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Easy DIY Budding Branches

Easy DIY Budding Branches

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!

 

Somebunny Just Couldn’t Wait to Say Hoppy Easter…

Somebunny Just Couldn’t Wait to Say Hoppy Easter…

Pink Salt Riot Blog // DIY Bunny Topiary from recycled materials!

If you are new to the Pink Salt Riot Blog and my tutorials, it would be worth taking a few minutes to look at why I think recycled DIY helps you live a more joyful life, and the basic tools and supplies I recommend for brand new DIYers.

After making a few of the regular topiaries at the beginning of the month I couldn’t resist making an extra adorable version for Easter! This bunny topiary is just like the others I shared, with a few simple (and cute!) alterations.

In general we try to live pretty liturgically – meaning that we try to celebrate and fast on the Church’s schedule and not according to the habits of our culture. I would not normally be one to share something so Easter-y during Holy Week, but I also wanted to give you time to execute this DIY if you want to debut your own bunny topiary by Sunday! If you’re looking for a great devotion for this Holy Week, try saying a short prayer for each leaf you glue on – it will definitely give you lots of time for meditation.

Here is the link to the step by step topiary making directions. You can follow them with a few changes.

Pink Salt Riot Blog // DIY Bunny Topiary from recycled materials!

The main difference is obviously the shape of the topiary form. I used two full sheets of newspaper to make a ball and then wrapped another full sheet around that to smooth the face and make the bunny ears. Then I secured it all with tape just like for a regular round one.

Pink Salt Riot Blog // DIY Bunny Topiary

Then just proceed like normal, gluing the paper leaves all over until you’re done! This one did take a bit longer than my original but I am kind of obsessed with how cute it is.

Pink Salt Riot Blog // DIY Bunny Topiary

How are you preparing your house and home for Easter? I am excited that my littles are both old enough to (somewhat) grasp the concept of actively looking for eggs and not just stumbling upon them!

Let me know how you and your family celebrate Easter in the comments!

Sweet + Springy Recycled DIY Topiary

Sweet + Springy Recycled DIY Topiary

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Recycled DIY Topiary

{Part of the purpose of Pink Salt Riot is to give women everywhere tools to help them live lives of authentic joy in Christ. And part of how I plan to do that? By sharing amazing and beautiful recycled DIY projects.

Wait, what?

Yes, I know. Not exactly the first thing that pops into your mind, is it? Learn more about why I feel recycled DIY is an important addition to my mission in this post, and get the down low on everything you need to get started right here.}

My husband loves gardening. Five years ago he was more or less indifferent to it, but then he got roped into a side gig as a gardener and found his secondary calling. We bought a house two summers ago and it is on a beautiful little third of an acre in midtown Tulsa. The outside of the house has become his creative domain and the inside has become mine, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to have simulate a little green inside too. House plants are a little too advanced for me – I am busy keeping tiny humans alive – and so the greenery in my domain is typically equal parts fake and recycled.

This topiary takes a just a few hours (I did two in 3 episodes of Iron Fist) and is sure to wow everyone that sees it. In the short time mine has been on my sideboard almost every houseguest has asked where I got it, to which I get to reply that most satisfying of responses – “I made it!”

But not only can you make this DIY topiary yourself, but you probably don’t even have to step foot in a store to do it! This project uses common items almost everyone has on hand, making it an even better DIY to relax and chill out with on a free weekend afternoon. Of if you’re like me, a Friday night. Because DIYs are the crazy party in my life. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Let’s get started! Here’s what you need to make this DIY topiary:

  • Glue gun and glue
  • Newspaper
  • Tin can (I used a tiny tomato paste can and a bean can for these examples)
  • Green paper (I used construction paper. Anything will work that is not too thick.)
  • Pencil (doesn’t even have to be sharpened!)
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors and or paper cutter or circle/shaped punch
  • Stick (Like from outside. You want it to be fairly thick as it will support the topiary.)
  • Paper to cover the can (I used an old sheet music page)

Pink Salt Riot // Recycled DIY Topiary

Step 1: Crumple some newspaper into a ball:

  • This will determine the size of your topiary so make it as big or as small as you want the finished product to be.

Pink Salt Riot // Recycled DIY Topiary

Step 2: Secure the ball with masking tape. 

  • No need to go crazy with tape, one line in 3 intersecting loops around the ball and at the ends of any paper that may be coming away from the ball is plenty.

Pink Salt Riot // Recycled DIY Topiary

Step 3: Stick your stick into your newspaper ball.

  • I made sure that one end of my stick was on the pointy side so that it would more easily pierce the ball. Once it was where I wanted it I added a little hot glue to hold it in place.

Step 4: Put the other end of your stick into the can and press newspaper around it to hold it in place. I crumped a piece of newspaper around the bottom of the stick before putting it into the can and then used another piece of newspaper to press it in and make sure everything was packed in and secure. Again, I used just a little bit of hot glue around the base to hold everything in place. You can also cover your tin at this point, or wait until the end. I simply cut two pieces of old book page to fit the can and attached with hot glue. Easy peasy.

Step 4: Cut your green paper.

  • I tested 3 shapes for you and I am here to tell you, square is the way to go! Not only is it fastest and easiest to cut (especially if you have a paper cutter!) but it makes the topiary look WAY better in my opinion because the corners give it an earthy, organic look.  Circles and the flower shapes made it look too processed and mass produced. I only did part of a topiary with each of these because I really disliked how they looked, but if you are really wanting a really uniform appearance it may be worth the extra time to you to punch out your paper.
  • I used approximately 3/4 inch squares. For a much larger topiary I would use larger squares. I also cut about 5 pages into squares and had about 1/3 left over, so judge accordingly for your project.

