Friday, December 6, 2013

Chicken Wire, Silver Glass Glitter, Spanish Moss, and Pinecones

It’s time for another ornament design! As I’ve mentioned before, this time of year brings out every creative whim in my brain. Since I started earlier this year, maybe I’ll stop creating more ornaments a week before Christmas, rather than Christmas Eve…….. As silly as it sounds, I’ve been wanting ½” hex chicken wire for years. It’s hard to find locally, but I finally got a hold of some this Summer. Most of the big box stores only stock 1” and 2” hex, which isn’t nearly as fun to craft with. Anyway, I was staring at my new roll of chicken wire, dreaming of all the possibilities, and a diamond shape emerged.

Chicken wire, Spanish moss, mini pinecone, and German silver glass glitter.

Simple, rustic elegance……

What could be better than not needing to measure anything. Just follow the shape and start cutting. Tin snips or wire cutters work just fine. Once I cut the diamond shape, I used little wire cutters to snip off the excess wire, so there’s no jagged edges to hurt the fingers or cause snags. If I felt anything sharp, I used a metal file to soften it. I left the top and bottom points twists long, because they’re keeping the end hexes together. (Now or later, you then bend those twists backwards into a tight loop. This will be the back side of the ornament.) I didn’t want the chicken wire to be shiny silver, so I gave it a light sanding, then chalk- painted it in grey tones, to look more like aged zinc. I sealed the paint with matte medium, because although chalk paint does technically stick to metal, wire isn’t exactly a massive amount of surface to bond to. (I used what I had on hand, but of course you could just spray paint if you prefer.)

Once the paint was dry, I took a little clump of Spanish moss, and centering it on the back side of the diamond, I pushed the edges of the clump up to the top side, leaving the middle of the clump on the back side. I did this for two reasons…A) To make the moss more attached to the wire than just hot-gluing to the diamond’s front, and B) to give the back side a nice rustic and finished appearance, rather than looking at hot glue. Now that you have a little nest made, you can hot-glue the mini pinecone into it.

Using sharp pruning shears, wire cutter, or utility scissors, cut off the bottom half of the mini pinecone. This is so you don’t have a lot of pinecone sticking out from the ornament. (It’s best if you cut the pinecones before you add the glass glitter, so you’re not handling the glued-on glitter excessively.)

Once the glitter’s dry, add a good dose of hot-glue around the entire bottom of the pinecone. Quickly center the pinecone over the center wire, and at the same time, squishing the moss into the pinecone. If the pinecone doesn’t feel stable enough, add more hot-glue into the bottom edge of the pinecone, then tuck in more moss.

Now it’s time to add some more elegance. Brush a thin line of white glue or Diamond Glaze around the perimeter of the chicken wire shape, then sprinkle on the silver glass glitter, making sure to also cover the top and bottom end loops too.

Finally, I added some very thin sisal to the top wire loop, and it’s ready for hanging!

This is one of those designs that just happened on a whim, without any prior planning, and as I’ve said before, those tend to be my favorite designs. Gotta go. More ornaments are screaming to get out of my head….. 

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