How to create a gorgeous pedestal or cakestand floral arrangement without foam
June 8th, 2014
You can definitely create a lush, overflowing floral arrangement that’s perched on a cakestand or pedestal-style bowl without resorting to a foam base.
I promise you, if I can do it – it’s not that hard. And when you’re finished with the design, guess what? You can toss all the spent flowers, vines, stems and pods into your compost bin and recycle the flower frog or chicken wire that originally held that arrangement together.
It seems as if my mother displayed this beautiful jade green glass pedestal bowl on the dining table for my entire childhood. It never really held anything but a few pieces of fruit because it’s pretty shallow. Turns out, it was my grandmother Helen’s before mom inherited it (and I think it was Helen’s mother’s before her). A few years ago, I asked Mom if I could borrow the piece to try arranging flowers in it. Her response, “oh honey, you can have it.”
I wish I had asked to borrow it years ago!
Such an elegant piece with a slender pedestal that resembles a candlestick holder. It measures 9-1/2 inches tall and the bowl is 10-inches in diameter. It is only 2-1/2 inches deep – just the challenge for NOT using foam!
There are 2 options, and both are equally smart approaches:
1. Anchor a vintage flower frog in the base of the bowl using adhesive waterproof clay. [If you’re working with a cakestand, you will need to use a plastic tray or shallow bowl to hold the frog or chicken wire form and attach it to the flat base using tape or clay.]
OR . . .
2. Create a domed form with chicken wire (I call it a “mushroom cap” shape) and rest it inside the bowl, anchoring the wire with a criss-cross of waterproof floral tape (the plastic-coated fabric type).
Begin designing. Here, I first added several stems of pale blue mophead hydrangeas. Soon, they completely disguise the chicken wire.
Continue designing. The hydrangea worked in concert with the wire to anchor all the subsequent stems I added, including these stems of sedum.
Add more elements, making sure the stems reach into the water as they poke through the wire or frog.
Wrap it up with your final stems and step back to admire your eco-friendly arrangement! You don’t need foam. Seriously! The planet will thank you for it.
Care and handling ~ Because the water source is very shallow here, I added fresh water every single day by placing my pedestal into the kitchen sink and pouring in fresh water with a tiny, houseplant-style watering can (you know, the type with a long, slender spout?).
Usually, the excess water spilled over the vase’s edge – it really can’t be helped. So then I placed the bottom of the pedestal on a towel to soak up the excess water before returning the arrangement to the table in my entry hall. I used a clear glass salad plate under the pedestal to protect my tabletop from accidental drips or a ring of water on the wood.
Please share your tips and ideas – and post photos of your foam-free designs to share with everyone!
June 9th, 2014 at 4:24 am
Bravo! I love working with chicken wire AND have found that wire bird-feeder cages (the kind used for suet) work well in a pinch too ;-D I can send pix if you like. Also, have found an IMPRESSIVE array of blown glass flower frogs and vintage silver plate arrangers at a local antique store. These are so much easier to work with, more forgiving of mistakes than that God Awful floral foam – I honestly don’t know why florist ever convinced themselves otherwise. Another tidbit I’ve noticed – customers HATE floral foam. They don’t know it’s there until it’s time to clear out an arrangement and then they are pretty grossed out. When I tell them I never use it, they are all quite grateful. And we’re grateful you posted this! Many thanks and keep up the good work!
June 9th, 2014 at 9:08 am
I’m a bit slow. I pinned the article and photos to my DIY pinterest board. Thanks for a great tutorial!
June 13th, 2014 at 8:51 am
Thanks a lot! Very pretty!
July 7th, 2014 at 12:46 pm
Very nicely layered and textured, and it really came together extraordinarily well. The choice of hydrangeas’ as the base to layer all other flowers on top off was an inspired decision. Great photos!