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Project Tutorials >

Spun Cotton Berries and Cherry Ornaments ~ A Construction and Embellishment Tutorial


In this tutorial we're all-in on crafting spun cotton fruit ornaments.  We're building berries, creating cranberries and painting spun cotton shapes to create cherries and a whole fruit stand's worth of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries.  Mixing painting techniques with specialty glitters and luxe leaves yield stunning fruits that can be made in countless ways to suit even the most discerning berry connoisseur.  We're taking our leaves up a notch by adding painted details, and even adding aluminum glitter flakes to a couple of strawberries in need of fancy "seeds." The concept is simple -- build, paint, glitter/embellish, add leaves, and display! After making 30+ unique pieces, we've got techniques galore to share.

Finished pieces are petite.  Ours measure from about 1-1/8" tall to 2" tall for single fruits; clusters measure about 2" tall up to 3-1/2" tall at the largest.

Supplies: Spun Cotton Berries/Cherries (SC013, SC027, SC028), Spun Cotton Balls, Spun Cotton Eggs, Strawberry Blossoms, Velvet Leaves, Foil Leaves, Glass Glitter, Deco Beads, Wire Stems, 1/8" Velvet Ribbons, Paints, Paint Brush, Liner Brush, Dauber, Cardstock, Clear Drying Craft Glue like Alleene's, Scissors, Skewers or Pipe Cleaners, Glove for Sprinkling Glass Glitter, Paper Plate to Work Over When Glittering, Aluminum Glitter


Step 1: To Create Cranberries or Blueberries
Cut squares from white cardstock that correspond to the desired size of spun cotton balls:
31mm balls -- cut 1/2" squares
19mm or 24mm balls -- cut 3/16" squares
16mm balls -- cut 1/4" squares

Fold up corners of squares and glue to spun cotton on opposite side of holes. Let dry.

Step 2: To Build a Blackberry or Raspberry
Glue tiny 6mm spun cotton balls small on either spun cotton egg #SC304 or an 11mm ball.  It takes about 52-54 pieces to cover SC304 and 26-27 pieces to cover and 11mm ball.

Let's build a berry in detail:
-- Using a skewer as a handle, apply a generous, but not drippy, amount of glue to the top 1/3 of egg SC304.  Take care to keep glue away from the skewer.
-- Place six tiny 6mm balls evenly around the top of the egg.  Place pieces hole down and make sure they are settled in the glue.
-- Place a second row of 6mm balls staggered in the space between the balls of the first row, shown below far right.  Make sure pieces are settled into glue.


-- Add more glue to center 1/3 of egg.  Continue adding more tiny spun cotton balls as before.  Make sure pieces are settling into the glue.
-- Add glue to bottom 1/3 of egg.  Place tiny balls in remaining space, staggering placement as before and making any necessary adjustments to ensure egg is covered and berry is built to your liking.  Let dry.



Step 3: Using a pipe cleaner or skewer as a "handle," paint your spun cotton pieces. Let dry.

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

Mix colors together to achieve a custom hue.  We mixed 2-3 colors together to give berries a noticeable half-ripe fade.  An easy technique is dark at the bottom, light at the top and a blend of both that meet in the middle.  Mixing a metallic paint with a flat paint yields gorgeous custom blends.

Use a dauber to create interesting dappled and blended effects.  A dauber is a great option when working on smaller pieces -- you get a detailed result in a small area with a few daubs.  Try painting your piece a base color with a brush, then apply an accent color with the dauber. 

Strawberry seeds are easily achieved with a liner brush.

Paint Note: The colors we used are shown below right. Top row L-R: Wine, Juneberry, Apple Red, Festive Fuchsia, Pink Melon, Baby Pink.  Middle row: L-R: Crimson, Cool Bisque, Moon Yellow, Mandarin, Halo Pink Gold.  Bottom Row L-R: Deep Ocean Blue, Navy, Look At Me Blue, Halo Blue Gold, Charcoal Black, Green Flash.

Step 4: Embellish with deco beads, glass glitter, or shimmery paint

4a.) Apply clear deco beads.  Deco beads are a favorite embellishment for their unrivaled shimmer and shine.  Clear deco beads enhance any color painted underneath so dappled paint styles are accentuated, like the cranberry below in the lower left corner.  Our preferred size for bold texture is 1mm deco beads (like the cherries below left) and for subtle but visible texture we like the .5mm size (used on all berries below left)

-- 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.

