Pistachio Shell Flower Wreath
Some of my very favorite projects ever are the ones that use the oddest materials. I love to reuse stuff. I’m not quite a hoarder level saver yet, but I do often keep things that would otherwise end up in the landfill because I could maybe use it someday. Out in the Craft Shack I have several boxes full of bottles, cans, lids, and containers. This project is one of those projects, and maybe my favorite so far. Normal people probably throw away the shells from Pistachio nuts. Maybe I kept them because I’m a little bit nuts! This Pistachio Flower Wreath was a labor of love. The materials to make it were nearly free, I had most of them already, but it may have been the most time intensive craft project I’ve ever completed. How much time, you ask? (I’m going to tell you, even if you didn’t ask…) This wreath took nearly 20 hours to complete! Now that it’s finished I don’t think I’ll ever do this again, but it was worth it this one time for sure!
Just in case you’re nuts like me, I thought I’d share with you how I made it (including a video)! If you’re looking for a month long project with tedious, repetitive work that will knock your socks off when it’s finished… This is the project for you! Plus, if you read all the way to the end, you’ll find 16 more incredible wreaths made by amazingly talented women! They’re sharing their wreaths with you today and believe me, you’ll want to see!
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Here’s what I used to make my Pistachio Flower Wreath:
- Straw Wreath Form (14″)
- Pistachio Shells (from about 3lbs of Pistachios)
- Hot Glue Gun (Low Temp)
- Glue Sticks (Low or Multi Temp)(Buy bulk!)
- Monogram Letter (around a 9 inch size)
- Unicorn Spit Gel Stain in Navajo Jewel and Zia Teal
- Oil Based Polyurethane or Spray sealer
Eat Pistachios. Or know someone who does. Eat LOTS of Pistachios. I used the shells from roughly 3lbs of pistachios which my family ate for months. Alternatively, you could shell the nuts and store them for future use, you don’t have to eat all three lbs of nuts all at once… Remove any loose parts, and wash the shells. Let them dry completely.
Start gluing your shells directly to the straw wreath form. This part takes F O R E V E R. You will want lots and lots of hot glue sticks. And a low temp gun. High temp glue is ok, but it takes too long to set and you will waste a lot of time sitting and holding the shells in place (trust me… get the low temp glue gun).
Watch the video at the end of this post to see exactly how to glue the shells, it’s so much easier to understand if you can actually watch it happening.
Keep on gluing. Glue, and Glue, and Glue, and Glue… Build big flowers, and small flowers and half flowers. Keep going until your wreath is covered. I did not cover the back of the wreath because I wanted it to lay flat. You could cover it, or not depending on your own personal preference.
See that straw all over the place? Straw wreaths are a pain in the rear for sure! Why did I pick straw? Well, with as much hot glue as I was using I didn’t want to melt a foam wreath, and wire and grapevine wreath forms were just all wrong for this type of project. So I chose straw. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be finding stray straw pieces for months, but it was totally worth the mess!
You made it! Your wreath is finally covered in shell flowers! Whew! The hard work is done. After spending SO many hours gluing pistachio shells to the wreath I was really worried about how to finish it. So, for me, this part was difficult. I struggled with a few options. I loved how it looked just the natural straw and shell color so I would have just left it as it was… except, you could see so much hot glue. It takes a lot of hot glue. A lot, and you could see it! From a distance that’s not an issue at all, so you could be done here and just leave it natural if you wanted! I was leaning towards painting or staining it.
I tossed around several finish options for several days. I asked for opinions on Instagram, Facebook, and bugged several friends about it too. There were some pretty varied opinions! The majority agreed with me in the end though, that the turquoise was the way to go. I might have a little bit of a turquoise obsession.
Rather than spray painting the wreath one solid color I decided to use two shades of Unicorn SPiT stain. This really cool gel stain is pretty unique. It dries a little bit differently than other paints or stains, and it has to be sealed with an oil based sealer. I liked the varying colors and textures on the pistachio shells though. No two flower is the same on the wreath, so why should the color be completely uniform? I used the colors Navajo Jewel, and Zia Teal. They work so perfectly together. I used them on my hanging planter too, which I love so I figured this would turn out alright too.
Seal the wreath. After all of this work, and all of this effort, protect the wreath. You could use a spray sealer, which would be the easiest method. I didn’t want a high gloss finish and I couldn’t find a spray sealer in a satin or matte finish locally, so I just used some oil based polyurethane. I brushed it on, and let the excess drip off.
Embellish your wreath! This is a fun part! I took a letter S for our last name, and painted it copper. I love how copper and turquoise look together! I used some of the leftover samples from our kitchen backsplash project and cut it to fit the S. I love the metallic copper texture on it! I hung the wreath using two matching 1 1/2 inch width ribbons. You could use a wider ribbon too!
Now that it’s totally finished, I love it! I don’t know very many projects I would say this for, but the 20 hours this pistachio wreath took feels totally worth it to me!
I hung it on the large mirror that hangs over our mantel. I’ve mentioned before how my mantel is one of my favorite pieces in my whole house. It has some special meaning for me, since my dad built it. I keep some of my lanterns and owls on the mantel for most of the year. It’s almost time to pull out the fall decorations though! I don’t think I can bear to take down my new wreath yet, so now it’s my new fall wreath and it looks like teal is going to be the new fall color here at the Craft Shack house!
It’s the perfect size to hang on the mirror!
I made a video for you because with a project like this it’s so much easier to understand if you can see it happen.
If you love wreaths as much as I do, you’ll want to check out these 16 more gorgeous wreaths! Click on any image below to visit that blog and see their wreath. Some really amazing inspiration to be found!