How to Make a Modern Centerpiece Using Natural Materials

comments (14) September 21st, 2012     

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kaytet kayte terry, contributor
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A few jars of different sizes staggered on a runner or a piece of fabric looks modern and sophisticated.
I kept each jar pretty spare so that the centerpiece looks more modern.
Sandwich the ends of twigs in between the felt and fabric.
A few jars of different sizes staggered on a runner or a piece of fabric looks modern and sophisticated.

A few jars of different sizes staggered on a runner or a piece of fabric looks modern and sophisticated.

Photo: Kayte Terry

As you may have guessed by this point, I am a huge fan of using natural materials like leaves, acorns, and twigs in my craft projects. I am often found in my local park scavenging around for materials much to the confusion of my neighbors, but who cares? Nature is one of my biggest sources of inspiration, and fall is especially abundant with creative materials.

Here is a fun centerpiece for fall: It looks lovely on a dining table, a coffee table, or even on a mantel.

What you'll need:

  • Leaves for templates
  • Cardstock
  • Paper and fabric scissors
  • Small scraps of felt and fabric
  • Water-soluble fabric pen
  • Bunch of twigs (I used two or three per jar)
  • Hot glue
  • Small amounts of wool roving in a few colors
  • Needle-felting needle and mat
  • Acorn caps
  • Three 1-pound bags of beans
  • Three clear vases, jars, or canisters

Making the leaves:

1. Trace a leaf or two onto cardstock to make a template. Cut out with paper scissors.

  Cut a bunch of various-size leaves in different fabrics.

2. Trace the leaves onto the wrong side of the fabric scraps using a water-soluble fabric pen. Make about 15 to 20 of these. Cut out with fabric scissors. Repeat for the felt scraps, making 15 to 20 felt leaves.

  Sandwich the ends of twigs in between the felt and fabric.

3. To glue leaves to the twigs, lay out the fabric leaf, wrong side up, add a few dots of hot glue, and affix the end of the twig to the leaf. Affix the felt leaf to the other side of the twig, sandwiching the twig end in between the felt and fabric leaves.

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Comments (14)

AuntBeff writes: I think this is a great idea! Since we're all (well, most..and I'm willing to keep an open mind about other commenters who are hatin'..) creative here, we can think about ways to make a project like this up. If I were doing this (I might want to use it for a classroom decoration or for a project with my niece and nephew who LOVE this stuff) we could paint the twigs, layer larger and smaller leaf patterns with different color fabric ETC..maybe just hang them after using a starch..I don't even have an art degree and I can think of a lot of different things to do. How about THAT!!! Thanks for this idea. Two thumbs up here!
Posted: 6:05 am on September 22nd
soapguru writes: adorable! Now I have a project for the weekend...thanks so much Kayte!

Posted: 6:39 pm on September 21st
TastefulDiversions writes: I love this -- something I would do myself, and something I can modify to do with my kids. Thanks for sharing, Kayte!
Posted: 12:22 pm on September 26th
keyboardkeys writes: @texasphan--
It was many, many years ago (when the internet started) an accepted fact that if one typed in caps it was equivalent to yelling. That's just the way it is. If you can't type, learn. If you can't read it, then why don't you change the size of your font on your monitor so you can see it better? If you don't know how, then ask someone (nicely) who is knowledgeable enough on computers to help you with it. I find it quite a bit harder to read all caps, myself. It slows me down considerably, as does those who can't spell or write proper English grammar, but I didn't desire to use this place as a grill to roast every undesirable thing I could think of, including the author of the craft.

I didn't particularly like this twig arrangement, but I just passed it on by without comment, which is what I suggest you do from now on. If you like it, then make it. If you don't, then keep your comments to yourself. It's a crafting place, not a grill!

BTW, I'm probably near your age, but I never heard of the emperor/clothes remark.
Posted: 3:14 am on September 24th
Zann writes: Hey Texasphan,
Where did you get the idea that this was your personal podium from which to launch a rant about everything under the sun? Newsflash: it's a craft site.

Don't kid yourself. Your comments are not constructive in the least, and I'm sure you know that. What they are is hurtful, petty, arrogant, and so unhelpful. People display their creative pursuits here for others to enjoy. If something doesn't fall within your own personal design standards, keep it to yourself and move on. It's just your opinion, and nothing more. By the way, ever heard of the art of TACT? Check it out.


Kayte, thanks for sharing this with us.

