When I first saw the projects in Bring the Outdoors In, I was smitten. They were so elegant and perfect. I wanted them in my home but I doubted that a semi-klutz like me could make something so lovely. As I worked on the book layouts, I couldn’t help daydreaming about how great my apartment would look filled with these natural, unique pieces. Now that the finished book is sitting at my desk, I decided to put myself to the test by constructing one of my favorite projects.
G Y P S O P H I L A S P H E R E
The materials list was thankfully brief. I went to San Francisco Flower Mart for baby’s breath and then Soko Hardware in Japantown for a paper lantern (and the obligatory ramen lunch). When I got home I hung the baby’s breath to dry (you can also buy pre-dried baby’s breath, but I wasn’t taking any shortcuts). The upside-down bouquets were so attractive I was briefly tempted to leave them as is.
A week later, the baby’s breath was dry and I was ready to build my masterpiece. I tied the paper lantern to a ceiling hook, letting it hang low enough to reach comfortably, and trimmed the tops off the flowers.
Next I heated up the glue gun and got ready for some serious gluing. I attached the baby’s breath to the lantern, starting at the top. It took me a while to get into the right rhythm, but after a few rows I realized I could rest the stems on their neighbors before they were dry (the buds glom together like velcro). Then I really started to make progress.
A few hours later, the entire lantern was covered with baby’s breath. I stepped back to assess my work. It wasn’t a perfect sphere—some of the flowers were taller than others, some spots denser than others—but the overall effect was stunning. I couldn’t believe it. A few bunches of filler flowers and a cheap paper lantern had been transformed. Success!
If you want to build your own Gypsophila Sphere, follow the instructions below. As for me, I’m planning my next project. Maybe the Dried Flower Garland…
Instructions for Gypsophila Sphere
- Ceiling hook and anchor
- Spherical paper lantern
- Lamp cord, or string or cord for hanging
- Dried baby’s breath
- Garden shears or wire cutter
- Hot glue gun
1. Install the ceiling hook and anchor where you plan to display the sphere. If you plan on illuminating the sphere, put the lamp cord in place in the lantern before you begin. If not, you can simply cut a length of string or cord as desired and tie it to the top of the lantern for hanging. You will need to work with the lantern within reach—either hanging in its permanent position but lowered to a comfortable level, or hanging elsewhere, in which case you will need to carefully move it to its final location when complete. I recommend standing while you work, if possible, so you can easily move around the lantern.
2. Prepare the baby’s breath stems by trimming them down to about 4 in/10 cm in length. Work with one bunch at a time to keep your work area tidy.
3. Starting at the top of the lantern around the perimeter of the opening, begin to attach the ends of the individual stems to the lantern. Touch the bottom of the stem to the hot glue gun nozzle to add a tiny amount of glue to the bottom, then hold the stem end perpendicular to the surface of the lantern for a few seconds while the glue dries.
4. Continue working around the circumference of the lantern toward the bottom, making sure the blooms are filling in nicely. The stems should be about 1 to 2 in/2.5 to 5 cm apart depending on the amount of blooms per stem. As you reach the bottom, you may need to work from beneath the lantern to finish.