Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Natural Christmas Centerpieces: Tutorial

Hello everyone! Today I put together a tutorial on how to create two different holiday centerpieces using natural materials. You can use containers you have around the house. The rest of the materials are either very inexpensive and/or if you're lucky, can be found in your yard.

General Supplies

1. Evergreens. I purchased two mixed bundles of greens ($5 each) at the grocery store. Since I live in the city, I don't have access to evergreen trees that I can trim. Fortunately, I happened to be walking by the park in my neighborhood and discovered that the city had decided to trim all the evergreen trees in the park, but hadn't gotten around to picking up the branches. Score! I grabbed armfuls of white pine and spruce (?). The spruce was great because it was full of cute little pine cones. In any case, whether you purchase or "recycle", look for variety in textures and colors. When you get them home, the greens need to be cut into workable-sized pieces. 

2. Berries. I didn't have access to real berries like holly, so I purchased 7 stems of red berries from Jo-Ann. All their Christmas florals were 70% off. I got these for 60¢ each.

Project 1: Footed White Bowl

I used a white fruit bowl, similar to the one shown here that I purchased at Home Goods last summer. For this project,  you will also need a 5" floral dry foam half ball ($4) and some floral tape ($3.50). The half ball will give your arrangement a pleasing shape and will hold the greenery in place. 

Step 1: Place the half ball in the container and secure it in place with the floral tape. I criss-crossed pieces of tape across the top of the half ball to hold it down. 

Step 2: Next, take pieces of white pine and insert them around the perimeter of the bowl until it's completely filled in around the whole rim. It will look kind of odd at this point, but don't worry. 

Step 3: Now fill in the middle with pieces of spruce. It looks a lot better now, doesn't it?

Step 4: Finish it off by adding some berries (you will probably have to cut down the stems a bit). Then go back through and fill any gaps with additional sprigs of white pine and spruce. And that's it!

The total cost for this project (not including the bowl) was $9.30.

Project 2: Wooden Dough Bowl

I decided I had to have a dough bowl this year. I found a shop that had loads of them and the largest ones were on sale. I was jazzed. Now the only downside to having a really big dough bowl is it takes a LOT of stuff to fill it. Mine is 38" x 15" and about 5" deep. Now I see why they were on sale...

For this project, in addition to the general supplies mentioned above, you will need two mixed evergreen bouquets and some regular size pine cones. 

Step 1: I realized that the secret to dealing with a large dough bowl is to use some filler underneath the good stuff. So you will need several gallon-sized zip lock bags, some old newspaper, and some dark green fabric or tissue paper. For a dough bowl this size, I suggest 3 zip lock bags. Crumple up some newspaper into balls and then stuff 3 or 4 of these into a zip lock bag and seal it. Place several newspaper-filled baggies in the bottom of the dough bowl to form a layer. Cover the baggies with green fabric or tissue paper. I used 3 green cloth napkins. 

Step 2: Take the evergreen bouquets. Remove the wrapper, but don't take off the rubber band holding the bunch together. Slide the rubber band down the stem as far as possible, then fan out the branches. Place one bouquet on each side of the bowl with the stems overlapping in the center. 

Step 3: Arrange some pine cones in the center of the bowl, covering the spot where the bouquet stems overlap. Distribute the rest of the pine cones throughout the arrangement.

Step 4: Take some additional cut greens and fill in any bare spots. Then add in some of the berry stems to finish it off. Done!

The total cost for this project was $12.40 (exclusive of the dough bowl and pine cones which had been purchased previously).

Happy holidays!

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© Salt Marsh Cottage 2013

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