How to Dye Bottle Brush Trees

November 29th, 2008 in blog, member junk     
MimiToria Gretchen Schaumann, contributor
17 users recommend

1 Bleached tree under a cloche.  Simple.
A sampling of the completed trees in two colors. The white trees were soaked  in bleach and the blue were dyed  RIT midnight blue.
I used bottle brush trees you can find at a craft stores like Michaels. You can also find them at JoAnn Fabric Stores. When I purchased them they were dark evergreen in color. They are available in multitude of sizes, so I bought several different heights.
I started by soaking trees in boiling water. to get the brush part of the trees pliable and ready to accept the bleach.  Next, add bleach to water and soak trees. I used a pyrex bowl for this project and my suds tub in the laundry room.
The longer you leave the trees in the bleach, the lighter they will become.  At one point they were a beautiful aqua which was my target color, but I ran up to get the camera and when I came back they were almost white. Lesson learned? Stay close to your project because the color continues to change as the trees soak!
I left the tree on the right in the bleach longer so that it would be whiter and the one on the left was pulled from the soak earlier as I planned to dye a different color with the Rit dye.
This is the grouping of trees before I put them in a Rit dye bath of midnight blue.  I had wanted aqua, but couldnt find it anywhere.  They are much bluer than I prefered, but now they may become add ons to gift packages instead of decor in my home and I may dye more to try for the aqua color I really wanted. You know what they say; If at first you dont succeed, dye, dye, again!
Soaking in the dye bath.  It doesnt take very long, nor does it take very much Rit.
Be careful with what you wear as well & also as to what jewelry you might have on when using bleach.  Take off jewelry and dont dye in good clothes. Rubber gloves to save wear and tear to your hands are also recommended.
The blue trees finished and set up to dry.  Im hoping they get lighter. 
Update:  The trees did get lighter after drying and look a bit more aqua.  Yeah!!!!
This is the combination of white and blue trees as well as the wreaths that I dyed.
My favorite is the white!  Remember, you can dye them what ever color you desire...just use a small amount of Rit powder dye. Lets see what you come up with for your holiday decor!
Bleached tree looks vintge after getting the dark hunter green color out of it.
1 Bleached tree under a cloche.  Simple.

1 Bleached tree under a cloche.  Simple.

How to dye faux bottle brush trees. Sorry for the poor photography, but it is tricky trying to take photos while using bleach, hot water and dye for each of these procedures!! Do not try to bleach or dye plastic type trees as that won't work.

More detailed tutorial at the Url listed.

Pattern or design used: The Misadventures of Mama & Jack
posted in: blog, member junk, seasonal, bottlebrush trees

Comments (11)

PrincessDude writes: Great concept. I will try it sometime soon. Posted: 4:33 pm on November 30th
shamrockerin writes: LOVE the Halloween trees, I'll have to try that for my haunted dollhouse scenario! Posted: 1:16 pm on November 29th
MimiToria writes: What I like about dying vs. spray painting is the tree branches maintain the airiness that the bottle brush originally has, and doesn't get all sprayed together.
Also, there is no more spray painting in Minnesota in this weather unless you have a special place to do that, and we absolutely do not spray paint in our garage with our cars/motorcycles in there, or the house. No room, so I have to improvise and do the more tedius dying of the trees this late in the season.
I'm not at all for easiest, but it would be nice to try that once. : ) I usually do things the hardest way one can do them, but not on purpose. As a perfectionist, I think to long and don't accomplish nearly as much as someone that just does it. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to retrain my personality totally yet. Posted: 1:03 pm on November 29th
italianpeasant writes: great job; i usually just get a can of spray paint the color i want & hold the tree in one hand & the spray in the other hand,far away, & spritz :) i'm all for simple too; the least amount of directions the better LOL Posted: 12:27 pm on November 29th
CottageElements writes: Great project Gretchen! So much more interesting than plain green ones! Glad to hear you're getting Christmas decorating done! We're talking about doing a progressive dinner. Could we come to your house?

Lani Posted: 12:15 pm on November 29th
KimberlyMelamed writes: Tree-riffic trees Gretchen! Love the new colors. Just goes to show that when you think beyond the original color of the trees, they can be even more beautiful and special as they now fit you and your style perfectly. Thanks for sharing these very helpful hints.

Kimberly Posted: 12:15 pm on November 29th
catbishop writes: Love the colors, nice job. Posted: 12:05 pm on November 29th
MimiToria writes: Oops, sorry for the typo in your name Shamrockerin.

Thanks Sue for posting this. It is fun to be a non-traditionalist as than you can decorate with the colors/stylin' of ones home. Posted: 10:42 am on November 29th
MimiToria writes: Yes, sharockerin they are. I didn't use that kind, because they all had a frosting of snow on them, and I couldn't figure out if they were it. I used some I bought elsewhere, but yesterday at Michaels I bought them to make more out of. They come 21 to a package and are sold in the village area. Yesterday they were on sale from $14.99 and 50% off, than they had an additional 25% off for Black Friday. I must of ended up paying $5.60 for the 21 trees. A pretty good deal.
My friend, Janis from Canada has also made these with the directions I had sent her via email and hers were dyed I believe pink. Hopefully, she'll post hers too, so members can see the different options one can come up with.

The above is the site that has a step by step tutorial on making these for Halloween.

You can add your own junk than to these trees after they dry, as I plan to add some vintage glass garland beads from a broken gardland to add some color and bling. Posted: 10:41 am on November 29th
shamrockerin writes: where did you find the bottle brush trees? Are they the ones you can kind at any craft store for mini holiday villages? Posted: 10:33 am on November 29th
suewhitney writes: Hi Gretchen,

What a great project and helpful tips. I too like to play with color and veer from the traditional. This post will certainly help those who want to do the same. Thanks very much for sharing!

Take care,
Posted: 10:32 am on November 29th
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