A Pine needle hand broom recently made, lying in the Spring grass. Photo by Fala Burnette (Wolf Branch Homestead)
In 2019, I wrote a Mother Earth News online article with information on how to make a Pine needle hand broom in a series of simple steps. It proved quickly to be one of my most viewed pieces, and the article of mine most shared on Pinterest. What started as simply a way to incorporate bits of the surrounding land into a unique holiday decoration, soon became a well-received craft that I wanted to touch more on. I recently updated that original article to include a brand new DIY video, to help others learn more about how to make this hand broom in a way they can follow along with visual guidance.
As mentioned, the hand brooms were simply a way to include gathered material from the woods around our cabin, bringing these materials inside to assemble holiday crafts and décor. I wanted to celebrate the season without all the flair, keeping it simple and more in touch with nature. The goal was to collect these materials in a resourceful manner, and so wind-blown branches gave us green needles to harvest while the dried Pine straw covering the ground gave us the dry needles. The green needles were found to dry out and lose their color quickly, but they gave a fresh fragrance to the home when initially brought in and the hand brooms set for display. The dried needles saw slight shrinkage, not as significant as the fresh ones, but remained perfect for practical use in sweeping up small areas. I like to keep one in my workspace to dust away wood shavings when crafting. The green and dried needle brooms I made for that 2019 article are still sitting on the mantle today.
I have been fascinated by the responses we have received from our customers on Etsy who have purchased these handmade needle brooms. One individual purchased the dried needle brooms, remarking she was going to use them to apply texture to her paintings. This amazed me to know someone had thought of yet another use for these, and I hope to try it for myself soon in my craft painting with acrylics. Another individual used the dried brooms to set up in an 18th century housekeeping display, and I felt very privileged to think of these being used in a way to honor history. While I simply created these to be a decoration or to tidy up my work area, the creative mind can find many other fun, safe ways to purpose the needle hand broom.
Along the way as I have made the brooms over the years, I learned more about things such as shrinkage of the needles and how to store them. I began to bring my binding further down the length of the needles to better support them, as the binding will also affect the grouping of them. For those who may want to paint with these to apply texture, the way you bind them together will impact how far apart your needles are spread, so your pattern may be altered. Another thing I have learned in time is how to secure the needles, which came in great use for shipping. Where the needles are exposed and not wrapped at, it helped to gently use a rubber-band to keep them in shape and from fraying out, not too tightly bound but enough to secure them in a neat group.
With how well received these Pine needle hand brooms have been received by the readers and their shares/pins, I personally believe they would make great holiday gifts for the nature lovers in your life. Gifts from the heart that are homemade seem to have a special significance, and they are easy enough to make that you could make a group of brooms in one sitting. Make sure to wear gloves when handling green needles to avoid sap sticking to your hands, and youngsters should always have an adult’s help. I hope you’ll pair this article with the original DIY article/video and be inspired to make your own Pine needle hand broom. Please share with us the ways in which you use your own hand broom!
Fala Burnette is a homesteader with her husband at Wolf Branch Homestead in Alabama. They are currently building their own log cabin and milling their own lumber, along with raising heirloom crops in the Spring and tanning furs during the Winter. Read all of Fala's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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