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Simple Ancestor Tree Tutorial

This is an update to a blog post I made last year on wordpress!

The Ancestor Tree is a beautiful way to continue holiday traditions in your home!

Tools Needed:

  • Mannequin or Dress Form 
    • Typically people use female, but I'm sure a male form could make a lovely tree too!
    • Brown skinned mannequins are admittedly hard to find, just do your best with whats available to you. I got one on on Amazon for cheap due to her having a defect on her toe (so typically $300, I got for $75)
    • Look on Craigslist, Ebay, and be sure to give your old one away to a spiritual Black girl when replacing! 💖
    • Consider using a miniature to place on the table, or propping up a doll and decorating her as a tree!
  • Dress/Nice Shirt
    • Feel free to make the whole thing with greenery if you don't want to use your clothes or buy new ones (pics below)!
  • Optional: Chicken wire
    • I use no chicken wire on my tree to save time and money, however purchasing chicken wire to shape and create a big poofy dress can create an ethereal effect and accommodates use of real branches. You will need to get wire cutters and might want gloves for your hands!
  • Greenery
    • Find 2 50' garlands. or the longest you can find. I've linked you to Walmart here.
      • These can come plain or pre decorated, this is up to your budget.
      • I had to search a while in Dec 2018 but found them for $8 at Bed Bath & Beyond (receipt below), so keep looking around! Unfortunately now they don't have these same ones on their site. 
      • Ideal for those allergic or unable to use real branches
    • Alternatively you can use fallen branches from a local tree lot, which is usually free.
      • In this case you will also require twine or chicken wire to attach the branches, it is no longer optional! This method is slightly more complicated, however can give a fuller dress effect.
    • I also include an image suggestion below for using the old hook branches of artificial trees, as well as a puffy green skirt as a tree base... Get creative!
    • LED Tree Lights
      • I used 2 21' lights. Even though white, mine blend in fine. 
    • Headwrap/Wig/Crown for head.
    • Decor
      • So far I have only done an Asase Yaa/Mother Earth/Nature theme, so have used flower decor. Your theme could include a certain color, honor a certain Ancestor, etc. 
      • Waistbeads are always a nice touch! 
      • Wings or a crown can add an element of honor that could elevate your tree.
      • Use the traditional balls and ornaments you own and love!



    1. Set up mannequin/dress form
    2. Put on the dress/shirt
    3. If using chicken wire, shape now into a skirt/ball gown shape on the lower half of the mannequin.
      1. If you are using live branches, arrange them by tucking the ends into the chicken wire.
    4. If using twine & live branches: 
      1. Tie one around the waist, one around the thigh, and one around the knees. Add more or less depending on fullness of dress desired.
      2. Tuck and hang the live branches in the three strings starting at the knees and layering up to form a skirt of foliage.
    5. If using a garland (pictured method):
      1. Wrap the garland around the body, tucking in the ends gently on itself.
      2. Wind around the waist and legs down to the floor, or around the chicken wrap skirt. being sure to keep its shape.
    6. Arrange the lights. I like to start from the bottom and go up. 
    7. Wrap the head-wrap around their head or use a wig.
    8. Decorate!

    Calling it an Ancestor Tree gives us a chance to celebrate the Winter Solstice festivities in a familiar way, as well as focus on our Ancestors and personal non-Abrahamic spiritual and religious practices.

    Hope you enjoy the quick tutorial, ask me any questions below! ✨ And may your Ancestors and Spirit Guides be with you at every crossroads in this new year 💛

    📷 @thesacredbruja @spiritualblackgirls

    My 2018 Tree:


    My 2019 Tree:

    Dress Form Tree Inspo From Pinterest


    This final one is to inspire you to make it on the wall out of paper and other items you happen to have 💖

    1 comment

    • Peace Sis! You always amaze mi with your creativity! Life willing, we will create one next season…I’m curious, some of these are super extravagant in detail…is this typically left up year-round?


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