I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen lots of gorgeous decorative twigs / branches, all over pinterest, instagram and the like. I’ve seen them with conkers and leaves hanging on them for Autumn, spiders at Halloween and eggs at Easter. They look so pretty and so I started to look at buying one. You can buy them at Hobbycraft but they cost from £20.
I decided to see if I could manage to make one myself that didn’t look to bad and I think I did ok….
You will need:
- a twig
- paint, brushes and newspaper to protect your table or floor
- somewhere to hang it to dry
- a decorative container such as a glass
- 1/2 cup or 60g cornflour (corn starch)
- 1 cup or 180g Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 3/4 cup or 180ml water
- wooden spoon
- clingfilm (seran wrap)
First of all, and possibly the hardest part of this How to make, is to find your twig. After a quick look on google, I found from the Parks Trust, the following information:
Can I take dead wood from the parks, grid roads or woodlands?
Dead wood provides an important habitat for insect life, which in turn helps support the rich variety of birds and butterflies you see in the parks. So we’d prefer you to leave dead wood where it is.
So, it’s not a strict no, but if you were to be seen taking dead wood, it may be frowned upon. If like me, you have friends and families with big gardens, that would be your best bet. If not, try asking a neighbour.
Once you have your twig, leave it inside to dry for a couple of days. If you want, you can leave it the natural colour, or, if like me, you like the lighter coloured ones, you can paint it.
I have a half used tin of Annie Sloan chalk paint on the go and as I like the matte effect of it, I mixed some with a few squirts of my son’s white poster paint to lighten it, and we started painting.
My little man loved doing this. I think it felt more fun to him as it wasn’t the usual canvas of paper or a box. Oh- you need to make sure that you don’t press too hard when you’re painting as some of your little branches could break off (this happened on our first attempt).
Hang your twig somewhere to dry that’s out of the way so that you won’t walk into it (!) and when it’s dry, you can start on the next part.
Mix the cornflour, bicarb and water in the pan and gently heat it, stirring constantly. It will start to thicken and so keep stirring until it comes away from the sides of the pan and starts to form a ball.
Turn the ball out onto a clean, heatproof surface and put a damp cloth on top of it, to stop it from drying out whilst it cools.
When it’s a suitable temperature, knead the dough until it is cool and smooth. Take the container that you are going to display your tree in and fill it with the dough. Make sure that you pack it in tightly. You have plenty of time so you don’t need to hurry as is will take 24hrs to harden.
Add you tree to the container and taadaaah!!
If you are using a glass or pot container then stand the tree on a source of warmth such as a radiator or as I used, my log stove. If you are using a plastic container then you will have to wait a day or so to make sure that it is completely dry but the dough is suitable to air dry and harden. Do not leave the tree unattended whilst it is drying on a source of heat and make sure that the tree is supported to remain central and upright.
When mine had dried, I found that I hadn’t packed the dough into the glass as hard or as tightly as I could have. I don’t mind the way it looks but this is why I mentioned above that you need to pack it in well. Also, the top of the dough had cracked and so once again, I raided my little man’s craft box and covered the top with glitter glue. It will dry smoothly and will be wipe able but should look pretty.
Depending on what container you have chosen, you might want to decorate it to finish it off. As you can see, I tied some twine around mine and simply knotted it.
Now it’s ready to decorate. We made our’s in time for Easter but will be keeping it out and decorating it all year round. I’m going to hunt out our little string of battery fairy lights to hang on it as well.
I hope you enjoyed this How to make and are inspired to do similar.