Okay, so this is the project I have been eagerly waiting to show you since this flower series with Flower Muse kicked off in August.
As you may know, I've been posting out of the box ways to incorporate fresh flowers into your home since last month. I started with a flower framed mirror with peonies and double bloom tulips. Then I shared a giant floral ampersand made with garden roses and ranunculus. And now?
For my last Flower Muse project, I've made a 'live lampshade' pendant light - filled with fresh dahlias, calla lilies, and a whole lot more. This project would be great for a dinner party, especially once the holidays start rolling around.
The idea was to create something that would act as a centerpiece without getting in the way of conversation or take up too much space (or any space at all) on a smaller dining table, like mine. I worked with Flower Muse to come up with a more dramatic color scheme for this one, with a mixture of beautiful flowers (with varying shapes), greenery, and fillers.
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
FYI - the folks at Flower Muse are beyond helpful and accommodating with flower orders. They are great to work with, so if you are looking for different kinds of flowers, etc (that might not be listed on their website) they will do their best to find what you're looking for. And if you can't tell from the photos, their flowers are gorgeous. I've received three separate flower deliveries from them, from farms around the globe, and they are always really fresh (and last a long time). I will definitely be ordering from them again soon.
- 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 tablescape.
What do you think? Would you ever tackle something like this for a party or special occasion?
Modeling by Amanda Toman // Concept, styling and photography by Brittni Mehlhoff