crafts

Make Rustic Centerpieces Using Cattails And Birch Logs

Skill level: Moderate

Supplies Needed: birch log, cattails, silk grass, natural Spanish moss, drill with circular bit

Rustic Centerpiece Instructions:

A few years ago, my husband and I were in charge of table decorations for an outdoorsmen dinner event.  Since the dinner was for men, the decor had to be somewhat macho.  There is nothing better for men, especially outdoorsmen, than to go with rustic, natural items.

The idea we came up with was to make the rustic centerpiece pictured.  Our “vases” were simply sections of birch logs with holes drilled out in the center.  You could use any type of log available to you.  Freshly fallen trees are a great resource for this type of craft.  You can trim your own trees or you can also get a permit to cut or trim some trees on public land.  One other option is to purchase logs that have been harvested for woodworkers.

We used a circular Forstner drill bit to drill almost all the way through the birch, giving us a sturdy vase to hold our “floral” picks.  Obviously, silk wildflowers wouldn’t do so we went with cattails and long grass.  You may be able to use a paddle bit as well.

Since cattails grow in abundance in most marshy areas, they are very easy to find.  Cattails are also considered to be a weed and therefore are very hardy and can easily take over ditches and other wetlands areas.  It is not a problem to clear out cattails unless the area that you are going to is protected.

If you are taking cattails that are under water, grab the stem as close to the base of the plant as possible and pull up slowly.  For cattails along the shoreline, simply cut the stem with shears at the length that you want.

To dry your cattails, bundle about four of them together and hang upside down until fully dry.  Once dry, spray them with a clear varnish to keep them from falling apart.  They are now ready to use in your arrangement.

Insert about five or six cattails into your vase and then fill the remaining gap with grass.   Use silk grass from an arts and crafts supplies store since natural grasses will turn brown after a short time.  Glue natural Spanish moss around the top of the birch and you are finished!

**Tip: You may find fallen birch logs that are nearly completely hollowed out.  If so, simply shake out the dried insides of the log and you will have a hollow tube of birch.  You can then insert a glass jar, tin can or any sturdy container, in the right diameter, for extra stability.