DIY: Victorian Bell Jar

I'm proud to report that I recently accomplished something for the first time in my life: I executed a DIY project I saw on Pinterest. Well, inspired by an image on Pinterest. I stumbled across this beautiful antique bell jar, stuffed with dried flowers. Isn't it beautiful? A perfect centerpiece for a vintage-nature inspired apartment, to maybe set on a mahogany vanity full of old brass jewelry and perfume bottles, right? The bell jar in question is an authentic 19th century antique, but I figured I could whip up something similar with a few thrift store finds and dried flowers! Read on for instructions: 

Step One   Gathering Materials. I collected fresh greens and flowers from my neighborhood, local florist, and by asking my friends to give me their floral bouquets instead of throwing them away when they started wilting. I hung each stem upside down in my closet for about two weeks to fully dry them out. For the jar and base, I used a paper towel holder and glass light fixture that I found while thrifting, but such supplies are also readily available online. I wanted a dark,  rich finish for my wood, so I gave the base a few coats of stain.

Step Two  Trim the Foam. I picked up a 4" x 4" block of floral foam, which I trimmed down to fit inside my jar. I ended up needed a much smaller chunk of foam than I expected. It took much whittling with an olfa knife. 

Step Three   Arrange Flowers. I started with small greens, to cover as much of the foam as possible. I ended up breaking the dried plants I had into tiny pieces, placing each of them firmly into the foam. 

Next were the flowers. It was important in this case to build UP rather than OUT, to really fill the tall jar. My strategy for arranging the flowers was to just pile on as much as I could, to achieve the messy brambly look of the original I was emulating. Pro tip: Try to keep the arrangement roughly symmetrical, so it won't topple over. 

Step Three   Add more stuff. Once the foam block had become laden with greens and flowers, I started testing it out with the jar. This led to a bit of pruning, followed by adding even more flowers. I tried to get a few of the biggest rose blooms to sit near the top of the jar, for maximum visual impact.

Step Four   Put it all together! There's a screw in the center of this block of wood holding the floral foam in place. The glass dome is simply set upon the wooden base.