How to Make Cotton Stems


How to Make Cotton Stems for Almost Nothing

Cotton stems are all over flea markets and home decor stores.  You can find both real and faux cotton stems. Real cotton stems are really messy, so the faux ones are more appealing to most people.  Here is how to make cotton stems for almost nothing.

First, here is a photo of several at a flea market. Aren’t they cool? They look great, are timeless, and will last a long time. Let’s replicate them.

Styling Cotton Stems


  • Farmhouse
  • Rustic
  • Shabby Chic


  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring

Use Them In:

  • Vases
  • Jugs
  • Pitchers
  • Wreaths
  • Frames

Here’s What You Need

Most of these items can be found at home. Jumbo sized cotton balls can be found at Target, Walmart, or even Amazon. If you want to use regular sized cotton balls, it should work too.

Time: 20-30 Minutes


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Watch the Video Tutorial:

Watch this quick video tutorial on how to make cotton stems. For more detailed instructions, keep scrolling!


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Searching for branches and pinecones is a great activity to do with the kids. Check local parks or even treasure hunt in your (or your neighbor’s) backyard.  Any branch will do.  Real cotton stems are straight, but it’s ok to use stems that are curved. 

Making the Capsule

First, break the scales of a pine cone by pushing up. Then use pliers to remove the scale as close to the seed as possible. The scales (or wings) will be used as the capsule of the cotton.

Gluing the Cotton

Next, fluff each cotton ball and glue them onto the branch. To fluff, gently pull each piece apart keeping them in tact. Glue 2-4 scales at the bottom of each cotton ball.  You may need to add extra hot glue to tidy it up as you go. Hot glue works best because it dries quickly. Take your time and try not to get glue on your fingers or the cotton will stick and get messy.

Consider using cotton stems:

  • In wedding centerpieces
  • For home decor
  • To decorate a baby shower or bridal shower
  • For Christmas gift wrapping toppers
  • For baby, wedding, or bridal gift wrapping toppers

Pictured below, these cotton stems really pop in a brown bottle.  The best part is that this project only cost  $1.98 for the cotton balls!

DIY Cotton Stems

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