we like it wild: diy flower lab (part 2)


While browsing around the kitchen section at IKEA a few days ago (and returning a few unused items from Jill’s wedding- we’ll be doing a special post about it with all kinds of juicy details in a few weeks!), we were inspired to talk about one of our most requested table centerpieces…the grouping. At least 1/3 of our recent bridal consultations have come in with magazine and blog photo inspiration of tables filled with bottles, jars, and other glass containers. We love creating this look for weddings and it can be really easy when you have been collecting vessels for a while. Some people don’t realize achieving a look like this can be an expensive and time consuming project though; eBay purchases often have high shipping costs and thrifting takes devotion!




One of our favorite clean and simple groupings is the wildflower laboratory. We went on the hunt at IKEA for lab/beaker style containers made of thin clear glass, and added in some votive holders to work as tiny “petri” dishes. This type of arrangement is great if you don’t have the time to search for containers secondhand or want a more uniform look between tables. Here’s a few tips on how to DIY and use a variety of containers to get a natural, not too fussy, not too messy look. All of the containers we used in this post (15) cost around $24.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the post (tips for shopping for vessels, more pictures, etc) after the jump!


• When shopping for containers look outside the vase section- you can find some great candleholders, glasses, jars, pitchers, and trays to double as vases.
• Limit your search to a single material- clear glass works best for a “lab look”.
• Groupings of odd numbers usually work best, but evens are ok if you are using multiples of the same size piece (ex. four votive floaters together on a cocktail table).
• Limit your flower types to five or six and use them in different combinations. You can float single lilac and ranunculus blossoms, use a single stem of each in test tube vases, create tight posies of each by themselves, and also make tiny arrangements using them together. That gives you seven different options using only two types of flowers!
• Don’t forget about plants. Layered gravel, dirt, and moss with a succulent or small wildflower plant on top can be a fun and unexpected addition to your grouping (and you can make them a bit further ahead of time too).
• Don’t be afraid to set loose blossoms that hold well out of water or succulents right on the table.

Some of our suggested groupings for different table sizes are:

-Cocktail tables- Four small votive floaters or a grouping of three different vessels (bud vase, small cup, votive).

-Dinner rounds- Grouping of 5 or 7; including at least one larger vessel, one tall skinny vase, and several smaller pieces.

-Long dinner- Several small groupings of at least three or a meandering line of vessels all the way down the center.

Good luck and have fun experimenting with your laboratory!


  1. Christine says:

    If you are lucky enough to live in a university town, you can hit the local surplus store. I pick up gorgeous tiny little bottles for $0.25 and up when I am there. I passed up a gorgeous wooden test tube holder last time, and completely regret it after yesterday’s post!

  2. Christine says:

    I neglected to mention that this post is stunning, so I need to look for something to function as a little petri dish! I also adore what you’ve done with the columbine. I have some in my garden and the blooms are amazing, but they do not arrange well. This is a fantastic idea!

  3. Karyn says:

    This has such a casual, easy, elegance. I have so many jars in all shapes and sizes and I love to fill them with flowers all summer long. Right this minute I’m going to go cut a long, wild piece from our rose tree to use like your long, wild piece here.

    “we like it wild” is the best!

  4. Amy Hadley says:

    After a friend put together a baby shower centerpiece inspired by Pt 1 of the wildflower lab (just blogged about it! http://bit.ly/9poFLN), I’ve been yanking handfuls of blooming wildflowers (and weeds!) whenever I see them, and I’ve started buying jam based on the jar it’s in. Too cute!

  5. max says:

    Amazing post! Everything looks so pretty, but flowers in “petri dishes” are the most lovely thing I’ve seen for a long time.

  6. Gina says:

    Simples e ótimas ideias!
    Tanto os recipientes quanto as flores estão em perfeita harmonia. Gostei, particularmente, do vaso com as flores mais longas e do pequeno com uma Aquilégia roxa. Lindos!
    Bjs.

  7. Victor says:

    Excellent scope on this post. I have stashed away several tapered pear juice bottles from the Hispanic/Caribbean food aisle at a chain grocery store…very cheap and functions like a small vase. But it looks like an interesting jar.

  8. Great grouping. I was about to group my floral arrangements together with my collection of vases. I should edit my post…

  9. fish.zhou says:

    beautiful flowers ,they are quite different from those in our countriy.i mean the variety.

  10. laura says:

    for my wedding last year we grew most of our own flowers in the garden, used wildflowers and filled in the rest from a local farmer. we used those blue ball canning jars on the tables, and had them in all different sizes. in other places we used random glass vases and bottles. i scoured the thrift stores in my town on memorial day because 50% off 29 cents is a pretty dang price. it was absolutely gorgeous and very cost effective!

  11. Anna says:

    This made me really appreciate my Mom’s huge collection of vases and vessels of various shapes that we used at my wedding. My florist…North Tabor Farm on Martha’s Vineyard used them and filled them with native flowers grown on the farm.

  12. Yvonne says:

    great collection..thanks for sharing

  13. Gitte says:

    Gorgeous site full of creative ideas, I love it !

    Gitte from France

  14. Dennis says:

    After a friend put together a baby shower centerpiece inspired by Pt 1 of the wildflower lab (just blogged about it! http://bit.ly/9poFLN), I’ve been yanking handfuls of blooming wildflowers (and weeds!) whenever I see them, and I’ve started buying jam based on the jar it’s in. Too cute!

  15. sajjal says:

    i always wonder to get a purple rose to decorate my breakfast table but i’m still anxiously waiting to get it.
    is there any way to change the color of a rose ?
    any suggestion will be appriciated

  16. Tanya says:

    What are the smaller purple bunched flowers you have?

  17. David says:

    What are the smaller purple bunched flowers you have?

  18. MICHELE says:

    design*sponge is so inspiring! thank you!!
    I love to collect bottles as well….do you have any tips on cleaning out some of the stubborn stains in them?

  19. Lee says:

    Excellent scope on this post. I have stashed away several tapered pear juice bottles from the Hispanic/Caribbean food aisle at a chain grocery store…very cheap and functions like a small vase. But it looks like an interesting jar.

  20. Pam says:

    Tanya & David: I believe the flower you’re talking about is a lilac.

    Lovely pics, and nice to know there are others out there who appreciate humble containers and single specimens.

  21. jessica says:

    I did something like this at my wedding. I used mason jars and filled the bottom with natural toned fish gravel, topped with some water and a few flowers. They were very inexpensive and simply beautiful!

  22. Muoi says:

    Hi, I just wanted to share that I picked up a beaker and a small test tube vase from Anthropologie for $4/each. The larger ones are $8-15, all on sale.

  23. Love the column! Most folks don’t know how easy it is to create their own diy wedding flowers. Mason jars and even tins cans are fabulous vessels to use when an IKEA is not around.

  24. Rachael says:

    I did this look for my May 1st wedding…religiously hit up Goodwill, Salvation Army, and yardsales weekly for months in advance. Wine bottles and canning jars also work marvelously. The end result was beautiful(: It’s just so organic and relaxed.

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