Pinspiration Monday: DIY gold urchin

I’ve got another installment of “Employing my DIY Discount” for you! See the first here, but essentially the idea is to use what you have (or stick to purchasing really, really cheap materials) to recreate a big ticket item – I’ve taken to calling this my DIY discount.

Now, I know I can’t be the only one craving designer brass sea urchins as of late. They have kind of hit the ground running throughout Pinterest, blogs and magazines, turning up on entryway tables, lucite bookshelves and even hung in clusters on the wall.

If by chance you HAVEN’T seen these trendy accessories, allow me to introduce you. They really serve no purpose other than being the beautiful, sculptural pieces of art that they are. Maybe it’s the unique shape, maybe it’s the shiny gold finish, but either way, I wanted one (or three) for myself and I wanted it bad.

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Source | DecorPad


Source | You’re Welcome Savannah


Source | Marcus Design

The problem with this particularly strong craving was that each one cost $38 – and that’s just for the smallest size. As you can imagine, I had trouble stomaching that price tag for something purely decorative. Thankfully, Pinterest stepped in to save the day once again with an affordable DIY alternative using nothing but a styrofoam ball, a handful of toothpicks and a little gold spray paint.


Source | The Sweetest Occasion

With the DIY project in mind, I picked up this bag of 1 1/2 inch styrofoam spheres from a local craft store that was closing down – This was actually months and months ago, but the clearance price tag meant that I could buy them and save them for a rainy day project in the future. And that’s exactly what I did. 



Several weeks later, with my to-do list finally cleared out, I had the time and opportunity to knock this easy DIY out. After grabbing one of my clearance styrofoam balls and a box of wooden toothpicks, I parked myself on the living room couch and got to piercing. Working my way around the ball, I sunk my toothpicks about half an inch into the soft material one after the other. I didn’t bother covering the very bottom because I wanted it to sit a little closer to the tabletop, almost as though it was cut in half like the real deal gold urchins but without the hassle of sawing the styrofoam down. It worked like a charm, which you’ll see in the final photos.

As I filled my ball in with the toothpick spikes, I found that more was definitely better. Just when I thought that I was getting close to being done, I would work my way back around with more and more toothpicks. Hardly a spot of styrofoam was safe from the toothpicks. By packing them in tightly, I was able to hide most of the styrofoam center from view.


Once I felt like I was at a good stopping point, I took the urchin outside and sprayed it with a few thin and even coats of metallic gold spray paint, which I already had on hand. After giving it about an hour to dry, I gingerly flipped it over onto its top side and sprayed a few more thin coats on the underside just to make sure I had full coverage. After another hour, I took the DIYed urchin indoors for an overnight dry session on the shelf in the laundry room, away from curious husband fingers and pet paws.




I’m so in love with the glittery finish, and even MORE in love with the $4 price tag (just for the bag of styrofoam balls). The great thing is that, with maybe another box of toothpicks, I have enough material to make 11 more of these DIY urchins. A large cluster of them could be really fun on a tabletop or even a party buffet. Maybe I could even branch away from the gold with neon yellow and pink next time, or keep it metallic but go with silver AND gold. The options are endless…

For now, I set my loan ranger up on the shelves in our living room. I love the unique sculptural effect and how it carries that shimmery gold look throughout the vertically centered vignette created by the metallic vase, apple and swans.




Oddly enough, that round styrofoam center is a whole lot more obvious in photographs than in person. I have no clue why that is – Any photogs out there know why? At any rate, don’t let that visible rounded center deter you from tackling this mini project. You’ll be surprised by how sleek it is in person.

Bottom line – I sure am glad that I got to keep my $38 by creating something with my own two hands. What have you guys successfully DIYed lately?

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