DIYdiy projects

DIY Watercolor Bud Blocks

by Grace Bonney

I’ll be the first to confess that I don’t know the names of most flowers. I don’t seem to have an eye for styling arrangements; and even if I did, my cat would probably treat them to a death-by-swatting in about 2.5 seconds. However, none of these things keep me from snatching up grocery store flowers every now and then because their bright colors make me so darn happy. When I do, I rely on simple vessels that let the flowers shine on their own. In this project, I give big, beautiful pink blooms a home in a simple, modern block vase. It’s the perfect project for Color Month because we’re using pink’s complementary color green to create a bright, beautiful composition, and watercolors are your no-fail path to learning a little about how colors blend. And the project is so easy that you might as well double up the DIY by making your own watercolors, too! –Mandy Pellegrin

The full how-to is after the jump…

wooden blocks in several sizes
watercolor paints in greens, blues, and white
paint brush
Mod Podge (optional)

electric drill
3/8″ drill bit


1. Drill a hole almost all the way through the center of each block .

2. Use your watercolors to paint each block. The beauty of watercolor paints is that it’s nearly impossible to mess up when you’re aiming for something more abstract. Keep adding beautiful layers of paint until you’re satisfied. Add in a little white to lighten it up. Add water to blend together.

3. (Optional) If you want to be able to put a bit of water in each block to keep those buds alive, pour a small amount of Mod Podge into each hole. Rotate to coat, and allow to dry.

4. Trim your stems, and pop your blooms in.

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  • this is such a bad idea. those flowers will 1. either be far too heavy and fall over without support 2. soak up the tiny fraction of water in about an hour and die of thirst in a day. I’m disappointed design sponge.

    • sue- clipped flowers have a limited lifespan no matter what container they’re in.

      like all small bud vases, you’ll need to change the water daily to have them last as long as possible.

      i think this is actually the perfect project to help pull an arrangement out even longer– i’m always left with 1-2 buds from a larger arrangement that last longer than the rest. these would be great for highlighting just those final days of blooms that outlasted the pack ;)


  • I love this idea. I am imagining dipping them in gold paint for a sophisticated look (and even changing that up seasonally). Also a great project for the kiddos too – they will LOVE to see their vases (that they painted) with little flowers that they pick from the yard. Hmmm, I think this just might be a “birthday project” for my soon to be 3 year old and her friends. Beats sending the kids home with toys that break…

    Thanks D*S!

  • I l.o.v.e this idea too – imagining them artfully (haphazardly!) placed down the centre of a table, like they’ve tumbled there :) Great for peonies, which look gorgeous as single blooms. Inspired D*S, thank you.

  • Vey pretty. Drilling the hole just big enough to slip in a bud vase vial would be awesome. Eliminating the having to coat the hole for water.

  • Man, I love this color combo. I like this idea for winter greens in particular.

    *If someone wanted to integrate a water vessel it would be easy to drill the hole a little bigger and insert a water tube or a discarded pen cap. But, I kinda like the rawness of stem and wood, though.

  • These are wonderful! I agree about maybe drilling the hole big enough for a little water vial for the flower stem.
    I do love the watercolor on wood idea!

  • Grace, I’m thinking these are the perfect gift idea for my crafty daughter to make for her school teachers (the ever increasing pressure to buy buy buy for everyone!). Taking into consideration the other readers comments I might trial a couple of different sizes before painting.

  • These vases would also be perfect for all of those beautiful paper flowers we’ve been seeing in stores lately.

  • Great idea and for those concerned about life span, you could use fake flowers as well. I think it’s a great idea!!!

  • LOVE them! Love the several down the middle of a table; love (and totally ‘get’) the few left living blossoms in a bunch as Grace mentioned; love the idea of using homemade flowers…..I’m just in love today. :-)

    At first glance I thought they might be made of clay, which strikes my creativity to add a nice round reservoir inside (like mostly hollow) for water….plenty of weight and a bit of water if needed. Think I’ll try a few maybe using some skinner blends, or….

    Thanks guys!

  • Love this! Could also be used with several holes as a pen/pencil holder. Great gift for my fellow teachers!