Growing up, I loved the bits of nature that I could collect, or at least enjoy experimenting on in their natural habitat. I always loved seeing the soft, white fluffs floating into the sky from a milkweed pod when I would gently pull the woody shell apart. It was a bit like blowing dandelion fluffs into the air, but somehow more rewarding and enjoyable. I think because the seeded fluffs were so perfectly encased in the pod, so silky and fun to play with, that milkweed pods were this fluffer-nutter’s joy of nature. Real nature, that is, the kind you really can’t fool.
I guess my love for nature nuggets combined with the challenge of trompe l’oeil, in paper crafting, has brought me to the joy of seed and pod re-creation. I thought it would be fun to share it with you as we try to create a little art to fool mother nature and last even longer.
In this post I’m going to show you how to make the milkweed, chinese, and flaming lantern pods. The file you will need to make these creations is the Wee Gather Together Seeds and Pods cut it set on LD. The chart above shows the items (cut it files) that are in the set. The photos below show charts of those pieces turned into three dimensional art.
To make the milkweed pod you will need the tri-petal piece and the seeds shown above. Cut them out, choosing gray paper for the pod shell and seeds. I used a gray paper from Paper Source, in a text weight, for this pod.
After the pieces are cut out, take the tri-petal piece, fold each inward to the center to crease each, then curl and bend the three petal pieces. I curled two inward and one into an ‘S’ curve for the open piece.
Next, using tacky or white glue, attach the two curled-in petals together to create a cocoon shape and hold in place with a mini clothes pin until dry. See photo “how to” sample above.
Use an 8-10 inch piece of florist wire for the stem, and at one end, glue the seed pieces (that you will fold in half) to the wire with a small downy feather, or bit of fluff, also glued between the seed parts to the wire. Do this with at least 5-7 seeds (though there are many), altering the angle back and forth on the wire within a two inch space, ending with a seed and feather at the end of the wire. Now, thread the wire down into the pod shell so that it incases the seeds/fluffs. Finish off the milkweed pod with a couple of green leaves along the stem.
To make the chinese lantern pods first cut out the 5-petal star shaped piece, as shown in the image below. I used a paper from French Paper Company that I have had for years, but I recommend any colors you like from Paper Source, in a text weight, for this pod.
After the star shaped piece is cut out, take the petal pieces, fold each inward to the center to crease each, then curl and bend the five petal pieces. I curled first outward, then at the tips inward to create a teardrop shape when complete. Next, using tacky or white glue, attach the curled-in petals together to form the teardrop shape and hold in place with mini clothes pin until dry. I glued only the pieces together closer to the tips, but not completely to the ends. I also did not glue the petals together where they meet at the center so as to have more play and bend in the paper petals parts. If you do this you will have slit openings where each petal meets to for the teardrop shape. See the photo “how to” samples above and below. The photo above shows the beginning steps and the photo below shows the ending steps.
After I had the teardrop shaped lantern pod completed, I chose to sprits spray paint the pod to add visual texture. Once dry, I slid the pod up a piece of florist wire (with the end of the wire curled, as shown in the photo), then bent the wire into a rod or cane shape allowing the lantern to dangle down over the wire. See the photo above to help explain this process. Finish off the chinese lantern pod with a couple of green leaves along the stem if you like.
To make the flaming lantern pod, you will need the tri-petal piece and the seeds shown below. Cut them out, choosing tan or a warm color of paper for the pod shell and brown for the seeds. I used the tan paper for all, then colored the seeds with a brown marker.
After the pieces are cut out, take the tri-petal piece, fold each inward to the center to crease each as well as crease each petal down its middle and squeeze together, as shown in the photo below. I chose to sprits the piece at that time with spray paint to give added visual color and texture.
Next, using tacky or white glue, attach the petals together only near the tops and hold in place with mini clothes pins to dry. Once the pod has taken shape, curl the ends of each petal outward a bit.
To complete the flaming lantern pod, use a piece of florist wire, thread down through the lantern and glue one of the seeds onto the end of the wire with the wire being sandwiched between the folded seed piece. Next, glue a seed about .75 to one inch up the wire (sandwiching the wire) to have a place for the lantern to dangle without falling to the end of the wire. Now, bend the remaining wire into a rod or cane shape, and add a few leaves onto the stem. See the photo “how to” above.
When you have your milkweed and lantern pods complete you can use them in wreath or hanging swag decor, put them in a vase, or attach a ribbon name tag to each and have one for each guest at their place setting as table decor for Thanksgiving dinner.