December 31, 2012

DIY Bottle Brush Tree Wreath

What I originally had in mind for wreaths that would go
with my bottle brush tree mantle vignette was larger 
versions of these tiny fuzzy wreaths:

These little wreaths are about a couple of  inches in diameter
and made for doll houses.  Their tiny bows did not fade a bit
in the water/bleach bath that took all the green color out
of the main part of the doll-sized wreath.

To try to mimick that look, I got trial supplies that consisted
mainly of wreath forms and Christmas garlands and spray paint.

For the bottom wreath, I was hoping that if I stood the prongs
of the wreath straight out from the form, it would look like
 lots of little bottle brush trees in a circle.

Another attempt was with tinsel garland and a left over
pool noodle wreath form.

 Opps! The gold garland wasn't long enough to go 
all the way around.  Had to finish with green tinsel garland.

To attach the garland to the foam, I made little
 "U" shaped pins out of floral wire and pushed it on 
top of the garland into the foam.

Another idea was to wrap artificial pine garland around
a wreath form. I had this little wreath from Dollar Tree so it
got used in the experiment.

 I had  earlier tried to copy the bleached out look of  
 so I used the same neutral paint colors on the wreaths.

Just like the little red bows on the doll house wreaths,
I found that it is hard to change the color on these
synthetic materials made to copy natural ones.

It's like trying to paint on plastic. 
 The wreaths never got to a warm color no matter how
 many different colors of spray paint I tried.

Since the materials I tried for the wreaths didn't 
really give the look I wanted, I decided to just glue some
spray painted bottle brush trees on top of the wreaths to more
or less just cover them up and make them background. 

 That would officially be a bottle brush tree wreath, right?
I have seen the large real bottle brush wreaths in pictures
but not in real life.  Are they hard to find or expensive?

After a good dose of spray adhesive and glitter on each tree
and each wreath, I ended up with three different configurations.

The largest wreath turned out to be one where the pine
prongs looked like smaller trees behind the large glued on ones.

The wires on the trees were hard to cut off so I covered
the wires with silver ball ornaments.

I was semi-pleased with the look of the smallest wreath
so I didn't try to cover it up as much with trees.

The wreath made with tinsel garland got trees glued on 
around its circumference.

I probably should have smushed the trees down more into
the wreath and curved them a little more...maybe next year.

In the end, I was happy with the overall look of the
wreaths with the little bottle brush trees on the mantle
even if they did not turn out like I had originally hoped.

If you would like to try this idea next Christmas,
here is a photo to add to your Pinterest board.
 To see more info on bleaching the bottle brush trees and closer photos
 of the ones in this post click on"Bottle Brush Trees Mantle Vignette".

Another post that shows how I painted and embellished the bottle brush trees
 I bought that did not want to bleach out, is "DIY Glittering Bottle Brush Trees".

Bottle Brush Tree Mantle

This was the year of the bottle brush tree for
Christmas decorating at my house. 
For the mantle, I placed the trees on old books and
also attempted to make bottle brush wreaths.

 I tried to mimick the look of vintage bottle brush 
trees by bleaching out new inexpensive trees purchased
 from craft stores, etc.  In my opinion, the ones that
bleached out the best were the ones in bags.  If you find
the bags on sale or use a coupon, the trees come out 
costing about about $1 each or less.

To bleach the trees, I filled the kitchen sink with water deep 
enough to cover the trees and then added about
 a 5-second pour of bleach into the water.

Different brands of  trees bleached out differently.
 Even trees within the same bag sometimes bleached out
 at differing rates of time.  Most of the trees in the photo
below were from the same bag and put in the bleach
bath at the same time.

 Some trees bleached
out in about 15 minutes and some I had to leave overnight.

Take the trees out of the water when they reach the color you
want and rinse them to stop the bleach process.  Allow to dry.

If you want to add some bling to the trees you can spray them
with adhesive and immediately sprinkle with glitter.  To try to
give a "collected" look to the trees, I glittered some but left
many of them in their original bleached state to highlight the
differences in the natural colors. 

To make differing heights for the little trees to stand on I 
stacked old books collected mainly from thrift stores, etc.

When I am out Christmas shopping for others, I seem to 
always find something I want too.  I came across this iron
mini conservatory at Hobby Lobby on sale for $20 and got
it for myself.  It may not have been the best piece to use in 
this mantle vignette but I couldn't wait to try it out somewhere.

The crown-shaped candle holder became a tree stand.

The wreaths with bottle brush trees attached did not turn
out at all like I had envisioned when I started making them.

 I decided to use them anyway with the mantle vignette.
(If you would like to see how they came together, click on "DIY Bottle Brush Tree Wreath".)

I had enough bottle brush trees to use them on the 
bookcases on either side of the mantle to tie all 
the elements on that wall of the room together.

I've enjoyed my bottle brush tree mantle so much that it will
be hard to take it down after Christmas.  

This coming year, I will be on the lookout for fun items to
replace the cheap plastic bases that are on most of the trees.
This year the bases just got a good dose of glitter or a
coat of brown paint to cover up the white plastic.

Then next year when the trees come out to decorate the house
again, they will be even cuter than they are now.

I'm sharing this post over at
The Sunday Showcase @ Under the Table and Dreaming
Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage
Tabletop Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy and Elephants
Feathered Nest @ French Country Cottage
Be Inspired Friday @ Common Ground
Thursday Are Your Days @ 52 Mantels
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