Step 5: Shape the paper around the pencil (eraser end if it’s sharpened) to make the individual leaves. (See image above)

  • There really is no right or wrong way to do this as long as you have a flat surface on the bottom to glue to the newspaper ball.
  •  It worked well to batch this step. I would do 20-30 leaves this way and then go on to the next step and glue all those, then make another batch of leaves. I felt like it was much faster than switching back and forth from the pencil to the glue gun all the time.

Step 4: Put the other end of your stick into the can and press newspaper around it to hold it in place. I crumped a piece of newspaper around the bottom of the stick before putting it into the can and then used another piece of newspaper to press it in and make sure everything was packed in and secure. Again, I used just a little bit of hot glue around the base to hold everything in place. You can also cover your tin at this point, or wait until the end. I simply cut two pieces of old book page to fit the can and attached with hot glue. Easy peasy.

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Recycled DIY Topiary

Step 6: Attach your leaves to the newspaper ball.

  • Hot glue is the way to go with this because you don’t have to hold it in place for any setting time. Like I said, I would do 20-30 leaves at one time so I could just keep the glue gun in one hand and keep going. I like to put down a short line of hot glue, as much as 4-5 leaves, so I could do them even faster. But don’t get too overzealous – sometimes your hot glue will harden too fast for you to get the leaves on if you make the line too long!
  • Always start from the leaves already on the ball and work out instead of putting random ones in patches all over. You could accidentally end up with an awkward space that is visible but too small for a leaf in a conspicuous place if you do this. I like to start at the front and work back and down so that if I end up with a space it’s not noticeable.

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Recycled DIY Topiary

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Recycled DIY Topiary

Step 7: Keep going until you’re done!

  • It may take a little while, but the results are so worth it and this is an easy process to do while watching your favorite show!

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Recycled DIY Topiary

Step 8: Put the other end of your stick into the can and press newspaper around it to hold it in place.

  • I crumped a piece of newspaper around the bottom of the stick before putting it into the can and then used another piece of newspaper to press it in and make sure everything was packed in and secure. Again, I used just a little bit of hot glue around the base to hold everything in place. You can also cover your tin at this point, or wait until the end. I simply cut two pieces of sheet music to fit the can and attached with hot glue. Easy peasy.

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Recycled DIY Topiary

Looks great, doesn’t it? And no one would guess they probably have everything they need to make one right in their recycling bin RIGHT NOW! I think I am just going to chip away at making a whole forest of these guys in different heights and shades of green to fill my spring sideboard for years to come!

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Recycled DIY Topiary

Are you good at keeping houseplants alive? Do you think you’ll make one of these beauties? Share your thoughts and pics in the comments if you make one!

I hope you go forth and make many topiaries that look far more expensive/difficult than they actually are!

 

 

 

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Recycled DIY Topiary

 

 

Your Recycling Toolkit: Everything You Need (And Nothing You Don’t)

Your Recycling Toolkit: Everything You Need (And Nothing You Don’t)

Pink Salt Riot // Your Recycling Toolkit: Everything You Need (And Nothing You Don't)

I’ve already explained how recycling can help you live a life of greater authentic joy, but now the time has come for the practical concerns – what do you need to be able to upcycle effectively? This is a bare bones, minimum list of what should be in your recycling toolkit that will be enough to complete 90% of the projects we post, although a few projects may require some other simple additions. So, in a nutshell, here’s what it takes to get started:

Your Recycling Toolkit

Scissors

I really hope you have scissors because they are just kind of a life necessity. So this is easy. (But here’s a link to Amazon if the goodness/location of your scissors is in question)

Hot glue

When you become a crafter (which you totally will!) hot glue becomes a life necessity as well. It’s good stuff. But please be careful. Burns are not good stuff and when they say hot glue it’s not figurative. I have the scars to prove it. Learn from my carelessness!

White glue/school glue

If you don’t have school glue at home you can get great deals on it at back to school time. I often pick up a few bottles even if I have a good stash because they are just so cheap that time of year.

A few paint brushes

For the vast majority of projects the cheap colored plastic ones will work just fine because we’re not planning to paint the Mona Lisa here. Typically you will be painting something all one color or applying glue, so fancy brushstrokes don’t really matter. However it is a good idea to have one or two nicer brushes if you do want to add details or paint more complex items (Does even talking about painting “details” freak you out? Don’t worry! It is totally optional in most projects)

Primary colors of paint

Remember that cool little color wheel thing you saw in elementary school art class? Well you may remember that you only need 3 colors to make all the others. If money or space is an issue and you’re trying to keep this a shoestring deal, a bottle of red, blue, and yellow will get you through as long as you’re down for some mixing.

Colored paper/tissue paper

I use colored paper and tissue paper to add texture and circumvent painting A LOT so it’s not a bad idea to have a mixed color package of each on hand to make some fabulous things extra quick. Often it’s all you need to take a project from obviously recycled to incredible – just wait until you see next weeks’ project!

Hole punch

Fancy punches are all well and good, but I find that I can usually get by just fine with a regular old hole punch.

Masking tape

I find that masking tape is the most versatile for DIY as it is easy to use, easy to tear, and easy to attach things to with glue. It is also the most paintable of the major types of tape.

And that’s it! Not too scary, right? You can totally do this!

Do you have other things you would put in your recycling toolkit? Let me know you’re must haves in the comments – you may catch something I forgot!