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Project Tutorials >

Spun Cotton Plum and Apricot Ornaments ~ A Painting and Embelishment Tutorial


Creating spun cotton plum and apricot ornaments is a breeze and you'll be delighted by the result! Just paint pre-formed spun cotton shapes, add an embellishment like deco beads or glass glitter, finish off with a pretty leaf and hanging loop, and voila! Even the sugar plum fairy will want to know how you achieved such beauty.  Plums and apricots can be customized in countless ways to suit a range of decor styles -- try something classic like a purple plum with a green velvet leaf or push the boundaries and try an orange apricot with a teal lacquered leaf.  Whether you make just a handful or a whole medley, we're sure you'll agree: These ornaments are plum gorgeous!

Finished fruits range in size from 1-1/8" to 1-3/4" to 2" tall.

Supplies: Spun Cotton Plums/Apricots, Spun Cotton Eggs (SC303 or SC306), Apricot Blossoms, Velvet Leaves, Foil Leaves, Lacquered Leaves, Glass Glitter, Deco Beads, Mica Flakes, Wire Stems, Paints, Paint Brushes, Clear Drying Craft Glue like Alleene's, Scissors, Skewers or Pipe Cleaners, Glove for Sprinkling Glass Glitter, Paper Plate to Work Over When Glittering

Step 1: Using a pipe cleaner or skewer as a "handle," paint your spun cotton pieces. Let dry.

Apply paint straight from the bottle in a rich hue; metallic colors add extra shimmer and dimension while flat colors cover evenly as a great base for embellishing.

Mix paints together to achieve a custom color.  Metallic paint mixed with flat or glossy paint yields a beautiful subtle shimmer.

To create a dappled fade, paint your piece with two colors.  Try pairing lighter + darker of the same hue like the light purple plum below; or try something analogous like red + orange for a realistic look.   This painting style is particularly striking when further embellished with deco beads, as we'll see below.

Paint Note: The colors we used are shown below right. For these fruits we went with realistic colors found in nature (i.e. purple, burgundy and orange).  Top row L-R: Cool Bisque, Mandarin, Pink Melon, Festive Fuchsia, Apple Red, Rose Gold, Halo Pink Gold..  Bottom row: L-R: Halo Violet Gold, Burgundy, Juneberry, Lavender, Grape Taffy, Wine.

Step 2: Embellish with deco beads, glass glitter, mica flakes, or metallic paint

2a.) Apply clear deco beads.  Clear deco beads provide the most beautiful jeweled effect and look gorgeous over all paint styles.  They look especially elegant paired with velvet and foil leaves for luminous shine and texture all around.

-- Paint an even coat of glue in the areas you wish to apply deco beads.

-- Pour deco beads over glue and tap off excess.  Let dry, then brush off any excess with a dry paint brush.

2b.) Apply glass glitter. Clear glass glitter provides a classic sugared look. like the apricot with flower below, right.  Colored glass glitter applied in a graduated sprinkle adds vintage charm and interest to fruits.  Choose a color similar to the fruit's paint color: gold glitter on orange paint, like the apricot below, center right.  Or try silver glitter over any color, like the plum, upper left.  Colored glass glitter applied in a graduated sprinkle and finished with clear glass glitter looks elegant and specialty like the larger plums below.

To apply one glitter all over:

-- Paint an even coat of glue on the whole fruit. 

-- Spoon glitter over glue and tap off excess.  Let dry, then brush off any excess with a dry paint brush.

To create a graduated sprinkle:

-- Paint an even coat of glue on the whole fruit. 

-- Wearing a glove, sprinkle colored glitter over the fruit in a selected area and allow some to fall organically onto the nearby areas.  Let dry, then brush off any excess with a dry paint brush.

To apply colored and clear glitters:

-- Paint an even coat of glue on the whole fruit. 

-- Wearing a glove, sprinkle colored glitter over the fruit in a selected area and allow some to fall organically onto the nearby areas.  Spoon clear glitter all over and tap off excess.  Let dry, then brush off any excess with a dry paint brush.


2c.) Apply mica flakes.  Mica flakes provide a sparkly vintage texture.  Each flake is unique in shape and size and, as a natural mineral, has a few dark flecks and flakes mixed in that yield a natural look.  These darker pieces can be pulled out prior to application, or pulled off of a mica dusted fruit before the glue dries, if you prefer more consistent flake coverage.  We used the flakes as-is but they can also be ground with a mortar and pestle to create a finer texture.

-- Paint an even coat of glue on the areas you wish to mica.

-- Spoon mica over glue and tap off excess.  Let dry, then brush off any excess with a dry paint brush.  Any flakes that stick out too much can be gently pulled off.

2d.) Let your metallic paint stand out.  There are so many beautiful paint colors available ready to use straight out of the bottle.  Colors with a "halo" effect are particularly striking like the larger plum and apricot below.  Alternatively, mix your own metallics for a custom blend like the smaller plum below.

-- Simply brush on 1-2 coats and let dry.



3. Add leaves and flowers.

The addition of leaves and flowers provides countless ways to customize your creations and add character.  Alternatively, going leafless provides a clean and timeless look and keeps the focus on embellishment and color.  Velvet or foil leaves pair wonderfully with all embellishment techniques detailed above. Lacquered leaves add an especially lovely vintage look, but keep in mind that while the wire stems bend, the leaves themselves are stiff and not able to be shaped.

