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Cattail Crafting- A Canadian Experience

As the long weekend approaches we wanted to inspire some good old fashioned Canadian crafting!

This time of year cattails (or bulrushes) are out in numbers. These are dream plants for the creative mind. Whether using the leaves, stalks or seed-bearing "cattail" they lend themselves to seemingly endless possibilities.

One of my favorite uses for the leaves is for weaving!


  • If you use the leaves from the vegetative part of the plant (made up of leaves alone) rather than stripping the leaves off the stalks they are stronger and longer.

  • These leaves will shrink when drying so your final design will have gaps.

Here are some fun designs to get you started!

~Medium basket with paper easily adapted to use cattail leaves.

If these seem too advanced you can always start with some placemats and coasters.

~Or you can delve into the world of foliage weaving. Follow along here and make your very own grasshopper!

Moving on to the stalk, this is the hard stem that the cattail forms on. These nifty stalks can also be used for weaving which has been beautifully illustrated in the construction of this quiver (Click here!). But my favorite use for these is actually to make the arrows!


  • Sharpen one end with a pencil sharpener and add feathers to the other end to help your arrow fly.

  • Add a colored piece of tape on the feathered end to hold when you draw your bow and to help you find your arrow after you have shot it!

Now all you need is to find a flexible stick and twine, notch the stick at each end about an inch down and string your bow. Now you are ready to set off on an archery adventure!

Lastly and arguably most exciting are the cattail tops! Find yourself a mature cattail and it will easily come apart in your hands transforming into a mass of fluffy white “down”. This ‘down’ can be used to stuff plush toys or pillows or added as decorative details to sculptures, crafts or collages. Alternatively you can leave the cattail intact and preserve them using elmer's glue, hairspray or polyurethane.

These work wonderfully in home decor such as wreaths or floral arrangements and offer a nice seasonal touch.

For our younger artists you can try using the cattails as a paint brush or

stamp, add a feather brush and evergreen brush to create a unique nature painting experience!

That's all for now. Have a great day folks.

Sincerely; Your friendly neighbourhood art gallery.


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