Last year around Christmas time I found this little pink bottle brush tree pin in a antique shop in Colorado. When I got home with it, I tucked it away into a cabinet and forgot about it. Recently, I “rediscovered” the pin and it has inspired me to create some Christmas jewelry! This retro/mid-century Christmas tree pin is part of a larger tradition of Christmas-Collage pins that were popular in the 50’s – 60s. These Christmas pins were handcrafted whimsies made from ribbons, millinery flowers & leaves, and tiny glass beads. In addition, some of them were decorated with “celluloid” forms (mostly bells, and figurals) and spun cotton “holiday picks” of santas and snowmen.
You may have seen some of these lovelies in an antique shop near you.
The First Step – Gather Your Forest!
Bottle Brush Trees and wreaths can be found easily online, anytime of year. A good tip is to check the size of the trees before you order them, you don’t want to have extra’s that are too small or too big for your project.
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48 Piece Bottle Brush Tree Set
Gather your Baubles & Beads
Warning! This is the part were you can get really carried away. There are so many wonderful embellishments to be found!
let’s Talk Glass Beads
The type of glass beads that were used in my vintage tree pin are not readily available. These beads are actually tiny glass ornaments lined with mercury. The glass in these beads are paper thin! If you are patient, you may be able to find vintage ones online or, in a antique shop. In the photo above, I have a collection of glass bead “comps.” The brightly colored beads are actually plastic garlands that I found at a craft store. Plastic beads are a great substitute for the vintage ones & they are readily available most of the year.
Gather Your String, Ribbons & Garlands
The Collection above is mostly new stock with a few vintage goodies. I like to use the ribbon to make little bows around the base of the trees. The tinsel garland can be used to decorate the tree itself. Some of the vintage examples had real silver garland that was made in Germany. This garland is still being made in Germany today. The tiny rhinestone “cup-chain” garland above is not part of the “vintage genre” but, I thought it was cool…it can be found in the jewelry section of your local craft store.
Gather Your Jewelry Supplies
All of the above jewelry supply can be found at your local craft store.
Prepare The Tree & Attach The Pin-Back
This Step is necessary so your pin will lay flat. Also, it makes the front of the tree look fuller. Press the branches toward the front, creating a flat surface on the back of the tree.
Christmas Tree Pin Only-Cut the base in Half (Optional)
Now It’s time to decorate your Christmas Tree Pins, Wreaths, and Earrings. This is the fun part! There are so many directions you can go with this that it might be hard to settle on just one.