Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bleaching Bottlebrush Trees Tutorial

I'm not much into doing tutorials.  That is, if there are other places where you can find the information on the internet.  This is my second year of doing a mass bottlebrush tree bleaching, and I think I have some good tips. 

What you will need:
     -- bottle brush trees (I bought mine at Michael's)
     -- bleach (only $1 at Dollar Tree)
     -- wide tooth comb
     -- sharp scissors
     -- tub or tray to put wet trees in

1.  If you have the old-school top-opening washing machine, do the bleaching in there.  I did two multi-packs of trees + a couple I got at a garage sale = 44 of various sized trees.  I filled the washer with just enough water to cover the bigger trees (laying down). Turn off the machine after it gets high enough so that the water just sits there. Then I added about three cups of bleach.  I had a busy day, so mine sat in there about 8 hours before I messed with them, you could do less.

2.  Put the washer on the "drain" cycle, but don't let it spin.  When the bleached water has drained, then fill the washer with fresh water to the level you did it the first time.

3.  Now the fun.  Grab a tree by the base and let it drain into the washer. (Most tutorials finish here). This is a good time to straighten it if the wire "trunk" has been bent.  Holding it down inside the washer (to keep the mess captive) comb out the "branches".  The big glops of "snow" will come off, but you will still have some left.  You will begin to notice long pieces sticking out from the tree farther than they should (these were previously stuck in the snow glop).

3.  Over a trash can, give the tree a haircut.  Follow the triangular lines of the tree.  It is pretty easy to eyeball.  Just make sure there aren't a lot of flyaway pieces.

4.  Comb the tree out a second time.  Try to get all the "branches" parallel to the "trunk".  Make sure when you set it down to dry it is looking good, because this is how the branches will be directed when dry. This is what makes a tree really look good. Set it to dry standing upright.  It will continue to drain a little, so in a plastic tub or bathtub is a good idea.
(After you drain the washer this time, wipe it out with a paper towel.)

5.  Optional:  I am not a perfectionist, but after my trees are dry I do the comb/cut thing one last time. 

I think you will be surprised how much better your trees look after this process.  If you have a tree that gets smushed, this is also a good way to revive it (plain water bath, comb, trim).  I like this method because I can do a lot of trees at once, and the mess is contained.

Linking Up With:
My Salvaged Treasures

2 comments:

  1. This is a great tutorial! I just may try to bleach a tree one of these days. They are so pretty bleached. Do you dye any then?

    Linda

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    Replies
    1. while I am definitely a color girl, these I prefer without color. I can use them with any color and they look great. thanks for your lovely comments. sharon

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