Make This: Coneflowers from Found Items

By Clint Brown (clintbrown) on March 24, 2010

There is an old Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) tree next to the parking lot at work. One morning when I arrived I thought, "That looks just like an Echinacea cone!" A jog in the country led to the discovery of Trumpet Vine's (Campsis radicans) dried seed pods which are so easily cut with scissors! A trip to the Chinese restaurant gave me the pre-made stems (Chopsticks) and I was all set to create!

What you will n2010-03-24/clintbrown/f1c7b2eed:

  • Sweetgum Balls
  • Dried Seedpods from Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)
  • Bamboo Chopsticks (Save them and wash)
  • Elmer's Glue
  • Acrylic Paint (Colors of your choice)
  • Scissors

Step 1:

Apply a drop of glue into one of the holes in a Sweetgum Ball. Take one of the Bamboo Chopsticks and insert it into the hole with the pointed side towards the cone. This will be your stem. Let this dry for about 15 minutes before proceeding to step 2.2010-03-24/clintbrown/99426c

Step 2:

To make the petals, use the Trumpet Vine seed pods. The seed pods should easily split into two halves. Each of these halves will make 4 petals for your flowers, depending on how you want them to look. Discard any seeds, etc. from inside the pod. Cut the shape of the petal out of each piece. Make sure the end that goes towards the "cone" is pointed enough to stick into the cone. For some of mine, I cut a ribbon tip in the end of the petal by cutting a V-shape out of the end. Experiment with this and you will get the hang of it in no time!

Step 3:

Apply a drop of Elmer's Glue to one of the holes in one Sweetgum ball towards the bottom half. Proceed to the next hole in the cone until you come full circle and complete the row. For some flowers (like the white and yellow blooms pictured) I use two rows of petals and offset them for a fuller look. You can also experiment with other types of blooms by making the petals point down or out, etc. There is no wrong way to do this as long as it looks like a flower in the end! You can let your flower dry by standing it up in a glass jar or other container.2010-03-24/clintbrown/971c38

Step 4:

Now it's time to paint your flowers. Experiment with different colors. Underneath the cone, add some green. On the top of it, try yellow and orange highlights. Many plants have different colors in the cone. Try matching some of your favorites. Paint the petals. Use a darker base color and then add some lighter highlights. Let the bloom dry for about 10-15 minutes and then paint the stem. Some stems can be dark. Some can be light. Don't use the same color for all of them.

You will find that these stay together even without glue, but the glue makes them stronger. Use photos of your plants for inspiration. Don't worry about making a mistake. Petals are easily removed and replaced with new ones. In addition, paint can be covered over easily with a different color!


© 2010 - Clint Brown

Related articles:
art, coneflower, coneflowers, craft, crafts, Echinacea, Echinaceas, flower, projects, Sweetgum Balls, Trumpet Vine

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Another great article valleylynn Mar 25, 2010 8:48 AM 2
This is nifty gardener2005 Mar 25, 2010 7:24 AM 2


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