Retail Designs & Displays: How to Build a Pointe Shoe Christmas Tree

Easy step-by-step instructions for a DIY seasonal retail display. It’ll be a great attention-getter—in your store and on social media.

Pointe shoe Christmas tree that the storeowners at Tutus and Dance Shoes constructed from a wire frame and unsold pointe shoes.
The tree at Tutus and Dance Shoes was strategically placed just inside the front door where entering customers pause and decompress before launching into shopping. Courtesy of Tutus and Dance Shoes

Dance retailers are always looking for fresh ideas when it comes time to gather up the twinkle lights, garlands and glittering fake snow and deck the store with holiday displays. A large tree display—positioned just beyond the “decompression zone” so it’s the first thing customers see as they enter the store—can be a real attention-getter, both in the store and on social media. We’ve seen retailers make Christmas trees out of everything from green wooden boxes to fuzzy mittens. The more unusual the design, the more buzz it will create, with customers enticed to visit the store just to see it—and to linger once they’re there. Kelly Shouse, co-owner of Tutus and Dance Shoes in Augusta, GA, made this tree, which was more than five feet tall, out of discontinued pointe shoes that she was unable to sell. The thought of throwing them away was disheartening, she says, so she affixed the shoes to a metal tree frame. Here are the steps she took to create her beautiful pointe shoe Christmas tree.

Supplies Needed

  • large metal Christmas-tree frame (Shouse found hers in the holiday lights section at Lowe’s.)
  • pointe shoes 
  • hot glue
  • sturdy string

Step-by-Step Instructions

This tree form came from the holiday lights section at Lowe’s. Courtesy of Tutus and Dance Shoes

Step 1: Positioning Your Pointe Shoe Christmas Tree
The key to pulling off a successful focal display is choosing a visible location, so before even starting the construction, decide where you’ll put your tree. Depending on the size of your display, the finished product may be hard to move, advises Shouse, whose tree would never have fit through the door of her store. She built it in the spot where it was displayed. Tip: If you build a smaller tree, set it on a table to get more height and visibility.

Step 2: Preparing the Pointe Shoes
Prepare your shoes to be hung by gluing a piece of string to the back sole of each one. Since your shoes may be all different sizes, Shouse recommends making sure that all of the toes line up so the display looks even.

Step 3: Attaching the Shoes
Carefully tie each shoe around the wire rungs of the tree. Start from the bottom and work your way up to increase the display’s stability.

Step 4: Finishing Touches
Top your tree with a shiny star or a big bow.Add a sign with your store’s social-media handles and a seasonal hashtag to encourage customers to post their Christmas-tree selfies for that extra holiday promotion. 

Customers Loved It

The pointe shoe tree at Tutus and Dance Shoes was a bigger hit than even the storeowners expected. “We were shocked how positive the reaction was,” says Shouse. Customers asked to have their picture taken in front of it, creating a social-media buzz for the store during a season when every store is competing to drive traffic through the front door. Plus, says Shouse, it’s a great way to show off these special shoes. “We don’t keep a lot of pointe shoes on display, and I think it allows little girls to see what they look like up close,” she says. “It gets them excited about what’s to come”—and strengthens the emotional connection to the store that carries them.

Last updated November 8, 2019

Libby Basile is a former editor of Dance Retailer News who writes frequently on retail merchandising and displays.

For another seasonal window display (that’s versatile enough to use all year round), see “Designs & Displays: Snow Globes for Dance Store Holiday Windows.”