Bottle brush trees have been everywhere for the last few Christmases. They are charming little old fashioned decorations and they look amazing with a modern update of sparkles and cool new colors. They’re also ridiculously easy to make. And when you can make them yourself that means you can make them out of ANYTHING. Neon yarn, recycled plastic bags, strips of burlap, anything. I’m using the regular old-fashioned bottle brush trees in several ornaments on this tree, but more is more in my book, so I wanted to do a larger bottle brush tree and use it as a chance to bring in the other material I’m using a lot: tinsel.
For this project you need a cork, floral wire, a star brad, and the material you’ll be making your tree out of. I used a tinsel garland I got at the thrift store.
Cut your material into strips. You can add as many as you want to get the fullness you want, and if you’re using yarn you’ll have to add a bunch. The garland was doing most of the work in my case, so I cut 8 strips in different sizes. I wouldn’t go any wider than 5 or 6 inches because the garland gets too floppy that far away from the center support. You will be trimming later so measurements don’t need to be exact, you just want the smallest piece at the top.
Bend your floral wire in half and make a loop by twisting the wire. This will be your ornament hanger, and a support for the star later.
Lay your strips in between the two legs of wire. Scrunch them as necessary to get them all in.
Twist the wire closed at the bottom of the tinsel, leaving yourself an inch or two to work with later.
Grip the tree by both ends, one hand grasping the loop and the other hand grasping the tails.
Twist. Start twisting your hands in opposite directions and keep twisting. The wire will begin to shorten and bring the tinsel up even tighter. That’s what you want. It will look a little wild in the middle of things, but what you’re looking for is for the tinsel to get compact against each other.
When you finish twisting it will not look like a tree. There’s really no predicting where those strips of tinsel will end up. So when you have the tinsel as compact as you want, give it a haircut. Trim the tinsel into the shape you want.
Stick the wires at the bottom of the tree into a cork.
Flatten the arms of a star brad around the wire loop and use some hot glue to secure it.
Bear is big into his winter villages, so we have bottle brush trees in every room of this house. But, until now, not in tinsel. I love these little guys so much, now I’m thinking his little snow village needs some sparkle.