Project: Living Air Plant Brooch

Craft & Design Gardening
Project: Living Air Plant Brooch

By Haley Pierson-Cox
From terrarium necklaces to moss rings, living jewelry is popping up just about everywhere. Are you ready to get in on the plant-wearing trend? Make your own unique, green pieces with my air plant brooch tutorial!


Wood scrap at least 2″ wide by 2″ tall, and ¼” thick
Fine tip permanent markers, red and black
Embroidery floss 48″ length
Pin back 1″ length
Jewelry adhesive I used Amazing GOOP Craft Arte
Embroidery scissors
Wood oil
Cloth rag
Sandpaper fine grain
Drill with 5/64″ drill bit
Spring clamp
Safety glasses
Face mask
1 small air plant


Step 1: Put on your safety glasses and facemask, then select a piece of scrap wood. If needed, use your handsaw to cut it to size, making sure that the thickness of the piece is a uniform ¼”.
My father-in-law is a violin maker. I grabbed my piece of wood from his scrap bin, which is why it has a curved shape. As long as the thickness is uniform, your scrap can be any shape you’d like.
Step 2: Use the sandpaper to smooth away any rough spots or jagged edges on the wood.
Step 3: Holding the piece of wood securely with a clamp, measure ½” in from the right edge. Starting at the top, use the handsaw to saw a notch down to the center of the piece. Smooth away any rough edges with sandpaper.
Because my wooden piece is curved, my notch is only about ¼” deep. But if my shape had been square, the notch would have needed to be about 1″ deep to hit the center.
Step 4: Holding the piece of wood securely with a clamp, measure ½” in from the left edge. Make a mark halfway down the height of the piece (this mark should line up with the bottom of your notch from Step 3). Using the mark as a guide, drill a hole all the way through the wood from front to back. Smooth away any rough edges with sandpaper.
Step 5: Using a cloth rag, apply a light coat of wood oil to the entire surface of the wooden piece, allowing the oil to soak in and dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 6: Carefully draw a heart design in the bottom right corner of the piece using black and red permanent markers. Once the ink has dried completely, use a cloth rag to apply an additional layer of wood oil to the entire surface of the wooden piece. Again, allow the oil to soak in and dry before moving on.
Step 7: Turn the wooden piece over. Using a strong jewelry adhesive, apply the pin back to the wood and allow it to dry completely.
Since this is a large brooch, the higher you place the pin back, the more stable it will be. For square wooden pieces, place the pin back near the top.
Step 8: Cut the embroidery floss into six 8″ pieces, gathering them into a bunch and knotting one end. Separate the strands, doubling them up so you have 3 thick pieces, then braid the full length of the floss to create a braided cord. Do not knot off the second end.
Step 9: Thread the braided cord through the hole from back to front.
Step 10: The braided cord will gently hold the air plant in place. For it to work properly, it needs to be snug, but not so tight that it will damage the plant.
To get the right cord length, place the air plant on the front of the brooch, then wrap the cord around the plant, feeding the unknotted end through the notch you carved in Step 3. Starting on the back side of the notch, tug gently on the cord until the plant is held snugly in place, then use a marker to make a small dot on the cord just after the notch, marking the length. To finish, tie a knot at the mark you just made, then use scissors to trim off any excess floss after both knots.
You’re done! Strap in your air plant and rock your new living jewelry! (Just don’t forget to water your plant and return it to its window once in a while.)

About the Author:
Haley Pierson-Cox is a Brooklyn-based craft writer who loves granny glasses and loathes extraneous apostrophes. She blogs about crafts, cats, domestic bliss, and DIY goodness at The Zen of Making.

6 thoughts on “Project: Living Air Plant Brooch

  1. Vicky says:


    Thank you so much for sharing this diy, it is really helpful and so amazing :D

    Can I ask what type of wood oil you used? Or does that not matter? I’m going to be using an obeche wood for a brooch and I am a bit in the dark about how to treat it. Does the oil take a long time to dry? And do you think it will it need varnishing? Sorry for all the questions, I hope you don’t mind :)

    Thanks again for sharing such a cute tutorial, it’s really helpful for us newbies!


    1. Haley Pierson-Cox says:

      Hi, Vicky! I’m so glad that you’re trying out the project! The answers to your questions are below:

      Type of wood oil: I used a food safe mineral oil from the Wisconsin Hardwoods company. For the project, though, you can use any kind of wood oil that you can get your hands on.

      Drying time: As long as you wipe off any excess oil after you’re done applying it, it should be dry in half an hour (less if the wood soaks it up quickly).

      Varnish: If you’ve got them on hand, stains and varnish/sealers can be used in place of wood oil to add color and a protective shine. I prefer a more natural–and less smelly–approach, so I used wood oil for this project. The bottom line: wood oil preserves and protects the wood, and does not require an additional sealer. (If you keep the brooch a long time, you can periodically rub more wood oil into the surface to keep it in top shape!)

      I hope that helps!
      – Haley from CRAFT

  2. Amy L says:

    Awesome Post! I recently got an assortment of air plants from Air plant design studio and used them all over my house as decorations. We actually took some old corks and hollowed them out a little bit, and then hot glued a magnet to the back side. We were able to stick a small ionantha plant in there and now it lives on our fridge!

    Also, check out they have some really cool stuff. About to get more to give away for christmas!

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Haley Pierson-Cox from Red-Handled Scissors is a maker of crafts, a lover of cats, an avid swearing enthusiast, a cross-stitch book author, and a general purveyor of quirk. She's also sometimes an irritable cartoon named Tiny Cranky Haley.

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