In this simple guide, we'll explain how to make a Christmas angel from willow.
Angels symbolise different things to different people. They can be spiritual, signs of guardianship or a good luck symbol. An angel is quite a simple structure to make, so chldren can involved. It's a great activity for a rainy day.
Preparation is key
To make it flexible, willow needs to be rehydrated before weaving. To do this, simply submerge the willow in water. A good rule of thumb is around one day per foot of length e.g. If the average length of your willow rods is four foot, then soak for 4 days. (Willow with the bark stripped off only takes a couple of hours to rehydrate). Take a look at our handy soaking guides.
What is needed
How to make your angel
- Place 4 thick willow stems of the same length on a table. Tie the top of the willow stems together. This makes the structure more manageable
- Take one of the slim weavers, bend in half or about 4” (100cms) from the butt end (the thick end). Start weaving in front and behind the uprights alternating the butt and tip. This method gives even spacing between the thick willow stems
- Bend back to the left and weave away, leaving the ends on the underside
- Use one fine weaver at a time, but always making sure the butt end is inserted first. Continue weaving up the angel’s body, gradually bringing the sides together. Make sure all the ends of the fine weavers are on the reverse side. They can then be trimmed off once the angel is completed
- When your angel is the right size, tuck the last tip into the top line of weaving
- Make the fine weaves secure. Untie the top of the thick willow sticks and take right outside the upright to the right and down and tuck into the bottom of the weaving. Do the same with the left side, making sure you do not kink the fine weaving in the process
- To make the hair of the angel, cross over middle uprights and weave under and over into a circle, keep going backwards and forwards until you have used both uprights
- To finish the angel structure, either tie the butts in to two to make legs with the fine weave or with fine ribbon or the two outside butts weave into the bottom of the body using the remaining butts to fix the angel into the ground.
Caring for your angel
Whether inside or out, the treatment for willow is the same. When it needs it, just paint your structure with wood preservative or linseed oil using a brush or spray bottle. Linseed oil is widely used to preserve and finish wood of all types. It sometimes takes days for the oil to dry completely, but this will depend on the weather conditions. The process is simple, but do read what it says on the bottle. Be warned, Linseed oil is extremely difficult to get out of clothing! Sculptures kept outside benefit from a coating of linseed oil once a year and those inside less frequently, about every 2 to 3 years.
Other willow ideas for kids
- Willow star
- Willow star wand
- Willow fish
- Willow heart
- Willow leaf
- Willow Christmas tree
- Willow flower