Friday, December 16, 2011

Old-Time Milkweed Pod Ornaments

These pretty little ornaments are made with dried milkweed pods from our ditches. The girls collected them this fall and we let them dry before spraying them with gold paint. I used to make these years ago, and they make me feel very Little House-y. They were a hit at our mother-daughter craft day.

We used to make them with "angel hair" (spun glass) tucked behind the cut out card images. I'm not sure they even make "angel hair" any more. As a substitute we used polyester stuffing behind the picture. I also tried some mini feather "boas", which worked great (see above), but they were not good for a crafting day. The feathers flew all over!
You need:
Dried milkweed pods-wider ones are better for images to be glued into
craft glue
gold spray paint
scissors, pens,
polyester fiberfill
gold thread (or other) for hanger
glitter or small beads (optional)

Spray paint both sides of the milkweed pods. Follow safety instructions on spray can. Let dry. Choose the pod you will use. Sort through old Christmas cards and choose an image that will fit inside the widest part of the pod. Lay the pod on top of the image and copy around it with a pen. Cut out the image inside the pen lines, trimming as needed to fit image into pod opening. Use some gold thread (about 6" long), double it over and tie the two ends together in an overhand knot. Glue into the top of the pod for the hanger. Glue some polyester batting into center of pod. Add some more glue and attach the cut out picture from the card. If desired, add glue and glitter around edge of the pod to finish.

Daughter M. saw the painted pods and thought that the insides were too pretty to be covered up. She suggested using beads to decorate them, so I worked out a way to make beads hang in them.

I used jewelry findings to make a reinforced opening at the top of the pods. (See first picture above.) I glued the ring to the top of the pod where it was attached to the plant. If there is still a stem attached, pulling it off will usually leave a hole. Let these dry overnight. I used earring findings (1" and 2" gold) and attached them together (as above.) Thread the beads onto the longer wire and bend the end over to hold at the bottom. Thread the short wire through a small bead and then through the top of the pod, then another bead. Twist the top of the short wire into a loop around a needle nose plier. Ready to hang.

2013 update-We have since made other milkweed pod ornaments, seen here and here.


  1. OOHH, I love these! Where would one go on a hunt for milkweed pods?
    Jodi R.:City Girl

  2. Here in the midwest we just find them in the ditches. I heard a rumor you could order them as a crafting item, but have not researched it. Google? Thanks for the comment.

  3. Hi, fellow blogger here!

    I found your blog through an image search for milkweed pod ornaments on Google after searching extensively for these ornaments I used to make with my Grandma on her farm in Wisconsin. They seem like such strange and unique ornaments that it surprised me to see how popular they are. Then it got me wondering, how did they start? Who first used the milkweed pod to make an ornament? Perhaps you know any history of the ornaments that you could share?

    Just curious! Cute blog :)

    -Laura @