Out of all the DIY projects I did for the fall mantle, I think these may be my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I love a gilded pumpkin and a book wreath as much as the next gal, but I can’t get over how much impact these have and how easy they were to do. I am pretty sure y’all could figure these out just by taking a peek at the pictures, but I thought I would go ahead and whip up a tutorial for you anyway. What can I say? I’m a giver.
Now for those of you who may have missed the original peek at these beauties, here is a glamour shot so you can see what I am talking about. If you want to read more about the mantle as a whole, feel free to check out the original post here).
Want to make some of your own? Let’s get started. First up, supplies!
Not pictured: white rice and ribbon for bow Also, pretend the curly branches are actually the straight ones I ended up using – it was a last minute substitution and I had already taken the supplies photo! #gametimedecision #keepinitreal
-glass containers at least 10″ tall: mine came from the Homegoods clearance aisle – 8 bucks apiece!
-various fall colored fillers: I used uncooked brown rice, white rice, green lentils, and red pinto beans from the grocery store (Tip: check the international aisles for the best prices!).
-branches or twigs: mine were from Walmart many many moons ago.
-accent greenery: I have had these gold curly-q branches for so long I don’t remember where I got them specifically, but I have seen them all over – craft stores, big lots, even Dollar Tree!
-small glass or plastic container large enough to accomodate a LED tealight
–LED tealight (much safer and more convenient than an open flame!)
-ribbon for a bow (optional)
Step 1: Clean your glass! I know this isn’t the most glamorous step, but nothing is worse than getting all finished with your hurricane and seeing a smudge that you can’t get to because your layered filler is in the way. Go ahead and remove any stickers and gunk and make those containers sparkle!
Step 2: Fill each container with at least 3″ of filler (4 or 5 inches is even better). I like rice for this, because its shape and density allow it to sort of “lock” together, forming a stable base to hold your branches in position. If you are using shorter branches, you can get away with less than 3 inches, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a general rule. I used both brown and white rice to form my 3″ base, because I didn’t have enough brown rice on its own.
Step 3: Add your branches. Try to place them in a sort of ring on the outside edges, so that the center is clear. The open space is only important at the top, since we’re going to bury our votive holder there and it will need some room. The branches can go into the center towards the bottom (under the votive) if that makes sense. Hopefully my picture will explain this better than I seem to be able to in words!
I placed my foundation (non-glitter) branches first, and then filled in with the gold curly-q accents. If you are making a pair, to flank a mantle let’s say, try and keep them visually balanced. They don’t have to match 100% (in fact it’s better if they don’t), but they should look related. Think sisters, not twins ;).
Step 4: Add your next layer of fill, using your hands or a small instrument (I used a dinner fork) to make sure it lays evenly around the branches. Repeat this with your final layer of fill, reserving a small amount for step 6.
Step 5: Grab your votive holder (I used a small tupperware meant for salad dressing) and place it in the middle of the glass container, inside the branches. Now gently push down and wiggle it around, nesting it as much as you can into the top layer of fill without messing up the layers. Most likely, you will have a small rim showing – that’s okay!
Step 6: Take the fill you reserved in step 4, and add it carefully, hiding any rim you might have left showing previously.
Step 7: Add your LED tealight to the votive holder, tie a bow on the hurricane, and step back to admire your work – you’re done!
pardon the poor lighting – it’s a glum rainy day!
See? Super easy. All in all, these took me about 15 minutes apiece, and cost me less than $10 each. All I had to do was raid my pantry for uncooked legumes and grain! Other options for filler would be black beans, popcorn, or even fresh cranberries. There are so many options, so you can change this up for virtually any season or color scheme. Think fake snow, glitter, and jingle bells for winter, or colored sand for summer. The possibilities are only limited by the size of your vase and your imagination.
A note on the LED tealights: these are the ones I use, and I really do like them. First of all, they have a timer, people. Once you flip them on, they stay on for 6 hours, and then they turn themselves off for the next 18. I can’t tell you how convenient that is – no fishing the tealight out of the hurricane, no forgetting to turn them on or off, just pretty glowing light that comes on like magic. Second, they flicker, so the light is pretty realistic looking. Third, they give off a really bright white light. So many of the LED flameless candles on the market are incredibly fake looking and orange, but these glow a very clean white. If I want a slightly warmer tone, I just color the silicone bulb in a bit with a pale gold permanent marker (this one is my favorite – I use the burnt ochre color, but a yellow sharpie also works well). For a more detailed post on that, click HERE.
So that’s it! Be sure to comment if you have any questions, and come back later this week for tutorials on the book wreath, the luminaries, and the gold pumpkins.
Till next time,
FYI: this post contains affiliate links – this means that if you buy something through one of the links included here, I might make a (teeny tiny) commission. This commission has absolutely NO IMPACT on the price you pay (it would be the same price if you found it on your own) – it merely is a thank-you from the seller to me for directing you to their product!