Friday, November 1, 2013

Let The Bleaching Begin!

Bleaching bottle brush trees
A trumpet fanfare, if you please.  The bleaching of the trees has begun here at the Distressed Donna home.  Leave it to me to take something new and make it worn.

See last year's post on bleaching trees HERE .

This post will be an update with some added tips.

While waiting for the larger trees to be stocked, I grabbed every bag of the small ones with the wooden bases at Hobby Lobby after first testing them to see if they would bleach.  

I also had a bag of trees a friend had given me.

Let the games begin.

 The wooden bases float so I dunked them in an old icing tub.  Do not be alarmed at the brown color.

I use a two to one Clorox to water mix with an open window above the sink to vent.  BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE FUMES.

This is NOT a pet or child-friendly activity.

It does not take long to bleach the trees.  Just stir them around with a plastic fork until the desired color is achieved.

 The desired color is whatever the trees decide.  Here you will notice the expensive village trees did not bleach at all.

Some bleached creamy white, some tan, some pink, some yellow, and some turquoise.

You have to accept what comes out.

I used the same tub of bleach for bags of the trees.  

Use a fork or tongs to pull the trees from the bleach bath.  I throw them in the other side of the sink to rinse with cold water.  Then place them outside to dry.  They take several hours to fully dry.

Do not handle them much when they are wet.  Lift them by the very tip or the base.

 Here are some of the large ones from the packs at Lowe's.  The longer the needles the more they will mat when wet.  

Let the trees dry completely.

Wait a day.

Find a large tooth and fine tooth comb.

 See how matted this tree was?

I took them outside because this can be messy.

I gently tugged at the mats with the large tooth part of the comb and finished with the fine tooth side.


Treat them tenderly like you were pulling the tangles from your child's hair.

There is just no screaming with the trees.

Here they are all fluffed up.

Yes, these are the same trees.

I promise.

You can tell I love to do this.  It is like a magic trick.

If you have questions, just email me or leave a comment.

Remember cheap trees, not expensive ones.

Remember the safety tips.

Remember the Alamo.

Wait, disregard that.

I have finished over two hundred trees.

Yes, you will be reading a number of posts about what I did to them.

If you live close by, I have a number of them already in my booth at Riverfront Antique Mall in North Augusta, SC, waiting to spend Christmas with you.

See y'all!

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  1. I love your bleach trees. So beautiful! I remembered them from last year. I think that's what inspired me to try and bleach pinecones. Like you said - you have to accept what comes out! It's amazing how we get our inspirations from one another!

  2. I'll be eager to see what you did with those trees!

  3. I've been wanting to do this since last year...i'm going to get some trees!! :) Thanks for the tips! :) Have a great weekend! xx Holly

  4. they look beautiful.I cant get the trees over here so I will have to wait until some shop in Australia stocks them.Great idea.-love dee x

  5. Can't wait to see what you do with those trees. I loved them last year... and I still love them.

  6. Thanks for the tutorial on this. I've tried bleaching in the past with no luck. I must have bought too good of trees. I'll try again this year.

  7. This is so GREAT!! I am all about reusing! I think I may have to try this for my Christmas decorations.

  8. Thank you so much for your post! I just wish I had read it before I starting my tree bleaching. I found out, like you, that the trees all react to the bleach differently, even the ones from the same bag. I also found out that you need to replace the beach on a regular basis. I love your pink trees! I wish some of mine turned out like that. The only colors that I got were cream, tan, and light green. I'm anxious to see what you do with them. I used the bleach from the dollar store. Is there a bleach that you recommend?

  9. I'm going to Hobby Lobby immediately and getting some trees to bleach and dye pink! I just have to read more and figure out your instructions for dying....

  10. I think the trees I bought at the $1 store will work out great then! Can't wait to try them for a project I've got going.........

  11. I did not get to try this last year, but I plan to this year for sure!

  12. I really wanted to try this last year, but waited too long to seek out the trees. Thanks for reminding me to get trees early! Great job!

  13. I have always wanted to make trees like this. One day I will, and I'll refer to your post frequently. Thanks so much!

  14. Wow! What a cool idea! Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays. x

  15. I have tried your method of bleaching in the past. But, you provided the magic step--combing. I was always afraid to do anything with the matting, so my trees looked pretty raggedy. Thanks for the wonderful tip. Your trees look fantastic.

  16. I'm over here to see how you bleach those trees....amazing! They are all so beautiful!


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