Thursday, May 14, 2009

DIY Centerpieces!

Believe it or not, I've already started working on the centerpieces for the reception tables! Yes I suppose I am crazy since the wedding is over 300 days away! lol But since I have the time and the materials I'd be a fool not to get what I can done now rather than wait. I'll have my hands full closer to the wedding. My mom's running joke is that I'll have everything done and planned out two months before the wedding and will then have nothing to do! lol And honestly, she's probably right or at least close. When I have things I'm working on for a big project they eat at me till I can get them accomplished. You have no idea how hard it is not to get the invitations done now! lol But I'll wait on those as hard as it is. Anyways on to the centerpieces!

I originally wanted to do submerged centerpieces. I love the look of them! Plus, they make a big statement without having to use tons of flowers...which is ever so helpful on the budget. Here's a picture of a submerged centerpiece I love.
(Source: unknown)

As much as I love the look of submerged centerpieces it soon became clear to me that I wouldn't be able to incorporate them. Why? Because of budget reasons, time and labor. My mom is doing all my floral decor including the bouquets. I read on a florists blog that submerged centerpieces have to be put together the day of the wedding at the wedding location to avoid messing them up. This picture got my attention and I instantly fell in love with the look.

But how on earth would I recreate something even close to that!? There's no way I can afford much as I'd love to be able to. While browsing my vision came into being with my mom's help. Here is my completed vision:
(Source: yours truly)
What do you think? I absolutely LOVE them!!!!! I am so glad that what mom and I had envisioned in our heads really worked and looks so amazing, stunning, beautiful, and expensive!

So now I bring you the materials list and step by step instructions on how I made my centerpieces.

(Source: yours truly)
Materials Needed:
A) Clear Glass Cylinder Vase 10 1/4" tall and 3 1/2" in diameter.
B) Natural Curly Willow Branches 27 to 30" long.
C) Purple & White Preserved Orchid Blooms 2 1/2" wide (3 blooms per vase).
D) PVC Grass Onion Bush 24" tall.
E) Glass Nuggets of your color choice (mine came from Michael's but they no longer carry this purple color).
F) Natural Sheet Moss 1.5 oz. bag (make sure you get natural and not artificial).
G) Mini Glue Gun and glue sticks (not pictured).
H) Scissors (not pictured).
I) 7" Round Centerpiece Mirror (not pictured).

(Source: yours truly)

A) Cut curly willow branch to just under the height of the vase (9.5 - 10 inches).
B) Cut two pieces of grass from the bush.
C) Curl the grass using scissors (keep them closed), just like you would curl curling ribbon.
D) Place enough glass nuggets in the bottom of the vase to cover the bottom and allow for the willow branch to stick down in them.
E) Using a mini hot glue gun glue an orchid bloom into place on the willow branch. You decide on where and at what angle to glue the bloom, it's entirely up to you. Start either at the base or top of the branch though when placing the first bloom.
F) Let the glue set for a few seconds and then place a small pinch of the sheet moss over the glue. Make sure you can see no hot glue and be careful not to burn your fingers! Tweezers can be used to aid in this process.
G) Repeat steps E and F two more times placing the remaining blooms on the willow branch. Again, it's up to you to decide on where to place them, how to angle them and how much space to leave between each bloom. (My centerpieces will be going on round tables at the reception so I tried very hard to make it so each of the blooms faced a different direction. This allows every guest to see a bloom no matter where they're seated at around the table. In picture "G", I rotated the branch three times to show this.)

(Source: yours truly)

Once you've followed the above instructions, you can do the next step in whatever order you find to be easiest.
A) Place your willow branch with the blooms inside the vase and insert (on at a time) the curled grass. You decide on how you want it to look. (I chose to stick the end of the grass into the glass nuggets and then let it curve around the inside of the vase. I tried to get one piece of grass to start from the base on both the left and right side.)
B) Then repeat with the other piece of curled grass.
This part can be a little frustrating and tricky because there isn't room to get your hand into the vase once the willow branch is in place. You may find it easier to put the grass in first and then put the willow branch in.
C) Sit back and admire your work!!!
Note: I prefer that the top orchid bloom not stick out above the top of the vase so if yours does just cut off a little more from the bottom of the willow branch to shorten it. *If you have any questions about the DIY process feel free to leave me a comment or send me an e-mail!

When I placed my order with Save-on-crafts, I was initially worried about how fragile the orchid blooms would be. However, they stand up pretty well when working with them. I didn't have any break while putting them together. I will say though that you need to order a lot more blooms than you really need because through shipping, some of them get the tips broken off.

1) Cylinder Vase $3.99
2) 7" Centerpiece Mirror $1.12
3) Glass Nuggets $0.50
4) Curly Willow Branch $0.33 (it's actually less than that because you don't use the whole branch for one centerpiece)
5) 3 Preserved Orchid Blooms $1.26 ($0.42 per bloom)
6) 2 Pieces PVC Grass $0.0093124 ($0.0046562 each piece of grass, $1.49 a bush w/ 320 blades of grass)
7) Natural Moss $0.12 ($2.99 for a 1.5oz bag-I'm making 24 centerpieces so I divided 2.99 by 24 to get the price.)
Note: I already had the hot glue gun and glue sticks on hand so I didn't incur a cost for those.

I cannot believe I was able to use real orchid blooms (although they aren't fresh they're real!) in the centerpieces. I absolutely love how they turned out and I'm so glad I was able to make them myself! And the best things about them....the cost was low, they can be made in advance and I can give them to special people as gifts if I so choose, sell them or use them to decorate! LOVE THEM!! :)

So let me know what you think...Do you like how they turned out? And can you believe I made each one for under 8 bucks!?

Did you have a DIY project that saved you a ton of money and turned out exceeding your expectations?


  1. They look great and well done keeping the price down!

  2. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE them!!! You know I would though. ;) What a beautiful, modern centerpiece!!!! And orchids. oh swoon!!

  3. Yes, I confess...I knew you would! If you come to my wedding you can be sure you'll take at least one home with you!!!! :D

  4. awesome!!! there are so many things that are cheap at pierone if you know what that is look it up online pier one ok they have amazing things that many of my friends or people i knew used!

  5. I absolutely love this idea. I myself will be having a purple themed wedding in October of this year and also on a budget! Great job and thanks for the info.! :)

  6. LOVE THEM! I'm getting the supplies are getting started ASAP!

  7. WOW! I LOVE these!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks so much or posting the instructions! I look forward to seeing the rest of your blog! I am also having a purple wedding... more than a year away and am looking forward to planning it!

  8. wow. i love this idea. my wedding is in 30 days and i am freaking about the flower budget (or lack there of) i think we'll use ur steps and idea!! THANKS!

  9. I LOVE these!!! I think I will give them a try for my wedding, but with orange orchids!! How long on average did it take you to make each center piece? Jus wanting to get an idea! You can email me at Thanks!!