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Pink Salt Riot Blog // DIY Budding Branches - free, recycled + easy!

Somehow I got through the first 25 years of my life without spending much time or energy thinking about seasonal decor, but when we bought our first house two summers ago it came with a love of all things seasonal decorating. You could pretty much say I am obsessed now.

But for all the obsession I don’t want to spend a lot on seasonal decor. Everyday decor, that’s not so hard for me, but seasonal stuff that spends 3/4 the year in the attic just doesn’t make me excited to part with my hard-earned cash. But I do think it brings joy to your home to have some seasonal decor, so what’s a girl to do?

Trying to have my cake and eat it too on this would be impossible if it weren’t for my favorite hobby – recycled DIY! So far I have gone two years, decorated for every season and spent maybe $20 – total? That’s a win in my book and it’s all thanks to simple projects like this one, which I am so excited to share with you – easy, romantic, springy DIY budding branches!

I love these DIY budding branches for Easter and spring in general, not to mention weddings! Last summer one of my dear friends got married and we got an army of girls together to make these for her reception decor! It was a wildflower themed wedding so it worked perfectly! (Steal that theme – it was amazing!)

This tutorial will walk you through the basic technique I use to create these branches, which you can then adapt to make literally thousands of variations! Let your imagination run wild with size, frequency of buds, color, types of branches and materials. Then show me what you make! I’d love to see your branch arrangements!

First things first. Let’s gather your materials. You will need:

  • Branches – 
    • I used crepe myrtle branches because that’s what we have coming out of our ears here in Oklahoma, and they needed to be cut back. Killing two birds with one stone is awesome.
  • Paper napkins 
    • You don’t have to use napkins, but they work wonderfully! Any paper will technically work, but I have found napkins and tissues/tissue paper to be the absolute best for the light and airy look we’re going for. Colors are also really fun – I also like to make these with a really springy green so they look like brand new leaves.
  • Thin brush or stick –
    • This is what you’ll use to make the buds. I typically use the wrong end of a small paintbrush, like a cheap child’s watercolor brush. Anything small will work, but the end of a pen or pencil may be too large unless you are making bigger buds.
  • Hot glue gun
    • I strongly prefer hot glue because you can get away with spending zero time holding the bud in place and you can move on assured they won’t move on you. Other types of glue will work but you’ll probably end up holding each bud in place much longer so they can set a bit.
  • Vase or basket –
    • This is optional to have picked out at the beginning, but I really like to arrange the branches in the vase/basket first so that I can design the bud placement specifically for that type of container and it has the added bonus of holding the branches steady for you so that they don’t move on you. Glue gun burns are no fun!

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s time to jump in!

  • Cut your paper napkins into squares.
    • You can technically use whatever kind of shape you like, and I have done this type of arrangement with circle punches, flower punches, etc. The key is to get the size right. For a look like mine, squares that are about 3/4 inch are the way to go. I prefer squares personally for several reasons. First – they are easiest and fastest to make. I use my arm paper-cutter, but even with scissors, straight lines will give you the biggest return on your time investment. I also prefer squares because their corners give the buds an organic, irregular look like a flower first opening that gets lost when all the buds are symmetrical circles or even scalloped shapes.
  • Wrap your squares around the wrong end of the brush to create the bud shape.
    • I find that it works best to put the brush end in the center of the square and use my fingers to sort of “spin” the rest of the napkin around the end to make a tight bud. Then I leave some tight and loosen others to create the organic effect of buds at various stages of opening. You can either do a bunch of these before moving on to the next step or do them one at a time, attaching them as you go.
  • Use your hot glue to attach the buds to the branches.
    • Look for natural places to put the buds. Knots in the twigs, ends, etc. are all natural places for buds to be placed and help maintain the natural look we’re looking to achieve.
  • Rinse and repeat. 
    • This can get long if you realize your twigs are bigger than you thought! My number one tip is to make sure that you have chosen a “front” for your arrangement so that you can choose your placement based on what looks best from that angle. Often the back doesn’t need nearly as many buds to make the whole thing look full from the front.

Pink Salt Riot Blog // DIY Budding Branches - free, recycled + easy!

And there you have it! Tons of opportunity to experiment and see what look you like best! Want to try something, but don’t know how it will turn out? TRY IT! That’s how we find out what works, right?! We’re all about being brave here.

What do you think about seasonal decor? Love it? Hate it? Want to do more but don’t know how? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and see your budding branches if you make them! I’d love to share some reader submissions on our social media as well!