Debra Prinzing

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How to create a gorgeous pedestal or cakestand floral arrangement without foam

June 8th, 2014

Grandma's (or maybe great-grandma's) pedestal fruit bowl is a perfect vessel for a NO FOAM summer arrangement.

Grandma’s (or maybe great-grandma’s) pedestal fruit bowl is a perfect vessel for a NO FOAM summer arrangement.

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!

Step One:

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.]

Apply waterproof adhesive clay to the bottom of a vintage metal flower frog (I prefer the domed, cage style shown here).

Apply waterproof adhesive clay to the bottom of a vintage metal flower frog (I prefer the domed, cage style shown here).

 

Then insert the frog in the shallow base of the bowl or stand and add water.

Then insert the frog in the shallow base of the bowl or stand and add water.

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).

Criss-crossed tape holds the chickenwire form in place. Don't worry, your arrangement elements will soon hide the tape and the wire from view.

Criss-crossed tape holds the chicken wire form in place. Don’t worry, your arrangement elements will soon hide the tape and the wire from view.

Step Two:

Begin designing. Here, I first added several stems of pale blue mophead hydrangeas. Soon, they completely disguise the chicken wire.

Step 2: Add your first floral element. It could be foliage or flowers. Here, I used hydrangeas in abundance.

Step 2: Add your first floral element. It could be foliage or flowers. Here, I used hydrangeas in abundance.

Step Three:

Continue designing. The hydrangea worked in concert with the wire to anchor all the subsequent stems I added, including these stems of sedum. 

Step three: add  your next pieces, such as the sedum shown here.

Step Three: add your next pieces, such as the sedum shown here.

Step Four:

Add more elements, making sure the stems reach into the water as they poke through the wire or frog. 

Next, I incorporated small pink dahlias and Scabiosa stellata (the pingpong style scabiosa).

Next, I incorporated small pink dahlias and Scabiosa stellata (the pingpong-style scabiosa).

Step Five:

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.

The finishing touch is created with stems 'Black Knight' scabiosa.

The finishing touch is created with stems ‘Black Knight’ scabiosa.

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! 

4 Responses to “How to create a gorgeous pedestal or cakestand floral arrangement without foam”

  1. Bethany Karn Says:

    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!

  2. kate Sparks Says:

    I’m a bit slow. I pinned the article and photos to my DIY pinterest board. Thanks for a great tutorial!

  3. Viv Herman Cws Says:

    Thanks a lot! Very pretty!

  4. RJCarbone Says:

    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!

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