Sitting Pretty: The Carnation Sculpture

This modern display of traditional flowers reveals an interesting juxtaposition of shapes and textures: the feathery clumps of carnation petals set in a floral foam ball contrasts with the smooth-sided, angular vase the ball sits on.
Carnation Sculpture

Carnation Sculpture

Photo by: DK - Fresh Flower Arranging © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Fresh Flower Arranging, 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Although this carnation sculpture looks impressive, it is simple to make. It would look stunning in an entrance hall or on a bar at a party. If you need to decorate tables, make up some smaller versions as table centerpieces.


45–50 red carnations

Hydrangeas make an ample substitute for carnations in this design, if you prefer them.

Other Materials
tall opaque cube vase (16 inches high)
1 floral foam ball (7 inches in diameter)
florist's scissors

Red Carnation

Red Carnation

Photo by: DK - Fresh Flower Arranging © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Fresh Flower Arranging, 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

How to Arrange

Check that the floral foam ball will sit securely on top of the vase. Soak it in water, place it on top of the vase and press it down slightly so that it is as secure as possible.

Cut the stems off the carnations at the point, known as the top node, where the uppermost leaves grow. This should leave a short stem of about 1 inch.

Starting at the top of the ball, press the carnation flower stalks into the floral foam. Work methodically, not randomly, pressing the flowers close enough to each other that the foam is completely covered, but far enough away from each other that you don't crush or bruise the flower petals. Work either in a spiral from the top, or downward in sections. Cover the whole ball so that no gaps are visible.

Insider Tips

- As with all floral foam arrangements, give the carnations a long drink in deep water before you cut off the stems and arrange them in the foam.

- Don't over-soak the foam ball, or it will start to crumble and fall apart. Place the ball in a bucket of water, allow it to soak up water just long enough to sink to the bottom, then lift it straight out.

- Mist the flowers regularly to get the maximum life span - three to five days - out of this arrangement.

Keep Reading

Next Up

The Prettiest Pom: Make an Elegant Rose Topiary Tree

A mass of just one variety of flower can create an eye-catching display. This rose topiary has been made at a small-size, but it can be recreated on a much larger scale. Place this handsome design on a desk, a hall table or a side table.

Pretty Fluffy: A Hydrangea Ball

Hydrangeas, with their impressive size, dense shape and multiple petals, are ideal for creating maximum impact with minimal ingredients. They are also one of the few flowers whose petals are coarse enough to tolerate sitting in water.

Pretty Blooms All in a Row: The Gerbera Line Arrangement

This fun, quirky display will suit a windowsill, hall table or serving table at a children's party. The base can be reused long after the flowers' freshness has faded: simply pull the old blooms out of the floral foam and insert fresh ones.

"Blown Away" Screen Sculpture

Anyta Thomas shapes her "Blown Away" sculpture with aluminum screen wire mesh and embellishes it with paint.

How to Create a Colorful Paper Sculpture

Sal Matteo creates his vibrantly colored sculpture with paper shapes and swirls.

How to Make a Ceramic Garden Sculpture

Sculpt facial features and flowers from clay to create a whimsical work of garden art.

Transform an Old Jewelry Box with Gem-like Dahlias

Jewel dahlias' intricate petals and intense colors shine like gems in an old jewelry box, while the mix of buds, semi-open and fully open blooms add interest and texture.

Calla Lilies: A Tall, Thin Drink of Water

This pared-down display of flowers and foliage will bring a modern look to a hallway, lobby or corner of a room. Consider positioning several of these arrangements in a line, whether of the same or various sizes.

Out of the Ordinary Orchids

This delicate, mesmerizing design, in which wired orchids appear to flutter like butterfly wings, is an ideal way to display flower heads that are just past their prime.

A Vision in White: The Monochromatic Checkerboard

An elegant, interesting take on monochromatic design, single-variety bunches of creamy white blooms highlight subtle differences in blooms' shapes and accent colors. Place this beauty on a low coffee table so it can be seen from above.

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.