Google+ House Revivals: How to Dye Bottle Brush Trees to Look Vintage

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How to Dye Bottle Brush Trees to Look Vintage

Years ago, I began collecting vintage Putz houses. I just loved the pretty pastel colors of all the little bottle brush trees growing up next to a cheerful mica covered cardboard house or chapel.


I figured out how to bleach them (see that tutorial here), and experimented with ways to dye them. One year I used koolaid powder to dye my trees as well as cotton batting for vintage style cotton ornaments.  While I liked the results of koolaid dyed trees, this year I wanted the trees to have a little more "pop". I couldn't be more pleased with the results!

Start by bleaching out store bought green bottle brush trees. You can find that tutorial here.


Use any acrylic craft paint you have on hand. Pour about a half-dollar sized puddle of paint into a bowl, and add two to three tablespoons of water. You are looking for a thin consistency -- something a little thinner than half and half, but definitely thicker than coffee.


You can use an old fork to dip and roll your trees until they are coated. Then pull them out of the thinned paint and set aside to drain and dry. Avoid letting wet trees touch each other if they are different colors, or you might end up with yellow trees with green spots. Just saying....


Next, you will want to blot your trees. I used paper towels. (As a side note, mixed media artists may want to save paper towels to use on canvases and in art journals. I dry mine out and file with mixed media ephemera for later projects).


Continue blotting your trees until you no longer see puddles forming underneath them as they dry.


Once your trees are completely dry, you can play with them to your heart's content!


Make lots of colorful trees to use in Christmas decor and in ornament making. They are just so pretty!


Have fun coloring your trees! Mix lots of fun colors, and experiment. There are no rules here.


Have you ever bleached and colored your own bottle brush trees? Or maybe you've even made your own trees from jute and wire? Let me know in the comments. If you like what you've read here, be sure to subscribe, so you won't miss any upcoming tutorials. Also, please share a link on Pinterest or other social media!


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