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Living or Fresh-Cut
My number one tip for adding life, style, and color into your home is using fresh, seasonal flowers. They are the most vibrant and often make the biggest impact. Start with a weekly (medium to large) bouquet. Follow the directions on the flower food packet to get started, then change the water at least every two days. Keep the bouquet looking fresh by paring down the full bouquet to a smaller bouquet in a smaller vase after five to seven days. The lifespan of each flower will depend on both the environment and the hardiness of the species. Before the flowers rot, you may cut and dry your favorites to create more permanent arrangements. See the Dried section below for tips, but be advised that some flowers are much prettier and easier to work with than others when dried.
The only artificial plants I own are tiny succulents, and you literally cannot tell the difference from a live succulent. Guests are surprised every time they complement me on the succulents, and I reveal they aren’t alive. It actually happened again just last week. To be honest, I don’t remember where I purchased my artificial succulents a couple of years ago. It was probably Michael’s, but I’m not certain. If you have suggestions to share regarding retail sources for artificial plants, please leave a comment below!
Additionally, I am not a fan of silk flowers, but some other materials can be appealing. For example, paper, felt, or burlap flowers are trendy for both weddings and home décor. I purchased this felt flower from a local artisan shop while on vacation in Traveler’s Rest, SC. A number of Etsy shops sell similar felt flowers, in addition to other mediums.
My favorite way to display dried flowers is with a wreath. Using flowers from a previous bouquet will allow you to coordinate with future bouquets to curate a professional-looking collection! A project like floral wreath-making may seem overwhelming if without guidance. The following are two excellent resources.
Terrain offers hands-on, garden-inspired classes at their Glen Mills, Devon, and Westport locations. If you are local to one of these locations, I highly recommend signing up for a class—in advance because they do sell out. Go with a friend, or make new friends there. I attended my first Terrain class by myself, made some friends with a group of women who were treating themselves to a “mom’s day out,” and had a great time! Terrain also published a book in 2018 titled “Terrain: Ideas and Inspiration for Decorating the Home and Garden.” One section specifically discusses flower preservation, although I recommend reading the book from cover to cover when you have the opportunity.
Another great resource is this blog post from Little Yellow Wheelbarrow about flower drying, in which various techniques were tested. I air-dried the flowers I used for this project, and they turned out exactly as the post describes. Follow Little Yellow Wheelbarrow for more inspiration. If you try any of the drying methods, comment below to let us know how they worked for you.
Now that you have the necessary resources to support you on your DIY journey, you should gather your supplies.
You will need…
- Dried flowers
- Towel, disposable tablecloth, or newspaper, for easy cleanup and to protect your work surface
- Craft-store wooden wreath base
- Floral arrangement kit. I only used the green wire and clippers for this project, but it’s great to have the additional supplies for future projects since I’m super inspired after completing this wreath!
Let’s do it!
Start with the largest pieces, as they will be difficult to incorporate later. Then add the smaller pieces. Weave the stems into the wreath as you are able. Next, coil the floral wire tightly around the wreath to secure the stems. Be careful not to wrap too tightly around fragile stems or they may break. For reference, I used three pieces of wire for this project. Trim any long stems and excess wire with the clippers included in the kit.
Once I had 90% of the flowers incorporated that I had planned to use, I spent some time tweaking the angles of the buds, adding tiny accents to make the composition look full and balanced, securing stems, hiding wires, and gently jostling the arrangement to check for any loose pieces. The finished product? See for yourself!
The flowers I used for this wreath were a table prize from my brother-in-law’s wedding. The bouquet was so beautiful that I knew I wanted to do something with it. As soon as I was finished—and I saw that it did not look like a kindergarten art project—I realized it would be a thoughtful gift to the newlyweds. They plan to display it in a shadow box, which I think is a great idea because it will protect the most delicate flowers.
This was actually my first attempt at a dried flower wreath, so do not be discouraged its intricate appearance. The flowers are delicate, but all you really need to succeed is patience, the right supplies, and perhaps small fingers like mine. Just in case, tweezers are a suitable substitute for small fingers.
My number one tip for adding life, style, and color into your home is using fresh, seasonal flowers.
If you try this DIY project, share a photo on Instagram or Pinterest, tag D20 Theory, and let us know how you enjoyed it. Leave any questions (calling all first-timers!) or tips (let’s hear it, professionals!) in the comments below.