Introduction: A Happiness Garden (With a Floating Jug)

About: Where there's a will, there's a way! Never give up, never give in...BE the good you want to see in the world. :)

I created this colorful, springtime project to bring a little joy and happiness to this time of chaos.

While this crisis continues to affect our world today, I thought of the verse in the Bible that says, "You are the salt of the Earth." Although this verse obviously has a spiritual meaning that points to Jesus, I wanted to interpret it in a fun and different way for this piece. I thought of salt as being poured out in the form of joyfulness, silver linings, and positivity (hence all the joyous, happy things in this piece being poured out of a "milk jug" salt shaker).

This piece helps me remember to count my blessings, be the good I want to see in the world, and to keep looking for (and producing) positivity and optimism, even in a time of chaos. Plus, it just makes me happy to look at! :D


  • Quilling paper in 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", 3/4" and 1" widths (I also had my kids "watercolor" computer paper for me to serve as quilling paper)
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue (craft or school glue)
  • Hot glue and glue gun
  • Box, basket, or pretty container to build the sculpture in
  • Wire hanger
  • A weight (I used a brick)
  • Any decorations or additional mediums you want to use to complete this project
  • OPTIONAL: Paint and paint supplies
  • OPTIONAL: Drill with 3/32 drill bit
  • OPTIONAL: Wire cutters
  • OPTIONAL: Tape
  • OPTIONAL: YouTube tutorials--because I needed them, too! ;)

Step 1: Create the Jug's Base

For the floating milk jug, we will need a strong base to hold it up. I had this old wire hanger lying around, so I bent it into an oval shape, set it in the bottom of the box, added a weight (via a brick from outside) on top to hold it in place, positioned it how I wanted it, and tried gluing the hanger to the brick (but needed to add tape, additionally, to make it stay).

NOTE: You can and probably should use a construction adhesive or super glue to glue the hanger down. However, all I had on hand was hot glue, so hot glue is what I used.

Step 2: Add Framing

I created the framing for the "floor" of the piece (the part that everything would sit on top of) by measuring the length and width of the inside walls of the box. Next, translate those dimensions to a wooden frame of some sort (in my case, I had popsicle sticks on hand, so I used those). Cut the wood as needed to fit the dimensions desired. When you're all set, glue the frame together with hot glue and place it into the box.

Step 3: Add Stability

To stabilize the framing and make it stronger, I added corner "braces" to the framing (hot gluing them against the framing's corners and to the base of the box), so it would have some "legs" to stand on.

Step 4: Add Flooring

I had some wider popsicle sticks on hand that I used for the "flooring" of the base.

I simply cut the pieces to the appropriate size and hot glued them to the framing, to each other, and to the walls of the box. I had to work around the inside edges of my box by creating some angled cuts on the edges of some of the popsicle sticks. I also had to adjust the lengths of some sticks to work around the wire for the jug.

Step 5: Drill a Hole

In my little milk jug salt shaker, the predrilled holes were a hair too small. So I used a 3/32 drill bit (the size of the hanger diameter) to drill the center hole bigger. Then I double checked the fit, and adjusted the length of the wire (with the help of wire cutters) so the shaker sat where I wanted it to on the project.

Step 6: Getting Aquainted

If you've never used quilling tools (and believe it or not, this was my first time! -- Which probably explains why I didn't have more quilling paper on hand!), here is a quick explanation of the two most commonly used tools.

The first tool is slotted, so you can fit the paper into the slot and start turning the tool. This makes it really easy because it grips the paper in place while you turn it.

NOTE: Everyone uses these tools differently. For me, it is easiest to grip the paper with my left hand and keep it steady, while I turn the tool with my right hand. If you have a different way that's more comfortable to you, please by all means use whatever works for you! :)

The second tool is simply a long, pointy tip that is helpful for quilling larger pieces of paper (and other uses). My tool actually has it where the tip twists which is helpful.

