I've spent a lot of time making floral centrepieces by sticking flowers into floral foam (this started when I was planning my wedding, but that's another story). Rather than using floral foam, which costs money to buy and has to be thrown out after a single use, I've just discovered an easy way to hold flowers in place by using a common type of plastic container that you probably already have on hand.
I figured out this simple hack by taking apart a flower arrangement that a friend had given to me, which I assumed had been made with floral foam until I dissected it and discovered a plastic tub. This gifted arrangement is shown in the 2nd photo, with the purple paper around the base.
For easy instructions, read on!
Step 1: Gather Materials
You will need:
- flowers in pleasing colors, with some larger feature flowers and smaller flowers to fill in around them
- foliage - some green leaves help to complement and frame the flowers
- a plastic tub and lid (most of us have these around the house, as they are often used to package fresh fruit or ready to eat foods) - the tub I used was almost 6" high and about 5" wide at the top
- decorative paper to cover the tub - 4 sheets of tissue paper or one sheet of a thicker paper, about 18" square
- an elastic
- about 15" of ribbon or string
- scissors or pruners to cut the flowers and foliage
Step 2: If Desired, Roll Leaves Into Decorative Loop
You can find these long, flexible aspidistra leaves, also known as Ti leaves, at most florists. They are inexpensive and easy to bend and manipulate. Don't worry - they do not seem to suffer when stapled or cut!
For this floral arrangement, I used 3 Ti leaves to help frame the arrangement. I rolled the tip of each leaf under itself and stapled it in place, then placed the leaves back in the vase, around the flowers.
Step 3: Trim Stems and Arrange Flowers in Plastic Tub
On the left, I've just placed all the flowers and leaves in a vase while I figure out what to do with them.
On the right, I have arranged the flowers in the plastic tub. I start by placing the larger flowers in the tub and cutting the stems so that they are at similar, but not equal, heights. Then I trim the stems of the smaller flowers and foliage and position them to fill in between and around the larger flowers. Finally, I add the Ti leaves to frame the arrangement. If you don't have Ti leaves, you can use any foliage around the outside. Cut these leaves a bit shorter, to frame the arrangement and conceal the top of the tub,
Step 4: Prepare Lid of Plastic Tub
Cut an X, centred in the lid of the plastic tub. You don't need to cut all the way to the edge of the lid.
Use an exacto knife or scissors to make the 2 cuts.
Step 5: Put Elastic Around Stems
Hold your arrangement firmly in one hand.
With the other hand, wrap an elastic around all the stems, then double the elastic to make sure it's tight and is holding all the stems in place.
Step 6: Push Stems Through the Lid
Push the stems through the opening created by the X in the plastic lid.
Push the arrangement down as far as possible into the lid, so that only the foliage and flowers - but not the stems - are visible above the lid.
Step 7: Put Flowers in Plastic Tub
Place the flowers with the lid attached into the tub.
Securely close the lid.
The plastic tub should be filled about 2/3 full with water.
To help the flowers last longer, I add 1 tsp of vinegar and 1/2 tsp of sugar to the water.
Step 8: Add Decorative Paper to Conceal Plastic Tub
Cut a piece of decorative paper about 18" square or whatever size is needed to cover your plastic tub.
If using tissue paper, which is very thin, use 4 sheets. Place two sheets on a table or counter, then place the next two sheets on top, but rotated 45 degrees. Place the plastic tub in the centre of the paper and gather the paper up around the sides of the tub.
Secure the paper in place with a ribbon, string, or even an elastic. It helps to have 4 hands for this step - one person to pull the paper up around the tub and hold it in place, while another person ties the ribbon around the tub near the top.
Step 9: Ta Da! Impress Your Friends With Your Beautiful Flower Arrangement!
It's so satisfying to make a professional-looking flower arrangement without using floral foam or expensive vases.
These make perfect gifts.
Bonus! You don't have to worry about getting the container back.
Another bonus - because the tub holds lots of water, you don't have to constantly check to make sure it hasn't dried out as you would with floral foam.
And the plastic tub is reusable!
TIP: Because foliage (leaves) last much longer than flower blossoms, you can extend the life of your floral arrangement by replacing the feature flowers after a week or so, as I've done in the second photo.
I hope this instructable inspires you to make your own easy and economical flower arrangements!
Second Prize in the