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How to Make Sweet Gum Ball Stems With Foraged Free Materials

Don’t you love free decor? You are in luck if you have a Sweet Gum Ball Tree in your area. Today I’m sharing how to forage for Sweet Gum Balls to make free Fall Craft Home Decor to enjoy this Autumn. Plus, you can see more Sweet Gum Ball Craft Ideas to make now.

This idea was sparked while searching the Magnolia website for fall decor. This season they have thistle stems for $10.00 each. I realized they look very similar to the Sweet Gum Balls that are currently falling around our property.

inspiration image for Sweet Gum Balls Crafts Ideas.

So here is my version of the Magnolia fall decor trend.

Sweet Gum Balls Crafts Ideas for free decorating.  Gather from the sweet gum ball tree.

How To Find A Sweet Gum Ball Tree?

Sweet Gum Balls fall from the sweet gum tree. You can find a tree easily enough once the gum balls begin to fall from the tree.

They are a fruit with tiny seeds for birds and squirrels. Once the fruit is gone, the spiky balls fall to the ground in autumn.

The Sweet Gum tree was so named by native Americans because of the sweet bark of the tree.

Hunt and Gather Sweet Gum Balls from under sweet gum trees for DIY Craft Project with John Deere Gator

What Does Foraged Mean?

When you hunt and gather supplies from nature for a project, those supplies are considered foraged. Foraged means to search for, rummage, or hunt.

What Can You Use Foraged Sweet Gum Balls For?

Due to their unique design, Sweet Gum Balls Crafts are popular, especially in the fall.

You will see wreaths, garlands, topiaries and more.

Today I’m sharing some of the Gum Ball craft ideas I made for Free.

Use hot glue gun to attached foraged balls to gathered stems to make a fall craft.

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How to Make Sweet Gum Ball Stems

Here are the supplies I used to make the Sweet Gum Ball Stems.

First, I foraged for some fallen branches to attach gum balls in order to make sweet gum balls stems.

We have a great supply due to a river birch tree in our yard.

Next, I gathered several gum balls from beneath the sweet gum trees around our property.

How to Prepare the Gum Balls

To avoid uninvited guests in your home, you must de-bug your gum balls first.

Just place the gum balls in a plastic bag and freeze them for a few days. All the creepy critters can be shaken out of the spiky balls.

Before starting, remove any attached stems from the sweet gum balls with gardening shears.

Freeze to get rid of bugs in foraged materials from nature.

Prepare the Stems

For this project, I decided I wanted the stems white. Therefore, I prepared the stems by trimming excess branches and arranging them inside the proposed container to determine the correct height.

Next, I placed the branches in the ground to hold them steady and used white spray paint to cover the stems.

Painting foraged branches with white chalk spray paint to make fall arrangement.

Construct Your Stems

Once everything is dry and de-bugged, arrange the stems in your container.

Next, apply hot glue to two or three balls at a time. This allows the hot glue to cool slightly before attaching to the stems.

Adding forage from nature materials to make floral arrangements in vintage sap bucket.

Randomly attach the gum balls to the branches and hold them in position until the glue sets.

Continue to add balls until the stems are filled to your desired fullness.

Adding gum balls to foraged stems that are painted white in a vintage sap bucket.

Place The Gum Ball Arrangement in Desired Location

I decided to add my Sweet Gum Ball Arrangement on the entry table beside our front door.

How to Make Sweet Gum Balls Foraged Craft Ideas for Farmhouse Style Fall Decorating.  Cottage Style using sap bucket

You can make your branches heavy with gum balls or go for a light and airy feel.

Close up view of diy floral stems made for free from the fruit of the sweet gum ball tree.

Click Image for Details

More DIY Gum Ball Ideas

You can see this post with 10 Tips for FREE FALL Decorating Ideas which includes a simple idea of filling a handcrafted basket with sweet gum balls.

Front Porch filled with rocker, foraged basket of gum balls from sweet gum ball tree and other items that you hunt and gather.

Another easy way to use gum balls is to string them on a medium weight jute rope for a Free Fall Garland

DIY Gum Ball Garland with jute string for fall decor.  Farmhouse style tablescape for Autumn & Thanksgiving.

These stems are created using wooden skewers and a dab of hot glue. They are reminiscent of dried flowers.

DIY Stems for Free Decorating using items from nature that you hunt and gather from the sweet gum ball tree.

This shorter version is made using a simple tooth pick attached with a little glue.

How to Make Sweet Gum Balls Foraged Craft Ideas for Farmhouse Style Fall Decorating.

If you love neutral decor, these simple stems will be perfect for your fall decor and you can’t beat free.

The entry table includes a DIY Earthenware Lamp and several thrifted decor finds.

Sweet Gum Balls Foraged Craft Ideas for Farmhouse Style Fall Decorating with DIY and Thrifted Decor Items

There are so many options for creating fun stems with Sweet Gum Balls. You can paint the balls in various colors, leave the stems natural, group several ball together for a large dried flower appearance, etc. The options are limitless.

You may also like this Easy Rusted Can DIY Fall Wreath Idea.

How to Make Sweet Gum Balls Foraged Craft Ideas for Farmhouse Style Fall Decorating.

Be sure to watch the full Video Tutorial for more details.

Thank you for stopping by today. I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you.

How to forage for Sweet Gum Balls to make free Fall Craft Home Decor to enjoy this Fall and more Sweet Gum Balls Craft Ideas to make now.

Gail fickle

Tuesday 15th of August 2023

My mother painted them silver and gold at Christmas and put them in a bowl. They’re also a lot of fun to throw at siblings and cousins.


Wednesday 16th of August 2023

Gail, Sounds like a great idea. I love using them. Thanks for sharing.

Wendy McMonigle

Tuesday 15th of August 2023

Love how easy this one looks!


Tuesday 15th of August 2023

Wendy, It is so easy.


Tuesday 15th of August 2023

My in-laws had one of those trees in their back yard. It cured me of stepping barefoot back there after the second time. I'm a slow learner. I did like that she'd pay our kids to pick up buckets full. lol. Kept them busy. Happy fall!


Tuesday 15th of August 2023

Cindy, Yes, you don't one to close to the house. LOL


Saturday 1st of October 2022

Just noticed how many gumballs had fallen after we had a run in with Ian. Definitely will try those branches to use on my fall mantle and also want to try making a gumball topiary that I have a perfect vase for. My husband and I have retired to Guilford County N.C. and Ashboro is one of my favorite thrifting towns. Only about 25 mins away and great antique shops. Happy October.


Sunday 2nd of October 2022

Kathy, That is great. My daughter lives in Greensboro.

Wendy McMonigle

Sunday 21st of August 2022

This is fabulous Rachel, thanks so much for inspiring me. I have some fun pods I could use on a tree. Thank you for linking up for Fabulous Friday Link Party.

va in nc

Thursday 1st of September 2022


This is a great idea and gives me a reason to pick up the sweet gums balls from my daughter's yard. Also, great idea to stick branches in ground to spray paint. Your ideas are so great. Love your home, especially the porch. Thank you for sharing.


Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

Wendy, Thank you and I can't wait to see what you create.