Step 7: Sample Quilling

Most basic quilling shapes (and all the shapes I used in this Instructable), revolve around this simple approach: insert the paper into the slot (or wrap it tightly around the tip of the longer tool), and tightly begin wrapping it around the tool (in whatever way is most comfortable for you). When you reach the end of the paper, hold the coil firmly, pull it off the tool, and you can now do one of two things:

  1. Add a dab of glue to secure the paper end to the coil. Do this if you want the coil to stay that size and stay tight.
  2. Let go of the coil and allow it to "relax" (meaning, loosen up) to the desired width, then add the glue to the paper end.

Most basic shapes you want to make can come from this basic coiling approach, therefore when using this approach in any of the future steps, I will not be showing pictures for it over and over and over. I will just show where there's an update or change to the basic circular shape.

Step 8: Different Shapes

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of possible shapes you can make while quilling, however these are just a few examples:

  • A Flower (made from 4-5 circular, or other shaped, petals...usually with a center coil)
  • To make a shape that has the circle opening in the middle, and two pointed ends: allow the coil to loosen and press your thumb and first finger over the center hole (guiding it to the center of the shape) as the coils loosen. Then when you achieve the size you want, pinch both ends off with your first finger and thumb, and glue the strip's end in place.
  • To make a teardrop shape, follow the idea of the previous point, but instead guide the center opening to the bottom as the coil loosens, and only pinch off the one end (opposite the center opening).
  • To make multiple shapes on the same strip of paper, simply start a coil (and go half way, or however far on the paper you want), then pull the coil off and leave it to loosen while you transition to the other end of the paper, and start quilling that side however you want for the desired shape and finished look.

Step 9: Flower 1

I am now going to share with you the different flowers I used in my project. However, you can feel free to look up and use any flowers (or shapes/objects) that you want whether via quilling or origami. I chose to use a blend of quilling and origami as I didn't have a lot of quilling paper, nor a lot of time to solely use quilling.

This flower is quilled. Here's how it's done:

  1. Cut 2 strips of paper from 2 different colors. The smaller strip should be HALF the size of the larger strip. The smaller strip will represent the center coil of the finished flower, and the larger strip will become the flower petals, so keep that in mind when choosing your colors.
  2. In the larger strip, cut fringe using the tip of your scissors. Do NOT allow the fringe to go past halfway (height-wise).
  3. Glue the end of the smaller strip to the end of the larger strip on the bottom part of the larger strip (opposite the fringe side).
  4. Begin quilling, starting with the smaller strip. Continue quilling all the way to the end of the larger strip.
  5. Glue the end of the strip to the body of the flower, and take the flower off the tool.
  6. Gently peel back the fringe to reveal the cute, little flower!

Make as many as you want in various sizes and colors for a fun effect!

NOTE: I will not be giving exact measurements, unless necessary, as this is more showing the approach so you can make whatever size fits your specific needs.

Step 10: Flower 2

This is a fun and easy origami rose.

  1. Start with a strip of paper in the color you want your rose to be.
  2. Fold the end over as shown in the second picture.
  3. Then fold it again on the diagonal line created by the first fold, so that the two folds now sit perpendicular to the strip of paper (as in the third picture).
  4. The whole rose is made from the simple process of mountain folding backwards (meaning, to fold the paper away from you so that it makes a pushed up edge at the top, like the top of a mountain or hill), and have the top edge of the strip meet the underside corner of the beginning fold (as seen in the fifth picture).
  5. Immediately after you do this fold, turn the body of the rose inward (to the right), then backwards mountain fold and turn the rose again.
  6. As you continue the backwards mountain fold and turning process, allow the rose petals to kind of perk out (don't force them to stay flush with the body of the rose). In fact, you will have to let them perk out if you want to continue touching the top of the strip to the corner of the original beginning fold (the one that's perpendicular to the strip). This perpendicular fold will always be the guide to make sure your folds are staying on track.
  7. Continue this process until you reach the end of the strip. (NOTE: the bigger the rose, the flatter the petals get, and if you go on long enough, it will make a shape similar to that of a plate on the bottom petals).
  8. Glue the end of the strip to the base of the rose. Then twist (and flatten, if desired) the perpendicular fold that is now sticking out of the bottom of the rose, so that you can glue it to the bottom of the rose (if you want a smooth bottom for the rose).

