It's Transformation Tuesday, in which we highlight ingenius ways to upcycle and create decor. I've got fall foliage on my mind, having very recently interviewed Chicago Botanic Garden Senior Horticulturalist Benjamin Carroll for an upcoming article on planning a winter garden, and it's got me noticing all the loveliness in the autumnal plants around me. Although of course spring and summer's blooms and foliage are beautiful, many plants are equally—and more intriguingly—beautiful after they've lost their flash and are stripped back to their most basic forms. In this project, fall plants become a beautiful centerpiece, one that I think would be lovely gracing upcoming holiday tables.
In this project, we make a long, thin centerpiece out of beetle-kill pine. You could also visit your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, recycling center or perhaps your own garbage pile for scrap wood with which to construct this. You might also display a grouping of fall plants in a set of old canisters or jars. The possibilities are endless, but regardless of how you display them, you and your guests will be impressed with the subtle beauty possible when displaying autuman and winter plants.
1. The vase can be whatever length fits your display area or table. We cut two 1-by 4-inch boards to 28 inches long; the two 1-by- 4 end spacers are 3 inches long.
2. Sandwich the spacers between the two long boards and clamp. Drill a hole through all three layers at the top and the bottom of each end for the 3-inch-long bolts. Thread the bolts through the holes and attach the wing nuts.
3. You can leave the wood raw or finish it with a nontoxic sealer. We rubbed on a thin coat of sea-green flat paint (we used a zero-VOC product by AFM Safecoat) then let it dry before buffing the vase lightly with beeswax.
4. Attach cork to the bottom of the box with tiny brads. This holds the foam and plant material in place and protects your tabletop from scratches. Be sure to sink the nailheads slightly into the cork.