- Florist’s foam ring with plastic back
- Cable tie, for hanging (optional)
- Florist’s wire
- Wire cutters
- Floristry scissors (optional)
- Four types of herbs or flowers, stems about 10cm (4in) long (we’ve used fresh bay, green hydrangea heads, eucalyptus and lavender)
1 Fill your sink with water, place the foam ring face down on the surface and leave for about 5 minutes. It’s important to let the foam draw in the water naturally, because if you force it under the water or run water over it, the water will be soaked up unevenly and leave dry spots. You’ll know you’ve soaked the foam adequately once it submerges almost completely, with only around 5mm showing above the water.
2 Loop a cable tie or some florist’s wire around the foam for hanging it later.
3 Mark your foam into quarters by scoring lightly with the blunt side of your scissors. Each quarter is reserved for one type of flower or herb.
4 Strip off any excess leaves at the bottom of the stems, then cut the stems at an angle; this makes them easier to insert into the foam and allows them to soak up the water more efficiently.
5 Group the herbs/flowers into bunches of three or five stems. Take a piece of florist’s wire about 15cm (6in) long and bend one end into a ‘U’ shape. Put a bunch of herbs/flowers inside the ‘U’, then twist the wire around to secure, leaving a ‘tail’ of it hanging down.
6 Always plan your arrangement before you start inserting the bunches, because you can’t re-use a hole once it’s made. The cells will be crushed and won’t be able to provide water to a new stem; also, unused holes act as air pockets, making the foam less effective.
7 Working a quarter at a time with each herb/flower, insert the stems into the foam without wiggling them, making sure you fan them all in the same direction, like a Catherine wheel. The cut ends must be in constant contact with the foam to ensure they can soak up water, so don’t poke them all the way through the foam.
8 When the ring is covered with herbs/flowers, hang it over a bowl or outside until the water stops dripping, then hang it in the desired place.
EXTRACTED FROM KIRSTIE ALLSOPP CRAFT BY KIRSTIE ALLSOPP (published by Hodder & Stoughton); ALL PHOTOGRAPHS HODDER & STOUGHTON 2011; PHOTOGRAPH OF KIRSTIE ALLSOPP BY ALEX SARGINSON
Find lots more practical projects and step-by-step guides in this new book from Kirstie Allsopp. With guides to jam-making, scrapbooking and lots more, there’s plenty to keep you busy well into the new year.