Posted: 10:24 pm on September 23rd
diabeth writes: Texasphan, You come across as very judgmental. If you can't say anything nice...(I'm sure you know the rest)
Posted: 9:18 pm on September 23rd
TEXASPHAN writes: KAYTET: I HAVE HEARD THIS JUDGEMENT FROM PEOPLE THAT CAPITALS ARE YELLING. I DON'T KNOW WHAT KIND OF PERSON DECIDED TO MAKE THAT A "RULE" BUT SOME OF US HAVE EYE TROUBLES AND HAVE TO HAVE ALL CAPS TO READ ON A MONITOR SCREEN WITH ANY EFFICIENCY IN TIME. I DON'T ACCEPT THAT NONSENSE "RULE" AS PART OF MY COMPUTER COURTESY. IT IS SAD THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO BE SO JUDGEMENTAL AS TO ASSIGN YELLING AS AN ASSUMPTION. I WAS NOT YELLING AT YOU, I NEVER YELL AT PEOPLE ...THEY ARE NOT THAT POWERFUL IN MY LIFE TO CONTROL MY BEHAVIOR.
I HAVE SEEN YOUR WORK BEFORE... ON THIS SITE AND FRANKLY, WELL I HAVE KEPT QUITE QUIET ABOUT IT. IT HAS SADDENED ME TO SEE THE QUALITY OF WHAT I SEE ON THIS SITE. I DON'T SEE ANY IMPROVEMENT AT ALL. YOU CAN DO BETTER! I AM SORRY TO BE THE ONE TO TELL YOU BUT AS A "PROFESSIONAL" YOU ARE IN NEED OF A WAKE UP CALL. THIS ISN'T TO SAY YOU DON'T HAVE A TALENT TO BE DEVELOPED, BUT CODDLING YOU ISN'T GOING TO HELP YOU GROW.
BY THE WAY, I AM MANY TIMES YOUR SENIOR. I LOOK MUCH YOUNGER THAN I AM AS WELL, SO WHAT? I WAS CALLING YOU "YOUNG LADY" BASED ON THE QUALITY OF YOUR WORK REPRESENTED HERE. I HAVE TRAINED MANY, MANY STUDENTS IN DESIGN AND IN CREATING UNIQUE PRODUCTS WHICH SELL ACROSS A BROAD VARIETY OF MARKETS. I ALSO HAVE BEEN IN THE BUSINESS FOR DECADES AND AM HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER FOR MY DESIGNS.
I HAD HOPED YOU WOULD TAKE THIS AS CONSTRUCTIVE... AS I DID OFFER YOU A PLACE TO GO TO STUDY AND LEARN BETTER OVERALL ASTHETICS FOR YOUR FINISHED PRODUCTS OF THIS TYPE.
I SINCERELY HOPE THIS CLEARS IT UP FOR YOU. MY INTENT WAS NOT TO STRIKE A NERVE IN YOU, BUT TO HELP YOU ADVANCE TO A BETTER DESIGN INTERPRETER.
ARTIST MUST GROW THEIR SKILLS AND EXPAND THEIR CAPABILITIES TO REMAIN CURRENT. I HOPE YOU WANT TO DO THAT FOR YOUR SELF AND YOUR FUTURE.
NOW... I SAY TO YOU, DON'T DICTATE TO ME WHAT I SAY. DESPITE THE BEST EFFORTS OF THE LIBERALS, THIS IS STILL A FREE SPEECH COUNTRY AND THIS SITE INVITES COMMENTS. IF YOU REFUSE TO LET THE TRUTH BE HEARD, THEN THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES! (I AM ASSUMING YOU HAVE HEARD THAT CHILDREN'S STORY?) I AM NOT BEING SARCASTIC, BUT FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN OF EDUCATION, ATLEAST THE LAST TWO GENERATIONS OF PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN EXPOSED TO A LOT OF THE MORE IMPORTANT STORIES ABOUT CHARACTER AND ETHICS... SO THEY CAN'T BE EXPECTED TO UNDERSTAND THAT REFERENCE. (JUST A FOOT NOTE OF EXPLANATION.)
MY WISH FOR YOU IS SUCCESS IN GROWTH OF YOUR SKILLS. I HOPE YOU ASPIRE TO COMPETE WITH YOUR FORMER WORK AND BE EXCEPTIONALLY BETTER THAN YOUR PAST SELF.
BY THE WAY, I TRULY HOPE YOU STILL HAVE YOUR GRANDMOTHER TO ENJOY. IF SO, MAYBE SHE WILL ENCOURAGE YOUR TO SPREAD YOUR WINGS A LITTLE MORE DARINGLY.
Posted: 1:17 pm on September 23rd
kaytet writes: Texasphan- Normally I don't respond to comments such as yours but if you don't like it, leave it at that. Don't tell me I should be "ashamed of myself". And please don't post comments in all caps. I don't like to be yelled at and I don't like to be called a young lady by anyone other than my grandmother. I have a pretty prominent job in the design world and I have been doing it and doing it well for a decade. I just look young.
This project was featured on design*sponge as well so I guess somebody likes it...

