I’m a huge fan of the snowy, wintery setups I see this time of year. A little village on the entry table, or a happy tiny forest on a cake platter. Of course, they always feature bottle brush trees, and I got to thinking: could I make a bottle-brush style tree out of paper? So that I can choose the size, the color, and the shape? And I can make as many as I need? Well after some experimenting, the answer is: yes! We can all totally make Paper Bottle Brush Trees! And they are adorable!!
I’m so excited about this project! I’ve been working with Amy Christie on this for a few weeks. We tried circle shapes and square shapes. We messed with proportions and materials. We tried different colors and color palettes. And we LOVE where we landed. This project is perfect for your Cricut Explore Air™ 2 machine. Each tree uses approximately 100 pieces of stacked paper in descending sizes — and your Cricut can cut those pieces so quickly and easily, you’ll whip these trees up in a snap!
Ready to make your own wintery centerpiece?
Before we jump into the how-to, I’m going to share a few photos to get your inspired, so you can think about colors that might work well for you, and consider how many you might want to make. At our Treehouse, traditional greens and snowy whites work best. But I’m also digging the vintage look of the faded pinks and creams. You could even make a rainbow assortment for a modern holiday look!
Can’t you just picture the collection of paper bottle brush trees you’ll make? You’ll add them to village scenes, railroad tables, and centerpieces — or even make them into ornaments.
And because of the Cricut, it’s so easy to make them, you can create dozens! And here’s where I should tell you how much I adore my new Cricut Explore Air 2. Five reasons I’m in love: 1) The color, the shape, the size. It’s a gorgeous machine. Every detail has been attended to. 2) You know it can cut, but it can also write. And score. (The scoring is a big feature. Scoring makes folding approximately one million times easier and is a huge help if you like crafting.) 3) And it does all of this twice as fast as the older machines! It’s a speedy tool. 4) The machines can cut over 100 materials! Chipboard, cork, vellum, leather, and on and on. 5) You can create and upload your own designs, or use the massive Cricut library of designs. The sky is the limit!
Let’s get cutting. Or at least, click buttons so the Cricut Explore Air™ 2 does the cutting for us. : )
– Cricut Explore Air™ 2 machine
– Cricut cutting mat
– Cricut scraper tool (not essential but SUPER helpful)
– gradient star shapes*
– colored cardstock
– toothpicks or wooden skewers
– hot glue
*We feel like the star shape we used (seen below) ended up making the most authentic looking trees. However, they can be made with simple circles or scalloped circles as well. It’s fun to try lots of options!
Working in the Cricut Design Space™, find a star shape and create gradient sizes. We made 11 sizes. The largest size is 1 5/8″. We decreased the size by 1/8″ for each shape, finishing with 3/8″.
To make the hole in the center, find a plain circle, make it 3/8″ in size and layer it atop the star shape. With both the star layer and circle layer highlighted, click slice and a center should be punched out.
To make the trees pictured, we cut 14 pieces of each size.
Press cut and watch it work! We found it extra efficient to use two cutting mats, that way, while you scrape shapes off one, the other can be in the machine.
While the Cricut Explore is cutting, snag a small square of paper, a tooth pick or skewer and the hot glue. Place a small dot of glue in the center of the small square of paper — 1″ x 1″ is plenty big — and swirl the toothpick in it before setting it perpendicular in the center. Hold it until the glue solidifies. This will be the base of the tree.
As the shapes get cut, organize them by size and then start stacking, biggest to smallest. For shorter trees, either use less of each size or leave off the larger sizes altogether. For larger trees, you can cut incrementally larger sizes and use them as the base.
The tree is fully stacked!
To finish it, press the paper stack down the toothpick and add a drop of hot glue to the top. Slowly release the paper stack into the glue. The drop shouldn’t be too big but it needs to be big enough to fill the hole in the paper so when it dries, the paper can’t go anywhere.
We added another tiny drop of glue and topped the tree with one of the circles leftover from the cutting mat. This is mentioned above but worth repeating. To get varying sizes:
– use less of each size of paper ring. Less will create a shorter, stubbier tree.
– leave off some of the larger paper rings. This will create a short, tinier tree.
– cut more of each paper ring size to make a taller tree.
– create additional paper ring sizes (step up by 1/8″) for an even taller tree.
And that’s it! Now I’d love to hear what you think. Do you love the look of the paper bottle brush trees as much as I do? How have you used them in your holiday decorating? If you make these, what sort of color palette will you choose? (Also, send photos if you make some!)
Interested in getting a Cricut for yourself? I recommend the Cricut Explore Air™ Machine + EVERYTHING Starter Set. You get the gorgeous machine, plus all the tools and materials that will be most helpful. And it makes a really good gift! Cricut has some amazing sales going on for their 12 Days of Christmas promotion — and use code “FREESHIPDEC” by 12/16/2016 to receive your order by Christmas.
Happy holiday decorating!
P.S. — Another holiday Cricut project.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
Credits: Images and styling by Amy Christie.