You have likely heard of a Christmas tree, but how about a Winter tree?

Winter has to be the most under-decorated season of the year! Why is that? Well, I think it is because we dive right into Christmas and after Christmas we are so tired that all we want to do is purge, have a clean and uncluttered home and get ready for spring.

We spend so much money on an artificial tree, so why not get more use out of it?

This year, I am starting the winter season with a winter tree and will likely transition it back to winter, after Christmas because I absolutely adore this tree that I received from King of Christmas. If you want to learn all the reasons why I love this tree, click here.

Winter Tree Theme

The first thing you will need to do is come up with a theme. It could be a ski lodge theme, snowflake theme, rustic theme, etc. Let the theme reflect your life, interests and whatever is special about winter to you.

For my tree, I have gone with an all natural theme and made the majority of the ornaments on the tree.

We live in an area of orchards, vineyards, flower farms and homestead farms, so dried fruit was a must.

My flower garden is very much a big part of our lives, so elements from the garden were also desirable.

Our property borders a huge provincial park and forest, so pinecones and acorns were also fitting.

We already had snow, so I felt that snowflakes would also be fitting.

So let’s dive in.

Drying and decorating fruit

Materials

  • Fruit such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, apples, or pears
  • Oven or dehydrator
  • Sharp knife
  • wire rack
  • cookie sheet
  • lemon juice (if drying apples)
  • spray adhesive
  • glitter
  • stencilling brush
  • twine or ribbon
  • star anise
  • glue gun and glue sticks

Disclaimer: I have added links to products and should you decide to purchase any of them, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you!

Step 1 – Choose the fruit

I went to the grocery store and picked out fruit I knew would work, such as oranges and apples. While I was there, I saw pears and loved their shape so I thought I would give them a try too.

Step 2 – Slice and dry off the fruit

Slice the fruit 1/4″ thick and then place on paper towel. Lay paper towels on top and gently but firmly push down to remove excess juice.

If you are drying apples, be sure to soak them in lemon juice to prevent them from browning.

Apple slice in lemon juice to keep it from turning brown while drying

Step 3 – Dry fruit in oven

Warm your oven to 150 to 170 degrees. Place fruit on a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet.

Orange slices on a rack to be dried for decor

Every hour flip the fruit until the fruit is completely dried, yet not shrivelled up.

The oranges took about 6 hours, the apples took 4 hours and the pears took approximately 8 hours. I also left all of the fruit on a drying rack for a day before I began decorating them.

Step 4 – Decorate

Spread your dried fruit out on a large piece of cardboard. Thoroughly spray with spray adhesive. Follow directions on can. Mine stated to wait until tacky which took about 10 minutes.

materials to decorate dried apple slices with glitter

Press the stencilling brush into the glitter and then onto the dried fruit. You could also sprinkle the glitter over the fruit but I found that was resulting in too thick glitter and was wasteful.

Dried orange, apple and pear slices with glitter

Next, make a loop of ribbon or twine and glue to back of fruit.

Lastly, glue a star anise to the front.

dried orange slice with glitter, ribbon and star anise

Another option is to place a bow of ribbon at the top of the fruit and glue a star anise on top of the bow.

Dried apple with jute ribbon bow and star anise for winter tree decoration

You could also use transparent thread, as show below for the hanger.

dried pear slice with glitter and star anise

When placing the fruit on the tree, try to place them so that lights shine from behind. This really enhances the beauty of the fruit.

Decorating acorns and pinecones

Materials required:

  • real or faux acorns
  • metallic paint and paint brush
  • adhesive
  • glitter
  • ribbon or twine
  • star anise
  • transparent thread
materials to decorate acorns for Christmas decor

Paint base of acorn with metallic paint. I chose two paint colors – bronze and rich espresso.

Apply adhesive to top of acorn. Use stencil brush to apply glitter so that it gets into all the grooves and pits.

painting acorns with bronze mettalic paint for Christmas decor
Applying adhesive and dipping acorn in glitter

My ribbon was 5/8 of an inch and that was too big for the acorn so I cut it in half.

Cut one piece at 5 inches long and the other at 3 inches.

Cutting jute ribbon in half
Measuring ribbon for bow on acorn

Take the five inch piece and glue the ends as seen in the first photo.

Then press the loop into the middle and glue as seen in the second photo.

Take the 3 inch piece and fold it in half. Glue it to the top of the acorn.

Glue the bow on top.

Take a piece of transparent thread and tie it into a loop. Place a dap of hot glue in the middle of the bow, then place the knotted end of the transparent thread into the glue and then place a star anise on top. See the photo to the right for the finished product.

Gluing ribbon for bow
Ribbon bow for acorn
Bow and star anise on top of glittered acorn

With pinecones, I lightly brushed on the copper metallic paint at the ends of the wings or petals of the pinecone. I then followed the same instructions above for the top of the bow. I made the tails of the bow much longer, slightly longer than the pinecone.

Decorated pinecone for winter tree

Adding dried flowers

I had the idea for a natural winter type of tree for many months, so in the summer I started drying flowers with the idea of adding them to the winter tree. The flowers that were perfect for this tree were dried allium.

Walk around your house and see what natural elements you could add. If you are reading this in the summer, keep an eye out for interesting forms that could be added.

