little paths so startled

living, decorating, and eating in hattiesburg, mississippi

indoor bottle tree: DIY and eco-friendly

with 3 comments

Our newest art installment: a bottle tree. It’s already dressed up for the holidays, but unlike traditional Christmas trees, this one has a new lease on life.

I love the holidays, and I love decorating for the holidays – but for the past couple of years, Daniel and I have been feeling vaguely guilty about purchasing a Fraser fir that met an untimely end and was trucked down from Canada. Plus, taking down a Christmas tree after the holidays is terribly sad. This year, I started researching alternatives to Christmas trees, but nothing really stood out to me. I realized I wanted more than an alternative – I wanted something to be displayed year-round.Enter the bottle tree. When we moved into the condo, we created a hanging bottle tree (seen here) for the exposed beam above the steps, and yesterday it hit me: I wanted an indoor bottle tree for the exposed brick wall. But I didn’t want to buy any of the materials, and I didn’t want to use iron (a non-renewable resource) for the frame. So I asked Daniel if we could go look for a fallen branch in the recently-cut woods near the construction site at his school, and off we went.

Recently, the school cut all the pine trees in these woods for timber, so we suspected there might be some fallen hardwood branches.


Eventually we came upon this fallen branch, and we knew as soon as we saw that we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect branch.

We hauled it home and began trimming the ends. Our initial goal was just to get it to fit through the door, and we just barely did.

That evening, we went bin diving at Target’s recycling station, the only place in town that recycles glass, to add to our collection. We washed the bottles out and soaked them overnight in hot water and an oxygen cleaner, which made removing the labels much less tedious.

This morning, we set up the branch in our heavy-duty Christmas tree stand, gradually pared down the ends, and added the bottles. To finish the look, I wrapped the stand in burlap (the only purchase made for this project). I couldn’t be more delighted with the result: it has all the drama and scale I was hoping for. And nature truly is the best artist.

Since the holidays are coming, and since we’re participating in the Walthall open house tour during our neighborhood’s annual Victorian Candle-lit Christmas, we added lights to our bottle tree. I was afraid they’d look tacky, but Daniel painstakingly wrapped them just around the center branch for just the right amount of shine.

Et voilà! Holiday cheer. (Yes, it’s November. Don’t judge.)

P.S. If you live in the Hattiesburg area, come to the Victorian Candle-lit Christmas Saturday December 11 and Sunday December 12. (I’m sure that website will be updated soon with this year’s details.) It’s truly gorgeous: candles line all the sidewalks, there’s a tour of several lovely homes, there are horse-drawn carriage rides, and when you’ve seen it all, you can enjoy refreshments in the Walthall (on the corner of Rebecca and Court). This year, the Walthall condos are having an open house, too, so you can come visit us and our neighbors. I’ve already planned my eco-friendly décor, and I can’t wait. More on this to come.


Written by Ann

November 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Hi, Ann! Your bottle tree creation is absolutely fabulous! The lights add just the right touch–especially for the holiday time 🙂 Hope to see you sometime over the holidays at the store!

    Haley Morgan

    November 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    • Thanks, Haley! I hope to see you, too – I will definitely be by!


      November 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm

  2. Love


    January 16, 2012 at 9:05 am

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