spring decor

How to Make Miniature Natural Cotton Bolls

These miniature natural cotton bolls are a great way to add farmhouse charm to your dollhouse decor because they’re so versatile! Whether you make an arrangement of stems, or use them to decorate a grapevine wreath, the possibilities are endless.

After making the pussy willow branches, the only logical next step was to figure out an uncomplicated way to make natural cotton bolls (the round seed-bearing part of a cotton plant) since they’re everywhere in farmhouse-style decor right now! They use some of the same materials from the pussy willow project, as well, so that’s even better. Let’s get to it!

Learn how to make dollhouse miniature natural cotton bolls

What You Need to Make Miniature Natural Cotton Bolls

These little raw cotton stems are a little more complicated than the pussy willow branches, but they’re still a great project for beginners. Here’s a little more about the materials I used:

Materials to make miniature natural cotton bolls

Cotton Balls

Yep, literally just your drugstore variety of cotton ball. You’ll be tearing off little pieces, so even a single cotton ball will last you a while!

Alcohol Ink Markers

Alcohol ink markers are my favorite choice for coloring paper petals and leaves for a few reasons: they fully saturate the Japanese crepe paper I favor (more on that next) with bold, vibrant color; they dry almost immediately, which wins over waiting for paint to dry in my book; and they can be blended for a natural look with a blender marker.

I use the brand Spectrum Noir, and their markers are a little more budget-friendly than Copic markers. The shades I chose are EB3 and TN9. I used a combination of both to get a slight variation in color, but they’re quite similar so that’s not absolutely necessary.

That being said, you can color your paper however you like: colored pencils, watercolors, acrylics, or whatever else you have on hand! We’re just going for a nice dark brown shade on this project.

Japanese Crepe Paper

This is a special paper I learned about from Mary Kinloch. It is not the same as crepe paper that’s used for streamers. In fact, it’s actually a mulberry fiber paper, so it has a fantastic texture that works great for a lot of flowers and plants. I recommend checking Mary’s shop on eBay because she often sells it in small quantities, which is perfect if you’re just getting started. She also has an awesome selection of laser cut sheets!

Even though the crepe is my favorite, you can use other paper types for this project, as well. Experiment with different types and see what you like best. Even regular copy/printer paper will work, so don’t hesitate to try it!

Paper Punches

For this project, I used two specific punches: the Mini Birch Leaf from The Punch Bunch and the Mini Daisy Hole Puncher from EK Tools. I have a number of punches from both of these brands, and they work really well.

If you decide to use the Japanese crepe paper, I’ve found that I get a cleaner cut with the punches if I sandwich the crepe paper in between a folded sheet of regular copy paper.

Ball Stylus / Needle Tool

These tools are really handy for shaping petals and veining leaves. I found an embossing stylus set by EK Tools on Amazon where one of them has a ball on one side and a needle tip on the other – that is PERFECT for this project! But if you don’t have these, don’t worry. You can actually use tweezers to shape them, too, you just have to be careful not to tear your paper.

Shaping Surface

I bought a foam pad (it’s actually similar to a mouse pad in terms of density and thickness) for shaping paper, but if you don’t have anything like that, you can actually use a rubber art eraser. You just want something with a little bit of give that will allow you to use the stylus and needle tool to shape the paper without tearing holes in it. Gentle pressure is key!

Make a miniature grapevine wreath with your natural cotton bolls

Make sure you visit my pussy willow branches tutorial for more on the glues I like to use along with the floral wire recommended for this project.

Tips for Making Natural Cotton Bolls for Your Dollhouse

If you look at pictures of cotton bolls online, you’ll see that they can range from 3 to 5 segments. As a beginner, I made mine with three, but now that I have a little practice under my belt, I may try some more with five instead. You’ll just need to make your individual cotton balls a little smaller for that to work.

Prepare Your Glue

I like to use a paint palette or a little piece of aluminum foil with a blob of white tacky glue and a small pool of superglue so I can dip the pieces in to adhere them. When you use white tacky glue and superglue together like this, it creates an almost instant bond, but you have to work quickly!

How to Make Miniature Natural Cotton Bolls

How to Make Miniature Natural Cotton Bolls

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner

Learn how to make natural cotton bolls for your dollhouse!

Materials

  • 24 gauge brown floral wire
  • Cotton ball
  • Japanese crepe paper
  • Brown alcohol ink marker
  • White tacky glue
  • Superglue

Tools

  • Wire cutters
  • Tweezers
  • Mini Daisy Hole Puncher by EK Tools
  • Mini Birch Leaf by The Punch Bunch
  • Ball stylus / needle tool
  • Shaping surface
  • Paint palette or aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. Cut 2" lengths of brown floral wire with your wire cutters. I like to have a little extra length to hold on to, and you can always trim them down afterwards as needed.
  2. Tear off little bits from the cotton ball and roll them tightly into smaller balls. You'll need 3 for each stem.


  3. Dip the end of your floral wire into the white tacky glue, coating about 1/8" of the way down. Pick up each of your prepared mini cotton balls with tweezers and just barely dip them into the superglue before attaching them to the floral wire.

    Attach the mini cotton ball to the end of the floral wire
  4. Repeat with 2 more cotton balls so that you have a trio attached to the end. Set aside to dry.



  5. Get your paper and punch out 1 daisy and 3 birch leaves, then color them brown with your alcohol ink marker.


  6. Cut off each of the 6 petals from the daisy and lay them on top of your shaping surface. Use the needle tool to score a line directly down the middle so you can fold the petals in half lengthwise.
  7. Pick up a folded petal with your tweezers and dip the folded edge in your tacky glue and then the superglue. Place the glued edge in between two of the cotton balls, pushing it in as deep toward the center as you can. Repeat with 2 more and set aside to dry. You can use your tweezers to open up the petal a little once it's nestled in place.


