I’m all about penny-pinching, and you know I love the rustic farmhouse style. When I wanted to add a bit of nature to my decor I thought of purchasing a few cotton branches from an online source. Then I found they were $10 a piece (that’s for one measly branch!), I said to myself, “It’s DIY time.”
To say that I’m stoked to make a vase full of cotton branches and a wreath for less than $4 is an understatment. Woo hoo! Who doesn’t love to save that kind of money? You also get the satisfaction of creating your own decor.
Want to make some of your own? I’ve got three short and sweet video tutorials that will show you how.
Here is what you’ll need:
- bag of 200 jumbo cotton balls ($1.88 at Walmart)
- roll of brown floral tape (found in craft stores – mine was $1.56 from local florist)
- low temp glue gun/glue sticks (if you use a high temp gun, be careful!!)
- brown paper lunch bag or craft paper
- brown ink pad/shoe polish/stain – whatever you have on hand
- small branches and tiny twigs
- grapevine wreath – I find mine at thrift stores already decorated for 50 cents, then tear them apart)
I’m excited to have these video tutorials because it saves me from taking a zillion different pictures and trying to get across the technique in photo form. This was our first attempt (my 12-year-old and I), so bear with us as we learn!
In this first video, you’ll need a tree/bush branch and smaller diameter twig. Typically a cotton branch has an alternate structure where branches are on opposing sides like this:
My branches and twigs came from my back yard and did not have that alternate pattern, so I made it myself using piece of twig and floral tape. Watch the video for a demonstration.
Now we’ve got our branches and will move on to the cotton tufts. Take yourself back to the good old days of covering your text books with a paper sack cover. You’re going to take your lunch sack and cut down one corner and cut off the bottom, so that it lays open like this:
Take your scissors and rough cut a 3″ square. Once you have your square, fold it in half in both directions. This will create a faux vein look in your bud leaves. To make the best use of my time I did all my cutting, folding, and staining at once. The next video demonstrates doing one leaf being created.
When I first started making the leaves I tried a fringed leaf like this:
And then also just a rounded leaf like this (as shown in the video):
I found I preferred the second version, but included a mixture of them in my vase display because when you look at a real cotton branches, there are two layers of leaves and the outside set is fringed. You could even do a double layer if you feel so inclined – it would create awesome texture.
Now we’ve got our branch and leaves, so now we need to add the cotton. I used jumbo sized cotton balls because that’s what I found, but any size will do, you will just need more to make them the size that I did. For a bloomed bud, I used 2-3 balls, but for a closed bud, I just used one. Varying the size makes them look more natural. Watch the next video on the method I use.
To make one branch from start to finish took about 10 minutes, once I got it down. So in hour’s time I got 6 branches for a vase full of farmhouse goodness.
If you’re interested in the wreath project, it’s the same method except for this I didn’t add little twigs to create that alternate pattern because the fresh cut branches I used already had a bit of alternate design. I also just glued the buds directly to the branch because I didn’t need to create as dramatic of difference.
I like the wild and natural look wreath, but you could certainly fill it full to create a lush wreath.
I’m already having fun adding them here and there in different displays in my home. They add such a soft, natural element that will last for years to come. (as long as my cat doesn’t get the better of them – ahem)
And I can use them to help stage pieces for my shop. Double score!
More farmhouse style projects like my cotton branches:
Time to party!! These ladies have put together a vast array of DIY projects for you to feast your eyes on. To maximize all there is to offer, be sure to use the hashtag: #BestofDIY on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.