Have you ever seen giant, purple alliums in bloom in the spring? This is a quick and easy garden art project made from thrift shop items to mimic the look of those massive, globe-shaped flowers.
For more thrift shop crafts, also see the DIY & Craft Project Idea Bank where you can look up what you have and see what you can make.
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Giant Allium Garden Art
Alliums are those giant, purple, globe-shaped flowers you notice in the spring when not much else is blooming yet. They are a member of the onion family and grow from bulbs. Bees love them as they have few nectar options so early in the growing season.
I first thought of this garden art idea years ago when I saw packages of nails all bundled in rolls in the thrift shop. The long nails with their flat heads reminded me of the hundreds of little stems in the head of an allium as they go into bloom and also when they start turning to seed. Weird, I know.
Learn how to grow alliums in your garden here.
After testing out a few options, softballs turned out to be the perfect core for the flowers. They are easy to drill and nails go in very nicely. Whatever that fluffy stuff is inside, it grabs the nails snugly and hold them in place.
I painted my allium purple with a green stem. I could only find one purple can of spray paint and I was quite disappointed that it’s not allium purple, which has a lot of pink in it, and instead too blue-based. But I went with it anyway for now.
If you love the look of dried seeds or rusty metal, you could also spray paint the whole thing in those sorts of colours.
Bottom line: your art—your choice. I’ll probably update mine if I ever come across the perfect purple.
Make Garden Art Alliums
As always, I suggest you find used items for projects like this so they are cheap or free and give old junk a new life.
- (1) Softball (12″ circumference / 3.8″ diameter) Be certain it’s a softball and not hard/baseball.
- (120) 3-4” Flat-head nails.
- (1) 3-foot metal threaded rod- 1/8 diameter (could also use rebar but a slender stem looks best).
- Spray paint (purple, green, or whatever colours you choose).
- Cordless drill and 1/8” (or smaller) drill bit.
- Safety gloves, eye protection, clothes protection (the usual precautions).
- Cardboard box (for spray painting).
1. If you want to spray paint the metal rod, do this first.
2. Make a test hole in the softball with a 1/8” or smaller drill bit. Insert a nail and confirm that it fits snugly. You’ll push it into the softball about an inch. If you need a smaller drill bit, switch it out now.
3. Drill holes in softball, evenly spaced over the entire surface. Always drill at a 90-degree angle into the ball.
4. Insert the painted metal rod. You may need to drill a slightly larger hole in the softball to accommodate it but don’t overdo it because you want it to fit really snugly. Once it’s secure, don’t remove it.
5. Insert nails into the holes, fixing them firmly in place.
6. Spray paint the allium flower head. First, cover the stem so it does not get sprayed. I use a big cardboard box for spray painting to minimize the amount of paint that gets in the air.
After the paint dries, you’re done.
Display them in your garden for year-round allium beauty in a thrift shop-repurposed kind of way.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
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