Why buy garden stakes when you can make your own? I saw this idea on Pinterest and decided to give it a try for a kids class at the nursery. I collected sticks from a beautiful Dawn Redwood tree that I had recently pruned. I also received some great black bamboo from a friend. The bamboo sticks were ready to go, but the redwood sticks were covered in rough bark which isn’t good for painting. The bark came off easily from the living stems, but was really stuck to the dead wood. This we scraped off with a pair of pruners. The dawn redwood tree produced the lovely smooth light colored wood seen on the right of the stick photo below.
After finding just the right stick, we chose from an assortment of acrylic paints and got creative. Some kids went for a design, others just wanted to blob it all on. The darker the sticks, the more paint was needed for cover. The paint dried quickly and then we added a few little extras for fun. Ribbons, bells, tiny straw hats (we put these over the top of the sticks when the sun came out!) and flowers and herbs. With all the decorations we suddenly felt like we were in a parade and had to march around the nursery for a while ringing our bells and looking for bees. Painting sticks is an enjoyable activity and everyone should march around with a painted stick once in a while, it’s good for the soul. After showing them off, the sticks can go right into the garden, to hold up a purple coneflower or just to brighten up a green leafy space. Happy painting!