DIY Ombre Bottlebrush Christmas trees are ‘in’ again! These vintage miniature trees were a staple of the holiday season, but then they lost popularity. Now they’re more popular than ever and here’s how you can make your own.
Can you believe that Christmas is just around the corner? I know I can’t!
I have to admit that I am more focused on basic decorating like curtains and hanging art in our rooms than I am with Christmas decor, which is both sad and good.
It’s sad because I love Christmas and want sparkly red, green, white, and gold all over.
On the other hand, it’s good because there is much more to Christmas than a perfectly decorated house. It is about celebrating the birth of Jesus and all the blessings that came with it, after all!
Yet, I digress.
Where To Buy Mini Christmas Trees
Even though I wasn’t totally into holiday decor, I still wanted to do some decorating for the holidays. When I was prepping for the great Icemagedon of 2013 in Dallas, I went to the craft store to hoard supplies.
Yep, while most people were piling bread and milk in their carts to survive through the weekend, I was at the craft store getting glitter, paint, and these mini bottle brush Christmas trees (you know, the kind with the snow on them). 😂
I found them in the section with train sets and village decor, which was towards the front of my store. This assortment of 21 trees set me back 10 big ones – I can always find some of the best deals there!
If you would prefer to purchase online rather than in stores, I recommend checking out bottle brush trees on Etsy.
You might also be able to find some at Target, although craft stores will be your best bet.
Bottle Brush Christmas Trees Make A Comeback
You know how different things are popular at some point in time, then that popularity fades and resurges later? Well, that’s the case with the bottle brush tree craze.
Miniature bottle brush trees first made their appearance in the 1930s. Then their popularity surged again in the 1980s. Now they’re making a comeback yet again.
Maybe you’ve seen the bleach bottle tree tutorial all over the internet. They were huge in the last few years. Now they’re rising in popularity once more.
Not sure what I’m talking about? Let me tell you!
You buy these mini bottle brush trees, soak them in bleach until all the green comes out, and you are left with white trees. You can either dye them a different color (pink…gold…yellow…purple!) or just leave them white.
My favorite finalist bottle brush trees? Ombre, of course! While I did make a few white/colorful ones, I experimented with different dipping times and bleach strengths to find what I liked best.
Here’s the method I’ve found that works the best to make them.
Ombre Bottle Brush Trees
Here’s what you’ll need to bleach and dye these trees:
How To Make Handmade Ombre Bottle Brush Trees
I spent quite a bit of time playing around to see what worked best for bleaching and dying times. Here’s what I found worked the best.
1. Prepare Your Bleach Solution
Fill a bucket or container with a mix of bleach and water. I used my super-fail-glass-painting-attempt drinking glasses since I figured they might as well be good for something.
I started with three parts water to one part bleach because I heard the bleach could melt the trees.
This worked fine, but it took longer. Since my trees weren’t melting, I ended up increasing the concentration to two parts bleach and one part water, which worked better for me.
I highly recommend starting with a weaker solution (more water) to make sure you don’t melt the bottle brush Christmas trees.
2. Prepare The Workspace
Prepare your workspace with something that you don’t mind getting completely ruined.
I was working on the top of our countertops. But since I like them and don’t want to bleach them, I put down a layer of plastic with two layers of yellow cloth napkins I was okay with losing on top of the plastic.
3. Make Your Ombre Tree
For an ombre tree, you’ll dip different sections of your tree into the bleach to soak for various lengths of time.
- Start by dipping just the top part of your tree into the bleach and count to 30 or so.
- Then submerge more of the tree so that it’s about 2/3 of the way in the bleach.
- Soak for another 30 seconds.
- Then submerge the rest of the tree.
If you are happy with your ombre outcome, dip your bottle brush tree in water and dry. If you want a more pronounced ombre effect, repeat the process! It’s so easy, quick, and fun!
Making A Solid White Mini Tree
For a white or faded green tree, complete steps 1-2 from above, then do the following:
- Dip your entire tree into your glass and hold it there.
- Check it every 15 seconds or so until you are happy with the color.
- Then dip your bottle brush tree into a glass of water to rinse out the bleach.
- Place it on a surface to dry overnight.
Bottle Brush Christmas Trees Project Notes
I did several variations with different strengths of bleach and varying dipping times.
For the bottle brush trees that were bigger than my glass, I either shoved them in or did the top and middle first, then put the tree trunk first into the bleach water.
My trees had a bendy metal frame, so I could straighten them right back out when I was done!
Experimenting With Created Colored Holiday Decor
Of course, I had to try dying a few bottle brush Christmas trees just to see how they would do! For the few trees I dyed, I used both pink and purple fabric dye.
Here’s what I did:
- I filled up two glasses with a mixture of water and the dye I wanted to use.
- Then I submerged the trees that were bleached white into them.
- I kept them in the solution for 15 seconds at a time until I was happy with the color.
That’s it! And they turned out so cute. Such a fun simple DIY if you want a little color in your mini tree village.
Pro Tip: WEAR GLOVES FOR THIS!!! That is unless you like colorful hands, which could be fun too! 😂
And there you have it! A little village of Christmas trees. A lovely mix of bleached, ombre, and dyed bottle brush trees.
This project took me about 20 minutes from start to finish (and then 24 hours of dry time).
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a couple of questions I frequently see readers ask. If you have a question but don’t see it already answered down below, please leave it in the comments so I can answer it for you!
How do you reshape a bottlebrush Christmas tree?
My bottle brush trees were simple to reshape because they had a metal frame. All I had to do was use my fingers to bend the tree frame the way I wanted it.
How do you display bottle brush trees?
There are several different ways to display your bottle brush trees!
- Try bunching them together to make a bottle brush tree forest on your mantle or a shelf.
- Add them to a DIY Christmas wreath.
- Display them in a shadow box or on your coffee table.
The possibilities are endless.
I hope this post inspires you to get crafty this holiday season! Will you make your own bottle brush trees?
I’d love to hear about your favorite DIY Christmas decorations! Share them in the comments!
More Holiday Inspiration
- Kids Popsicle Stick Christmas Tree Ornament
- The Best Christmas Gifts For Neighbors
- 20 DIY Christmas Ornaments For Kids
- Easy DIY Christmas Wreath
- Let It Snow: DIY Christmas Shadow Box
- miniature bottle brush Christmas trees
- old towels
- fabric dye
- Fill a glass or bucket with a mix of bleach and water. I used 2 parts water to 1 part bleach, but if you notice that's damaging your trees, you could use 3 parts water to 1 part bleach.
- Cover and prepare your workspace.
How To Make An Ombre Tree
- You need to dip different parts of your tree into the bleach solution for varying lengths of time.
- Dip only the top part of your tree into the bleach for about 30 seconds.
- Next, submerge more of the tree so that it’s about 2/3 of the way in the bleach for 30 seconds.
- Finally, dip the entire tree for about 30 seconds.
- If you like the way it looks, rinse it in water and let it dry for 24 hours. If you want it to be more pronounced, repeat the process.
How To Dye Your Bottle Brush Trees
- I started by bleaching my trees. I submerged the entire trees in the bleach water solution for 15 seconds at a time until I was hapy with how light they were.
- Then I filled up two glasses with a mixture of water and the dye.
- To dye my trees, I submerged the bleached trees into the dye mixture for 15 seconds at a time until I was happy with the results.