February 12, 2019

Tips For Making Inexpensive Moss Balls

These are tips that I have gathered from other tutorials on making 
moss balls at home (like here and here) and more ideas that I tried
 while making them myself and want to share with you. 

Packages of moss are easy to find in the floral section of stores.
Some stores have more than one type of moss. Here is a photo
of the kinds that you will probably see...

...starting on the left of the photo is Spanish moss that has been 
color-enhanced green...it is more grey in its natural state. 
This bag came from Wal-Mart and was $6 which I think is a very
good value for the size of the bag. Spanish moss is not my 
favorite for making moss balls but (it actually turned out 
better than I thought it would on the balls) is the cheapest option. 

The center bags in the photo are sheet moss. They have almost a velvet look to them. Sheet moss is in the bag usually in about 
three to four sections that have some dirt on the back holding the moss together. Look at several different bags in the store and buy
the ones that have less visible dirt. You get more usable moss. 

The moss in the upper right of the moss types photo is forest moss which is very similar to sheet moss but it has more texture. 

The smaller moss bags in the moss types photo are from Dollar Tree. I have used the moss stones in other projects but they are
 not the best for making balls. The reindeer moss from there is  stringy shreds of moss...I don't recommend it for balls. 

If you find a moss you like at Hobby Lobby, Michael's or Jo Ann's try to have a discount coupon to buy it with. The coupon
will get the cost of most of the bags to about $5 or less. How
 many moss balls you can make from one bag depends of how 
big you want to make the ball(s).

Another item that can add cost to the ball is the form to put
the moss on. Most folks use a styrofoam ball for this. When you
are making smaller balls the cost for them is about $1 each.

If you want larger moss balls the styrofoam form for those goes 
up in price quickly. 

I tried making the forms for some of my balls from plastic bags
and newspaper to basically make them no-cost forms (if you 
already have some tape or string to make them keep their shape).

Start by crumpling the paper or plastic in a ball in your hand.
Keep adding more layers but keep the round shape. When the
ball gets too big to easily hold in your hand, tie string (or add
tape) to the ball to keep the layers together while you add more.

When it gets to the size you want, tie or tape it together. 

This form is about 7 inch diameter. It made a large moss ball. 

If you want small or average size balls just tie or tape it 
together at the size you want. Remember that once you put the 
moss on your form, the moss will make the ball a little bigger. 

Look around your house or attic for other things you could use
for a form for your moss balls. I found this old box of decorative
balls that I had never used. They got moss covered. 

Another cost in making moss balls is getting to moss to stick on
the form. Spray adhesive is a popular product to use for this.
A can of spray adhesive usually starts at about $6. Different 
brands and amounts of product in the can make the price vary.

The spray adhesive can in the above picture is from Hobby Lobby.
I used a discount coupon to get it less than the $7 price. 

I was really impressed at how well the spray adhesive worked on
all types of forms I used it on. A slight drawback to the spray is
that (in my opinion) it should only be used outside. Even then, you
should protect your surface if you don't want it to get sticky. 

I  didn't mind getting my dead grass sticky so I just placed the
form on the grass and sprayed all of the surface of the form that was facing up for the first spray. Then I picked it up with two fingers and brought it back to the porch table where I had the 
moss ready to go. I placed moss on the sticky side of the
 form and patted it down. 

Then I carried the partially moss covered ball back in the grass
and sprayed the portion of the ball that had not gotten adhesive
the first time around. 

Then the ball went back to the table for the rest of it to get moss. 
It probably took less than two minutes to cover a ball this way. 
This ball got the forest moss that has more texture. 

Here are photos of Spanish moss being used with the same process...

If the Spanish moss ball has too many ends sticking up,
you can give it a haircut. 

I had gone the Dollar Tree to look for things that could be used for
forms but the only thing I could find that day was a cat toy. 

Even that worked.