Dried allium for winter tree

One of my allium grew huge and it made the perfect topper for the tree.

Dried allium in winter tree
Dried allium as a tree topper on a winter tree

I wanted to add rose hips but unfortunately I couldn’t find any. I thought they would be beautiful if they were brushed with a little metallic paint.

Rustic snowflakes and other decor

If you can believe it, I made these rustic snowflakes and you can too! Just click this link where I have step by step instructions.

If you aren’t up for making them, you could always search for them in stores or Christmas markets.

Wooden star diy for winter tree or Christmas tree

When it came to ribbon or garlands, I decided to keep it simple. I found this lovely jute ribbon on Amazon and it was so inexpensive. Here is a link to it.

I added some faux berry branches and some beautiful satin ribbon. The golds and bronzes perfectly complimented the natural theme of this tree.

Below are photos of what the tree looks like during the day (left) and how it looks at night with the lights on (right). Aren’t they both so pretty. I think the thing I like the best is that it is interesting and unexpected.

Winter tree decorated with dried fruit, acorns, pinecones, acorns and wooden stars
Winter tree decorated with dried fruit, acorns, pinecones, acorns and wooden stars

I hope you enjoyed this and will give winter decorating or even a winter tree a try!

Now, I hope you hop on over to Maria, from a Pure Happy Home to check out her dried orange craft.

Below is a graphic showing all of the other projects and below are links to the rest of the blog hoppers. Make sure to check them out as I am sure you are going to find lots of great inspiration.

14 days of Christmas

Juliet – A Loverly Life

Chas – Chas Crazy Creations

Alicia – Design of Your Life

Kim – Perfecting Places

Kimberly – From Farmhouse to Florida

Betsy – Happily Ever After, Etc.

Lynn – Living Large in a Small House

Suzanne – Shop at Blu

Kristin – The Fifth Sparrow No More

Nicolle – Our Tiny Nest

Maria – Pure Happy Home

Marie – This Dear Casa

Nicole – Adorn the Table

As always, thank you so very much for your support and sticking around to the end!

What do you think?

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22 Comments
  • Chas - Chas' Crazy Creations
    November 17, 2022

    These are so very stunning, and I’m inspired to give them a try this year.

    • Crystal
      November 17, 2022

      Thanks so much Chas! What a compliment to hear this from you as I always look up to you and all the projects you create.

  • Kristin
    November 17, 2022

    What beautiful ideas! So pretty!

    • Crystal
      November 17, 2022

      Thanks so much Kristin! So happy to hop along with you!

  • Nicolle
    November 17, 2022

    Crystal your tree is beautiful! I love all the natural elements, especially the pear slices! I’d love for you to come link up over at my weekly link party! https://www.ourtinynest.com/2022/11/16/weekly-wednesday-link-party-322/

    • Crystal
      November 17, 2022

      Oh Nicolle there is a very funny story behind the pear slices…some of them came out a little questionable haha!!! Definitely will link up! Thanks so much for the invite.

  • Sue at Blu
    November 18, 2022

    Oh Crystal! This is just so lovely! I think a winter tree is definitely the way to go to ease into the holidays. I will remember this next year when it is still 85 in November and I’m feeling the need to decorate. So many great ideas here! pinned

    • Crystal
      November 19, 2022

      Thank you so very much Suzanne! Oh my 85 degrees? Wow, we had an early snowfall and were far below freezing. I could only dream of weather like that. So happy to hop along with you!

  • This is such a cute idea… I LOVE the dried alliums! I want to do an entire garden tree next year… some of these ideas would be perfect!

    • Crystal
      November 19, 2022

      Oh that would be so nice!!! I love that! So happy to hop along with you!

  • Marie
    November 18, 2022

    Crystal I love this theme! I’ve always wanted to do a beach themed tree and now I want to do a winter tree with dried flowers! Thanks for inspiring me 🙂

    • Crystal
      November 19, 2022

      Yes wouldn’t a beach theme be amazing? So happy you enjoyed it. As always, very happy to hop along with you!!!

  • Maria
    November 19, 2022

    Your tree is just stunning Crystal! You’ve given me all kinds of ideas for decorating ours. Thanks for sharing!

    • Crystal
      November 19, 2022

      This is so nice to hear Maria! Thrilled to hop along with you!

  • Lynn
    November 28, 2022

    Hi Crystal –
    My theme this year is a woodland Christmas so these ideas are just what I need to add more texture and natural elements to my great room. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Crystal
      November 29, 2022

      Thank you so very much Lynn! So glad to have helped!

  • Wendy McMonigle McMonigle
    November 28, 2022

    Beautiful post Crystal! Your tree looked so pretty.

    • Crystal
      November 29, 2022

      Thanks so much Wendy! Two down and one more to go!!!

  • Missy
    November 30, 2022

    So many great ideas here! I love all the natural elements and really like how you decorate the fruit slices. So beautiful, Crystal!

    • Crystal
      December 2, 2022

      Thanks so much Missy! It was fun adding glitter to the slices and they look so pretty with the light shining through!

  • Cindy
    December 2, 2022

    We love to add natural elements to our tree too. I haven’t tried using Star of Anise but I want to! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Crystal
      December 2, 2022

      Thanks so much Cindy! They sure are nice to use and I love how each one is different, just like snowflakes!