James and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary recently. We like to follow this list of traditional anniversary gifts , so this year our theme was wood. We each decided to give something handmade – James made me a beautiful wooden flower/leaf press and this is what I made for him.
I have been working a lot on projects that are nature-based lately, using plants or found bits and pieces from nature, which is why I wanted to work with sticks here. I was also inspired by the idea of Ojo de Dios, which are traditionally made for celebrations or blessings.
What I like about this DIY is that it’s very lo-fi. There are no tools involved, not even any glue! And it’s the sort of quick, easy and calming creation you can whip up on the couch one night (which is precisely what I did!).
Here’s how to make your own!
You will need:
- sticks of varying lengths and widths – I looked for ones with interesting shapes
- cross-stitch or embroidery cotton in 3 or 4 different colours (or you could use wool or twine)
- a paperclip
- a square frame
- a piece of card to fit your frame
To start, choose a colour of cotton to start with and place it a couple of centimetres down your first stick. Leave the short end hanging down in the direction you will be wrapping, and start wrapping the long end around the stick, laying each line directly below the one above so there is no stick showing in-between. You will soon start to cover up the short end. When you’ve got as much of the first colour as you like, cut the end of the cotton and again leave the end hanging down – you will cover this with the next colour.
Start your next colour at the point where the last colour ended, leaving your short end hanging down again.
Again, start wrapping the cotton around in lines, not overlapping but just lying against each other, and covering the loose ends. When you’re happy with the amount of this colour that you have, finish in the same way as the first colour and start the third colour in the same way as you started the other two. I like to use different amounts of each colour so that the colour blocks are uneven but you can keep them all even as well if you prefer.
You’re done! Repeat the same process on the next two sticks, mixing up the pattern so that no two are the same. I used four colours across three sticks so that they all went together but there was some variation.
To mount your sticks into a frame, first cut a piece of plain white card to fit inside your frame. Lay your sticks on top of it to work out where you want to place them (you can measure if you want to make sure they are evenly spaced but I just did it by eye). When you’ve worked out where you want each stick, lift each one and use a kitchen skewer, some scissors or even your trusty paperclip to pierce two small holes about 1cm apart in the card behind where the stick will lie. Make sure your holes are close enough together that they will be covered by the stick and that they are in a position that matches up with a part of the stick that is wrapped in cotton (not a bare patch).
Take a small piece of cotton around 10cm long in the same colour as the part of the stick that matches up with the hole (so that it will blend in). Thread one end of the cotton through one of the holes, lie the stick on top of the card and then thread the other end of the cotton back through the other hole, over the stick, and tie tightly at the back side of the card, holding the stick in place. Repeat this process for the other two sticks. Once they are all mounted to the card it will look as if they’re floating because you won’t be able to see the extra piece of string tying them on.
Place your piece of card inside your frame and hang or sit where you can enjoy your lovely piece of nature art!