By Kim Tilley
This is the ultimate in nature crafts- turn a common flower into something uncommon! I think Queen Anne's Lace is already a gorgeous flower left untouched, but this is a neat craft project for winter that you can start now while these flowers are in full bloom. They take some patience, and are fragile, but the results are beautiful.
You will need: bunches of Queen Anne's Lace*
a can of cheap clear spray paint
gold cord (the Christmas present cord at the $1 store is fine)
* Queen Anne's Lace is considered a wildflower, and can be found growing along roadsides, alleys, and backyards. The plants have big flowerheads that are made up of tiny white flowers. They are very lacy looking (hence then name) and have tall stalks (about 2-3 feet).
1. Gather the flowers: Cut bunches of Queen Anne's Lace a couple of inches below the flower heads (please be sure to get permission if these flowers are not on your property).
2. To Clean: Rinse the flowers off gently, head down and let dry on dishtowels. You can also lay them sideways, turning them occasionally.
3. To Press: you can press the flowers between old catalogs, phone books, or stacks of newspaper (you can also use junk mail!) Trim flower stems very close to the bottom of the flowerhead, turn your flowerhead upwards, and carefully place on paper towels, flattening flower (which tends to be bowl-shaped). Put (cheap!)paper towels between the flowers and the pressing paper to protect the flowers from the inks on the paper. You can dry the towels between uses and they can be used several times each. Check these flowers every couple of days. You want them to get dry enough that they nicely hold their flat lacy shape. You can also move them on the pressing paper each time you check to keep them from sticking to the paper. (Note: the flowers are often very moist the first few days, but if they stick to the paper and dry there, you'll break them when trying to remove them.)
4. Finish Drying: once flowers are relatively dry, they may be flexible but not floppy. Dry in the open air, preferably on a screen, grill (if it's convenient and hubby doesn't turn it on!) or outside on a screened-in porch.
5. Decorating: Make loops for your 'snowflakes' by fastening a loop to the back of each flower/snowflake. You can leave it bare (it will be covered with snow later), or you can glue another flower on the back to make it really two sided. Hang your "snowflakes" outside or place them in a spray-paint-safe area. Spray them thickly with spray snow and let dry between coats.
6. Sealing: After you get them to a snow consistency that you like, spray well with the clear paint to seal. Let dry.
Variations: Dress the snowflakes up with glitter, spray glitter, ornaments, let your imagination go wild. You can also do a wreath in them with little fake presents scattered in it. You can use fall-colored spray paint for a fall wreath; pink and blue to decorate a baby shower gift, or white on a wedding reception centerpiece.
Note: These snowflakes are fragile, and may not last more than a couple of years. But for two or three dollars, they can be replaced inexpensively.
About the Author
Kim Tilley, a tightwad at heart, is the mother of three active boys and the founding editor of Frugal-Moms.com. Frugal by force and later by choice, Kim cut her income by 60% to stay at home with her children and discovered that anyone can live better for less. Her work has appeared in print publications such as The Tightwad Gazette. In her free time, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something from nothing!
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