Illuminated Branches

Tom and I are very near our goal for savings, which means that we will be able to focus on making our house much more interesting and full of personality next year. You might have guessed that I’m dying for that to happen. Until then, we have been keeping a very small budget for home improvements to add a little flair here and there in our house.

Here’s a little project that cost under $100 and brought interest and light into our living room. And it just makes me happy. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it any of my friends’ houses, and I like having something a bit different. Of course, I might not be seeing it anywhere because no one else would want it, but I can live with being different. 😉

Okay. It all began with this:

I stumbled across this photo on thisnext.com, and I loved it. I thought it was a really neat way to bring light into a house. So I followed some links from the site and ended up at Illuminated Garden. Here they have all kinds of  sprays of “plants” that are illuminated. They also have crystal sprays (or you could get these at a craft store) that catch the light of the illuminated branches and set it off nicely.

I wanted it.

After looking around the site, I settled on a few crystal sprays and the silver dollar branch. It’s something that I’ve seen being sold (not illuminated) in home decor in stores that I like, in magazines, and as a compliment to flowers in bouquets. What I love about it is that it doesn’t really remind me of any season, so I don’t feel like it needs to be put away for part of the year. And since it’s not a flower, it won’t look super cheesy up close.

But I also needed to find something to put it in. I didn’t have any big urns around our house, so I went on the hunt. What I ended up finding was an urn at an antiques store. I negotiated the price with the owner a little and payed only $30 for it:

It’s a clay urn with this pretty, glossy coating in a mottled green and blue. You can see in the picture below that it’s glossy enough to reflect its surroundings. But it’s also nice because it doesn’t seem to get smudge marks.

Anyway, I got home with it and needed to drill a hole into the bottom for the wire that lights up the branches to go through. (Also, notice that it has a price of $499 on the bottom…right next to the “made in China” stamp. I doubt that was ever the real worth of it, but it still made my $30 buy sound impressive. ha)

It took a little while for me to get the hole started. But once it was there, it was easy to chip away at it until it was big enough for the whole piece to fit through.

Of course, I had to take the wire out, flip the urn over, and put the wire back through the hole from the inside going out. But I had to test the size of the hole first with the wire. My arm was too short to reach all the way to the bottom, so Tom had to help me out with that part.

Then came this problem-if the branches were all the way to the bottom, they would barely stick out of the urn. So I crumpled up paper torn from magazines until it reached the narrow neck of the urn. Then I arranged the branches in a smaller vase until I had them how I liked them, placed the vase on the paper, and used more paper to hold everything in place. Last of all, I put some small, smooth rocks  over the paper so you couldn’t see any of it. It also helps to hold the branches in place better.

I decided to put it in a corner of our living room with no light source. There’s a conveniently located outlet right behind the urn where I could plug in the branches for light. Here it is when not illuminated (this picture makes it look a bit sparse; I should have taken more to show you how full it really looks):

And here it is at night when illuminated:

Tom and I have enjoyed it as a new addition to our home, and we also really appreciate having a bit more ambient lighting in our living room.

I have more little projects that I’ve done around the house to share with you later. But for now, I’m interested in knowing if you have any decor in your house that just makes you smile when you see it and why?

~Meghan

8 thoughts on “Illuminated Branches”

  1. I have a high sofa-ish table that I made with my dad. The top is the remnants of a beam from when we knocked a wall out at my sister’s house, and the legs are staircase spindles from my dad’s scrap pile in the basement. I have loved it since we built it and now that my Dad is gone, it is a great reminder of some of our time together. I’m with you Meghan, having things that you have had some hand in putting together makes things more special.

    1. That is so special, Tami!! I can definitely see why that would be one of your favorite pieces. How neat that you made it with your dad and with pieces that had meaning. Thanks for sharing!

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