I’ve been asked to do tutorials on two of my more recent Halloween crafts by several Instagram followers on @helloJolley so here ya go!
I’m going to start out with the bottle brush tree tutorial because it’s the easiest one. And I should mention first that I actually got the idea and tutorial to do this from the book Glitterville’s Handmade Christmas. Just an FYI for you crafty people- this is a great read. And there is also a Glitterville’s Handmade Halloween book too! 😉
The awesome thing about this is you can do these in any color combinations you can think up – if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for out in stores you can make it yourself!
The tutorial in the book starts out with green trees so the first step is to bleach your trees. I have done this before to do dip-dye trees using Rit dye… but the great thing is hobby lobby makes these beige/ white bottle brush trees already. They’re huge and really inexpensive when the Christmas goes 40% off. So I didn’t have to bleach my trees.
After you have your trees picked out- you need to pick out your acrylic craft paint. This is the really cheap stuff that comes in hundreds of colors for less than $1 each at every craft store. I got mine at Michaels.
Also at Michaels I got a few Martha Stewart metallic and glitter paints which cost a little more but add that ‘extra’ to your trees in my opinion.
Before I started painting I bent the top of the trees into a more whimsical shape and trimmed the bristles at the top to exaggerate that bend a bit.
The second step is to add white paint to your tree. Doing the first coat in White helps whatever colors you choose to pop a little more than they would on the beige. Think of it as your primer. I just used a craft paint brush and went crazy painting both the base and bristles white. I also think you could do a light spray paint coat instead- it would be faster and have better coverage for sure.
After you let your white paint dry completely then it’s time to pick your colors and design. I wanted Halloween trees that were striped. I knew I wanted a black and white striped tree and I also wanted to try one that was a nod to candy corn but in non-traditional colors. To make them go together better I tied in the same colors on opposite bases.
For painting the bristles you can use a folded piece of card-stock paper to stick in the tree and divide them up where you want. It’s easy to get going with the paint brush and accidentally get the wrong color where you don’t want it so the card-stock helps protect from oops moments.
For painting the base I used a small detail paint brush to do careful narrow stripes. That’s pretty easy to eye ball and you don’t want these to be perfect – it just adds to the whimsy, right! 😜
After I let all the colored paint dry I decided to do a coat of glitter paint over the bristles and the block on the base. It just added that extra fun and finished touch for me. And the glitter paint is pretty cool because if I try to use loose glitter it just gets everywhere. This stuff is easier to control. But that’s all! Super simple and fun. I might do some more for Christmas this year. 🎄
The moon face was a bit more tedious and complicated – but still doable for sure! I should start by saying I was inspired by @houseoflotsofpink on Instagram for this project. I have no idea how she made hers – she is probably much more talented than me and maybe she even freehanded hers but I’m not that patient so I did an acetone ink transfer for this. You can YouTube many ways to do a printer ink transfer but I used acetone because it’s what I had on hand at home. (Acetone = nail polish remover.)
First I googled ‘vintage moon face clip art’. I had my husband Bill blow up the image and print it for me- it took up 4 sheets of printer paper. He had to do that because me and technology are not usually friends. 😜 We lined up the image and taped it together.
I bought this wood circle on amazon and painted it with white chalk paint.
We did some test runs with the acetone and realized really quick that our printer ink wasn’t going to transfer well enough onto the wood alone so I needed to fill in the image with a black sharpie.
I flipped the sharpie image facedown on my painted circle and taped it on so it wouldn’t slide around when I used the nail polish remover. Then I used paper towels soaked in acetone on the back side of the image. I carefully lifted the paper periodically to see if I was getting enough of a transfer- as you can see from the next picture some areas did better than others. Some spots didn’t transfer at all and some bled too much.
Even though the transfer wasn’t perfect it was good enough for me to use a fine detail paint brush and fill in these areas with black paint. I did that first then I went back with white to clean up the bleeding areas.
I loved how it turned out so well on the first side that I decided I wanted to do a man in the moon face on the back side of my circle.
These are both fun projects. I’m sure I’ll make more trees and would use the acetone ink transfer technique again. If you do either of these projects tag me @helloJolley I’d love to see your spin on it!