The story Into the Woods appeared in the December 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Some of the designs were self-explanatory -- a plant or limbs nestled in a pot, for example. But the designs using sheet moss, evergreen branches, and cones require a bit of explanation. Here's how to do it.
What You'll Need:
Flower pot or large planter
Hobby foam (found in crafts stores) or used packing foam
Sheet moss (found in crafts stores)
Natural decoration elements, such as pinecones, small birds, and boxwood balls (both can be found in crafts stores, if you don't have a local source)
Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
1/4-inch-diameter wood dowel or thin bamboo stake
Create a firm surface on which to lay your sheet moss. If you moved your pots into the shed or garage for the winter without removing the soil, lay the moss over the used potting soil.
If you're starting with an empty pot, hobby or packing foam is an easy way to create a foundation. You can buy foam at crafts stores, or use any packing foam you have laying around (the kind they use to pack appliances in boxes, for example).
Most pots taper toward the base, so use a razor blade to cut a piece of foam just large enough to fit into the opening of the pot -- it should wedge firmly into the container with a gentle push. Use a second piece on top, if needed, to create a level surface even with the top of the pot.
Lay sheet moss over the foam (or used soil), tearing off excess and adding small bits as needed to fill in gaps, until you have a solid layer.(In the next step, you'll lay and pin branches over the moss, which will help keep secure the moss layer, too.)
Snip spruce branches to length and thin them (if needed) to allow some of the moss to be visible. Unbend a wire hanger; use wire cutters to snip short lengths of wire, then bend the lengths into U shapes. Use U-pins to secure the branches to the foam. (Pinecones and other decorative objects help conceal the pins.)
We used blue spruce because the color contrasted well with the moss. Other evergreens (bluish-color junipers, for instance) can work, too. You might even try yellow- or red-twig dogwood branches, which also create a color contrast.
In the printed magazine story, we showed you two containers. One used a large sugar-pinecone, the other used a boxwood ball. Hot-glue decorative elements to a bamboo stake or 1/4-inch-diameter dowel. Push the dowel into the foam.
Place a few small pinecones amongst the spruce trimmings to add a rustic touch to the design. In the print story, we also used ornamental birds. Personalize your pots with your own favorite ornamentation!