Posted: 9:07 am on September 23rd
TEXASPHAN writes: IT IS JUST SAD TO HAVE TO STATE, BUT THIS IS JUVENILE. FURTHER, THERE IS NO BALANCE OR GRACEFULLNESS TO THIS EXECUTION OF HER IDEA. PLUS, THERE IS NOT ENOUGH COLOR TO STIMULATE ANYONE'S INTEREST. WHAT IS THIS, "DEAD LOOKING RESULTS RISING FROM THE PROMISE OF SEEDS IN A JELLY JAR". I JUST FIND MYSELF WONDERING WHERE I HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE. I DON'T MEAN THIS TO BE HATEFUL, BUT THIS IS WHAT SEEDLINGS LOOK LIKE WHEN THEY DON'T MAKE IT. AFTER THE HORRIBLE DROUT WE HAD THIS PAST 6 MONTHS IN TEXAS, I HAVE SOME BRANCHES IN GLASS JARS WHICH I WAS ROOTING INTO NEW PLANTS. THEY DIED AND LOOK REMARKABLY LIKE THIS "CENTERPIECE". WHERE IS THERE CREATIVE ENERGY IN THIS EFFORT? THE CENTERPIECE IS SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT THE ABUNDANCE OF A HARVEST, BE IT FLORAL OR PRODUCE. THIS RESEMBLES HALLOWEEN. I REGRETFULLY HAVE TO INJECT THAT THIS JUST REPRESENTS FAILURE TO "GET" THAT FACT. "MODERN"?? I THINK NOT... JUST PLAIN STARK. MODERN MEANS FUNCTION WITH SLEEK LINES. FINALLY, WHO THINKS A BUNCH OF OLD JELLY JARS ARE GRACEFUL AND SOOTHING TO LOOK AT ON THE TABLE. I KEEP ONE UNDER EACH SINK TO HOLD OLD TOOTHBRUSHES TO USE FOR SCRUBBING THE LIME DEPOSITS AWAY FROM MY FAUCETS. I'M SORRY YOUNG LADY, BUT YOU NEED TO RETURN TO SOME ART STUDYS AND ACQUAINT YOURSELF WITH REAL "LIVING" NATURAL ART AND THE GRACEFUL BEAUTY OF NATURE. SHAME ON YOU FOR EVEN TRYING TO PASS THIS OFF AS YOUR EFFORT. NEXT TIME AT LEAST FIND SOME BRANCHES WITH SOME GRACEFUL AND FLOWING FEATURES OR TANGLED INTERESTING FORMATIONS...AND SOME HEIGHT. THE JAPANESE HAVE LONG HAD AN ART OF SIMPLE FLOWER ARRANGING, I THINK IT IS CALLED IKEBANA IT IS TRULY SERENE AND HAS GREAT BALANCE AND BEAUTY. THIS EXAMPLE IS A TRUE WASTE OF EVERYONE'S TIME! PLEASE LEARN WHAT IS ALREADY OUT THERE FIRST THEN PUT YOUR OWN TWIST OF "MODERN" ON IT.
Posted: 8:27 am on September 23rd
kaytet writes: rebecka-
that looks great! i love the colors you chose and the extra sewing accent!
Posted: 6:42 pm on December 5th
Rebecka writes: Love this idea so much I made one myself! :)
Thank you for the tutorial!
http://rebeckaverola.blogspot.com/2008/11/autumn-leaves.html
Posted: 4:48 am on December 4th
d23 writes: mmm great idea thinking this type of thing cud work well w tiny shells, blanched driftwood, in those jars of white beans.... lovely inspiring work>cheers!
Posted: 4:42 pm on November 22nd
bluebutterfly writes: Nothe elso of great work =D
Posted: 8:38 am on November 19th
susanstars writes: gorgeous, Kayte!
Posted: 2:19 pm on November 13th
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