Well, since it is officially "spring" now (had to insert a teeny bit of sarcasm there just because it is actually snowing here today... bleh), I thought I would share this fun idea so that if you want to do it, you can start collecting your materials this spring/ summer!
Check out this arrangement of decor balls! The variety is unique and interesting, and it has tons of visual interest with all the different textures. Guess what?! My mom made each and every ball from things she had growing around her home. Neat, right?
The balls that look like grapevines are actually jasmine vines that were growing out of control out on the deck and had to be pruned. She wrapped the vines around a squishy fabric water toy ball which was easily removed after it was wrapped. She let the vines dry and they held their shape.
This ball was made by poking the heads of wheat into a Styrofoam ball and trimming them to be uniform in length. My parents grew wheat a couple of years ago as a ground cover, and my mom dried it, so they had it laying around already, but you could probably find it growing on the side of the road in a rural area if you wanted to use it for home decor.
What to do with the stems from the wheat? Make more decor balls, of course! We put the wheat in my mom's bathtub to soak overnight. This is all I can take credit for of this project. :-P I had to go back home the next day, but my mom was kind enough to take pictures of what she did for all of us to see.
You could use a styrofoam ball to wrap the wheat around, if you had one, but if you didn't, or you want to be really frugal, you can use some plastic cups like this and wrap the wheat around those- you will still get a nice round ball.
Wrapping the wheat is going to be much easier if you have one continuous strand, and the nice thing about wheat is that it is hollow in the stem, so you can fit one piece over another and make a long piece. The important thing to remember is to wrap it tightly, holding your finger over the joint where the two pieces of wheat come together so they don't come apart.
Fasten the wheat by tucking the last end under an already- wrapped piece, and let the balls dry. You can really speed up that process by setting them on a heat vent or someplace where they get good air circulation.
For the leaf balls, there are two different techniques. I wasn't part of the process for the green leaf balls, so I don't have any pictures of those being made, but I will explain it as it was explained to me. The leaves were freshly picked, so they were very pliable. Each leaf was pinned onto a styrofoam ball in a neat, overlapping pattern, using short pins. Once the ball was covered with leaves, my mom set the balls in a bucket of flower drying silica for about four days. This sped up the drying process and allowed the leaves to keep their bright green color. You can optionally put several coats of mod podge over the leaves to add a glossy finish and help keep it all in place.
The brown leaf ball was made with a different method. These leaves are ones that had previously been picked and pressed between boards, but they were still somewhat pliable. Here are our materials: styrofoam ball that has been spray painted with gold floral paint, mod podge, and a foam brush.
We covered the ball with a coat of mod podge...
...as well as the bottom of each leaf. Don't worry, the leaves are not directly on the counter- there is a sheet of wax paper under them to make them easy to peel up.
We then began putting the leaves onto the ball. But the problem with gluing leaves on balls is that... they just don't stick very well. So we used short pins to hold the leaves in place. We only pushed them in a little bit because we wanted to be able to remove them easily later.
These leaves were glued/ pinned on in an overlapping fashion as well. We gave each leaf a coat of mod podge after being pinned in place.
Each leaf was pinned at the top and the bottom, with the pin being poked at an angle. We found that if you poke the pin through the leaf at an angle, with the head of the pin pointing away from the leaf, the leaves will stay in place much better and adhere more to the ball.
We made sure there were no gaps and added extra leaves where necessary to cover any styrofoam peeking through the leaves.
Once the entire ball was covered with the leaves, it got several coats of mod podge, and it was allowed to dry between each coat. After it was dry from the first coat, we carefully removed the pins, then added the second coat.
I love how it turned out!
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