Haunting Entry: How to Make a Sinister, Spiky Swag

Haunting Entry: How to Make a Sinister, Spiky Swag

Tess Wilson
Sep 29, 2011

For most of the year, we like the entrances to our homes to convey a sense of welcome. Come Halloween season, however, it might be best to intimidate any spooky sorts who might be lurking around…

• For my swag, I used a beautiful blue-grey variety of eryngium, fairly easy to find at flower shops under the name "thistle". I recommend buying some now so you can enjoy it for a few weeks until it starts to dry and lose its color. And then...

• Spray paint! One of my major eco-guilty pleasures. I used Rustoleum matte black spray paint and my patented spraypainting-inside-a-giant-cardboard-box-on-the-fire-escape method. I initially thought I'd want to spray each branch perfectly, absolutely black, but soon decided that I liked seeing a bit of blue and grey peek through. Plus, it was much, much easier. I kept the long stems to aid in the painting process, but snipped them off once they were dry.

• I laid all the pieces in a vaguely arched formation, reserving about a third of my supply to fill in gaps. Using short lengths of bindwire (which is basically raffia-coated wire), I started wiring all the branches together. Structural integrity is not my strongpoint, so I'm sure yours will be much sturdier. Any thin, flexible wire should work, but I like the bindwire for the extra grip it provides.

• I already had long nails in place above my doorway (for wreath/mistletoe purposes), but nail three in — one in the middle and one on each corner — if you don't. Pushpins work well, too — either way, you'll just be making tiny invisible holes.

• Center your swag and drape it across each corner. Now is when you'll wire in your extra pieces to fill gaps, creating a pleasing shape. Pleasing to you- intimidating to zombies.

• I like the look of just the black brambles, but there are so many excellent things you could add. Here I wove in little snips of rosehips, but bittersweet would be beautiful, as well as many of the spooky specimens we discussed last week.

Images: Tess Wilson

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