Two easy leaf configurations are shown below left: hanger with leaf and 2 leaves with elevated stem.  These examples are the jumping off point for all leaf looks we employed in this tutorial.  We used exclusively brown paper-wrapped wires to emulate twigs when making hangers.

To add leaves and flowers individually or in groups: fashion a wire hanger by twisting a paper-covered wire around a paint brush handle, trim ends, trim stems from desired leaves leaving enough to glue into the fruit (3/4" to 1"). 

To fashion "2 leaves with elevated stem" follow these steps as illustrated below right.

-- Twist a paper-covered wire at center around a paint brush handle.  Twist 2-3 times to make a hanger, leaving tails free.

-- Stack two leaves under hanger, lining up base of leaves with bottom of the hanger twist.

-- Twist all wires tightly together.  Twist portion should be 2-3" long.

-- Bend leaves downward into desired position.

-- Determine desired stem length and cut off excess.  Remember that part will go into the hole on top of the fruit, so a longer stem is better (you can trim more off but you can't add any back on).

To fashion "1 leaf with elevated stem" do as above, but with 1 leaf instead of 2.

To add any hanger and leaf configuration to the fruit, apply glue into the top hole then place desired pieces in to hole, adjust placement and let dry.

A word about the apricot blossoms: Their stems are thicker and less bendable up near the base of the flower so the top hole on the fruit may seem a bit crowded depending on the chosen leaf/hanger/flower combo.  It may be preferable to clip the stem off close to the base of the flower and simply glue it in place without putting any stem into the top hole.



Brown Paper Wrapped Craft Wire ~ 0.6mm ~ 8" long

Brown Paper Wrapped Craft Wire ~ 0.6mm ~ 8" long

$6.95

Green Paper Wrapped Craft Wire ~ 0.6mm ~ 8" long

Green Paper Wrapped Craft Wire ~ 0.6mm ~ 8" long

$6.95

White Paper Wrapped Craft Wire ~ 0.6mm ~ 8" long

White Paper Wrapped Craft Wire ~ 0.6mm ~ 8" long

$6.95

12 Green Velvet Leaves ~ 1" Long

12 Green Velvet Leaves ~ 1" Long

$5.95

12 Green Velvet Leaves ~ 1-1/2" Long

12 Green Velvet Leaves ~ 1-1/2" Long

$5.95

Clear German Glass Glitter ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

Clear German Glass Glitter ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

$9.95

Silver German Glass Glitter ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

Silver German Glass Glitter ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

$9.95

12 Off White Apricot Blossoms ~ 5/8"

12 Off White Apricot Blossoms ~ 5/8"

$5.95

German Glass Glitter in Gold ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

German Glass Glitter in Gold ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

$9.95

German Glass Glitter in Bright Purple ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

German Glass Glitter in Bright Purple ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

$9.95

German Glass Glitter in Light Purple ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

German Glass Glitter in Light Purple ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

$9.95

Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Mixed Colors ~ Bundle of 15 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Mixed Colors ~ Bundle of 15 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$10.95

Brown Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Brown Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$8.95

Golden Yellow Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Golden Yellow Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$8.95

Purple Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Purple Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$8.95

Red Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Red Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$8.95

Teal Blue Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Teal Blue Lacquered Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$8.95

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ GREEN

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ GREEN

$6.95

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ PALE GOLD

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ PALE GOLD

$6.95

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ RED

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ RED

$6.95

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ SILVER

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ SILVER

$6.95

Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Mixed Colors ~ Bundle of 15 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Mixed Colors ~ Bundle of 15 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$10.95

Brown Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Brown Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$8.95

Purple Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Purple Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$8.95

Red Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Red Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$8.95

Teal Blue Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Teal Blue Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$8.95

Yellow Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

Yellow Lacquered Paper Rose Leaves ~ Bundle of 12 Old Fashioned Craft Leaves

$8.95

Set of 12 Foil Paper Rose Leaves ~ GREEN

Set of 12 Foil Paper Rose Leaves ~ GREEN

$6.95

Set of 12 Foil Paper Rose Leaves ~ PALE GOLD

Set of 12 Foil Paper Rose Leaves ~ PALE GOLD

$6.95

Set of 12 Foil Paper Rose Leaves ~ RED

Set of 12 Foil Paper Rose Leaves ~ RED

$6.95

Set of 12 Foil Paper Rose Leaves ~ SILVER

Set of 12 Foil Paper Rose Leaves ~ SILVER

$6.95

Set of 12 Small Velvet Pear Leaves ~ AUTUMN OMBRE

Set of 12 Small Velvet Pear Leaves ~ AUTUMN OMBRE

$8.95

Set of 12 Small Velvet Pear Leaves ~ DARK GREEN

Set of 12 Small Velvet Pear Leaves ~ DARK GREEN

$8.95

Set of 12 Small Velvet Pear Leaves ~ MOSS GREEN

Set of 12 Small Velvet Pear Leaves ~ MOSS GREEN

$8.95

Set of 12 Small Velvet Pear Leaves ~ PALE GREEN

Set of 12 Small Velvet Pear Leaves ~ PALE GREEN

$8.95

Set of 12 Small Velvet Pear Leaves ~ SAGE GREEN

Set of 12 Small Velvet Pear Leaves ~ SAGE GREEN

$8.95

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ ARTIST MIX

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ ARTIST MIX

$9.95

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ AUTUMN OMBRE

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ AUTUMN OMBRE

$8.95

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ DARK GREEN

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ DARK GREEN

$8.95

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ MEDIUM GREEN

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ MEDIUM GREEN

$8.95