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we like it wild: faux staghorn ferns

by Grace Bonney

We love the look of staghorn ferns. Unlike most ferns that grow from the ground, staghorn ferns make root in the nooks and crannies of other plants, on bark and branches. When taken out of their natural environment, their antler-like fronds look amazing mounted in a grouping on a wall, but sometimes maintenance of these living sculptures can be daunting. We decided we wanted a quick and clean way to have our own collection of staghorns. Using just some craft paper, glue and a few other craft supplies you can create your own hanging herd in no time. This project is perfect if you’ve got some little hands looking for a project to give to pops this Father’s Day, no green thumbs required. –Studio Choo

CLICK HERE for the full how-to (and downloadable template) after the jump!

Materials (for 1 plaque):

2 sheets 8.5×11 green cardstock or medium weight paper

2 pieces of 12” thin gauge wire (optional)

small wood plaque or disc (available at craft stores)

dried moss



spray adhesive or glue

hot glue gun

staghorn fern template


1. Print template and cut out “antler” shape.

2. Fold sheet of paper in half to get a clean crease, then open flat again.

3. Position the template on one half of the paper with the largest curve along the outside edge. Trace a pencil line along the curve- you will use this line as a guide to position the wire. (if you don’t want to use the wire inside for extra curve- skip step 5,6,7)

4. In a well-ventilated area cover the inside of the paper (the side you drew the line on) with an even coating of spray glue (follow directions on can).

5.  Trickiest part: using the pencil line as a guide, position the wire ¼” TO THE SIDE of the line, towards the fold of the paper. You want the wire to be INSIDE the template area when you trace it- not right on the edge. It is ok if the wire extends past the paper on the bottom (this end will be attached to the plaque) but on the top of the curve you’ll want to make sure the wire gets fully enclosed in the paper. Trim wire as necessary so it does not extend past the edge of the template (ideally about ¼ inch from the edge).

6. Once you have the wire in position re-fold the paper and firmly press all around, taking special care to seal the wire inside. Don’t press too hard on the wire or the paper may tear- just hard enough to see the outline.

7.  (See photo 5, first below) Place the template on top of the paper- lining up the side with the wire curve. Lightly rub the template so you can see where the wire is underneath. If the wire extends past the template- just extend the tip of the antler a bit when you are tracing to make sure the wire is fully enclosed. (see photo 7, third below)

8. Lightly trace the template with a pencil.

9. Carefully cut out along your pencil lines. Erase any visible lines when you are done cutting.

10. Repeat above steps for the second antler.

11. Lightly bend and shape the wire to give the ferns a nice curve. You can also shape the tips of the ferns by gently curling them with your fingers.

12. Make a small fold on the bottom of the fern that will sit flat against the plaque. Trim any excess paper and wire- you’ll want a flat section of about ¼”- ½” to position on the plaque and secure with hot glue.

13. Glue a small area of dried moss around the base to hide the connection spot.

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