Christmas craft: how to make your own festive centrepiece
PUBLISHED: 12:10 18 December 2015
Make a warm welcome for your guests with a Christmas table arrangement using seasonal foliage, flowers and berries. Philippa Pearson shows how
Equipment & materials
● Fir or pine foliage
● Eucalyptus foliage
● Skimmia flowers
● Hypericum foliage with berries
● Poppy seed heads
● Red and white chrysanthemums
● Whole dried oranges
● Pine cones
● Christmas decorations
● Church candle
● Oasis posy pad
1Soak the oasis ring in water and leave to drain so excess water runs off. Then choose a good workable area so you have everything to hand and protect the surface if necessary with a waterproof cover.
2Put the candle in the centre of the oasis, making sure it is pushed down to make it stable. It is important to use a tall church candle that will burn down slowly, otherwise plant material may be at risk of catching fire.
3Using secateurs, carefully snip pieces of foliage from the fir branches and other greenery and insert them into the damp side of the oasis. You will need to prepare your plant material first by stripping away the lower leaves to create a bare stalk that is easily pushed into the oasis. Start at the sides then begin to fill in the top area of the oasis, making sure you don’t overfill with foliage, as you are going to add other plant material as well. Leave an area around the candle without foliage at this stage.
4Once the ring is covered with foliage, add flowers and berries, first stripping the leaves from the section of stems that will be pushed into the oasis. Keep any tall flowers or foliage away from the candle as the arrangement height needs to be lower around here to be away from the flame.
5When you are happy with the flowers, add the skimmia flowers and poppy seed heads, aiming to make a natural but balanced arrangement. Keep checking all around the arrangement, turning it to make sure there is no oasis showing, particularly on the sides, and adjust any positioning as required. Also check everything is securely held in place in the oasis.
6When you are happy with the arrangement, place it on a tray on your festive table for everyone to enjoy over the season. While the above is a guide, you can of course use any flowers and foliage, but pick those that will keep their shape for a couple of weeks over the festive season. I used fir cuttings from the garden with flowers and seed heads from a florist. You could also use dried flowers, holly and berries.
Caring for your arrangement
Remember to mist the flowers and foliage regularly with a hand spray. If the oasis dries out too much, take out the candle and soak the whole arrangement. Check everything is secure from time to time and replace any foliage or flowers as needed. Don’t leave the burning candle unattended and check regularly to make sure plant material is well away from the flame, replacing the candle as required as it burns down.
Add extra details such as dried oranges, pine cones, battery-operated lights and Christmas decorations for more sparkle. You can also spray seed heads from the garden with gold or silver paint and add them. Ensure any flammable material is kept away from the candle.