Monday, January 11, 2016

Got Sticks?

One thing I learned back in 2004 when decorating our first house was, you've got to have sticks! Every design magazine I've ever looked at whether modern, contemporary, traditional or retro all have one thing in common - sticks! In my current house, which is very traditionally decorated, I have two wonderful tall jugs/vases with... you guessed it... Sticks! I find that bringing wood elements into any design adds the perfect little touch of natures majesty.

Alki Point needed a little design element in the corner connecting the right wall with the front wall of windows. I made a large Asian looking plant in a resin wicker basket, but it seemed a little too big for the space. After all, we are not trying to block the view of Puget Sound. It needed just a little pop of nature so that when guests gazed out the big wall of windows, they'd have a little perspective. Here in the Northwest, we often combine elements of water with forest.

Luckily, I had some really awesome planters that I designed for Alki Point. The 3D printing process done in White, Strong and Flexible leaves a wonderful pottery type texture that is a perfect organic balance to the modern and sleek elements. I also just so happened to have several harvested, saved and recycled materials to create an interesting stick sculpture.

The ones on the left are pieces that I "borrowed" from an artificial arrangement that is stored away just to be borrowed from. The sticks on the right are "borrowed" from some stocks of autumn leaves I have to decorate the front porch for fall, and the sticks in the middle are actually huckleberry branches harvested from our beautiful Gifford Pinchot National Forest on vacation last summer. I always come home with lots of forest treasures!

I decided on a good length, then cut them down with my nippers. I was able to get two sticks out of some of them.

On the test arrangement, I decided I wanted them to be sticking out of the planter just a little more.

So I filled the planter about 1/3 full with hot glue. I let it cool completely before placing the sticks so that they would not sink in. I added just a little glob to the end of each stick before I placed it in.

The whole project took about 10 minutes, even with stopping to take photos. I love all of the different textures together, and the planter is just what I was hoping for!

Now for the Asian plant that I did not use here (but will use in the future, or maybe outside the structure)...

I picked up a branch of this artificial leaf at Joanne Fabrics a while back. I have no idea what type of plant it's supposed to be, but the leaf color and markings combined with the dark brown stem reminds me of stuff I've seen in the Japanese Garden here in Seattle.

The container I'm using is one of the resin types that I picked up on a HBS/ order. I start by just squeezing a bit of the hot glue to hold the first branch in place. I like to get several of them just tacked in place. That lets me arrange and angle them the way I like. Once I am happy. I'll fill the rest of the container about 2/3 full of hot glue. I hold onto the branches until the glue is set, because the hot glue will melt and sort of wilt them. That is a good thing, trust me.

Once the hot glue has cooled, you can further arrange and pose the new plant with floral wire. I just play around with it until I am happy with the pose. Then I wrap the wire around, give it a twist, cut off the excess, add a dot of hot glue to hold it in place, then camouflage the wire as best as possible.

To finish off the planter, I add a layer of white glue. I use a toothpick to cover the entire surface under the plant.

I used rubber "bark" that I have on hand from HBS to cover the glue layer. The glue dries clear. You can use dried coffee grounds or tea leaves as well. Just apply over the glue layer, let dry, then shake off the excess.

Although it turned out to be a littler larger than I was intending it to and was not right for the space, it will work out great someplace else!

Hope you give sticks and plants a try if you haven't yet!


  1. Ooooooooo....I love the plants! As a side note, if you have sedum in your garden and you leave the stems, they dry and bleach out over winter. They look amazingly like birch logs when you chop them up! Great for fireplaces.

    1. Hey that's a great tip, Kat! I do have sedum planted in between my azaleas! I'll go see what I can get from them!

  2. These look wonderful. The resin basket one makes a good looking container plant. The sticks have a clean modern look about them. Both so simple to do once you explain the steps. Thanks for the melting tip, whew, no need to panic.

    1. Thanks Shelley! I am happy to share the ideas and experiences!

  3. Sticks. Hmmm. I will remember that.

  4. Hello Jodi,
    Great projects. they look beautiful and will add just the right touch to your rooms. Well done.
    Big hug

  5. Thank you for sharing your work and ideas.

    1. Thank you, Janice, for your wonderful archive of blog posts! I get lost in them for hours, and so enjoy every minute of it!