December 15, 2012

DIY Glittered Bottle Brush Trees

enhancing bottle brush trees

So, I have to admit that I have gone bottle brush crazy this
holiday season.  It actually started last Christmas when I saw
other folks on blogs and Pinterest using cute bottle brush trees in 
decorating so I bought some packages of bottle brush trees
 at after-Christmas sales to save for this year's decorating.

The bottle brush trees that I had seen that appealed to 
me the most, were ones that looked vintage. 
To get a vintage look, folks were bleaching new
and fairly inexpensive green bottle brush trees
available in craft stores then adding glitter and/or beads. 

I followed other's directions for bleaching the bottle brush 
trees this year in a mix of water and bleach in my kitchen sink. 
make bottle brush trees look vintage

I really didn't measure as well as the directions indicated.
Pretty much it was about 1/3 a sink of water and a
five second "pour" of regular bleach.  Some trees bleached 
faster and better than others (even ones out of the same pack).
how to bleach bottle brush trees

I just left them in the bleach solution till they
 lost most of their green color.
For some that was 15 minutes and for others it was hours.
For a few, it was never.
how to change to color of bottle brush trees

The bottle brush trees need to be made of a natural material
and not heavily flocked to be able to bleach out.  

For the trees that turned out to be non-bleachable,
 I decided to try to spray paint them.
how to change the color of bottle brush trees
Trees that would not bleach out getting a paint job

I kept trying to come up with the perfect paint color or
combination of paint colors to make the trees look
like the trees that bleached out well.
how to change bottle brush tree color

I tried different whites, almonds, beiges, yellows, even
 matte gold spray paints, but nothing I acheived
 looked exactly like the real thing. 
 However, the paint turned out to be "good enough".

In the end, the ones that looked the best had kind
 of a layering/combination/melding  of the different colors,
(that's just FYI in case you decide that a nice size bottle brush
tree is worth trying to spray paint and glitter. I do think it is.)
how to paint bottle brush trees

I finally had to move on to other projects and stop
 trying to get the perfect color for the trees.
 I hoped that adding glitter would hide the fact that
 the trees were not same colors as the bleached trees.

The least attractive trees got the most glitter.
The process is quite simple.
Apply spray adhesive to the tree and 
immediately add glitter.
DIY glitter on bottle brush trees

Pictured below are the trees that refused to let much 
their green color be covered up with spray paint. 
They got a dose of copper and/or bronze glitter.
Trees that turned out whiter, got silver or white glitter.
glittering bottle brush trees

To also keep folks from inspecting the less than
 great trees too closely, I decided to put them behind glass
in the bookcase/dresser that I painted this past year. 

Here is a photo of other objects that I was planning 
on painting/enhancing also for use in the bottle brush vignette.
planning bottle brush vignette

The clear bottles got an "inside job" with Krylon's mirror 
finish spray paint.  I just realized this week that to get 
the reflective finish, it has to be sprayed on the 
INSIDE of a clear object.  That is stated on the label
but I had never bothered to read that bit of info. 
DIY mirror glass finish

The green bottles got sprayed with white paint.
DIY snow covered bottle

After the now-white bottles were dry, they got a coat of 
spray adhesive and then were quickly rolled in a pile
 epsom salt to give the illusion of snow on the bottle. 
This idea came from Tracie at her Cleverly Inspired blog.
DIY snow covered bottle

The too-terribly tarnished goblets that were passed along
to me from my grandmother, were given a treatment
with silver "Rub and Buff" cream from the craft store.

I moved the shelves around in the cabinet to 
accomodate the bottles for this Christmas display.
how to make bottle brush vignette

silver bottle brush vignette

bottle brush tree

bottle brush tree

I'm opening the glass doors for you to see
 close-ups of the vignettes:
DIY silver mirror bottle

how to give bottle mirror finish

bleaching bottle brush trees
The tiniest trees in the cabinet were some that DID bleach well.  You can see how you can 
determine how much or little color you want in trees that are bleach-able by how long you 
leave them in the water/bleach bath.  These little ones only have glitter or paint applied to their 
bases...none on their branches for this vignette. 

bottle brush vignette

glittering bottle brush trees

bronze glitter bottle brush tree

The trees that got glitter look much more
"sparkle-y" in person.

I'm sharing this post at 
Glitter, Glue and Paint blog @ Throwback Thursday


  1. Those look wonderful. I even like the ones that didn't bleach out perfectly. I think they look really good with the bronze and copper colors. Everything is staged nicely and the bottles are wonderful. xo Diana

  2. Everything looks great so nicely placed in the cabinet. Very wintery!
    Have a wonderful Sunday!
    blogged hopped over from Debbie-debbiedoos.

  3. They all look wonderful, even the ones that didn't bleach well! They are so pretty with the silver bottles.

  4. I didn't know that you can bleach the bottle brush trees. I like your display. It looks great. Have a wonderful holiday!


  5. Wow, these came out beautiful. I love your finishes on the bottles and am making note of it for future reference. I think all your trees turned out great. FYI Joann's had the white bottle brush trees really cheap. I stockpiled a few for next year. Happy holidays.

  6. All you fussing turned into a very nice collection of trees! The variance in color gives them a nice look- more interesting than if they all matched perfectly. Your painted bottles look really nice mixed in and your goblets look fabulous!

  7. what a fun project! looks like you found a solution for the non bleachable items :)

  8. Thanks so much for this tutorial, I love these and was silly enough to think that everyone was able to find the vintage ones but me! LOL
    I'm going to give this a try. Yours look amazing and the bottles, too. Just shows what real creativity can do.

  9. oh my gosh, this looks great! i would never think you could diy that, lol. this year i'm going to see if i can find any on clearance.

  10. I'm all about the bottle brush trees in my own decorating, so really enjoyed seeing how you transformed and used them in your house. Thanks for sharing!

  11. This is a really cute display of trees. I think the ones that didn't bleach out so well give them a variety of "white". Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursday.


  12. I have tried to do them and I can't get mine to loose their color ever if I do it over night full bleach. I have tried two types of bleach. So can you tell me what your trees were like? Soft, I hear work the best and I hear Hobby Lobby caries ones in packages that work. Any help?

    1. The trees that bleach the best are in the large packages that have several different sizes. They are available at Michael's at Christmas. I have also found the packages at Jo Anns at times. They are really a good deal when you can use a coupon. My Hobby Lobby has ones that are already bleached in the doll house section. They are really cute but only have a few per package so (to me) they are not as good of a deal (but much less expensive than true vintage ones.)

  13. How did you ever spray paint the inside of those bottles with such a skinny neck? I would love some instructions there! I always wondered why the looking glass projects never seemed to turn out so great.

    1. Put the spray nozzle hole of the paint directly on the opening of the bottle. Spray for a few seconds to get some paint down in the bottle. Quickly cover the opening of the bottle (with your finger, a cork, etc.) and shake the bottle vigorously. Let it sit for a few minutes to let that layer of paint set up. Repeat the spray/shake/sit process until you get the coverage on the inside of the bottle that you want.

  14. I too found out the hard way that not all trees will bleach. Some are made out of plastic materials that no amount of bleach can touch. Worst experience was when I tried to bleach some trees I got cheap at Hobby Lobby with a really strong solution (I do my bleaching outside to avoid fumes). I went in the kitchen for awhile and when I got back the trees had dissolved! All I had left was a bit of mush and some wires!

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