Hello and thanks for dropping in.
It’s Sunday and I would like to show you what I’ve been working on for the past couple of days.
I’m sure we’ve all seen these abandoned nests, usually up towards the peaks of our houses, sometimes tucked under a fence rail or delicately tacked onto a tree branch.
I know some folks are terribly afraid of the builders but lets not focus on that part…instead, lets admire the craftsmanship…the exquisite and precise construction involved in each and every one of these marvelous modular homes.
They come in a variety of sizes, here I have a 1 inch sample with a 2½ inch nest behind. The larger nest is actually attached to a 12″ piece of vine (from my Virginia Creeper).
But what can a person do with these apparently delicate ‘paper’ items? Well, I do call myself a paper crafter!
The nest of a hornet, or some call them paper wasps, are actually quite strong. This nest went through a rainy Fall, a very heavy Winter with snow, rain, cold (to very cold), followed by a wet Spring. I’ve seen these weather for years outside until they finally start falling apart. Still, they are paper, so I’m going to help them weather their coming transformation to art.
ModPodge Matte glue and a fine tip brush to get started.
Make sure you coat the entire inner portion of each cell. Yes, this does take a little time – there’s 24 cells on this 1″ nest alone – the large one has over 120.
But actually, I find this step to be quite relaxing and by working on two (or more) separate nests at the same time, you can switch back and forth between them to let the glue dry as the wet glue does soften the paper a bit and you don’t want to squash the cell shape inadvertently. The glue dries quickly, and once it is dry your nests will be considerably stronger and easier to handle.
Don’t forget to paint/glue the back, too. Cover all surfaces in glue. You can add additional coats, drying completely between coats, if you want to ensure the nest’s strength depending on what you intend to use it for.
While I was cleaning up my spice bed this afternoon I found the nest on the right just laying in the garden. I especially like this pyramid shape so I think I’ll switch off to working with this one.
These nests are going to get the bling treatment. Over the years I’ve collected a fair amount of beads in all shapes and sizes. I’ve found that generally the size of the average hornet’s nest’s individual cell is around 5mm for the largest to 3mm for the smallest. There’s a couple of shapes of beads that I’ve discovered work well for the nest upgrades, as well.
These are the beads I chose to use on the larger nest. The clear beads on the far left are 5mm bicone beads. The other three are a type of ‘faceted round’ beads in 5mm, 4mm and 3mm respectively.
The first bead goes in. I paint some glue around the inside of the upper edge of the cell and then add the bead, gently pressing it in until both of the bead holes are beneath the edge of the cell and are no longer visible.
From now on I just add beads in whatever pattern I like the look of. You can be totally random on placement or you can design a very intricate pattern – your choice.
Here’s a side shot so hopefully you can see what I mean about no bead holes showing. You can also see how much bead rises above the edge of the cell and will be able to catch and reflect light.
I decided to use the ‘bicone’ shaped clear beads with an opalescent finish to cover the greater portion of the nest. But I did leave random spots for some of the other beads that I will fill in later.
I think I have about all the bicones in now. Note: The cells down lower on the sides to the edges of the nest generally are smaller than the cells in the main body of the nest. I’ll fill those in last.
Here I’ve gone back in and filled in the empty cells with some of the 5mm beads from the second dish that is the ‘faceted’ beads. I mixed up the colors of those and kept the look random.
So here’s a shot of the side and you can see the smaller cells I spoke of earlier. These cells are really only half formed and no where near as deep as the other cells. I used 4mm and 3mm beads for these and simply chose the size that fits best. Again, I set the bead in deep enough where the holes don’t show.
I did paint/glue the vine this nest is attached to. The glue will help all the natural pieces last much longer than they would on their own.
And the large nest is done.
These are the beads I selected for the small nest(s). I decided on the amber and translucent beads for the small pyramid nest. These are teardrop shaped beads and the holes are in the smaller end of the beads.
Using the same method, glue the inner edge, and then slip the smaller end of a teardrop bead down into the cell and let the ‘fatter’ end of the bead simply settle into the cell and stop its descent. The clear beads are moonstones and the others are amber carnelian agate. I just have a few more cells to fill on this and it’s done, too.
Here’s the large nest – isn’t it amazing! These make wonderful accent decor pieces, especially if you place them somewhere they will catch a natural sunbeam – and then – POW – the fireworks go off.
Here’s the link to my Etsy shop Old Raven and you can go right to this finished piece of Altered Art. Jeweled Hornet’s Nest
Trying to catch that light show with a camera, however, is really difficult (at least with my limited skills).
But I think you can get the idea here.
I’ve made a number of these nest ‘upcycles’.
This was one of my more ambitious projects where I made a Shaman’s Rattle that include turquoise, coral, seashells and copper beads with the nest mounted on a deer’s antler, it also included brass bells tied on with leather cords.
Well, there you have it – hornets nest to altered art. Hope you liked the show! – Kriss
P.S. We drove up into the mountains today for a much needed getaway and Bells got to play in a few remaining snow drifts and chase ground squirrels. She thought for sure with ‘Dads’ help she could get to that little bugger!
What a pair.
Stay safe (and sane). – Kriss