How to Make a Christmas Kissing Ball

Making a Kissing Ball the Natural Way

Picture of Christmas kissing ball, completed.
David Beaulieu

Making a kissing ball is a fun, easy project that yields a beautiful ornament when you're done. You can 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; others prefer a more natural approach, using real plant material, often taken from their own properties.

This project shows you how to make the latter. Although it's not all natural: At the very heart of the ornament is a Styrofoam globe, and it uses wire and plant stakes to secure some of the embellishments. It also calls for a bit of optional gold spray paint to make some of the kissing ball's decorations pop.

Gather Your Supplies

Supplies needed for making kissing balls.
Supplies needed to create a kissing ball. David Beaulieu

Obtain your supplies from three places: nature, a hardware store, and a crafts store. You may already own the tools and some other items.

  • Variety of evergreen branches
  • Pruning shears
  • Green Sytrofoam globe (or spray paint a white globe green)
  • Branches of winterberry or holly with red berries
  • Variety of cones from evergreen trees
  • Florist's wire
  • Needlenose pliers (with wire cutter)
  • Plant stakes
  • Locust pods
  • Gold spray paint (optional)
  • Coat hanger

Prepare the Evergreen Branches

Picture of spruce branch prepared in designing a Christmas kissing ball.
Picture of red spruce branch prepared for insertion into a Christmas kissing ball. David Beaulieu

Cut the evergreen branches so that the average is about 10 inches long, using pruning shears; 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.

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

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.

Add Red Berries

Cut winterberry branches to insert red berries into the Christmas kissing ball.
Have some winterberry branches cut and ready to insert into the Christmas kissing ball. David Beaulieu

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

Wire the Cones

Wiring pinecones means slipping wire over the scales to attach a 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

Cut a length of florist's wire for each cone at 6 to 8 inches long, depending upon the size of the cone, using needlenose pliers (or use a pair of 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 and Install the Cones

The wired pine cone is attached to a plant stake.
The wired pine cone is attached to a plant stake. David Beaulieu

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.

Add Locust Pods

Use locust pods as decorations. Insert florist's wire through one end for use in craft projects.
Insert florist's wire through one end of the locust tree pod. David Beaulieu

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.

Hang the Kissing Ball

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

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 little 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.