As you’re decorating the inside of your home this holiday season, don’t forget to spruce up the outside. Along with the traditional lights and bows that brighten up your home’s exterior, try incorporating a bit of the garden with this homemade evergreen ball.
It’s easy to make and will add some winter color to your porch, patio, or garden. And if you or a friend have evergreens in your yard or woods, you already have some of the materials you need.
•4-foot piece of jute cord (or other strong cord)
•4-foot piece of #9 velvet red ribbon
•30 to 40 evergreen boughs, about 10 inches long
•8 15-inch pieces of #9 red velvet ribbon
•8 5-inch floral picks
•1 roll of green floral tape
Note: Jute cord, red ribbon, floral picks, and floral tape are available at most craft stores.
1. Cut wire. Using a wire cutter, cut chicken wire to a 12-inch by 24-inch rectangle. Wear heavy-duty work gloves because the edges of the wire will be sharp. Gently fold in the tips of the 12-inch wires toward the middle so there are no sharp edges sticking out. Then, starting at one of the short ends, loosely roll the wire up like a sleeping bag and hook the short edges together. Hook each end together so the wire forms a ball with a diameter of 5 to 6 inches.
2. Hang ball to build. Hang the chicken-wire ball inside your house while you build it. Start by feeding the 4-foot piece of ribbon and the heavy cord through the area where you hooked the wires together. (This is the sturdiest part of the ball.) Then tie the ribbon and cord around something sturdy—such as a shower-curtain rod or basement ceiling beam—so the ball will hang freely. Arrange the ribbon so that it hides the cord.
3. Add boughs. With your gloves on, grab one evergreen bough at a time and poke it into the wire ball. Hold the ball gently to keep it steady. The evergreens should stick into the wire about 2 inches, with roughly 8 inches hanging outside the wire base. Continue adding boughs until the ball gets full. When you’re finished, no wire should be showing.
4. Prune boughs. With your pruners, trim any extra-long boughs so the evergreens form a nicely shaped circle. The ball should be 16 to 18 inches in diameter.
5. Add pinecones. Using a hot-glue gun, dab a small amount of glue onto the base of a pinecone and affix the pinecone to an evergreen bough at the inner part of the ball. Press the pinecone to the evergreen boughs for at least 20 seconds to make sure it is secure. Continue gluing pinecones until all are attached and evenly spaced.
6. Make ribbon loops. Lay a 15-inch piece of red velvet ribbon in front of you with the velvet side facing up. Grab the end of the ribbon with one hand. With the other hand, grab a spot that’s 9 inches from that end. Holding the ribbon, bring your hands together so the ribbon creates a loop with the velvet side facing up. The remaining 6 inches that didn’t loop will form a tail.
7. Wrap ribbon. Hold the base of the loop with one hand and grab a floral pick with your other hand. Lay the floral pick along the side of the loop’s base, and with your other hand press the ribbon around the pick. With your free hand, wrap the floral wire (which is attached to the pick) around the ribbon so it holds the loop and tail base firmly on the pick.
8. Hide wire. Tear off a piece of floral tape that’s about 5 inches long. Wrap the piece around the wire so the wire is hidden. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until all your ribbon loops are made.
9. Insert picks. With the hot-glue gun, dab a bit of glue onto the tip of each pick and gently push the picks into the evergreen ball so they’re evenly spaced and the ribbon tails are hanging down.
10. Hang. Untie the ribbon and cord and hang the evergreen ball outside where you can see it from a window.