sputnik stencils and follow this easy tutorial to create your Christmas tree skirt.

Mid-century modern DIY Christmas tree skirt and cat under the tree

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DIY Tree Skirt: To Sew or Not to Sew

This tree skirt is simple to make. You just cut the main skirt from the gray felt, trace and cut out the Sputniks and asterisks, and then sew them on. But it can take awhile to sew around all the Sputnik spokes and angles.

My tree skirt has 20 cutouts. Each Sputnik took me about 20 minutes to sew to the skirt with my sewing machine, and each asterisk took about five minutes.

Festive gifts on a retro Sputnik tree skirt

There are ways to make this project easier on yourself to save time. You could use simpler cutout shapes, like retro diamonds or Sputniks with fewer spokes, or just hot glue the shapes in place for a no-sew option.

I tested out hot gluing a white cutout to the gray felt, and I didn’t like the results. I was also worried that glue would discolor the felt and wear out over time, while the sewing should last longer.

So I sewed, and for me it was worth it. But you do you. There’s definitely something to be said about saving time in December. Okay, let’s get started!

Modern DIY Tree Skirt Tutorial

Materials

  • Gray felt (1.5 yards, or enough for a tree skirt in your desired size; mine is 48 inches in diameter)
  • White glitter felt (half a yard, or enough for the number of cutout shapes you want to add)
  • Scissors
  • Sputnik stencils
  • Pencil
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine (or hot glue gun for a no-sew option)
  • Old Christmas tree skirt for tracing (optional)

1. Determine Your Preferred Tree Skirt Size

The rule of thumb with tree skirt sizing is to make it wider than your tree stand, but usually no wider than your widest tree branches. You don’t want it to outshine your tree, or trip up your eggnog-fueled guests.

Size your tree skirt about as wide as your tree

I sized mine at 48 inches in diameter to match the full width of my tree. This size should work well for many aluminum Christmas trees, but you may want to go bigger for larger trees.

Try laying out a previous tree skirt and see if you like the size around your tree. If not, adjust as needed.

2. Cut Your Round Tree Skirt From the Gray Felt

The easiest way for me to cut out my new tree skirt was to trace and cut along the previous skirt, because I wanted to keep the size exactly.

You can also just get a string that’s half the length of your diameter, hold it in the center of your tree skirt, then run a pencil from the other end of the string around the center to mark out a circle and cut it out.

3. Cut a Line Halfway Through the Tree Skirt

Again, tracing a previous tree skirt helps here. Just cut a radius from the back to the center of your tree skirt so it can wrap around your tree. You can find the center by folding the skirt in half twice.

Tracing and cutting your felt tree skirt

The beauty of DIY is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Anything you do will be cute, or at least one of a kind!

4. Cut a Small Circle for the Tree Pole

By making your own tree skirt, you can cut a hole that just fits around your tree. Make sure you have the center by folding the tree skirt in half twice. Then snip out a little piece to get you started.

You can freehand cut, or find something to trace a circle in the desired size. A little spice bottle was perfect for me. The final center hole leaves a little room, but the skirt wraps pretty snugly around my aluminum tree.

Place your tree skirt around your tree to test the size. When you’re happy with it, the fun part begins!

5. Cut Your Retro Stencils – Download Here

Print out these retro shape stencils. You’ll find the asterisk and the ten-spoke Sputnik I used, as well as a slightly simpler Sputnik with fewer spokes.

You can mix and match or use the simpler Sputnik if you’re trying to save time. More spokes = more of a PITA to sew.

6. Trace and Cut the Shapes From the White Felt

Use a pencil to trace around the stencils on your glitter felt. Cut as many shapes as you’d like. I cut a few extra to test out different layout options.

7. Arrange and Pin the Cutouts to the Tree Skirt

It looks good to have a random layout, but you could also go for a pattern. Try a few different options until you’re happy with it, then start pinning each shape onto the tree skirt.

Arrange Sputniks and asterisks on your tree skirt
Here’s how I laid out my retro shapes.

Glitter felt is usually one-sided, so make sure the glitter side is up when you pin your Sputniks. As my mother-in-law would say, embrace the whimsy!

8. Sew Each Cutout to the Tree Skirt

Now is the somewhat tricky part. Start to carefully sew along the border of each Sputnik and asterisk.

You will have to frequently rotate the entire tree skirt around the needle as you tackle all the angles and rounded ends. Be slow and careful to avoid getting pricked by pins as you constantly rotate that bulky tree skirt.

Sew Sputniks to the felt tree skirt

More: Check out my “I Love Lucy” craft room makeover

As I was sewing, I calculated my odds of getting pricked. The further along you get, the fewer pins you have left, BUT the more tired you are. I found that the odds of pin pricks are relatively high from beginning to end. (I became so familiar with my first aid kit…)

DIY Tree Skirt Ready for a Retro Christmas

After a couple of late nights, I finished the tree skirt. Jane was the first to find it under the tree, and she approves of her new hangout spot.

Cat snuggled up on mid-century modern Christmas tree skirt
Make this Sputnik tree skirt for a very mid-century modern Christmas

This Sputnik tree skirt is mid-century modern at heart, but the simple color scheme and snowflake look will work for just about any home decor style. Whether you opt for the sew or no-sew version, I hope you give it a try!

More Christmas Ideas You’ll Love:


DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

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4 thoughts on “Complete Your Retro Christmas With This DIY Tree Skirt”

  1. And..it’s a totally awesome mid-century mod tree skirt! You did a great job of designing and making it! (Love how you embraced the whimsy!..smiles) Jane loves it too and we know she has very good taste in finding the best and comfy places to sit or lay.

    Reply
  2. What a neat looking tree skirt! I think sewing the Sputniks on is the best way to go about it since the glue way let go after a while. Sure it takes time, but you know they will be on there for good.

    Reply
    • Thanks Sarah! Yes I think you’re right. I feel more confident that the sewing will last a long time, and I like how the stitching adds some detail. It’s weird – I also crochet, and I don’t mind that crocheting takes a long time, but with sewing I just feel like it should go faster! I’m glad I stuck with it though! 🙂

      Reply

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