The first signs of spring have sprung in the backyards of Barrhead – bitterwort, puffball, lion’s tooth – or better known around here as dandelion!
Although considered a weed, dandelions are an important early food source for pollinators such as bees. Butterflies, moths, some bird species like pine siskins, mammals such as the chipmunk, as well as black and grizzly bears will also feed on this member of the Asteraceae family.
Historically, dandelions were not classed as a weed and rather were cultivated for food and medicinal purposes; all parts of the dandelion are entirely edible! The origins of blowing on a dandelion puffball and making a wish are not clear, but some say it may have begun as early as the 1800s. Today, we’re going to make your very own dandelion wishing puffball!
First let’s gather our supplies, you will need:
- Cotton swabs- the amount you need depends on how full you want your puffball
- White, brown, or yellow pompom- the bigger the pompom the more surface area you have to cover with “seeds”
- Paper straw- a thicker straw like a bubble tea straw can be used for little ones to make it easier for them to tuck in their wish
- Small flower pot- any other vessel can be used as well – an empty clean jar, an old coffee mug, use your imagination!
- Acrylic paint and brushes or sponges- or any other items you’d like to use to decorate your vessel such as stickers, pom poms, or stamps
- Filler- use rocks, marbles, sand or other filler in your flower pot
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Green construction paper and pipe cleaners- for crafting your leaves if you choose to add some
- Strip of paper and pen- for writing down your wish!
Start by plugging in your hot glue gun and allowing it to heat up. While you wait, take your cotton swabs and cut them in half to form the dandelion seeds.
Once your glue gun is heated, glue a pompom to one end of your straw to create the seed head. Next, add glue to the cut end of the cotton swabs and press them into your pompom to add the seeds. Add as many as you like!
Now we can add the leaves – dandelions have unique leaves and we can look up a picture or trace a real dandelion leaf to get the pattern right. Draw out the leaves on green construction paper with pencil and when your happy with them, go ahead and cut them out. Then glue on a green pipe cleaner in the center of each leaf to form the leaf vein.
Let’s set aside the dandelion and work on our flower pot; decorate your pot however you like by either painting a pattern, gluing on decorations like pompoms, or covering in stickers. If you used paint, wait for it to dry before moving on to the next step.
Once your flower pot is ready, add a filler such as rocks or sand to help hold the dandelion in place.
Now for the most important part – think of a wish for your dandelion! This can be a wish for yourself or a wish for someone special that you are gifting the dandelion to. Once you decide on your wish, write it down on a strip of paper and roll it up tightly. Place the paper inside the straw so it will always stay with your wishing dandelion.
Finally, we are going to insert the dandelion into the filler, then do the same with your dandelion leaves.
Use your imagination with this craft – if dandelions aren’t your thing, try making a paper daffodil, daisy, or another favorite plant.
We would love to see your creation – tag a photo of your craft with #BarrheadCreates to share what you’ve made!