How to Make a Christmas Kissing Ball

Picture of Christmas kissing ball, completed.

The Spruce / David Beaulieu

Making a kissing ball is a fun, easy project that yields a beautiful ornament when you're done. Hang your gorgeous globe outdoors to spruce up a front door or a front yard or display it anywhere indoors. Some folks decorate kissing balls with ribbons, Christmas ornaments, and other store-bought supplies, while others prefer a more natural approach, using real plant material that's often taken from their own properties. This project uses collected material, though you can embellish it with real or artificial decorations of your choosing.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Pruning shears
  • Needlenose pliers (with wire cutter)
  • Coat hanger

Materials

  • Evergreen braches
  • Branches of winterberry or holly with red berries
  • Variety of cones from evergreen trees
  • Green Styrofoam globe
  • Florist's wire
  • Plant stakes
  • Locust pods
  • Gold spray paint (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Evergreen Branches

    Using pruning shears, cut the evergreen branches so that the average branch is about 10 inches long; 3 inches of that length will be inserted into the foam globe. Vary the overall length somewhat to ensure that your kissing ball has texture. Strip the needles from the last 3 inches of each branch by shaving them off with the blades of the pruning shears.

    Picture of red spruce branch prepared for insertion into a Christmas kissing ball.
    Picture of red spruce branch prepared for insertion into a Christmas kissing ball. David Beaulieu
  2. Insert Evergreens into the Styrofoam Ball

    Insert the evergreen branches into the foam ball so the stripped ends are covered. Distribute the branches evenly around the globe for a natural look. Move all around the globe as you work, rather than filling one side first. Keep adding branches until the foam is largely hidden from view.

    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
  3. Add the Red Berries

    Add some natural color to your kissing ball by inserting branches of winterberry or evergreen holly, both of which have red berries.

    Have some winterberry branches cut and ready to insert into the Christmas kissing ball.
    Have some winterberry branches cut and ready to insert into the Christmas kissing ball. David Beaulieu
  4. Wire the Cones

    Cut 6 to 8 inches of florist's wire for each cone using needlenose pliers or wire cutters. Slip the wire into the grooves under each cone's scales, down near the stem. The wire should encircle the cone. Pull the wire tight and twist it on itself to secure it, leaving several inches of extra wire in two loose ends.

    Wire slipped over a spruce cone's scales and pulled tight provides a way to attach cone to a stick.
    Florist's wire slipped over a spruce cone's scales and pulled tight provides a way to attach the spruce cone to a stick. David Beaulieu
  5. Wire and Install the Cones

    Attach each cone to a plant stake by wrapping the loose wire ends around the stake. Insert the stakes into the kissing ball, using random placement or grouping them as desired.

    The wired pinecone is attached to a plant stake.
    The wired pinecone is attached to a plant stake. David Beaulieu
  6. Add Locust Pods

    Use long, flat or curly locust pods as "ribbon substitutes." If desired, paint the pods with gold spray paint for a festive look. To attach a pod, cut a 6-inch length of florist's wire, then poke the wire through the pod and wrap the wire around a plant stake. Insert the stake into the foam ball.

    Insert florist's wire through one end of the locust tree pod.
    Insert florist's wire through one end of the locust tree pod. David Beaulieu
  7. Hang the Kissing Ball

    Cut a wire coat hanger in a straight area near the hook (you don't have to cut off or unravel the hook to begin), using the pliers. Straighten the hanger to create a long, straight wire. Insert the wire down through the top center of the kissing ball, and push it all the way through until it exits the bottom side. Make a 90-degree bend at the bottom end so the wire won't pull back through the ball. 

    Trim the top end of the wire at the desired length, then bend it to create a hook for hanging the ball. Hang the ball anywhere you like. If you'd like to display it outdoors, try a shepherd's hook. For the best effect, hang the ball in front of a light-colored background, such as a wall or a bunch of dried ornamental grass. 

    Picture of Christmas kissing ball hanging from shepherd's hook.
    Picture of Christmas kissing ball hanging from shepherd's hook. David Beaulieu