    Place the folded petal in between the cotton balls
  8. Grab your birch leaves and lay them on top of your shaping surface. Like with the petals, score a line directly down the middle for the vein. Then, use the ball stylus to curve the leaf.
  9. You'll want the curl of the leaf to point downward. Pick it up with your tweezers and dip the stem in your tacky glue and then the superglue. Place it on the floral wire just under the cotton balls. Try to offset the leaf from where the petals were placed in between the balls. Repeat with 2 more and set aside to dry.

    Add the birch leaves to the cotton stem
  10. Trim your wire stems as needed to arrange in a vase or to add to a wreath. Enjoy!

Please feel free to tag me on Facebook or Instagram @petiteprovisionsco with your version of miniature cotton bolls, and let me know if you have any questions!

How To Make Miniature Pussy Willow Branches

This vase of miniature pussy willow branches is the latest addition to my farmhouse-style dollhouse in progress!

I’ve been on a flower and plant-making kick lately, and since I’ve been completely obsessed with farmhouse decor, I decided to try making some arrangements that would be fitting with that style. Hence, I tried my hand at one of my favorite spring florals, pussy willow branches. And lucky for us, they’re really easy to make, so let’s get started!

How to Make Miniature Pussy Willow Branches

What You Need to Make Miniature Pussy Willows

These cute little pussy willow branches are a great project for beginners because they’re not only easy to make, but they also don’t require too much in terms of special supplies. Here’s a rundown of what I like to use:

Materials for Making Dollhouse Miniature Pussy Willow Branches

Floral Wire

The brown wrapped floral wire isn’t quite as easy to find as the green variety, but it’s definitely available on Amazon if you can’t find it in the floral section of your local craft store. I used 24 gauge, but you could use a higher gauge (meaning a smaller diameter) if you’d like.

Styrofoam Balls

The miniature styrofoam balls I used came from the Dollar Tree (they were selling it as fake snow at the holidays), but I think they’re the same kind used for making slime and can be purchased on Amazon.

Flocking

I purchase my flocking on Etsy, but I know you can also get small quantities that are sold for nail art on Amazon. Look for “velvet flocking powder” or “velvet manicure” and you can get an assortment of colors if you’re just trying it out.

Matte Gel Medium

I like to use Liquitex brand for matte gel medium. It’s a thick yet smooth medium with a decent amount of body that dries with a satin finish. It also mixes really well with paint and gives

Acrylic Paint

For the brown acrylic paint, I used Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic in Vandyke Brown, but any dark brown will work.

Glue

My favorite white tacky glues are Aleene’s brand, and I really like the Loctite superglue gel because it’s not too runny.

Tip for Making Pussy Willow Branches for Your Dollhouse

The white tacky glue and superglue trick is one I picked up from Mary Kinloch, a very talented miniature flower maker. You can certainly just use white tacky glue, but the combination of the two together creates an almost instant bond that I find very useful when working on pieces like this.

How to Make Miniature Pussy Willow Branches

How To Make Miniature Pussy Willow Branches

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner

Learn how to make pussy willow branches for your dollhouse!

Materials

  • 24 gauge brown floral wire
  • Tiny white styrofoam balls
  • Off-white or ivory flocking
  • Matte gel medium
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • White tacky glue
  • Superglue

Tools

  • Wire cutters
  • Small paint brush
  • Tweezers
  • Toothpick
  • Paint palette or aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. Trim your brown floral wire to 2" - 3" lengths (or as needed to fit your vase) with wire cutters.
  2. Bend the wire back and forth in different directions and then smooth it out so that it's mostly straight but not perfect.
  3. Prepare your glue: I like to use a palette or a little piece of aluminum foil with a blob of white tacky glue and a small pool of superglue so I can dip the pieces in and work quickly to adhere them.
  4. Carefully pick up a styrofoam ball with your tweezers, dip it in the white tacky glue and then in a tiny bit of the superglue before touching it to the side of your brown floral wire. Start at the top (maybe 1/8" down) and work your way down. Repeat for as many as you'd like, but don't space them perfectly evenly so that they look a little more natural.

    How to Make Miniature Pussy Willow Branches
  5. Once the branch has as many balls attached as you like, set it aside to dry and repeat until you have as many branches as you want for your arrangement. I always go with odd numbers and found five was a nice amount for a small vase.
  6. Get a fresh bit of white tacky glue on your palette/foil and dip a small paint brush into it, brushing it all over the tiny styrofoam ball and where it connects to the floral wire. Only apply glue to 2 or 3 balls at a time so they don't dry before the flocking can adhere.


  7. With your tweezers, pick up a little clump of the off-white flocking and sprinkle it over the fresh glue on the styrofoam balls, then gently tap off the excess. Repeat until all the balls are flocked, and set aside to dry.



  8. Using a toothpick, scoop out some matte gel medium onto your palette/foil, then mix in your brown acrylic paint until you get a shade of brown you like.


  9. Once that's completely combined, scoop a blob of the medium onto your toothpick and apply it gently underneath each flocked ball, making sure to coat the brown floral wire up to the bottom of the ball. Also be sure to place a tiny dollop on the top of the floral wire branch so that you don't see any exposed wire from where you cut it. Set aside to dry thoroughly.


  10. That's it! You can paint the rest of the floral wire the same color if you like, but I didn't really feel it was necessary. Now, the fun part - arrange it in your favorite vase and enjoy!

Please feel free to tag me on Facebook or Instagram @petiteprovisionsco with your version of miniature pussy willow branches, and let me know if you have any questions!

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