4b.) Apply colored deco beads.  Colored deco beads give a juicy and bright result.  Because the deco beads themselves are colored, they largely obscure any lighter or similar paint color underneath, while deeper colors take on a rich and velvety look.  The double cherries below right were painted red then coated with red deco beads and the result is juicy.  The single cherry was painted burgundy then coated with red deco beads and the result is rich and velvety.  The strawberries all have opaque green deco beads as greenery accents while the rest of the berry is covered with clear deco beads to allow the seeds to show well.

-- 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.


4c.) Apply glass glitter. Clear glass glitter is a classic and sugared favorite like the strawberry and blackberries below; colored glass glitter applied in a graduated sprinkle and finished with clear glass glitter looks elegant and gorgeous like the cranberries and blueberries below.  For a vintage look, apply a color a few shades different from the fruit's paint color like the single cherry below.

To apply one glitter:

-- 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 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.

4d.) Let the paint job stand out with metallic paints (& retro glitter).  Shimmery metallic paints are gorgeous on their own, like the blueberries below, and especially pretty when used as an accent -- the cranberries and blackberry below have gold paint daubed over red and purple respectively for a shimmery effect.  The pink strawberries feature metallic green seeds to coordinate with their light green Dresden caps and leaf detailing.

We couldn't resist embellishing a pair of strawberries with gold aluminum glitter as "seeds." To apply, we used a piece of wire stem to place very tiny glue dots all over the berries.  Working from the glitter stuck in the cap, we then used the wire to isolate and pickup individual gold glitter flakes and place them on the berries.  It was actually quite easy and we love the look!


5. Add leaves, flowers and Dresden caps.

Adding leaves and flowers provides countless ways to customize your fruits.  The texture of velvet leaves looks beautiful with all embellishment techniques detailed above.  Foil leaves are striking as-is and also provide an excellent canvas for adding painted details with your liner brush (we used Folk Art's Green Flash and Emerald Flash, both metallic hues).  Leaf NAL-81 has deep embossing and lends itself well to painted accents (as well as a light dusting of deco beads, if desired).  Strawberry blossoms are a lovely finishing touch for multi-berry clusters.  Add Dresden berry caps to enhance strawberries, blackberries and raspberries -- go green for a touch of realism, pick gold or silver for a fantasy look.  Use a narrow velvet ribbon to fashion a hanger (cut a 9-1/2" length, thread through wire hanger, bring ends together, tie a knot and trim ends as needed).


5a.)  Alternate strawberry caps.  Use a few velvet leaves to make a strawberry cap, as shown below.  The velvet will curve nicely along the contour of the berry and we stock several color variations of leaf #NLC123 to allow for the creation of a wide range of looks and color combos.


5b.) A word on various ways to twist leaves + wires, form hangers, and build clusters.  While there are countless leaf + berry combinations (we made over 30 unique pieces!), our fruits center on just a couple of twisting styles.  Let's dive in!

To create an easy hanger:

The simplest hanger is formed with a piece of wire wrapped around a paintbrush handle with excess wire tails trimmed away, like above left.  It allows for pairing with any leaf and also looks clean alone.

To create a double cherry or berry stem, illustrated below:

-- Twist a piece of paper-wrapped wire around a paintbrush handle to form a loop, twist wires together 3-4 times to secure, leave wire tails intact.

-- Lay first leaf along a wire tail, twist leaf steam and wire together to join leaf to hanger and form a thicker twisted stem.

-- Lay second leaf along remaining wire and repeat technique.

-- Trim twisted stems to desired lengths, glue fruits in place, and let dry.



To create a 2-, 3-, or 4-stem cluster, illustrated below:
-- Twist a piece of paper-wrapped wire around a paintbrush handle to form a loop, twist wires together 3-4 times to secure, leave wire tails intact.
-- Wrap a leaf stem around the twist 2-3 times.
-- In the opposite direction, wrap a second leaf stem around the twist 2-3 times.  We have created a 4-stem cluster.
-- For a 3-stem cluster, trim one leaf stem away, cutting close to the wrapped wires.  For a 2-stem cluster, trim away both leaf stems.
-- Determine desired placement of fruits, trim excess wires, glue in place and let dry.

To form a 3-berry cluster:
-- Bend one wire into an "N" shape.  Try berry placement and adjust as needed.
-- Bend second wire to accommodate one berry.  Try placement and adjust as needed.
-- Trim excess wires, glue berries in place and let dry.


To form a cascading 5-berry (or more) cluster, illustrated below:
-- Bend both wires in "N" shapes.  Try berry placement and adjust as needed.
-- Use a small piece of wire to connect an additional berry to one of the lower berries.  Check placement, adjust as needed.
-- Trim any excess wire, glue berries in place, let dry.


5c.) Use a velvet ribbon to build a strawberry cluster: Velvet ribbon + velvet or foil strawberry leaves is a striking combination with a beautiful hang.

