How to Make a Lemon Kissing Ball

Former White House chief floral designer Laura Dowling shows how to make a traditional lemon kissing ball
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Laura Dowling’s lemon kissing ball with crabapples, evergreens, and ivy. Photo by Erik Kvalsvik

Laura Dowling shares step-by-step instructions for how to make a lemon kissing ball. Dowling hangs these Christmas kissing balls in the windows of her Alexandria, Virginia home, but they could easily be placed over a door or archway.

 How to Make a Kissing Ball

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Each lemon kissing ball requires 15 small lemons.


  • Bind wire
  • 1 (4-inch) sphere of floral foam with netting
  • Variety of mixed evergreen material
  • 15 small lemons
  • 6-inch wired wood picks
  • Green paddle wire
  • 25 small crab apples
  • 3 to 4 strands of trailing green ivy

1| Tie a length of bind wire, about 12 to 15 inches, through the netting at the top of the sphere. Soak the floral foam in water.

2| Cut 4-inch pieces of evergreen material, removing the bottom leaves from each sprig. Cover the entire sphere with greenery by sticking the ends into the ball and overlapping pieces.

3| Skewer the lemons with the wired wood picks, and stick the other end into the sphere. Add enough lemons to cover the sphere evenly.

4| Use the paddle wire as string to create a mini garland of crab apples, leaving 5 to 6 inches in between each apple and keeping a 6-inch length at each end. Make 5 garlands.

5| Tie the end of a garland to a pick, and insert it into the sphere. Weave the apples in and around the lemons so that they appear to float above the design. Continue until all garlands are used.

6| Add strands of ivy for a natural effect. Wrap an end around the bind wire at the top, and let it hang off the sides.

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See more of Laura Dowling’s Christmas flowers and decor in “A Capital Christmas.” Order a copy of Dowling’s book, A White House Christmas.