Saving the instructions to your computer

You can easily save any of these instructions to your computer for viewing while off-line.

On a PC use the ctrl key + s then choose to save as type "web page html only" Or do a file "save as" from the drop down menu on your browser. Direct it to save the instructions in the folder of your choice.

On a Mac use the command key +s

Direct links to the instructions for the various kits are listed on the right hand side of the page.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tree Tutorial

This is the tutorial for decorating the miniature bottlebrush trees. I am demonstrating with a green tree as it shows the details better. The same techniques can be used on pastel trees.

I have been asked by a number of friends where I get the trees I put on my glitter houses.
They are  those inexpensive miniature bottle brush trees that are in the craft stores at Christmas time. With a bit of effort they can become much nicer looking. You have seen them before, they often have a heavy coating of snow on the branches and a gold base.

The "snow" that comes on these tree is water soluble so the first thing I do is give them a bath and a scrubbing with a nail brush to clean that stuff off. I also trim the excess wire at the bottom flush with the bristles.

Next you need to decide if you want a green tree or a pastel tree. If you want a pastel tree give it a dunking in a cup of chlorine bleach for a short time. Some trees will bleach very pale, others stay a pastel green. You get what you get so be content with it. Rinse well and pat dry.

At this point in time you can brush Elmers glue on the tree, roll it in glitter and call it good.

Or you can put in a bit more time and make it something really special and a lot more realistic. The shorter tree has been rolled in glitter, its nice. The taller tree is more realistic and worth the extra steps needed.

To make a more realistic tree you start by rubbing paint into the tree. I make the tree slightly damp (essential step), then rub a small amount of acrylic paint into the tree all the way in toward the wire center. You do not want paint globs, just barely coat the branches so they stand alone rather than clumping together. Green paint  for green trees, white paint for pastel trees. Let the paint dry completely before the next step. Use a stiff wire brush to break up any clumped branches.

Press the branches in a downward sloping direction. With a needle tip glue applicator or toothpick put small amounts of glue up into the branches reaching in towards the center of the tree. Dots of it here and there, you don't need solid coverage on the tree. If your tree  has big spiral gaps from the twisted wire this will help smooth out their appearance.

Roll the tree in crystal glitter while the glue is still wet.

Now using an artist brush apply snow to the tips of the branches and the top of the tree. My snow is 3 parts titanium white paint mixed with 1 part Elmers glue. While the snow is still wet give the tree another roll in the crystal glitter.  Let dry and glue the tree to the base of the glitter house.