If you don't have the outdoor space, are working on these moss 
balls at night or don't want to use propellant, almost any type of white glue from a bottle does a very good job of making the
 moss stick to the form too. It is usually cheaper to buy than the spray adhesive (or you might already have some at your home). 

The form in the photo above is made from plastic bags, painters tape and string. 
The glue is from Dollar Tree and the sheet moss is from Wal-Mart $4.

Squirt a generous amount of glue on the form in one area.

Put moss on top of the glue and pat it down. Continue to put 
glue in adjacent areas that already have moss around the form.
 Put moss on top of new glue area and pat/push it into the glue.
This technique keeps your hands from getting a lot of glue on them.

 If the moss overlaps where you don't have glue yet just squirt
 it on as you are placing the moss on the form. 

The moss will probably overlap other pieces as you place it on.
Just tear the moss where needed. This is messy. It is easier to
clean up after this project if you work on something you can 
throw away in the end. Use torn off pieces of moss to cover
any blank areas on the form. 

Here's another moss ball made the same way...

If you have some moss that does not want to stick well with the
white glue (like if it has a lot of dirt attached to the moss or the
form has a bumpy surface) you can glue half of the ball and
moss it. Then secure that half with string and let the glue dry. 

After that moss is secure with the dried glue you can cut 
the string and finish the other half the same way. 
This was an old berry ball that had seen better days. 

I did make some of the moss balls with hot glue but I got a 
lot of burned fingers so I am not going to recommend that.
It does work, however, if you want to try it. 

I also tried making the moss balls with the mat moss (moss
that is attached to a fabric-like grid and in a uniform sheet).
I thought it was much harder to make the moss conform to
 the shape of the balls even with cutting it a lot. The mat moss
also is more expensive than the loose moss. 

I did not try any reindeer moss balls even though I have seen
them and think they are adorable. I may be wrong but it seems
like it would take a lot of the reindeer moss to cover a ball and
I was going for inexpensive moss balls. 

Here's how I used the moss balls in changing out some of the
winter decor in my living room and dining room to introduce
some spring green color...

Click on the highlighted text below if you would like to 
see the post showing more photos of moss in my home...

want to see a tutorial on how to make the cousins of moss 
balls which are moss bowls. They are quite trendy now. 

Moss balls are great decor items that can be used almost year
around. They add natural texture, color and style to your home
or can be used for parties and weddings. Using these tips you 
can make them yourself inexpensively...plus it is fun!

February 11, 2019

How To Make Inexpensive Moss Bowls

Moss bowls are very popular in home decor these days. 
They are quirky and beautiful at the same time.
Live moss bowls are a good way to have greenery in your
 room but be low maintenance. If you have a preserved moss
bowl there is NO maintenance. 

Moss bowls live and preserved can be very pricey.
I experimented with some items and came up with a way to 
make a preserved moss bowl (if you already have 
a container) for less than $20 with easily obtainable items. 

You will need a container, preserved moss, a filler substance
and some tape or string. 

Preserved moss is easy to find at craft stores in their floral 
sections. It comes in bags in assorted sizes and types. 

The bags of moss are seldom on sale so if you have a store discount coupon for a regular priced item, this is a good item to use it on. 

Some stores have different types of mosses.
 The mosses I like to use for moss bowls are sheet moss, 
forest moss and reindeer moss to have a variety in the bowl.
 If you want to use just one type of moss, that is up to you. 

 Reindeer moss is like cute tiny green sponges.

Sheet moss is packaged with several pieces of moss that
usually have some dirt still attached and like a velvet.

Forest moss is similar to sheet moss but it might have some areas
that are a little bit "wild and crazy".

Regularly priced each of these bags of moss were about
$7-$9 but using discount coupons each bag was $5 or less. 

The next few photos show a moss bowl made from a container
from Hobby Lobby, reindeer moss from Michael's, forest moss
from Jo Ann's and sheet moss from Hobby Lobby. All were 
purchased using 40-50% off coupons. 

Start with an empty container.