-- Fold an 11" piece of 1/8" velvet ribbon in half and tie a knot so a 1/2" loop is formed.
-- Place one leaf just below the know and wrap its wire stem around both tails of velvet 2-3 times.
-- Place second leaf on opposite side, wrap wire stem in opposite direction 2-3 times forming a tight bundle of wires.  Adjust leaves up or down to find desired placement.  Trim excess wire close to wrap.



-- Slide a Dresden strawberry cap on each velvet tail.  Determine cap placement then... check placement one more time just to be sure!  Berries will look good placed evenly as well as staggered slightly.
-- Trim excess velvet leaving about 1/2" below the caps to allow for adding berries.
-- Apply glue inside hole on top of strawberry.  Extend glue very slightly to allow for adhesion of Dresden.
-- Use a piece of wire to poke velvet ribbon into glue in hole.  Adjust placement as needed so Dresden glues down to top of berry.
-- Repeat for other berry.  Adjust as needed while glue is still wet.  Let dry.



-- Trim stem away from a strawberry blossom very close to the base of the flower.
-- Adjust leaves if necessary (ours overlap slightly) and determine placement of flower.
-- Glue flower in place and let dry.



Aluminum Glitter Flakes Retro-style Craft Glitter ~ Retro Multi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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12 Green Velvet Leaves ~ 1" Long

12 Green Velvet Leaves ~ 1" Long

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

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

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Antique Gold Dresden Foil Strawberry Leaves or Greenery ~ 20

Antique Gold Dresden Foil Strawberry Leaves or Greenery ~ 20

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

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

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Gold Dresden Foil Strawberry Leaves or Greenery ~ 20

Gold Dresden Foil Strawberry Leaves or Greenery ~ 20

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Green Dresden Foil Strawberry Leaves or Greenery ~ 20

Green Dresden Foil Strawberry Leaves or Greenery ~ 20

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Light Green Dresden Foil Strawberry Leaves or Greenery ~ 20

Light Green Dresden Foil Strawberry Leaves or Greenery ~ 20

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Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Sage Green ~ 1/8" wide

Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Sage Green ~ 1/8" wide

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12 White Strawberry Blossoms ~ 3/8"

12 White Strawberry Blossoms ~ 3/8"

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German Glass Glitter in Ruby Red ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

German Glass Glitter in Ruby Red ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

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Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Eucalyptus Green ~ 1/8" wide

Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Eucalyptus Green ~ 1/8" wide

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German Glass Glitter in Berry Pink ~ Medium Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

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Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Green ~ 1/8" wide

Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Green ~ 1/8" wide

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German Glass Glitter in Cobalt Blue ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

German Glass Glitter in Cobalt Blue ~ Fine Grit ~ 2 oz in Jar

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New!
Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Fern Green ~ 1/8" wide

Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Fern Green ~ 1/8" wide

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Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Moss Green ~ 1/8" wide

Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Moss Green ~ 1/8" wide

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Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Shamrock Green ~ 1/8" wide

Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Shamrock Green ~ 1/8" wide

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Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Spring Green ~ 1/8" wide

Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Spring Green ~ 1/8" wide

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Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Deep Aqua ~ 1/8" wide

Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Deep Aqua ~ 1/8" wide

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Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ GREEN

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ GREEN

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Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ PALE GOLD

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ PALE GOLD

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Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ RED

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Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ SILVER

Set of 12 Foil Paper Petite Rose Leaves ~ SILVER

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Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Soft Aqua ~ 1/8" wide

Tiny Velvet Ribbon Trim in Soft Aqua ~ 1/8" wide

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Green Fabric Strawberry Leaves ~ 1-1/2" Long

Green Fabric Strawberry Leaves ~ 1-1/2" Long

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Set of 12 Velvet Strawberry Leaves ~ DARK GREEN SHADED

Set of 12 Velvet Strawberry Leaves ~ DARK GREEN SHADED

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Set of 12 Velvet Strawberry Leaves ~ MIXED PINK

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Set of 12 Velvet Strawberry Leaves ~ PALE GREEN SHADED

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Set of 12 Velvet Strawberry Leaves ~ SAGE GREEN

Set of 12 Velvet Strawberry Leaves ~ SAGE GREEN

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Gold Dresden Foil Halos or Medallions ~ 21

Gold Dresden Foil Halos or Medallions ~ 21

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Silver Dresden Foil Halos or Medallions ~ 21

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Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ ARTIST MIX

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ ARTIST MIX

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Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ DARK GREEN

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ DARK GREEN

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Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ MEDIUM GREEN

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Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ MIXED PINK

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ MIXED PINK

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Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ MOSS GREEN

Set of 12 Petite Velvet Rose Leaves ~ MOSS GREEN

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