Tools and Materials
Spool of 18-gauge wire
Upholstery cotton or unrolled jumbo cotton ball
Pretty decorative paper, such as vintage book paper
White craft glue
2-inch-thick square of upholstery foam
Barbed needle-felting needle
Large ball of clean and carded natural-color wool (about the size of a cantaloupe)
Small eggs, such as quail eggs
Eggs-in-Nest Centerpiece How-To
1. Start with a spool of 18-gauge wire; unroll a length that is 2 inches longer than the desired height of the finished tree (we made a 6-inch tree and started with 8 inches of wire).
2. Following the downloadable diagram, unroll more wire from the spool, bend the wire onto itself, and wrap tightly around midpoint of the original length. Use the same method to create a total of six branches.
Tip: Straighten wire as you work by holding it between your forefinger and thumb and running down the length of the wire.
3. Bend the wire branches to create a three-legged tripod on the bottom and a three-pronged set of branches, which will cradle the nest on top. Use the same method to create secondary branches and twigs. You can make your tree as sparse or as full of branches as you like.
4. Cover the wire with cotton: Split a strip of upholstery cotton or an unrolled jumbo cotton ball until you have strips that are 1/2-inch wide. Place the end of the cotton strip onto any intersection point on the armature and wind around the wire, lightly guiding the cotton with your fingers. Overlap the ends of the cotton strips to keep them from coming loose. Continue wrapping, keeping the cotton as tightly spun around the armature as possible until you've covered the entire tree.
5. Accordion-fold decorative paper and cut leaf shapes from folded paper. Glue leaves to ends of cotton branches and let dry.
6. Working over a 2-inch-thick square of foam, poke the center of the ball of wool with a barbed felting needle, until you begin to see a nest shape forming. Turn the nest on its side and poke to define the sides. Add more wool, if needed. Tip: Don't completely felt the nest; an irregular look is more true to nature.
7. Glue lengths of silver tinsel to the bottom of the nest. Brush glue onto the branches of the tree where the nest will sit, and secure nest in place.
8. Place eggs into nest.
For more information on crafter Crystal Hanehan, visit vintagebycrystal.com. For cotton and wool fibers and needle-felting tools, visit stores.shop.ebay.com. All other tools and materials are available at most crafts stores.