Okay I'll admit it. I've been swept away by the Gossypium branch, otherwise known as cotton stem, craze. Only my wallet has not recovered from the sticker shock yet. $9.00 a stem? $9.00 a stem? I was truly blown away when I saw this price on a popular farmhouse decor website. I mean, come on. Cotton balls on a stick. A stick. For $9.00 a stem? Later I found some real ones selling for $5.99 a stem. But still, y'all.
Needless to say I have not purchased any cotton stems. But I DID come across an incredibly creative, inexpensive and simple way to make some of my own! Sara from Twelve on Main linked up her DIY Cotton Stems tutorial to our Vintage Charm Party #23 a few weeks ago. Take a look.
I loved them so much that I even featured them at Vintage Charm Party #24! And then I tackled the project myself, with similarly great results. So I knew I had to share my experience with you and spread the word that this can be done at a fraction of the cost! Gotta love that, right? So here goes.
generic cotton balls
large pine cones
glue gun and glue sticks (not shown)
I picked up 6 sticks from my yard. I "tried them out" in my enamel farmhouse pitcher to make sure they were just the height that I wanted. I did end up cutting a bit off a few stems. You'll just have to play around until you get a look, height-wise, that you like.
2. Cotton balls and large pine cones.
I had a big stash of pine cones packed away with my Christmas decorations, so I pulled a few large ones out of storage for this project. And who doesn't have a bag of cotton balls lying around? You don't? Well, that's easily remedied. You can pick one up just about anywhere for a song. Target, Wal-Mart, grocery store, drugstore, you name it.
Here's a close up picture of the pine cone "scales" that I painstakingly pulled off, one by one, from the pine cones. You'll need to start at the bottom of the cone and work your way up. At first they seem pretty easy to pull off but as you move up the pine cone they become harder and harder to remove. And be careful, they're sharp! I 'll give an inventory at the end of the post as to how many cotton balls and scales I actually ended up using.
And that's it for the materials, folks. All I did was slop some hot glue onto a cotton ball and then plop that onto the stick. I know - so many technical terms. Anyway, once the cotton balls were arranged where I wanted them, I added the "scales" with hot glue kind of willy nilly around the cotton balls. I really just went with my eyes and my gut feeling about how the whole thing looked to me. Trust me, you can't mess this up.
I can' t believe how ingenious Sara's idea was to use pine cone scales to mimic the brown "thingys" (my word), otherwise known as cotton bolls, or pods, that surround the cotton. They start out green, then turn brown once the cotton becomes ripe and bursts the heck out of it. I'm completely enamored of this entire project and could not be happier with the inexpensive and beautiful outcome.
Inventory for exactly what I used:
6 sticks from my yard
43 generic cotton balls
83 pine cone scales
3 glue sticks
83 pine cone scales
3 glue sticks
I figure I've saved anywhere from $36 to $72 by making my own faux cotton stems. Not bad for a day's work, huh? I'm extremely appreciative of Sara for sharing her great idea, and I have become a loyal follower of Twelve On Main. Why don't you join me there? I can't wait to see what else Sara has in store!
And until my hydrangeas start blooming again, I'll be quite happy to let my DIY faux farmhouse cotton stems prettify things up around here.
How about you? Are you anxious for spring blooms as well?
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