I was wracking my brain over what to get my mom for Mothers Day this year. She loves flowers but she owned a small floral business for many years. It has made buying her your typical bouquet a risky venture. She loves nature and has always been an avid gardener. Due to some recent medical issues, I knew she would be sad to cut her garden down to a couple raised beds and pots. As I was sitting in bed, pondering what I could do, a thought popped into my head about my fireplace mantel. I had recently decorated it for spring and she had really loved it. My mind quickly shifted from one ideas to the next and merging them together. I had created in my brain the perfect gift for her. It would be a twofold gift. It would start as just an unassuming centerpiece for her table. Later, it could be dismantled leaving her with an adorable statue for her flower bed and some herbs and flowers for her garden.
The more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea. It is so adaptable. It could be made out of all fresh. It could be made out of all artificial. It could have a gnome. It could have a frog or any number of other piece of decor. The biggest restriction just being ones imagination.
Step 1: Suggested Supplies
Garden Decor Statue
1 Medium Bag Mixed Moss or 2-3 Small Bags of Different Varieties/Colors
3-4 Fresh Herbs
3-4 Fresh Flowers
Variety Artificial Greens (Small and Large)
1-3 Artificial Flower Bunches
1 Tea Light
You can walk into a Micheal's, Joann's or Hobby Lobby and find pretty much everything you need for this project, with the exception of the fresh herbs and fresh flowers. I picked up my bunny for this project at Tuesday Morning. You can find similar ones online here or here. In the spring and summer you can usually find yard decor figures at any number of stores such as Ross, Fred Meyers, Hobby Lobby, Joann's, Micheal's, Home Goods, Walmart and your local nursery.
If you are choosing to use fresh herbs, here are some good options that are common and usually easy to find. Basil - Rosemary - Thyme - Oregano - Sage - Parsley - Lemon Balm - Peppermint - Cilantro - Tarragon
Step 2: Creating the Base Phase I
Gather the following supplies for the base:
Floral Craft Foam
Pen or Sharpie
Garden Decor Statue
I happened to have foam sitting around left over from another project, I decided to use for this one. You can use just the thicker size of foam if you wish. If you are not feeling confident in cutting and shaping the foam or are in a time crunch, you can skip this step and just use your block as is. I just adds more visual interest having it vary in size and height.
Put the statue on the foam and decide where you would like to place it. With a sharpie or other marker draw the outline of your centerpiece. I wanted mine to be irregular and just quickly drew a line around. With the knife, carefully cut through the foam along your markings. By carefully, I mean try to not cut or stab yourself. The foam I had did not cut like butter with a hot knife. I think I may have even broke a little bit of a sweat trying to saw away at the foam for this project.
If you are using two different heights of foam, use your marker to draw on the taller foam block the height of the shorter foam block. With the knife, slope the foam so that it gradually slopes to the lower foam blocks. It does not have to be precise and it will add more character if it is not perfectly consistent. It is also going to be covered with moss so try not to stress to much with making your cuts.
Step 3: Creating the Base Phase 2
Along the outer edges of the foam, slightly carve away the edges with the knife. You want to slope it towards the ground making it less uniform. Again, you really don't have to make it precise.
If you used 2 or more pieces of foam, use the greening pins to connect the various pieces together. You will want to put pins in the top. Once they are in place, flip it over and add some pins to the bottom. Place the pins every 3-4 inches or so.
Step 4: Placing the Herbs
For this step you will need:
Decide where you would like to place your herbs. I wanted my taller herbs to the back and my shortest herb closer to the front. With a marker, draw around the herbs. If you herb pot is tapered you will want to draw it a tiny bit bigger than the base or it will not fit.
Use your knife to remove the foam that your herb pot will displace. Once the foam is removed, check to see how it fits. If it is still a little tight, remove a some more of the foam until it sits in the hole with ease.
Place you herb into a plastic Ziploc bag and slide it into the hole. Do this for all of your herbs.
Step 5: Placing the Fresh Flowers
For this step you will need:
This step is pretty much identical to the previous step. If your flowers came connected like mine, separate them with a pair of scissors or remove them from the container and place them into a bag. If your bag is to deep you can roll the bag down to make it shorter. Decide where you would like the flowers to be in the centerpiece and remove the foam with your knife. Place them in the hole you created.
Step 6: Large Artificial Plants
Gather your larger artificial greens and flowers. Place them around your centerpiece until you find a configuration you are pleased with. Once you decide exactly where you like them best, stab the stem into the foam which should securely place it. It is always possible to move them should you change your mind. Foam is somewhat forgiving.
Step 7: Covering the Base
You will need the following supplies for this step:
1 Large Bag of Moss
1 Medium Bag of Mixed Moss or 2-3 Small Bags of Different Moss
Start by taking a small chunk of moss and placing a greening pin through it. Place the moss where you would like it to go and stab the greening pin into the foam as far as it will go. When it is snuggly in place you should not be able to see the pin. On occasion, even when snug in place you can still see the pin. If this happens, gently rub your fingers over the moss back and forth a few time. It should resolve the issue.
Alternate between your different mosses, randomly placing it next to each other working your way over the floral craft foam. Continue this process until all of the floral craft foam is covered and hidden.
Step 8: Covering the Base Continued
Step 9: Small Artificial Plants
Gather your smaller artificial greens. If they are in bunches, trim off small pieces to be placed around the centerpiece. Looking at the centerpiece, find sections that look large and plain. Place a smaller artificial green in these sections. Be cautious to not make it overly balanced and perfect but more random.
Step 10: Details
Add some small details to your centerpiece. I choose butterflies and pinecones but it could be any number or things from nature(lady bugs, bees, twigs, bark pieces, rocks, etc). I used E6000 to secure them in place. The butterflies I used were from Michael's Craft Store and come prewired. All you have to do it trim the wire, dip in the tube of E6000 and stab the wire securely into the foam at the desired location. As a basic rule of thumb, it is commonly suggested that you do things in odd numbers.
Step 11: Herb Labels
You will need:
Write the name of each herb on a T-Marker. Give it a few seconds to dry so you don't accidently smudge it when placing it. Once dry, place the T-Marker near its designated herb.
Step 12: Finished Herb & Flower Garden Centerpiece
Hooray! You did it! I hope you have found this instuctable to be useful and inspiring. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. As always, I would love to see your creations and variations if you have a chance to post a picture. Happy crafting!
Step 13: Projects Using the Same Technique
Here are some ideas of how you can adapt the technique in this project into different applications. These projects use the same basic technique shown for the Herb & Flower Garden Centerpiece.The fireplace mantel is all artificial plants and the other is all fresh flowers and foliage. If you choose to use all fresh, be sure to use oasis floral foam for you base.