A Unique Rainbow Thistle Decoration To Make

A Colourful Thistle Decoration For Your Mantle

At the bottom of my road is a gorgeous park and river. Most mornings I walk our old dog Toby across the park and along the embankment. The riverbank is lined by thistle plants which are all dry now. I’ve picked a few of these to make a lovely thistle decoration for my mantle.

Thistles are the national flower of Scotland and it’s Burns night in a couple of weeks. So my thistle decoration is actually seasonally appropriate.

My mother is Scottish, and growing up we had haggis every Burns night. Which is no mean feat living in Hong Kong. She had to make her own haggis by ordering the ingredients from the butcher. Did you know that it is illegal to import haggis into the US? Due to a ban on some of its ingredients. So I’m sure many Scots in the US must make their own haggis too!

Thistles along the riverbank in Bedford

Back to the thistle decoration, I think it has a retro feel to it. As a child I remember my house being decorated with dried plants such as thistles, bulrushes (cattails) and pampas grass. I thought I’d give the thistles a modern update by spray painting them a rainbow of colours.

DIY rainbow dried thistle decoration for your mantle.

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What You Need To Make A Thistle Decoration

  • Thistles – Thistles grow wild, I picked about 8 from the riverbank.
  • Secateurs & gardening gloves – Thistles are very thorny, you will want to protect your hands.
  • Wood dowel approx 3cm in diameter and at least 70cm in length
  • Walnut wood stain
  • Spray paints in lots of different colours.
  • Drill with a wood drill bit as wide as the thistle stem.
Dried thistle before decoration

How To Make A Thistle Decoration

1.Using gloves and secateurs pick your dry thistles. Next, spray paint them the colours of the rainbow or near enough. I just used the bits of spray paint I had in my craft cupboard.

Rainbow spray painted dried thistles for a mantle decoration

2. Next, saw the wooden dowel into blocks about 5-6 cm (2″) in height. You will need one for every painted thistle. I had seven blocks in total.

Sawing wooden dowel
Cut small wooden dowels

3. Mark the center of the top of each piece of wood and drill a hole in the top. The hole needs to be wide enough to fit the thistle stem and about 2cm’s deep.

Drilling holes in the wooden thistle decoration vases.

4. Next, sand and smooth each of the wooden blocks. I wanted a darker wood look, so I also stained each block with a walnut wood stain.

Sanded stained wooden blocks

5. Finally, cut down the thistle stems to about 2 cm long. Place one thistle decoration in each wooden block.

Making colourful thistle decoration
Finished rainbow dried thistle decoration
Rainbow painted dried thistle decoration.

I have put my rainbow thistle decoration on the mantle. It certainly looks bright colourful and cheery! I won’t be just keeping these decorations up for Burns Night (25th January) but for the rest of the year.

Not only does my family celebrate Burns Night, but having been born and brought up in Hong Kong we also celebrate Chinese New Year. Which is the next event after Burns night on the family calendar on the 5th February this year. I’ll see if I can come up with some Chinese New Year decor ideas too!

Rainbow coloured dried thistle decoration for Burns
Spray painted dried thistle decorations

If like me you love colourful decor you may want to check out these rainbow posts.

For more rainbow crafts check out favecrafts.com

14 Responses

  1. I love this, Claire! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

  2. This is such a cute idea, and love all the bright and bold colors. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What an Idea! I like it. Give to winter a little bit colour.

    • Thank you. Anything to brighten things up on these dull winter days.

  4. The thistles look so different painted! I love them! It’s an amazing makeover. Very pretty! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday!

  5. I love your rainbow thistles.
    We don’t have any Scottish family so have never done anything for burns night, we did have a large vase in the hall way as I was growing up filled with bullrushes, pampas grass and thistles though – I’m sure we had some sort of grass that we picked from the sand dunes on holidays in Cornwall too ! Funnily enough I haven’t repeated this 80’s phenomena in our house!

    • Thank you. Lucky you never having to eat haggis as a child, mind you I don’t mind it now.

  6. Love it, thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling sunday!

  7. Cute idea! We can buy haggis in the US but you really have to hunt for it. Most of haggis are liver based because like you said some of the ingredients are illegal here. It’s the only way I can stand to eat liver!

    • Thank you! I confess I only really eat haggis once a year on Burns night.

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