Willow stars


Use bare stems from your school garden to create a naturalistic star for winter decoration.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: Late Autumn, Early Spring
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Create a star decoration using natural materials


Willow stems work particularly well for this activity, as they are flexible enough to bend into shape. Gather stems after the leaves have dropped. You can also purchase dry willow from a supplier and leave them soak in water for a couple of days beforehand. 

The length of the stems you collect will determine the size of your star. We recommended stems that are approximately one metre long. 

You may wish to collect a range of additional natural materials for decoration.


  • Secateurs (to be used under supervision or by adults only)
  • Protective gloves
  • Twine or string
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Collected natural materials for decorating (e.g. leaves and tree seeds)

Safety first

This activity works well with smaller groups to allow for more supervision. Take care when handling stems and work in a space that is large enough for pupils to spread out. You may consider providing pupils with eye protection and protective gloves as additional safety measures.

Step by step

Guide pupils through the process of making their own willow star.

  1. Select a stem approximately one metre long.      
  2. Hold the stem at the thicker end. This will form the handle of the star.
  3. Follow the diagram below to make the five-pointed star shape.
  4. Use jute twine or string to tie both ends of the stem together and hold it in place.
  5. Use a glue gun or PVA glue to decorate the star with collected natural materials or other decorative materials of your choice.

Hints & tips

  • You can place stars made from freshly cut willow in water or dig into the ground. They will behave like hardwood cuttings and may start to grow roots and leaves in the spring.
  • Find out more about hardwood cuttings here.
  • Attach ribbon as a trailing star tail.