Update to the original post, which was publish in December of 2012: I originally created this for a holiday craft competition held by Driscoll’s Berries. I think this project would make an awesome addition to any summer celebrations, though – and berries are much cheaper when they’re actually in season!
I’m not particularly crafty (and I didn’t even realize one could make crafts with berries – they’re an interesting medium, to be sure), but I was game for the challenge – so I said yes, and got to work dreaming up an amazing and unique berry craft. And I think I did, indeed, come up with a winner (even if only in my eyes).
It was easy and turned out so cute, I’m going to use this space to put together a tutorial for you (I even thought to take pictures as I was working on it, so this should be super simple to follow).
What you need:
Styrofoam Wreath (mine was 11″ across, flat on the bottom, and came from the flower decorating section of Michael’s – styrofoam wreaths are expensive and this one was the cheapest I found – around $5 – and was also the size I was looking for).
12″ Cake Circle (also from Michael’s, in the baking section – this is just a white cardboard circle that is 12″ across and holds the wreath – you could use something else, but you’re going to want to keep the wreath on whatever you build it on as it’s kind of delicate and tricky to move once it’s built).
Kitchen Scissors (or any scissors, I guess?)
BERRIES – for a wreath this size, I used SEVEN little packages of blackberries and a few raspberries, too
How To Make It:
Wash berries. While they’re drying, cut a bunch of toothpicks in half. I started by cutting about twenty or so in half and then cut more as I needed them.
Wrap wreath in Saran Wrap. The styrofoam flakes off, and I wanted the berries to be edible (and clean), so I wrapped it all up, using regular tape in a few spots on the back to secure it.
Put the wreath on the cake circle. Stick a toothpick about halfway into the syrofoam, and gently push the berry onto the toothpick. Work in lines, placing berries together like you would fit pieces of a puzzle together. When possible, I pointed the berries in the same direction.
Every so often, add a little bunch of raspberries instead of blackberries. I used bunches of four. In the center of the four raspberries, I placed a slightly longer toothpick and set a raspberry on top of it (just sticking the toothpick in the hole, not actually piercing the berry). Raspberries are very delicate, so be gentle!
Keep going until all of the styrofoam is covered. There might be some “holes” but that’s okay – you can make little adjustments/move berries around once the centerpiece is in its final destination (besides, the spaces really aren’t that noticeable once it’s all complete).
Get creative with the center of your centerpiece! My favorite look was a bowl of dip (Greek yogurt) on a bed of mint leaves (I used a few mint leaves as a garnish, too).
I played around with a couple of other looks while I was at it.
A candle (surrounded by mint leaves) had a nice feel to it.
I also thought it looked cute with a few sparkly ornaments in the center. Charles, however, was not a fan of this look. In his words, “It’s confusing. I don’t know if I’m supposed to eat the ornaments or not.” So, if you have anyone around who confuses ornaments with food (as I apparently do?), you might bypass this look.
As far as the actual edibility goes, it’s very easy to eat. I just picked the berries right off the wreath (the toothpicks stay put, in case you are wondering). You might leave out some toothpicks for people to use to pick the berries off (especially if there’s dip involved).
This took a little over an hour, start to finish. It did use a ton of berries – and blackberries aren’t in season right now, so they were kinda spendy (even with the coupons I received from Driscoll’s) – I’d use more raspberries next time as they were a bit cheaper (even if they’re a little harder to work with due to the squish factor).
I’d love to see one done entirely in raspberries and garnished with mint – I think that would be so pretty!
And with that, I’m pretty sure I’ve used all of my creative brainpower and crafting skills for 2012 and maybe some of 2013, as well.
Happy Centerpiece-Making to all, and to all a good night!
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