We’re all about gifts that keep on giving, and when it comes to your special someone, you’ll want to go all out with a dazzling proclamation of your love, right? We thought so! How about creating some show-stopping yet sustainable yard art by building a colorful bottle tree that will add sparkle to your garden year-round?
It’s certainly not a new idea – way back in 1600 BC, people in Egypt and Mesopotamia believed that the whisper of the wind through a bottle signified the sound of trapped spirits inside. Soon, folks scattered bottles near doorways and elsewhere to protect their homes from evil spirits.
Bottle trees came over to the U.S. south during the African slave trade. Today, this whimsical art form is everywhere – you can find pricey bottle trees at garden shows, farmers’ markets and craft fairs. There’s even a lovely illustrated history book about them. Because the sun reflects kaleidoscopic light through colored glass in glorious ways, bottle trees make a fabulous gift and a perfect focal point in any outdoor space.
You could opt for a store-bought kit, but why not try your hand at building something spectacular? Here’s how to do it using reclaimed wood or steel and recycled bottles.
• Choose your ‘trunk’
Whether you opt for wood or metal be sure the structure can stand on its own. If you already have a suitable tree or bush in your flowerbeds, use that!
• Add some angled ‘branches’
You can use either organic or artificial materials – think rebar or metal, a pitchfork or large dowels. The branches have to be small enough in circumference that a bottle can easily slide onto it and strong enough to enable the bottle to rest upon it.
• Bring on the bottles!
Gather some salvaged bottles, ideally in different colors. You can also purchase some at craft stores if you don’t have enough. It’s best if bottles are at least six inches apart so they don’t bang together in the wind and break.
Now, stand back and admire the view!
Share your gorgeous garden art with us!
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