I envisioned my “Rustic Elegance” holiday table theme to have a lot of natural elements, so I didn’t want to paint the branches a fake-looking solid color or make them too sparkly. A spray paint I found at Harvey’s Hardware called “Satin Nickel” was exactly the dull goldish-silver I wanted.
I held the spray can about a foot away from the branches to make sure that the paint went on in a very thin, irregular layer. I wanted some of the natural grayish bark of the branches to show through. To give the branches a little extra dimension, I tossed some clear glitter (source: Art Emporium) at the branches as I sprayed. A very small amount of the glitter stuck and it is very subtle, but I think it adds another layer of detail to the branches without making them look overdone.
In the interests of full-disclosure, I admit that I did all of this painting in my backyard very quickly - with no newspaper protection – on top of the leaves covering my grass. It was super easy and there was no clean-up!
Instead of hoping the branches would stay put in a vase, I used Plaster of Paris (source: Home Depot) to create a permanent arrangement with a weighted, stable base. Plaster of Paris sets up quickly, so I cut the branches to the approximate size I wanted, trimmed and moved them around until I had a set grouping I thought would work. I chose to use an upside-down quart ice cream container for my container for a few reasons: 1.) It was what I had on hand. 2.) Turning the ice cream container upside-down gave the arangement a bit more stability without added width. 3.) I knew this container would fit in the decorative container I planned to use.
I was planning to place this arrangement in a big glass vase and fill in around it with stones or peat moss or something to hide the ice cream container. My Rustic Elegance theme seemed to lend itself to organic shapes, so I chose a rounded vase (source: Christmas Tree Shops) and rounded votive candleholders (source: A.C. Moore) to compliment it.
Now here was a bit of a dilemma – although my twig arrangement was heavy and reasonably stable, the bottom of the glass vase I planned to use was not flat, so the arrangement tended to list and tilt. I tried a few things to make it stay put and then resorted to Gorilla Glue (source: A.C. Moore) which is supposed to stick to anything. It does. I used A LOT of Gorilla Glue. Yes, so much Gorilla Glue that it dripped into the bottom part of the vase and dried an ugly yellow color. Oops.
I solved this problem by wrapping rope (source: Ocean State Job Lot) around the base of the vase and using hot glue to secure it. The beginning and the end of the rope are cut at an angle to make the ends blend into the coil as much as possible. It turns out that this looks even better because it gives weight to the base of the delicate glass vase, which is a better visual balance for the large arrangement it holds. Lucky me!
Using the rope also gave me another idea for the contents of the vase. Instead of using stones, I decided to work more with a nest theme. I mixed Spanish moss (source: A.C. Moore $2.99) with a collection of the odds and ends from all of the elements I was working with on the table – sticks, jute twine, silvery sphere ornaments (source: Pier One), strings from the burlap runners (source: Joann Fabrics), etc.
I extended this theme with a collection of resolutions printed on brown Kraft paper (source: Paper Source), crumpled up and torn, as if found by birds and woven into their nest. These resolutions are also woven into the nest-like spheres (source: Pier One) hanging in the branches.