How to make curly Willow Bouquet
Curly willow bouquet
Crafting with willow
Most people recognize this willow from silver fuzzy flowers, which are oh so soft and cute. (Unfortunately I am not allowed to type the common name of this willow here). I do love them as well, but to me willow is one of my favorite materials for crafting. Willow is not only sturdy, it is flexible and versatile. You can make wreaths, baskets, furniture and many kinds of decorations, like curly willow bouquet!
Making curly willow bouquet was one of my favorite projects. I will show you how it is done. If making flower arrangement is not your strongest quality, no worries, anyone can make stunning curly willow bouquet, that I can guarantee! For this project all you need is some willow, wire, pruning scissors and time.
I did some searching and apparently you can use any kind of willow to make this kind of curly willow bouquet. If you try, please let me know!
All images taken by Marja79 unless mentioned otherwise
Best time to collect willow twigs
Best time to collect willow is just before blooming.
During winter, soaking willows in hot water makes willow easier to work with.
Step 1 - Find some Willow twigs
These mostly grow wild almost anywhere. I have pruning scissors with me. For a big bouquet you need long willow twigs.
As long as willow twigs look healthy ,and are not too thick, they are fine. I try to avoid cutting them off from a bush that has gotten big as tree, those are too thick. I choose the small willow twigs around the tree.
Cut willow twigs with proper tools
Willow twigs are really though and almost stringy like, so you cannot just bend them. Fresh willow is sturdy and moist. That is how you can determine is willow good enough for crafting. Twig that snaps is not good.
These are sturdy enough to cut stronger branches as well.
I have older model of these , have had them for years. Still working great, even though I have used them to cut wire as well.. but do not tell anyone!
Step 2 - making curls
I cut about 40 willow twigs, some always get ruined so better to be safe than sorry. I want loose curls for this one so I am using quite large round object to make those curls.
Step 3 - wiring
Wire is the best material for this. No need to tie anything , just cut pieces about 4 inches.
Step 4 - let them dry in warm place
Fresh willow is moist, so it can take few days before they are dry enough to stay curled.
Step 5 - Making the Bouquet
I have waited about 3 days, could have waited about a week or so to get the best possible result. I have cut open all the wires, my fingertips did not like me opening them.
Step 6 - start small
Adding one twig at the time to see how they fit. I use about 10 twigs or so and then tie them with wire to help me to handle the bouquet.
Step 7 - tie the bouquet with willow twig
Ok this looks pretty good now. I have one willow twig left, I use it to tie up the whole bouquet. Fresh willow bends nicely and it is durable.
Step 8 - make paper flowers
I took a piece of red paper and just folded it to look a bit like a flower, I can only make paper flowers like this. Maybe I should learn to do more difficult ones?
Step 9 - final touch
Adding the paper flowers, I do not think this needs more , at least this time. Depending on occasion it is easy to make different kinds of decorations. In one bouquet I used thin copper wire, it curls like the willow twigs and shines in the light so it looks great.
What else you can do from willow twigs
You can decorate your garden or patio many ways with willow twigs. You can even make furniture, baskets, wall decorations. Make a living fence!
Willow is great material for many kinds of decorations and crafting. Properly collected, dried and soaked Willow is sturdy. The process takes time, but it is worth it.
Willows can be collected from late fall until early spring and stored for later use. Willow should be properly dried in cool dark place , when it snaps in half it is dry enough. Then willow is soaked in cold water for 2 or 3 weeks. It makes willow twigs stronger for more challenging crafting like plaiting.
Peeled willow dries faster (in one day in warm and sunny place ),and it does not have to be soaked in cold water that long. Peeled willow is not suitable for outdoor decorations.