Christmas Decorations from Roadside Weeds

   About 15 years ago I noticed  these thistle like weeds growing along road sides.   I saw possibilities.   I  watched them to see if  they turned into fluff like most thistles do.   Happily I noticed they seemed to dry in tact.

The next fall I collected a large pile of them.   After a month in the stock room I noticed they dropped

tiny black seeds, which were easily shook out of them.   I painted them metallic gold and featured them on a Christmas tree in the shop.   During the open house that year I was informed that they are called teasel.

Three years ago I noticed a spiked weed.  It had fuzzy leaves and

stems and in the spring the spikes were covered in little yellow

flowers.   Watching them again in the field, I saw that they dried

well and didn't make a mess.

That fall I not only painted them gold, I also put glitter on them.

The glittered spikes were well received in the shop that Christmas season.  No one has been able so far to give me the name of these


Spiked plant with leaves  

If you continue to follow my blog I will be showing how I use these weeds in christmas decorating including a "lodge" Christmas tree and mantle.

I thought you would enjoy seeing how I process them.

This is a list of what you will need:

  1. Wallpaper border adhesive or "Tacky glue"
  2. Spray cans of high gloss paint
  3. Metallic gold and/or silver spray paint   
  4. Wire brush
  5. Paint brush
  6. Large pieces of cardboard
  7. Latex gloves
  8. Jars of loose glitter                                                                                                                                                                       

When you go out to collect the teasel you might want to wear gloves.   The stems are prickly.   This year I realized that a wire brush is good to clean the dead dry leaves off the Spike plant.   Use the wire brush to clean the stems while outside.

If you have ever painted dried plants gold and it seemed to take an inordinate amount of paint, its because you did not


 them first.   If they are not


 with oil based paint, they soak up the metallic paint.

Use high gloss oil spray paint -Red for Gold -Blue for Silver- to seal the weeds.   The higher the gloss on paint the more oil in it.

To save paint, lay all the teasel or spikes in a pile on the cardboard box material.

Put on your latex gloves.

Hold each stalk individually close to the pile as you spray to cover as much as possible in the red or blue paint.   By spraying this way the over spray will also start to paint the ones behind the one you are spraying.

Teasel and spikes to the left painted Red for Gold

On the right painted Blue for Silver

When the gloss oil paint is dry to the touch, the metallic paint can be sprayed the same way the red and blue paint was applied.

You can stop at this point if you want and use the items as they are.

Plants after metallic gold and silver paint is applied.

Apply Glitter

In the past I have tried spray glues and spray glitter unsuccessfully.  Last year I had great success with

a slightly watered down :"Tacky glue."  This year I used

wallpaper border adhesive

 and like it even better.

After the metallic paint is dry, use a paint brush to apply the glue.   Put it on


 !   It dries clear and won't

show.  You can brush the spikes.   The teasel stems are more delicate, however  so hold the heads against the cardboard and "dab" the glue on.

Brush glue on spikes - dab on teasel

What I like about the border glue is that you don't have to wait for it to "tack  up."   You can apply the glitter immediately.

Applying Silver Glitter

Put on the latex gloves again.     Pour some glitter into your gloved hand.   Pat or squeeze the glitter on.

Doing it this way waste less glitter than sprinkling it on.   I have also found that less glitter falls off when the glue dries.  Keeping some medium weight paper under your work allows you to save and reapply a lot of the glitter that falls.   Areas where you can't actually press or pat on the glitter will require some sprinkling.

Spike with silver glitter

Teasel and spikes with silver glitter

Gold glitter

I hope you find this useful and fun.      In the next week or so I will show these things used in Christmas decorations.

Please let me know what you think and please tell your friends about my blog.

Bill Gantt