Willow stars


Use bare twigs from your school garden for this activity, Willow or Dogwood stems are best in winter.

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

Learning objectives

  • Explore plant materials as a medium for artistic and creative projects
  • Design an appealing product by following instructions
  • Use the storytelling star to explore myths and legends


Gather fresh willow or Dogwood from your school grounds in Autumn, after the leaves have dropped, or order dry willow from a supplier and soak it for a couple of days beforehand.
Stems should be around 1 metre in length.


  • Secateurs (to be used under supervision or by adults only)
  • Large dustbin/container to soak dry willow if required
  • String,cable ties, scissors and glue (for decorating)
  • Gloves
  • Collected natural materials

Safety first!

Be careful when handling willow stems and make sure you have plenty of room to work to avoid eye damage. Or wear eye protection glasses.

Willow is a thirsty tree, stems will root very easily and should not be planted near to water drainage systems!

Step by step

  1. Gather your stem material, hold the stem at the thick end to make the star handle.           
  2. Follow the diagram below to make the star and tie of at the end with string or a cable tie to keep it in place.
  3. Use a glue gun or PVA glue to decorate the star with collected natural materials such as leaves and tree seeds.

Hints & tips

  • Tie off the tail of the star to the handle with string until the stem has dried, then discard.
  • Alternatively use string or ribbon as a trailing star tail.
  • Find out about the myths and legends surrounding trees and use your star as a storytelling wand.
  • Stand stars made from freshly cut willow in water or dig into the ground - you may be lucky and see them start to sprout leaves in the Spring!

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