Kissing Ball Construction

I never saw mistletoe growing parasitical around here, although there is an East American variety, Phoradendron serotinum. We make Kissing Balls out of Spruce, Holly, Boxwood, and any greens with a stiff enough stem to be poked into floral foam. Let’s proceed and get started with a basic Holly Kissing Ball as per request from my friend, Donna, at Gardens Eye View . Once you have yours hanging over a doorway, the Christmas smooches will be coming. Save one for Santa too.

Nothing fancy here folks, but I get asked this question all the time. How do you make those? Actually, I make fancier and prettier Kissing Balls which sell almost as soon as I put them on display, but I will show you a good selling standard. So here goes…

First we start with some flower foam, the kind that soaks up water. Make sure not to get the kind for dried arrangements. You could soak them all day and they do not absorb. You want the kind pictured that sops up water like a baby’s diaper, where every last pore is filled. See the air bubble? It is still absorbing the water.

While the floral foam soaks, I start to put together the wire form and attach the ribbon from which the form hangs. The bow hangs at the bottom.

This is the form already to accept the greens, and in this case, I am using holly. The form hangs from a hook on the ceiling of the workspace, which, by the way is a huge garage. This is a decent workspace because making wreaths and Kissing Balls makes a big mess. Many of the greens bleed with sticky sap when cut and needles get all over the place.

I cut my holly into 6 inch pieces and strip the bottom leaves. The cut is angled to avoid damaging too much of the foam.

Now we just start adding holly until the entire form is covered.

Next I give the ball a spin….

I am easily amused you can see. Actually, you don’t send them flying, but spin it around to see where you need to fill in gaps. It also gauges that all the holly is securely affixed. Next I wire together the berries.

Following that, I assemble and wire the ornament onto a florist pick. I use regular package ribbon and fashion a single bow.

They are then poked into the foam.

All done. It is a really simple process, but very time-consuming. The really decorated ones I make take almost an hour to construct. There is a lot of cutting and stripping to be done.

Sorry Donna, this post on Kissing Balls should have been the one posted on Monday, but they got out-of-order. The Christmas Tree re-post jumped the holiday train and took off running.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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26 Responses to Kissing Ball Construction

  1. Victor Ho says:

    Wonderful. I laughed to see your snow falling. It makes a mess, that’s funny too. Great information. I think that I will admire them more if I see one. They don’t seem too common around these parts.

  2. Bom says:

    Hardly any kissing balls here. It’s good to learn about different traditions and this looks like a fun one.

  3. HolleyGarden says:

    We have tons of mistletoe here. It kills the trees and falls all over the place. I would never use that parasite for a kissing ball – it would just make me mad to look at it! Your holly kissing ball, however, is beautiful. Smart of you to think of putting the bow on before attaching the greenery! Thanks for the step-by-step – it does look easy broken down into steps, but all together it’s very impressive!

  4. Sandra Jonas says:

    That is beautiful Donna! I might give it a try, my hollies are full of berries this year.
    Have joyful Holidays!

  5. Bernieh says:

    We do have a species parasitic holly in the bushland around here, but it wouldn’t make a very pretty kissing ball! Your step-by-step instructions were brilliant … and useful to someone who’s unlike me and has some patience and a modicum of artistic flair! I’ll just admire yours!

  6. Wow, I would never think to make a kissing ball. But with your instructions, I think I could do it. Very pretty! Thanks for step-by-step instructions.

  7. debsgarden says:

    I have mistletoe growing here, so I could make the real thing, which may or may not have more potent powers than the holly ones you make. Most certainly, it could not be prettier!

  8. Lovely Donna! I love natural arrangements at Christmas. This is gorgeous and looks easy enough to do. LOVE the spinning ball photo 🙂

  9. Barbie says:

    How simply beautiful 🙂

  10. Christina says:

    Thanks for the great instructions for this – I always love real leaves and plant material for “decking the halls with ……..” I have masses of Bay in the garden so I often use that with the added bonus of the lovely perfume. Christina

  11. elaine says:

    When I first saw the title of your post I thought – who would want to kiss a ball of holly – silly me.
    I have never seen a holly ball before we tend to make holly wreaths. It looks lovely

  12. Lovely and it’s getting me all in the mood!! Also great photos, they really do your blog justice, Enjoy the snowy winter am very jealous, our winter more of a grey affair:~)

  13. Karen says:

    So that’s how these are made! I was always wondering about the process and now I know. I can only imagine how beautiful your Really fancy ones are, this one is gorgeous.

    I can tell by the wear on your Felco just how hard you work, Donna! Look how shiny the handle is getting. I have one that looks about the same and it’s always on my hip.

  14. Lona says:

    How beautiful! I love the instructions and pictures on how to create one. Thank you for sharing it.

  15. Lyn says:

    Kissing balls are not a tradition here in Australia, but we do have wreaths. I love the project though and am thinking of trying one just as a decoration. Thank you for such clear instructions.

  16. What can I say…thank you is so little after this amazing post…can’t wait to make my own in the future…I have these hanging on my porch every year and now I can make my own..yippee!!!

  17. GirlSprout says:

    How crafty you are. Is there anything you can’t do? 🙂 Looks like a fun project.

  18. TufaGirl says:

    Great instructions. I love the “give it a spin” – perfect way to do it.

  19. Beautiful! I’d love to try making one. We see a little mistletoe growing near here, but none on the property. What a really need though is instructions for making a green fir wreath 😉 We had so many branches down in the recent storm I could have made a hundred of them!

  20. Cat says:

    Love to see that you’re having a good time while making these kissing balls! It looks really festive too. Maybe I could adapt the recipe for a Texas style ball with ball moss and sumac berries?

  21. Indie says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I don’t see too many kissing balls down here, but they look so pretty. They definitely look time consuming and messy to make, but I’ll bet it would be lots of fun to do especially with some friends or family!

  22. One says:

    I guess I’m easily amused too. Enjoy your post especially on the spinning part. 🙂

  23. Marguerite says:

    I received a similar ball a few years ago and had no idea what it was meant to be. I guess the lack of mistletoe confused me! Loved the photo of the spinning ball, gotta have some fun while you’re busy doing the work.

  24. b-a-g says:

    Perfect for hanging in a moon garden …

  25. Victor Ho says:

    I have greatly enjoyed your posts. So – you’re nominated for Versatile Blogger. Congratulations. See my post today for the details.

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