January 7, 2013

Bottle Brush Critters Vignette

Since my four year old grand daughter, Lilly, was coming
to my house for Christmas this year, I wanted to have a
whimsical decoration on the kitchen table for her.

When I saw these cute ornaments on sale ($2.50 each)
at Michaels', they reminded me of the bottle brush trees
 I had decorated with in the rest of the house. 

Not only were they ready to go (no DIYing) except to cut off
the price tag and hanger, they were the same color as some
 of the spray painted trees that I was not too happy with.

Could I turn this into a "I Meant To Do That" project?

To add interest I wanted some of the little critters elevated.
 A Pinterest "pin" that I had was by Erin's Art & Gardens
that showed bottle brush trees elevated on milk glass items.

I don't have any real milk glass but I have tried to mimick
This seemed like a good time to make my own again.

After testing the cloudy drinking glass (that had some
milk glass-ish qualities) to make sure it was a good
 fit for the critters, I added some more hob nails on it.

To add dimension to glass that you are going to paint,
you can use puffy paint from the craft stores.
This is the "before" picture of the container that will 
be the tree stand for the largest tree in the vignette:

This is the picture "after" it has had dots of puffy paint added
to try to look like milk glass hobnails.  Let the puffy paint
dry completely before going on to the next step.

White appliance spray paint stays so well on glass.
I have used the combo primer and paint spray paints too for

Here are the glass objects after being spray painted:

 The above photo doesn't show it but I also painted a taller 
drinking  glass from Dollar Tree (that I thought look similar
 to cut milk glass) and I recycled an olive jar for a stand too. 

Don't ever ever drink out of these glasses after spray painting them.
  Don't let your spouse drink out of them either or you may find
 yourself as the main character in an episode of "Snapped".

Here is the "milk glass" tree stand in action:

The big tree and some critters sit on a cake stand that
 I DO want to use for food in the future so I did not paint it.
 It is not milky white but it's close enough.

The critters came with glitter so I glittered up the trees
too to help them all look co-ordinated. 
The critters and the trees have all "shed" 
so now the table is glittered too. 

Have you ever had a project that you spend a lot of time
on and then it doesn't turn out like you had hoped?
That was my experience with the big tree in this vignette.
I wanted to make a larger version of the tutorial for darling
 little trees I saw on the blog "Just Something You Made".

It's hard to find large versions of the bottle brush trees.
One that I did find was $60 on ebay and not too cute.

Here are the steps I did to make the 24" tree:
1. Cut up rope or twine into pieces as wide as you want your tree
2. Soak the rope in water to help it uncurl (if necessary)
3. Separate the rope into thinner sections and lay our flat to dry
4. Arrange rope pieces centered along aluminum craft wire
5. Glue rope pieces to bottom wire 
6. Add another piece of aluminum wire on top and glue again
7. After glue is dry, fluff/separate the strands
8. This is a photo of the rope fluffed
9. Twist the wires together on the ends then twist the whole
tree while another person or a vice grip holds one end

Here's what the tree looked like after doing The Twist:

It got trimmed at little more...

...and then a little more:
I thought it would be fuller and fluffier than this.
In retrospect, I should have just left it this natural color, 
but I tried to glam it up and it never looked this good again.

I banned the disappointing tree to the kitchen but the jokes
 on me 'cause almost everyone that came to our house over
Christmas came in the back door by the kitchen.
 Guess what the first decoration they saw was?

Lilly decided that all the critters should come down off
their perches and get together for a family picture together.
This vignette was a success because it didn't have the
 "do not touch" feel to it and Lilly enjoyed moving
 the critters around on the table from time to time.

I'm sharing this post at
Tabletop Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Cowgirl Up @ Crafty Texas Girls


  1. Oh- How cute- I love your critters and your tree tutorial and your "milk glass". Great job all the way around...and FUN! xo Diana

  2. These little guys are just TOO cute!

  3. I think your larger bottle brush tree turned out rather fabulous if you ask me and it goes really well with all those funny looking critters. I couldn't imagine how you were going to put it together when I saw your first pictures. The only thing I could imagine is that it was a whole lot of work to make. Kudos for it turning out the way that it did! I bet Lilly (what a lovely name) had a ball playing with them.

  4. Very cute and very clever!

    Cyndee@Restyled Junk

  5. Adorable...love it!!!
    Visiting from Marty's TTT...


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