Add an inexpensive filler for the container. I used newspaper.
You could use plastic or paper bags. Junk mail? Scrap copy 
paper? Socks with holes in the toes? Rags?  Crumple them
up and use them to fill up the majority of the container. 

Make odd shaped wads of your filler to fit in the container.
I used newspaper again. I taped it with painters tape to keep
its shape. You could use string to keep the wads in a shape. 
You are going to want shapes that in the end will look like waves/mounds of moss. 

Put these on top of the first layer of filler. 
I thought mine were kind of in the shape of potatoes. 

Start placing your moss on top of the mounds of filler.
Since I was using three different kinds of moss, I tried to separate
them to get different textures within the moss bowl. 

The moss stayed on top of the mounds without gluing.
I was glad with that because I can take this apart later and 
use the moss in other ways for decorating. I save the moss 
bags for that purpose...just in case. 

If your filler shows between the mounds of moss, use a little
extra moss to fill in the spaces. 

Oh, I forgot to tell you that using moss can be a mess when
you are pulling it apart, etc. Either make your moss bowl outside
or use newspaper, etc. to keep your inside area easy to clean up.

Here is the oval container moss bowl in my living room. 

Across the living room on the coffee table I made another moss
bowl using the same technique in a round urn. 

Since I already had containers, filler and tape, the only cost was
the preserved moss. Three bags of moss using discount coupons
came to less than $20. You can copy this trendy decorating idea
yourself and save a lot of money for a moss bowl. 

If you would like to see more ways I used moss to decorate
my living and dining rooms for a winter-into-spring theme

Using Moss In Home Decorating

Using moss is an easy way to give color and life to your home decor.
 Using live moss is low maintenance but using preserved
 moss is NO maintenance. Preserved moss is readily available
in different forms in the floral section of craft stores. 

Here are some examples of preserved moss from my local stores...

...the largest bag (left of above picture) is $6 from Wal-Mart.
The top center bag is $9 from Michael's.
The bottom center bag is $6 from Hobby Lobby.
The top right bag is $9 from Jo Ann's.
The bottom two bags are $1 each from Dollar Tree. 
If you have a discount coupon the prices will be less. 

One trendy way folks are using moss in home decorating is
 to have moss bowls. They come in differing sizes but
the most popular ones are the larger ones. The moss
bowls can be expensive to buy but you can make your own
fairly inexpensively especially if you already have a container.

For the moss bowl pictured above I used about three different
bags of moss for the look of a variety of mosses.
Here is the tutorial on them...
How To Make Inexpensive Moss Bowls

Another way to use moss to add a natural texture to your decor
is to have moss balls. They are easy to find and not very 
expensive in the floral section of craft stores but you can make
your own even more inexpensively.

 Making your own moss balls is easy and saves money 
especially if you need a lot of them for bowl fillers or 
for party and wedding decorations. Here's a tutorial for you...
How To Make Inexpensive Moss Balls

 Close cousins of moss balls are moss rings and wreaths.

Moss rings and wreaths are also easy to make by gluing
moss on a foam (or even a home made) round form. Here is
a tutorial on moss rings How To Make Inexpensive Moss Rings.

Moss is a great way to cover up the top of soil or floral
 foam in arrangements and containers.

This almost sponge-like moss is called "reindeer moss".

Moss can line the inside of a container if you want to hide
what is on the inside of the container.
The moss used in the picture above is moss attached to a fabric-like grid (this is called
"mat moss" in the stores) but you can use regular moss in the same way. 

Artificial lilies of the valley are stuck through the moss and into the foam. 

Here are some ways I used moss to decorate my living room 
and dining room recently to transition the winter decor into
more of an early spring look.

It's probably too much moss but I had so much fun 
experimenting on inexpensive ways to make moss bowls, balls
 and rings that I just ended up with a lot of moss items.
 Check out the new tutorials if you want to see more details
 on how I made them and the approximate costs.
How To Make An Inexpensive Moss Bowl
How To Make Inexpensive Moss Balls

This is a good image to "pin" on Pinterest...

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