Easy, Inexpensive Garden Craft Adds Sparkle

As the weather is beginning to get warmer and the days longer, many of us begin our ventures into the gardens.  I love spending the time picking out new plants, enjoy all of the different colors, and dream about all of the decorations that I would love to have in my garden.

With a new baby on the way, though, our garden decorating budget is very tight so I have started searching for expensive looking projects that can be made inexpensively.

Some of mine and my daughter’s favorite garden decorations are the ones made out of copper, but I don’t always enjoy the price tag. Whether bright and shiny or aged with a green patina, copper garden decorations can add visual impact to your space.

Dragonfly Garden Ornament

An easy project to start with is a copper dragonfly garden ornament.  A few supplies, a little creativity, and a tree or hook to hang your dragonfly on is really all you need.  Start by locating a dragonfly template for your ornament.  You can use the internet, sewing or crafting books, craft store, or a coloring book to find a basic pattern.  Use your printer or copy machine to blow up or shrink the template to the size that you want your ornament to be and print it out. Cut your design out of the paper.

Once you’ve settled on your design and have it ready to trace, gather the rest of your supplies.  You will need: a pen, copper foil, sharp shears, acrylic paint and an artist’s brush (if you want to paint your dragonfly), clear polyurethane spray,  flat-backed glass stones, waterproof adhesive, drill, 1/8-inch drill bit, 24-gauge copper wire, and fishing line.

Place your template on the copper foil and trace it with the pen. Use the shears to cut the shape out of the copper. Groove vein lines onto the dragonfly’s copper wings with the pen.

At this point, you can paint your dragonfly or keep it the natural copper color.  If you choose to paint, use different colors for the body and wings.  Be creative. Allow the paint to dry. Spray with polyurethane, if you painted, to protect the painted surface.

If you choose to leave the dragonfly a natural copper color, you can also spray a few coats of poly over the dragonfly. This will seal the copper and it will not oxidize (turn green) as quickly as unsealed copper would. In either case, allow the dragonfly to dry completely before decorating it.

 You now have the option to “bling” your dragonfly if you so desire. Glue colorful, flat-backed glass stones onto the wings.  The iridescent ones really sparkle in the sunlight. It really only takes a few stones to make an impact.  Remember to keep your wings symmetrical by placing the stones in the same spot on both wings. Clear, waterproof construction adhesive works the best to secure the stones.  Allow the glue to dry completely.

Once all your dragonfly’s bling is dry, you can  now give your dragonfly antennae.  Drill two holes, about ¼ inch apart, in the center of the head, near the edges. You will need to drill two more holes in the center of the dragonfly’s body. Cut a 3 to 4 inch piece of copper wire and bend it into a U shape.  Insert each end, from the underside of the copper, through the antennae holes, so the curved part of the U is underneath the head, and can’t be seen from above. You will need to slightly bend the wires as they exit the head to keep them from sliding out.  Give you dragonfly personality by creating spirals or bending the wire whatever way you like. A dab of clear construction adhesive will also keep the wires in place, and will fill the antennae ‘holes.’

To hang your dragonfly, you’ll again drill holes, but this time they will be in the body of the dragonfly. Align the holes vertically and, again, about ¼ inch apart.  You can also use these holes to wire your dragonfly to a garden stake.

 To hang your dragonfly, cut a length of fishing line.  Make sure to cut double the length of your desired hanging distance, as you will have to pass the line through each of the hanging holes on the body of your dragonfly.

Thread each end through the center holes and pull the line so that the ends are even. Tie the ends of your line to whatever you want to hang your ornament from.  To stake your dragonfly, use craft wire to attach it, through the center holes, to a wooden garden stake or make one out of copper tubing.

Now is the time to enjoy your hard work and the compliments from folks who see your beautiful garden decorations.  Find other designs or templates and let your creativity guide you. We are only limited by our imagination when it comes to creating.