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Color Pussy Willows | An Easy Spring Craft

Color Pussy Willows | An Easy Spring Craft
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Adding color to pussy willows was a springtime tradition for me and my family when I was a little girl.  As the snow started to melt in Maine and the peeping frogs started to emerge, the hunt for pussy willows would begin.   Pussy willows are from the Salix family and they grow in the Eastern United States.  In early spring the fuzzy catkins, which resemble bunny tails, emerge on these Salix shrubs.  You can alter the color of these catkins with a little bit of chalk dust.

Colored pussy willows add a pop of color to glass vases.

Photo/Art by Bonnie ThomasColored pussy willows add a pop of color to glass vases.

If you are lucky enough to live near a pussy willow shrub, you will need to trim some branches with clippers.  Pussy willows can not be “picked” or snapped off– the branches are too supple, and it is best for the shrub if you trim the branches with a clean cut and not tear at it.

Use chalk dust to color pussy willows.

Photo/Art by Bonnie ThomasUse chalk dust to color pussy willows.

Materials to Color Pussy Willows

  • Chalk in bright colors
  • Newspaper
  • Pussy willow stalks
  • Small dry paintbrush

Directions to Color Pussy Willows

  • Place the newspaper on a flat surface.
  • Remove the hull from the catkins.  The hull is the brown sheath that holds the catkin.  It usually comes off easily but still take care to remove it gently so as not to remove the catkin off the branch as well.
  • Choose a color of chalk.  Take the chalk and scribble with it on the newspaper.  Press down hard so that you create plenty of chalk dust.
  • Roll a catkin in the chalk so that it is covered with the colored chalk dust.
  • Optional– Use a dry paintbrush to lightly brush the dust into the catkin for more even and natural distribution of color.
  • Repeat this step until you have covered the catkins in the colors of your choice.  You can add all the same color to one branch of catkins, or you can mix up the colors to create themes of color or even patterns.
  • Display in a small vintage bottle or vase.
Pussy willows look great in a vase.

Photo/Art by Bonnie ThomasPussy willows look great in a vase.

We used to love this spring activity.  It was a family friendly craft that all of us, from the youngest child to the grandparents, would sit and do together.  Later on we would exchange stories of how many people we had fooled into thinking pussy willows actually grew in these colors.  If pussy willows do not grow near you, you will need to purchase them.  Regardless of how you find them, I hope you enjoy this spring rite of passage as much as I did when I was a kid.

 

Bonnie Thomas

Author:

Bonnie Thomas

Biography:

Bonnie Thomas shares her ideas and instructions for simple Yankee crafts. Bonnie Thomas works full time as a child and family therapist in Southern Maine and is also an established artist and author. She has published two books via Jessica Kingsley Publishing, titled Creative Coping Skills for Children: Emotional Support Through Arts and Crafts Activities and Creative Expression Activities for Teens: Exploring Identity Through Art, Craft and Journaling.

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