Moss and log centerpieces

My friend Holly and I spent last week making centerpieces for our church women’s conference. What an undertaking! We had 20 round tables, 3 food tables, and 2 registration tables to decorate. Our theme was “In this life I shall have joy,” and the colors were magenta and yellow. I wanted to think beyond standard bouquets, so I searched the web for springtime centerpiece ideas. When I saw these moss centerpieces at The Handiwork Chronicles, I became obsessed with moss.

Two moss centerpieces

We wanted the centerpieces to be as natural and earthy as the inspiration photos, so we used a burlap fabric overlay, logs, and rocks. We added the “joy” flags and bright mums to bring in color. We wanted to use what Moss Mountain calls cupcake moss, also known as pillow moss or cushion moss. But heavy snow storms on the East Coast delayed its availability. So we bought the next best thing: a mixture of cupcake moss and mood moss, also known as bear fur moss, from Patrick’s Floral Studios. Mood moss grows in larger clumps than cupcake moss, but it worked well enough for our purposes.

Tutorial and photos after the jump!

Cupcake moss centerpiece

My friends Rachel, Julie, and Joel donated the logs. Joel cut all the wood at various heights for us. Thank you Joel! We wished all the wood could have been birch logs because birch is so darn pretty, but with limited time and budget, we took what we could get. Preparing the wood was the biggest challenge. It turned out that some of the logs had rotted. So I peeled and scraped off the bark and bugs, power washed the logs, then let them dry for a couple days. We suffered some attrition later on when we discovered that some of the logs were infested with bugs on the inside. We replaced those logs with small baskets that Holly had on hand. The lesson: Use fresh cut logs!

Food table centerpiece

Because our log supply was limited, Joel sliced some of his large odd-shaped logs for us. We used those for the food tables. The shape looks like the African continent to me—or a golfing green (thanks to the flags). We used the green paisley fabric on the food tables because we ran out of burlap. In the end, it was all about making do. But, happily, our decorations seemed to be a hit. Thanks, Holly, for being a dream to work with!

Now, here’s a little mystery I’m hoping to solve. Patrick, our florist, told us that the moss was dried and could not be planted in the garden. But his inexperience with this moss, the information from Moss Acres, plus this video make me think that planting it and adding water might make it come back. So, I’m going to try to get some of our leftover moss to grow sometime by following these instructions. I’ll let you know what happens. I think it would be wonderful to have a small live indoor moss garden.

How to make moss centerpieces

Supplies

  • cupcake moss or mood moss — from your local florist
  • three 4- to 10-inch round logs cut to varying heights (4 to 8 inches tall)
  • medium-size rocks — we used Mexican beach pebbles from The Home Depot
  • chrysanthemums, lilies, or other long-lasting flowers
  • burlap — from your local hardware store (garden dept.), fabric store, or Walmart
  • bamboo skewers — from your local 99¢ store
  • Joy flags or pretty seed packets

Tools

  • scissors
  • drop cloth
  • bristle brush or vacuum
  • drill and 1/8-inch drill bit
  • long ruler or tape measure — I used a Drywall T-Square
  • glue stick
  • disposable gloves
  • floral spray adhesive — we used Design Master Tack 2000

Glue the moss onto the logs

1. Arrange the moss like puzzle pieces on the top of two of the larger logs. You may have to trim the moss down or shave off some of the attached soil with scissors. Follow the instructions on the can of adhesive to glue the pieces together. Turn the glued pieces upside down and set aside.

Spray on the glue

2. Brush or vacuum off the dirt from the wood. Spray the top of the wood and the bottom of your moss pieces with glue. Wait one minute, then place the moss onto the log. Adjust the placement as you press down.

Drill holes

3. If you want to use my “joy” flags, download them here. Print them on 11- by 17-inch paper, cut around the outside edges, and fold each in half at the top. Apply glue to the sides and bottom of the inside of the flags. Insert a skewer, pointy side down, then fold the flag over the skewer. Press the three glued sides together. If you would rather use pretty seed packets instead of the flags, simply poke a skewer through each seed packet. Drill a hole through the moss into the log where you want the flag to be placed, then insert the pointy end of the skewer.

Drill the smaller log

4. Drill a hole in the smaller log as well. Insert a flag.

Measure the burlap

5. Measure the burlap to the size you desire. We chose squares the same length as the width of the fabric.

Cut the burlap

6. Cut the burlap with the grain (between the open weave).

Pull the threads

7. Pull the threads from the last 3/4 inch of fabric to create a fringed edge. No sewing required!

Wash the rocks

8. Wash the rocks. I washed an entire bag, but you will only need about a dozen rocks. We used 10 rocks per table.

Place the flowers

9. Snip off the chrysanthemum blossoms with about 1/2 inch of stem. Insert the stems into the moss on top of the largest log. If you have difficulty poking through the denser moss, use a skewer to make a hole, then insert the stem. Finally, scatter a few flowers among the rocks.