Transform a bunch of store-bought flowers into a beautiful table runner using easy-to-find supplies and pretty, vintage dessert bowls.
If you’re planning a dinner party and looking to add a bit of extra wow to your table, Samantha Labuschagne from Medley House Wedding and Function Venue in Joburg explains how to create the perfect floral table runner.
‘All you need is a store-bought bunch of flowers, some supplies from your local flower shop, and a bit of patience,’ she says.
When you buy a mixed bunch of flowers from your local flower or grocery store, you don’t get to pick and choose which flowers you’d like, but Samantha says it’s surprisingly easy to create beautiful arrangements using what’s there.
- a bunch of flowers; ours were supplied by Alsmeer Fresh Cut Flowers
- vintage or crystal dessert bowls
- oasis (in the shape of cylinders)
- tin foil
- cable ties
- tea-light candles
- small, glass votives
- leaf shine spray (Fill a spray bottle with cold water and a little dishwashing liquid to make leaf shine spray at home.)
- Fill a large container with water and drop your oasis cylinders into the water. ‘Do this a few hours before you intend to use the oasis,’ suggests Samantha. ‘Drop the oasis cylinders in, allow them to absorb water until they sink to the bottom of the container, and then remove them. Avoid pushing them down into the water as this creates bubbles that’ll cause your floral arrangements to wilt quicker.’
- Separate your bunch of flowers into groups. Samantha’s groups included greenery, sprays (chrysanthemums, daisies, carnations), smaller wild flowers (baby’s breath, wax), larger flowers
(stocks, gerberas), and feature flowers (cabbage roses, roses, lilies).
- Measure and cut enough tin foil to cover the bottom half of each oasis cylinder. ‘The tin foil will catch any
water that seeps out of the oasis so you don’t end up with a wet table cloth,’ says Samantha.
- Use the cable ties to join the oasis cylinders and dessert bowls together. ‘This forms the base of your table runner, and you can make it as long as you need, depending on how big your table is,’ Samantha explains.
- Samantha’s general rule for creating a floral arrangement is to always begin with greenery as a base.
Start by spritzing your greenery with leaf shine spray before cutting each stalk into smaller sprigs. ‘Cut
at an angle just above the leaf so the sprigs will slide into the oasis easily,’ she suggests. Slide the small
sprigs of greenery into your oasis cylinders to create the base for your table runner.
- Once you’ve created your greenery base, repeat the trimming process you used for step 5 on the smaller,
soft wild flowers. Use these sprigs of smaller flowers to begin filling in the empty spaces between the greenery base, using longer sprigs at the tips of your oasis cylinders to add length to the arrangement and create a cascading effect. ‘Aside from filling empty spaces, the softer flowers help create a nice flow for your arrangement,’ says Samantha.
- Repeat the trimming process you used for the greenery and wild flowers on your sprays and stocks. Fill in any gaps between the greenery and wild flowers with these larger flowers. Samantha suggests arranging these in groups of three to form triangle shapes within the arrangement. Again, use flowers with longer stems (stocks work especially well) at the tips of your oasis cylinders to fill in empty spaces and add length to the arrangement.
- Trim your feature flowers. Our bouquet had lovely cabbage roses that we trimmed very short, almost up to the head of the flower. Pour a little water into the dessert bowls and put one feature flower in each bowl.
Samantha suggests using a few large leaves inside each dessert bowl to keep the feature flower snug.
- By now, there should be no gaps in the oasis. Use the leftover sprigs of wild flowers, and the stocks and sprays with longer stems to fill any spaces at the tips of the oasis. This will also add extra length to your arrangement.
- As a finishing touch, place lit tea-light candles in votives along the sides of your floral table runner.
FEATURE: CANDICE CURTIS PHOTOS: DYLAN SWART
Magazine issue date: September, 2017