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Watercolor Paper Flower Arrangement

Evoke the feeling of a lush, colorful garden with this tabletop display. Simply snip pre-illustrated watercolor paintings into shape and arrange them in a bowl.

watercolor paper flower arrangement by Kristy Rice

Photography: Kristy Rice

Source: Martha Stewart

Introduction

This idea comes from our friend and watercolor artist Kristy Rice. Here, we used pages from Kristy's "Cutting Garden," so we don't have to worry about drawing flowers before painting them. The remaining materials can be found at any arts and crafts store. Choose pages from the books you'd like to include in your centerpiece. Be sure to include a variety of sizes for interest. Tear the page out of the book and prepare to paint, with a cup of clean water, your palette, and brush.

materials

  • Watercolor palette
  • #6 round watercolor brush
  • Scissors
  • Glue dots
  • Floral picks
  • Moss
  • Floral foam brick
  • A wide and shallow bowl

steps

  1. Wet the flower and leaves with the brush and clean water. Choose a light pink and load your brush when wet. Dot the wet flower with your brush full of paint, you'll see the paint move around a bit. If it doesn't, add more clean water here and there. Also add a soft green to the wet leaves. 
    watercolor paper flower arrangement by Kristy Rice
  2. Move on quickly to this step so your flower is still wet. Choose a darker pink and dot around the center of the flower and to the edges of some petals. Remember, if the paint isn't spreading a bit, add clean water to the flower before adding the darker pink. Add some blue green into the leaves. Don't brush the paint back and forth too much, let the paint and water on the flower mingle naturally. 
  3. Repeat step 2 with a third color, such as a vibrant pink on some petals. Add a more vibrant yellow on the leaves for highlights.
  4. Cut out flowers: The key to cutting out interesting shapes is to move your paper, not the scissors. Also before you start cutting, trim off the large areas of paper around the detail your trimming — extra paper will get in your way as you cut.
    watercolor paper flower arrangement by Kristy Rice
  5. Optional: Paint backs of flowers. This step isn't necessary, but can be a fun touch especially if you like to paint. Just add light washes of color, no need to follow all painting steps used on the front of each flower. 
    watercolor paper flower arrangement by Kristy Rice
  6. Assemble flowers to stakes by adding flower pick to each individual flower with a glue dot. 
    watercolor paper flower arrangement by Kristy Rice
  7. Repeat the above steps on approximately 7-10 flowers using a variety of colors, bright reds, soft pinks, a touch of purple, peach. Ensure that they all combine nicely to give a wildflower garden look. Use scissors to trim your stakes to varying heights (we recommend nothing longer than 7 inches).
    watercolor paper flower arrangement by Kristy Rice
  8. Assemble centerpiece: Begin piecing the foam block with the stakes. You can come in at an angle, push some in completely, others not, varying the height and angle of the flowers will give a more natural look. 
    watercolor paper flower arrangement by Kristy Rice
  9. Place floral foam brick into a bowl of your choice. (Tip: You can add a few glue dots at the bottom of the bowl if a bit more stability is desired.) Begin adding moss to cover the brick. No adhesive is necessary as the moss with lightly cling to the foam brick. As you add the moss clumps, press lightly to secure. At this stage, you may want to reposition some of your flower stakes to appear more in the foreground.
    watercolor paper flower arrangement by Kristy Rice
  10. See what interesting bits are in the garden and add them here and there. This fresh touch really adds a certain something to your finished centerpiece. You could even add tiny pebbles.

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