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Omaha Magazine

DIY Designer Dupe: Orchid Arrangement

Jun 25, 2021 04:09PM ● By Sandy Matson
large orchid arrangement, white

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

Many of my favorite florals, including peonies and hydrangeas, are available in spectacular faux versions. You can find them at specialty home stores, in the decor section at plant nurseries, at chain craft stores, and online. For my DIY this issue,  I created a designer dupe (short for duplicate) floral display with another favorite—one of the most beautiful flowers on earth, the orchid (phalaenopsis).

As a thrifty shopper and self-taught floral designer, I thought I’d share some advice for creating a high-end arrangement that will keep your guests guessing if it's real or fake and won’t cost a fortune. My research found that you can pay up to $750  for a designer orchid arrangement. I spent $185 creating mine. (Keep in mind, you can choose to use something different for your base, which would significantly reduce the cost.)

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

First, a few tips to achieving that designer look: 

Invest in the right vessel for your base.
It could be a bowl, urn, or pot; made of metal, wood, or resin…the options are endless. Using something different or unexpected adds interest. Check antique stores for unique options. With no watering required, there’s no need for concern about leakage. Teak bowls are popular and found just about everywhere. 

Make sure to properly secure the flowers. Take care when inserting the stems and stake them well so they’re stable and not moving or falling over. If falling flowers is an issue, choose a better grade of foam or use an adhesive to glue the stems in place.

Don’t go cheap on the flowers/greenery. Faux flowers have come a long way in recent years, but they’re all not made the same. Take the time to shop for premium artificial flowers with realistic stems and silk petals. They’re amazingly lifelike, have the best coloring, resist fading, and will hold up to regular dusting.

My Supplies 
(Found at craft stores and online)

• Teak root bowl (bought at HomeGoods, but similar ones can be found on ETSY at etsy.com/market/teak_root_bowl)

• Dry floral foam

• 3 Large faux orchid flower branches 

• 2 Small faux orchid stems

• 3-4 Orchid leaves

• 4-5 Bamboo stakes

• Prepackaged moss

(may substitute 1 jar small pebbles)

• Fern sprig

• Curly willow (dried or artificial)

• 20-gauge floral wire (or raffia ribbon) 

Instructions

Step 1: Cut a large piece of floral foam and place in the bottom of your vessel; then fill in the sides with smaller foam pieces as needed.

Step 2: Stick orchid leaves into the foam as desired, leaving spots open for your orchid stems and stakes.

Step 3: Vary the height of your orchids by cutting different amounts off the stem bottoms with a wire cutter. 

Step 4: Insert each orchid stem deeply into the foam, spacing them out as desired and staggering the flower heights. Adjust as needed.

Step 5: Insert a bamboo stake next to each orchid stem, then secure using floral tape, wire, or raffia ribbon. Trim the stakes if too tall.

Step 6: Add the fern or curly willow to the staked stems, if desired.

Step 7: Once you are happy with the placement of the leaves, floral stems, and all is secure, add the moss (or pebbles if you prefer) to cover any visible foam.

Step 8: If you like, personalize your arrangement. (Since I live lakeside and wanted to keep with a water theme, I used a piece of driftwood I picked up on vacation in Mexico and added a starfish accent.)

Have fun with this—get creative! If you want to test your hand with some less expensive florals, that works, too; or keep it simple and use one large orchid stem. This DIY is surprisingly easy and a great way to add a little glam to your indoor space. Good luck!  

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of Omaha Home. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.