December 31, 2012

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


  1. Did you just paint the bases brown?! I thought they were wooden....
    ow I need to look through my stash to see how many bottle brush trees I have on hand. I know I have many tiny ones but really like the wreath you made!
    Thanks for sharing! HaPpY New Year! Lee

  2. I would have a hard time taking that mantle down, too. I just love it and all your bottle brush trees. They are wonderful! Blessings to you and Happy New Year- xo Diana

  3. HI! OMG! How clever are YOU! LOVE it! Happy New Year!! Dianna

  4. This is absolutely gorgeous and what a creative idea. I love the wreaths too, so different and wonderful. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

  5. I love your bottle brush tree and vintage book mantel! This is on my list of things to do for next Christmas.

  6. Lovin your Bottlebrush Tree Vignette! This Year I was captivated by the Vintage Bottlebrush Trees... I'm presently working out a Gypsy Swap with a Friend to procure some more. But your Bleaching process really makes some of the Modern Inexpensive ones look quite Impressive... I'm particularly liking those that went to a Sepia or Dusty Rose Hue!

    Happy New Year from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  7. I'm in love!! My bottle brush tree collection has some MAJOR growing to do for next year! :)

  8. Your mantel is soooo cute! I love all the trees combined with the old books!

  9. Love your trees ... Will definitely copy this next year. Need to start collecting trees early. The old books make great risers.
    Audrey Z.
    Timeless Treasures

  10. love your mantle and the trees are beaatiful, i would love to feature them if this would be ok please let me know,

  11. FYI -- mantel is spelled m-a-n-t-e-l.


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