I found this brilliant DIY project yesterday while I was planning how I'm going to decorate my area in the Anthropologie tent at Port Eliot in a few weeks time. This slightly distracted me for about three hours and I wanted to share it in case you were feeling creative too this weekend.
The post is written by Brittni Mehlhoff, the editor and founder of the wondrous Paper & Stitch website.
Here’s how you can make your own fresh flower pendant light…
- Main Flowers: Dahlias (in dark red, burgundy and purple), Mini Calla Lilies (in burgundy) and Purple Veronica
- Filler: Waxflowers, Eryngium Orion Thistle (this variety is really similar), Scabiosa Pods and Privet Berries
- Greenery: Viburnum berries, Dusty Miller and Green Pittisporum
- Large wire basket with a hole at the top that your light kit will fit through
- Light kit/pendant cord like this one from IKEA + lightbulb
- Floral tape + Floral Wire (I used two gauges – one thin and one thick/ heavy duty)
- Scissors + Wire cutters (optional – for the thicker gauge wire)
Before you get started, let’s talk about flower care… For dahlias: They are sensitive to dirty water, so if you’re keeping them in a vase or bucket for a prolonged period, just make sure to re-cut and replace the water daily. For mini-callas: These only need 1 to 1.5″ of water (too much water is actually not good for callas – it can make the stems turn mushy too quickly). For everything else: Cut at least 1″ off each stem and place in 3-4″ of room temperature water. Let everything hydrate for at least 3-4 hours before you start working with them.
Okay, now let’s get started… There are a lot of pictures below to walk you through this one, but the basics are pretty easy…
First things first, flip your basket over so the bottom is facing up. This is the framework for your pendant lampshade. Now you’re ready to begin. You’ll want to start with the greenery (like Green Pittisporum) as your base. Cut off descent size sprigs (6-10 inches) from a larger branch and begin attaching them to the wire basket with floral wire. You can also weave some of the pieces in and out of the basket for extra security. For heavy stems or branches, use the heavy gauge wire. Start weaving some of the other greenery into the frame at this time as well (like Viburnum berries). Once the basket has been decently covered with the greenery all the way around (you don’t have to fill in every hole because there are plenty of flowers still to add – this is just the start), start adding a few filler flowers, like wax flowers for example, to fill in some of the gaps. Secure with wire just as you did with the greenery. You can also add some sprigs of dusty miller around the base at this time.
Now that the lampshade is starting to fill out a little bit more, it’s time to start adding the really cool flowers, like mini calla lilies, dahlias, and purple veronica. Cut the stems fairly short (leave about 5-6 inches on the stem) and start weaving them into the shade, securing with wire as you go). Before securing flowers in certain spots, I would just kind of push the stem through the basket and then step back to see if it looked good. If you’re happy with it, secure it with wire, if not, move it to another spot and look at it from a distance before securing it with wire.
Once the bulk of the main flowers have been added, you can add some of the smaller fillers to round everything out. The thistle, berries, and scabiosa pods are perfect for this part. And you can cut the stems down to 5-6 inches before adding them, just like the others. Note: If you need to cover any additional areas but find you have run out of flowers, add additional greenery like dusty miller a couple of leaves at a time to fill in holes that have gone unnoticed (I wouldn’t recommend adding a whole stem at once – that’s a lot of leaves).
Once you’re happy with the arrangement, it’s time to add the light kit. As luck would have it, my light fit perfectly into the hole at the top of the wire basket. Then I screwed in the bottom piece of the light kit from underneath and it was perfectly secure. Add a lightbulb and you are ready to shine some light on your fresh flower masterpiece.
And to answer the lighting question that you are probably wondering about it… Yes! It does light up. I had it on for about an hour and a half and it was completely fine. The wire basket that I used for the base was large enough that the flowers were not really disturbed by the heat. But just to be on the safe side, I wouldn’t leave this on when it’s unattended.
Here are a couple of photos of what it looks like with the light on…
On the table…There were lots of petals and leaves left on the table when we finished up, so I decided to leave it just as it was (newspaper and all), and add an old scarf as a table runner. I also had some extra dusty miller left over, so I cut the stems really short and added them to a low profile bowl with some water and added a few scabiosa pods for a super simple tables cape.
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