DIY bottle brush trees are prefect for a retro Christmas look. They’re so easy to make and it’s possible to make a whole forest of bottle brush trees for your mantle!
They’re even cute enough to leave up in January for non-holiday specific winter decor. (You might also like this fun pom pom wreath for winter.)
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DIY Bottle Brush Trees
*Bottle brush trees need to be made of sisal for the best results. Bleach doesn’t work on other brush types.
**Dye Alternatives for Coloring Bottle Brush Trees
In the past, I’ve had success using a few different things to dye trees. The color saturation varies, but these choices allow you a wider variety of color.
- Food coloring
- Watered down acrylic paint
- Watered down chalk paint
Bleaching the Bottle Brush Trees
You can use straight bleach for faster results. Just stand nearby and don’t leave them submerged for too long.
I’ve also noticed that a new batch of bleach and water works better than an older one that you’ve been using. If you’re not getting the white trees you want, dump the solution and try a new batch with more bleach.
- Fill a container with bleach and water.
- Submerge the trees.
- Remove the trees when they turn white.
- Rinse the bleach from the trees.
- Bigger trees will need to be turned to get full coverage.
How to Dye Bottle Brush Trees
Dye can stain surfaces, so work in an area that doesn’t matter or is easy to clean.
- Fill containers with hot water.
- Add a few tablespoons of dye. Use more for a more vibrant color.
- If you’re using powder dye, mix the solution.
- Place the tree in the dye solution. For a pastel tree, only leave it in for a few seconds. For brighter trees, let them sit longer.
- Remove the trees and let them dry on paper towels.
Getting a Dip Dye Effect when Dyeing Bottle Brush Trees
- Dip the top of the tree into the dye solution for a few seconds.
- Remove the tree and dip it in the dye, right side up.
- Hold it in for a few seconds before pulling it up and letting the bottom sit for another few seconds.
- Let dry on paper towels.
How to Comb Your Bottle Brush Trees
Sometimes bleaching and dyeing bottle brush trees leaves them looking a little worse than wear. Some of mine were clumpy.
Luckily it’s pretty easy to fix.
- It’s easier to fix the trees while they’re still wet. Hot water makes it easy.
- Straighten the tree as needed by bending the main wire stem.
- Use a paintbrush comb to comb the bristles.
- Try to remove any snow clumps.
- Comb until it’s fluffier.
- Let it dry and comb it some more if needed.
Making Wood Bases
I hate the look of the plastic bases, so I decided to give them an upgrade with wooden blocks.
The trees I bought also had fake snow clumps in them that turned into a gooey mess when wet.
- Remove the plastic bases from the bottom of the tree. Twisting slightly makes it easy to remove them.
- Drill holes into wooden blocks. They can be painted or stained as desired. You can even use wood slices for a natural look!
- It might be necessary to remove old glue or even trim unsightly bristles before gluing the trees to the wooden blocks.
- You’ll need a slightly bigger hole for the bigger trees.
- Use hot glue before you shove the wire into the hole.
Storing Bottle Brush Trees
There’s nothing sadder than a crush bottle brush tree, so take care while you store them.
I normally store mine in a plastic bag. They provide cushion for each other. A box is another good solution.
Don’t place anything heavy on them.
Store them in a temperate controlled environment. I haven’t had any yellow over time, but I’ve ruined other Christmas decor by storing it in a hot attic, so now I’m trying to be more careful.
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