Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bending Popsicle Sticks for a Wooden Helix Vase

The inspiration for this post comes from this blogger who showed how to make popsicle stick bracelets.  Bending popsicle sticks/tongue depressors seemed like a cool idea that I wanted to expand on.  I researched what the best way to bend wood (on a wood working forum), and came up with steam as a fast effective means to bending wood.   You can see my video tuorial on how to bend these craft sticks below.
The flowers on the right are fake so I did not add water to the vase.  If you are going to fill it with water I would find a smaller vase and put it inside.  Craft sticks are not finished wood and probably would not hold up to moisture well.

Used a steamer basket filled with enough tap water to last you about 20 min (or keep refilling water).  Steam sticks for 15 minutes and using heat resistant gloves remove from steam one at a time.  Bend popsicle sticks in same vase or similar sized vase that you want to decorate.  After sticks are bent and dry (about a day) you can spray stain them and seal them with polyurethane.  The words are wood burned on.  If you want to wood burn then do it before you bend the sticks.  I used a soldering iron to wood burn but I would not recommend it.  The soldering iron did not get hot enough and the stick was too long and hard to control.  Please see video tutorial for full details on bending wood.

You can put a whole message on the inside.  I was thinking about putting lyrics to a favorite song on each line.

Try different patterns.

Video Tutorial:


  1. This is so too much to take in right before Christmas - love, love, love! Would have made for some great gifts - there's always next year.

    Just wanted to wish you and your family and wonderful holiday season!

  2. Love the idea with the sticks alternating spaces...great look. I do bracelets from popsicle sticks and have boiled them in water. Did you have any breakage after steaming them?

    Have a Blessed Christmas!


  3. this is an amazing project. i can't wait to try this. my only question would be, once the wood is bent and arranged in the flower vase, when u actually use the flower vase, wouldnt the wood get ruined when the water in the vase resoaks the wood?

  4. Hi Daisey,

    Yes a few of them did break while I was trying to bend them. My success rate was about 90%. After a while I was able to tell which sticks would break even before I steamed them. It was usually the ones that had crooked grain or very uneven grain (which is a shame because those ones were the pretty ones).

  5. Hi Anonymous,

    Yes, I would not recommend putting water into the vase. The flowers I used were fake, but if you wanted to put real flowers in there I would suggest getting a smaller vase, filling that with water and putting it within the larger vase (that is decorated). Or you alternatively can hot glue the sticks on the out side of the vase. That way you can use the vase as is.

  6. I also linked this project with a one photo download. I love this idea - especially the design on the lower right.

  7. Hi! Where did you buy those sticks from? Also, I am interested in having a vase like that. Can you give me some advice? Thanks a lot in advance!

    btw, it looks great

  8. Hi Anonymous,

    I purchased my craft sticks at Michael's Craft supplies. You can buy them online at the following links also:

    Consumer Crafts

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  10. I wonder how those would work with the colored sticks. I love this idea, it is crisp, and delicate.

  11. Could you tell me what's the diameter of the vase? I have found one but I'm not so sure if the popsicles will have the same effect in it as in yours. Thx!

  12. This is one perfect gift idea for my hunny! I can't thank you enough. You got so many awesome online video learning materials for any season. Keep it up mate. Cheers!

  13. I'm wondering if they can also be BENT and hold that shape.

  14. Love the idea with the sticks alternating spaces...great look.

  15. So I recently did a project and bought 1000 craft sticks. Obviously overestimated so I have 700 or so to use. I will be making this. I love it! It is so beautiful. Great job and thank you for the inspiration!

    Literally Inspired

  16. i made this for a friends bday. mine isn't as beauitful as yours and your video made it look way easier than it was! LOL! for others planning on making this i realized that the diameter of your vase can't be too wide [3in is the widest u wanna go] b/c the sticks won't have enough pressure to hold the angle you've bent them into and just want to unbend to the orginal flat 180 degrees. thanks so much for the wonderful idea

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  18. How do you write on the sticks?

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  20. This is so elegant and I love the fusion of the wood and the glass. They look so good together. I think I found the perfect statement vase.

  21. It looks easy to create flower vase design using this. You should post more picture using coloured popsicle sticks too.

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