Make a Table Centerpiece of Dried Flowers

This floral centerpiece will ensure that there is always an attractive arrangement of flowers on the table. To keep it looking fresh and colorful, do not stand the arrangement in direct sunlight and keep it dust-free by gently blowing over it with a cool hair dryer once a month.

You Will Need

  • Low, round basket or vase
  • Foliage, such as Carthamus, Nigella, Nigella Sativa, Nigella orientalis or Alchemilla
  • Flat-headed flowers in tones of yellow, such as Achillea filipendulina, Achillea verticor, marigolds and sunflowers
  • Approximately 20 yellow roses
  • Dry foam bricks (available from florist’s suppliers)
  • Florist’s spike
  • Adhesive clay
  • Pruning shears
  • Craft knife

What to Do
Preparing the Flowers and Foliage
1. Air-dry the flowers and foliage: Sort the leaves and flowers into small bunches and remove any excess foliage from the lower stems. In a dry, dark and airy place, either stand the bunches upright in an empty container or secure the ends of the stems with string and suspend them upside down. The plant material will take a week or so to dry, depending on the size of the individual pieces and their moisture content.

Dried roses, whether dried at home or commercially, have a tendency to close up as they dry. To achieve a “full-blown” appearance, hold the rose over the spout of a steaming kettle until you see the petals begin to soften and go limp. Using a hairpin or a piece of florist’s wire, gently open out the petals, returning the rose to the steam as necessary. Use the steam moderately or the rose may begin to drop some of its petals. This technique may also be used for peonies.

2. When working with the flowers and foliage you will achieve a more balanced and professional looking arrangement if you use groups of one type of flower or foliage rather than individual flowers or stems. Prepare your materials beforehand and have separate piles of each type of flower or foliage ready trimmed and within reach.

Establishing the Base
1. Use a craft knife to cut a piece of florist’s foam to fit the basket or vase. The foam should extend about 1 1/4″ above the rim of the container.
2. Fix the florist’s spike to the bottom of the vase with the adhesive clay. Push the foam firmly onto the spike.
3. With the knife, cut off the sharp corners of the foam and round the top and sides to fit the container.
4. The flowers will be densely arranged and will overlap the container so that the foam will be invisible once the arrangement is complete.

Establishing the Center and Outline
1. The finished shape of the arrangement will echo the shape of the container, and this is achieved by working with flowers and foliage with comparatively short stems (approximately 6″). This will allow you to control the outline of the arrangement more accurately than is possible with longer stems and will also make it possible to pack the flowers very closely together.
2. In the center of the container, place a group of foliage, such as carthamus, to establish the maximum height and width of the container.
3. Working from the center, add groups of achillea, roses and foliage tightly around the central group of carthamus. As you work outward, begin to gently angle the stems so that the flowers begin to slope outward.
4. While you work, keep turning the arrangement to ensure that you are creating a balanced shape, and also bend down and look at it from tabletop level. Remember this arrangement will be viewed from a sitting position as well as from above and sometimes an arrangement that looks wonderful viewed from above reveals flaws when viewed from the side.
5. Work systematically from the center point, allowing the groups of flowers and foliage to flow curvingly into one another; avoid making straight lines. Imagine a herbaceous border as you work and picture how the flowers gently blend together.
6. As you reach the outer edges of the arrangement, begin to angle the flowers and foliage more and more acutely until the stems are pushed horizontally into the foam. Then continue the outline of the arrangement by angling the stems upward into the foam to break the line of the edge of the container. The arrangement will look more natural if the bottom edge of the flowers and the foliage curves softly and partially conceals the container.

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