Monday, July 15, 2013


One of my 2013 goals was to challenge myself to act upon an idea featured in Sunset Magazine every month. It is by far my favorite magazine and the day it arrives in my mailbox I immediately take some time away from whatever I'm doing to sit down and flip through it, relishing in the gorgeous photography, tips, recipes and unique ideas all centered around life in the west.

The problem was, I would read about exciting things that I wanted to try, but never act upon any of them. So I decided for this year at least one time every month I would do something from the magazine; create a recipe, try out a project, or check out a new place. And so far it's been going pretty well.

July's magazine had a great spread on Tillandsia, or air plants, and I thought I'd give it a try. The results of my project were less than overwhelming (definitely not pinworthy), but while I was at the garden center picking up my supplies I was struck by a huge, majestic staghorn fern. I've had my eye on these beauties for a while now. Images like this one and this one are popping up all over the web, and I think it's such an interesting take on the mounted deer head and antler thing that is so popular right now.

So, I got to talking with the plant expert at Sloat, and ten minutes later found myself walking out of the shop with an air plant AND a baby staghorn fern to try my luck with.

Here are my results:

I absolutely love the way it turned out! It's unique, the colors work with my overall decor, and it adds an organic touch to my living room. Now, we'll have to see if I can keep it alive.

When I decided to mount this fern on the wall I did a quick web search and found a couple tutorials on mounting these ferns, thought about the advice I'd heard from the pro at Sloat, and in true Hilary fashion decided to go a different direction.

So, please take this tutorial with a grain of salt, but this was my process. 

I went to Michaels and came home with a trophy shaped plaque and some beach glass colored acrylic paint (the rest of the items I had on hand).

I wanted to create some contrast and a fun pattern on my mounting plaque, so after painting it I added some stripes using painters tape and cut them to size with a razor blade (click on the picture to view the images and instructions larger).

Then I freehanded an arrow pattern on the painters tape and cut it out. Yes, I probably should have measured, but I was being lazy because I knew most of it would end up covered by the plant. I gave the plaque a coat of beach glass, then two coats of a metallic gold I had on hand.

After it dried and I peeled off the paint I had a pretty little blue and gold trophy plaque.

Part of me wanted to add a couple hooks for keys and hang the plaque up as is, but I decided to push on with my project.

I added mounting hardware to the back, then took it out to the garage to drill some holes in it. Here is where my project deviates from most of the tutorials out there. They suggest using fishing line and just wrapping the fern and moss around whatever piece of wood you have until the fern eventually grows and adheres to the wood. But this wood is pretty flat, not all rustic like most ferns are mounted, and I didn't have any fishing line, so I did it my own way.

I ran floral wire through my plaque so the open ends came out in the front (see the last frame in the picture above). Then I placed the fern and some moss on the plaque and got to work tying up the loose ends of wire, securing the plant to the wood. The floral wire is the same green as the moss, so you barely notice it, and the fern is definitely not going anywhere.

Isn't he pretty? (I guess technically these ferns are male... hopefully he's not too upset to be mounted up against such a feminine color). Here are a couple pictures of him in place.

I decided to put him in the living room, in a sort of unused corner in the front of the house. The big empty wall on the right is eventually going to get a gallery wall makeover, but I want to collect everything before I pull the trigger. Here's a shot from the couch.

And another to show off my cute little table vignette. Check out the Tillandisa in the shell there. It was basically what my original Sunset challenge amounted to. But I figure the fern project is related enough to count, right?

Staghorn ferns like filtered, non direct sunlight and to be soaked periodically then misted regularly. I read that as they grow it's fairly simple to cut them from their mounts and place them on a larger piece of backing, so we'll see if this guy makes it that far.

Thanks for stopping by to check it out! I'd love to hear what you think of my little project. Comment on the blog or send me an email to let me know.


  1. This is beautiful! I've never seen this kind of fern before! Love this idea! Thanks for linking up to Give Me the Goods! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

  2. You're idea is awesome. I actually just did something similar, though I did a trial run with just brown acrylic as I thought it would turn more "rustic" as the humidity got to the paint. How did your paint hold up as you watered the fern?

  3. Bah - *your. That is going to drive me nuts now. :P

  4. Hello,
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  6. Hello,
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