Here is the video tutorial I used, if it helps:

Step 11: Flower 3

This flower (supposedly a twisty rose) was hard! Not so much in its technique, but for me, it was just...hard...

However, instead of trying to recreate the instructions for this one in written format, I will just share its video with you below... GOOD LUCK!

Step 12: Flower 4

Most origami starts with a square base (the size of which depends on your needs).

  1. Fold the base in half as seen in the first picture.
  2. Fold the top edge down towards the bottom, about 3/4 of the way down. Crease it, then open it back up to the halfway fold.
  3. Fold the paper back on itself in a triangular shape by opening the first side away from the second side, and folding it back to the top edge. Crease it, then place it back where it started.
  4. Pull the entire other edge (in my case, the right side) back to touch the top of the triangular fold made in the previous step. Crease, AND LEAVE IT HERE.
  5. Pull the point of this piece back to touch the point left behind (see picture five for clarity).
  6. Bring the entire left side over to meet up to the fold you just made (see pictures six and seven for clarity).
  7. See that vertical line between the two folds? Fold the two sides in such a way that the line becomes a fold (see pictures eight and nine for clarity).
  8. Cut the entire piece as shown in pictures ten and eleven.
  9. Picture twelve shows the top of what you're left with.
  10. If you open this, it will look similar to the last picture, however to keep it secured, fold the petals back over on themselves until you reach the thirteenth picture. Then fold over all layers as shown.
  11. Flip it over, and fold all the layers as shown in the fourteenth picture.
  12. When you open the flower now, it should look like the last picture.

OPTIONAL: You can add deeper V cuts in the petals if desired.

Here is the video tutorial I used, if it helps:

Step 13: Flower 5

This one is actually super easy! After I had seen the tutorial only once, I had this one memorized.

  1. Start with a square base. Rotate it to look like a diamond.
  2. Fold the bottom point up to meet the top point.
  3. Fold the left point up to meet the top point, followed by the right point.
  4. Fold the right flap back to meet the right side of the base. The two lines should match up. Then do the same thing on the other side. (See pictures five and six for clarity)
  5. Open the right side flap and do a squash fold (also known as a kite fold). Repeat on the other side. (See pictures for clarity)
  6. Fold the pointy part of the top of the kite down (and crease) so the top is flat. Repeat on opposite side.
  7. Fold the flaps inwards on themselves back into the same position they were in before, except now they have little folds in the flaps.
  8. Glue the two flaps together to reveal one petal.
  9. Repeat this process four more times, then glue all the petals together with the rounded edges facing out and the pointed edges facing in. Use the pictures to help you.

Step 14: Flower 6

This one was fun to make, and my daughter mastered it better than me!

  • Start with a strip of paper.
  • Fold the strip of paper in half lengthwise.
  • Add fringe 3/4 of the way up the strip. The closer together you cut your fringe, the more "petals" there will be (the more detail there will be).
  • Open the strip up, and flip it over to help poof out the fringe pieces. Glue the bottom un-fringed parts of the strip together. NOTE: You can add additional poofing by gently pressing down the tops of the fringe loops.
  • Make a little "stem" by taking a green strip of paper and rolling it around a toothpick, straw, or pencil (depending on how wide you want it to be). Glue the end to the rolled paper strip to the stem, and remove the item you used to roll the paper around. NOTE: The thinner the stem, the more times the strip can wrap around it, giving the finished flower more detail. Find just the right size for your project.
  • Add a strip of glue around the top of the stem.
  • Add the flower strip around the glue (making sure to only get glue on the bottom base part of the strip and not the petals).
  • Add a straight line of glue part way down the stem. Working in a slightly diagonal fashion, wrap the flower strip around the stem (overlapping the flower petals as you go). Continue adding short line of glue and wrapping until you reach the end of the strip.
  • When you reach the end, glue the flower strip down, and trim off the stem if you don't want excess (or leave the stem if you want it to show).

