How To Make A Dried Hydrangea Centerpiece~ Part 2

 A Centerpiece For A Friend.

Hello again! In my most recent post, I promised to write a supplement explaining the basic mechanics of crafting a dried flower arrangement, so today we are going to discuss what supplies you need and what you need to do.

It is a very blustery, wet day up here. I love wet weather but wind stresses me out, and especially when I have a punch list of fall garden chores that need to be attended to. However, our sweet, senior dog, Dallas is at the salon for about 3 hours, and so I'm hanging out in a favorite coffee house near the groomer, drinking a chai latte, and penning this post. I am working on reducing my coffee consumption, which is really hard for me. That's the reason I'm drinking chai. Although I'm not sure sugary, rather artificial coffee house chai is a healthy step up, at least this option saved me from a coffee backslide.

OK, so back to centerpiece chat. I crafted a small version of the original~ the wooden box beauty~ as a gift for a friend who was particularly admiring of my wooden box centerpiece. And I had so many hydrangeas, there were more than enough for a junior version!

This time I used a rectangular basket. I am partial to rectangles because of the size and shape of our dining room table. Also, I find that rectangles are much easier to fill than round bowls because the design of a square or rectangular arrangement can be much more free-form. 

I will digress for a minute and tell you a little story. Years and years ago my folks had a collection of cookbooks by a famous author, Lee Baily. He wrote cookbooks with the most enticing titles, such as Country Weekends and Cooking for Friends. He is touted as, "the original food-and-lifestyle guru" by Saveur. And I have to agree. 

I loved browsing my folk's books. One in the collection was Lee Baily's Country Flowers.  His cottage style and strong affinity for flowers really resonated with me, and something he wrote decades ago really stuck. Basically he said, wander around, collect a happy bunch of flowers and stick it in a jar of water. Oh my goodness, that is so me. I can do that. So there you have it~ flower arranging for the non-floral designer. I just don't have the patience for perfect form, that is to say, layers and all of that other designer lingo. 

Here is an example of my floral design style~

Back to the business at hand.

How Do I Craft The Centerpiece?

To assemble your centerpiece you will need the following~

  • A rectangular vessel such as a box or basket
  • Dry floral foam
  • A collection of dried blossoms with at least 6-8 inches of stem
  • A filler such as excelsior.
  • Optional mini pumpkins and tiny dowels.

Here is a basic explanation of how to put your arrangement together.

Start by filling your basket with floral form. For this small size I used one full block and one block sliced to a thickness lengthwise to fill up the depth of the basket. You don't want the green foam to stick up above the height, so cut it accordingly. You will have one full size foam and one skinny slice stacked on top of each other. The combined thickness of the two pieces of foam should come just to the top of the basket.

The next step is to wedge excelsior all around the foam to hold it in place. This will keep it from shifting, but it will also conceal the foam that is showing around the handles.

And now the fun part. Just begin sticking your flowers into the foam. Press them in far enough so that you don't have voids. My flowers are set down on top of the foam because otherwise, from a distance, the empty space shows and you see too much stem. Keep filling in the foam with flowers, leaving some space for the pumpkins or other textural elements. You may have to buy a few things from a craft store, such as dried pods or woodsy spheres. I am fortunate enough to have hops blooming so I worked those in along with the pumpkins. Use your own creative imagination because there is no right or wrong. Just use what you are attracted to.

You are probably wondering how I used the dowels with the pumpkins. I simply drilled a small hole in the very bottom of each of them, and inserted the dowels. However, do not drill more than about an inch in because I got a little carried away on a couple of them and they became mushy. (I threw them away and bought a few more). Lastly, insert the other dowel end into the foam. 

My happy friend.

This is really a very simple project if you are successful gathering enough dried flowers to fill your container. Maybe you want to consider planting flowers in the spring that will be ready to cut and dry at the end of the summer. Clear a little space in your landscape and plant a dried flower garden. (Refer to my previous post for a list of plant suggestions). I am excited to try growing and drying sunflowers for a completely different look next fall. 

If you have any how-to questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below. If you decide to give this project a try, please let me know what you think.

Until next time~ 



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