These ornaments are so ridiculously easy to make that you'll want to load up on plants and make dozens of them! Each one will be unique, based on your plant and color choices. They make thoughtful, yet inexpensive, gifts for neighbors, bosses, your hairdresser, etc. (really, anyone who deserves your handmade efforts but maybe you don't know their size/favorite color/ favorite flavor). Air plants require very little care and are wonderful for people with no time/ space for a true garden (*me). Or.....nobody could fault you for hoarding these ornaments all for yourself and having an x-mas tree covered in beautiful, growing life!
Step 1: You Will Need...
Airplant(s) --Available at some garden centers and also at a variety of online retailers. Any variety will do --get crazy!
Aluminum Craft Wire --Comes in a lot of great colors and is easy to twist and flex. DO NOT use copper wire! As user cactususan pointed out in the comments, copper will kill tilandsias and should be avoided.
Wire Nippers --from the jewelry dept of your local craft store.
Bead(s) --Can be ceramic, glass, metal, or plastic. Just make sure the holes are approximately the same width as your wire.
Small Flatback Rhinestones (optional)
Additional tools: A wooden spoon (may be helpful, but is not required), and a toothpick
Step 2: Cut
Cut a length of aluminum wire. Remember that you'll lose a lot of the length to your spiral shape, so be generous. I cut almost double what I want the final ornament height to be. You can always clip off excess at the end. I tend to start with 10-12 inches.
I've used silver wire here because its what I had around, but remember that you can get this stuff in almost any color. For the holidays, try gold, blue, or bright x-mas red!
Step 3: Hook
Take one end of your wire and bend it to form the ornament hook. Aluminum wire is easy to bend by hand, but I find that using a wooden spoon handle helps make a more rounded, professional looking hook.
Step 4: Spiral
Using your fingers, bend the wire into a spiral, working down from the hook at the top.
You want to end up with a shape that looks like a slinky or a tornado (3rd pic). Once you've achieved this base shape, you can leave it or play around.
Things to Try: Re-bend to make the middle orbit widest for a rounder shape, or widen the bottom to seat a larger plant.
Step 5: Bead End Cap
Select a Bead--Slide the bead on and off the end of your wire to make sure it fits. If you are satisfied with your selection, squeeze the bead on and leave it.
Using a toothpick, dab clear drying craft adhesive into the exposed hole of the bead. Once dry, this will lock your bead in place.
Optional Rhinestone --For a little added glitz, apply a small rhinestone to cover the exposed bead hole. Just nest it into that dab of glue you applied. Its minimal and simple, but really finishes off the raw end nicely. If you have an especially ornate bead (like a glass lamp work bead) you may not feel the rhinestone is necessary.
Step 6: Install the Plant
Using your fingers, pry open your spiral somewhere near the middle. Gently push your air plant, bottom first, through this gap.
Re-form the spiral around your plant, squeezing the wire spiral back together and adjusting as needed. Your plant should be securely enveloped by the wire and able to sit without any assistance from you.
Step 7: DONE!
Seriously, how easy was that??
Now you have some elegant little hanging plants that can brighten up any space. Hang them singularly or link them together for some festive living garland.
Air Plant Care: The great thing about these plants is that they need almost nothing from you, making them perfect for those with busy schedules or lots of travel. Simply take them down once every two weeks and soak them in clean water for about an hour. You don't even have to remove the aluminum wires for their "bath". Take them out of the water and let them drip dry. Hang in a place that does not get below 50 degrees, as they don't like getting too cold. EASY! The plants you see here have been with me almost 5 years. If you give them just this little bit of attention, they'll be a gift that keeps on giving.