Step 15: Flower 7

For this flower, you will need to:

  • Make a 4x4 grid of creases by folding in half each way, then in half of the halves each way. If you did it right, it will look like picture number four.
  • Next, fold the corners up to center on all four sides.
  • Then fold the corners up to center again on all four sides.
  • Then fold the corners up to center again on all four sides.
  • Now, fold the points outward (as seen in pictures 12 and 13).
  • Find the points of the next layer inward, and fold those outward.
  • Finally, find the points of the innermost layer, and fold those outward.

Step 16: Flower 8

This lily is tricky. So you can use the pictures here as a guide, but it will be easiest to share with you a video for easier completion of this flower.

Step 17: Leaf 1

Next, I'm going to share 2 leaf styles I used in my project. Why only 2? Because it was easy. :)

For the first leaf style, you can use a fancy quilling comb, but I just used a regular hair comb to get the job done.

  1. Wrap the top of the quilling strip around the first tooth of the comb (the one just under the outer tooth, since the outer tooth is too wide).
  2. Skip about 4 teeth (or however many you want, just make sure to keep the number consistent), and pull the strip around that tooth (to encompass the fourth tooth down).
  3. Pull the end of the strip back up to the starting point and around the starting tooth, then when you bring it down again, bring it down 4 teeth further than the first go-around (so 8 teeth down in total).
  4. Go back up to the start. Then go down 4 more teeth (so 12 teeth total), and so forth, until the length of the leaf you want is reached.
  5. Bring the end back up to start, glue the ends together. Pull it off the comb. And there you have it!

Step 18: Leaf 2

The second leaf is the one I used the most in this project (mostly because my youngest daughter wouldn't stop making them!):

  • Take your square origami paper and fold it in half.
  • Turn the paper so it faces vertically.
  • Draw a line from the corner of the open side to the corner of the creased side as seen in picture two.
  • Cut this line.
  • Use the triangle that remains which has the crease in it.
  • Accordion fold the paper back and forth over itself all the way up from the bottom (biggest part) to the tip of the top.
  • When you reach the top, fold the two ends together to meet at the top (with the pokey, curvy edges facing out).
  • Glue the two straight edges together to form your leaf.

Step 19: Grass

I wanted to add some grass (like trim on a house) to finish the decorative edges of the box.

To make fringe, simply take a strip of green paper in the width you want, cut fringe into it, back-fold a little bit of the base that isn't cut to form a place for gluing the grass to the box, then glue it to the box.

Step 20: Butterfly

This is the easiest butterfly to make, but feel free to experiment with any and all different little creatures you want. My daughter made a hummingbird (not on the finished project because I couldn't figure out how to make it look like it was in mid-flight), a little frog (seen on the front, it's blue) and a little bird (seen in the very back, it's pink). However, I wasn't able to snap pictures of her other creations to show how she made them, as she made them while I was creating my own things. So, just search YouTube for the tutorials and have fun! There's so many options out there!

To make this butterfly:

  1. Start with a square base.
  2. Fold it in all directions. This means, fold it in half both ways. Then fold it corner to corner (to make triangles) both ways. You will get a starting base like you see in picture one.
  3. Push in the left and right sides along the diagonal creases to create a triangle, as seen in pictures 2 and 3.
  4. Pointing the top point downward (or, towards you), pull the tips of the wide base down. BUT, not to center. Fold them down to how you see them in picture five. Do this to both flaps.
  5. Flip it over.
  6. Fold the center point up until you can't fold it any higher (the paper won't let you). Crease it down.
  7. Flip it back over. Take the tip of the triangle from the backside, and pull it down and over the front side, so it goes between the "wings."
  8. Fold the butterfly wings up to meet each other and create a crease in the "head" (the tip piece you pulled over).

That's it! Easy peasy! Make a bunch in different colors and sizes!

Step 21: Complete!

After two grueling days (and one overnight until 7:30 a.m. to write this Instructable, and sort through the 800+ photos I took of the process), it is finally COMPLETE!!

It looks great! I love the liquid-like flow created by the flowers and creatures. I love the way the milk jug salt shaker seems suspended in mid-air. I love how bright and cheery everything is. I love the fact that all our hard work has finally paid off!

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and will try your hand at creating something happy and positive too! Everyone could use a little silver lining in their lives. :D



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