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A Flower-Filled Cloche is the Only Decor Your Next Dinner Party Needs

December  2, 2016

A cloche arrangement at this time of year can make a really unique centerpiece or talking point at a gathering. The magical nature of flowers under glass combined with twinkling candle light will look stunning in your home at Christmas.

Photo by India Hobson

The arranging itself is simple and ridiculously enjoyable. Anything goes here: scraps of foliage from the garden, feathers, flowers, and twigs. It's a collectors dream, a cross between flower arranging and a school nature table.

Glass cloches, which are bell-shaped covers that sit atop flat, often wooden, bases, have been used as display cases (and protective plant covers) for centuries. So the best place to shop for them is in your local antique store.

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Here's how to build a flower arrangement inside a cloche:

Photo by India Hobson

Step 1.

Take a small shallow dish (small enough to fit inside the glass cover) and place a scrunched ball of chicken wire or floral foam inside it. Tape this securely to the base of the cloche, and add a little water to it.

Step 2.

Using hair pins or wire (bent in half to make long 'u' shapes), secure the moss around the entire base of the dish to conceal the structure created in the first step.

Under this pile of moss is a tiny saucer and a ball of chicken wire. Photo by India Hobson

Step 3.

Add the tallest twigs and blooms first, being sure to put the glass dome back on each time a tall stem is added to check proportions.

Photo by India Hobson

Step 4.

Stagger the stems of flowers at different heights, using a few statement blooms at the bottom. Always checking at every stage that the dome still fits.

Tallest flowers first; statement blooms near the base. Photo by India Hobson

Step 5.

Lastly, fill out around the base more densely with items that don't need water. Feathers, foliage, pine cones, shells or fruit which can be secured with a wire into the moss with the odd flower and stems dotted amongst them.

From the top. Photo by India Hobson

A tip for display.

Try keeping the Cloche somewhere fairly cool to minimize condensation. Once it has steamed up, they usually clear within a day, so unless you like this look (I do!!) then create your cloche a day in advance to give it a little time to clear.

Photo by India Hobson

Anna Potter is the founder of Swallows & Damsons, a floral studio in Sheffield, England. Follow her on Instagram for endless inspiration, and watch for more of her how-to's coming to Food52.

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Top Comment:
“I was wondering if you could share what paint color is behind your flowers, making them pop so wonderfully?”
— Olivia B.

What else do you put under a cloche for display? Tell us in the comments!

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Founder of Swallows & Damsons


Olivia B. March 17, 2017
Anna, your designs are incredibly inspiring! I was wondering if you could share what paint color is behind your flowers, making them pop so wonderfully?
Stephanie S. January 6, 2017
This is a beautiful and fun idea. I just bought one on Amazon to make for a friend's birthday!
nicola P. December 29, 2016
Wonderful. I'm definitely going to try this. Hopefully it will be a close approximation to Anna's.
Amanda S. December 2, 2016
Couldn't be happier about having this up on the site. Thank you, Anna!