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How to Make a Kissing Ball

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Evergreens in Kissing Ball Design
Photo: inserting an evergreen branch into the styrofoam ball to begin the Christmas kissing ball.

Photo: inserting an evergreen branch into the styrofoam ball to begin the Christmas kissing ball.

David Beaulieu

Strike a balance in your kissing ball design between variety and uniformity. You don't want a hodgepodge of too many different kinds of evergreens and too many different kinds of decorations. On the other hand, using just one kind of evergreen and/or one kind of decoration can result in a look that's too boring.

In the picture, you see me inserting a yew branch into the styrofoam. I also used spruce and two kinds of pine. Other kinds of evergreens to consider are:

Euonymus and laurel, unlike the other kinds of evergreens, are broadleaf plants. Use the Emerald 'n' Gold type if you wish to inject a golden element into your masterpiece. Sprigs of the Emerald Gaiety kind, meanwhile, will brighten the ensemble, as the leaves are edged in white.

As you're completing your kissing ball design, resist the temptation to trim the tips of your evergreens excessively, in hopes of obtaining an even look. Excessive trimming will engender a look that's too contrived. If left untrimmed, the tips of the evergreens will lend a softer, more natural appearance to the kissing ball.

Another caveat of kissing ball design: try not to go overboard in pulling out branches you've already inserted, so as to rearrange them. You can get away with a bit of this, but you'll eventually make too many holes in your styrofoam, thereby compromising its integrity.

One more caveat of kissing ball design: don't start by inserting a bunch of evergreens on just one side of the stryofoam, before moving over to another. You'll gain a better sense of how the design is shaping up if you distribute your branches "across the globe" (one here, one there), then come back and fill in later.

Insert evergreens until the stryofoam is reasonably well hidden, all around. Then insert the pinecones, which you've already prepared (see Pages 3 and 4), and the winterberry. As a last touch (if you choose to follow my lead in this regard), insert the locust pod as a "ribbon."

On Page 10 we conclude with a look at how best to display kissing balls outside....

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