Modern alternative to fake flowers?
March 6, 2015 2:26 PM   Subscribe

What are some of the things you can use in small and/or large vases that are not as short-lived as fresh flowers and not as lame as fake flowers? I should probably add that I am not crafty (shoppable links preferred to DIY ideas), I hate cacti, and I love bright colors.
posted by rada to Shopping (25 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
If you are willing for the things to be fragile, Glass blown flowers! They are obviously not real so they're not tacky like flowers that are trying to pretend they are real, instead they are arty and pretty and can be very colorful.

(I had a friend make me some simple glass blown flowers once and it was nice to have them in my vase on the table.)
posted by foxfirefey at 2:29 PM on March 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

They have a variety of nice "sticks" - driftwood style, etc. at Michaels.
Also, pussy willows should be in season pretty quick if you want to head to a florist or farmer's market to get some, they air-dry beautifully. Love those things.
posted by lizbunny at 2:44 PM on March 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Bird feathers like peacock, peasant, ostrich, etc are having a bit of a moment with lots of good fake versions.
posted by The Whelk at 2:49 PM on March 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

Paper flowers, like these? Also check out the ones made from book pages and maps.
posted by sageleaf at 2:50 PM on March 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Dyed pampas grass comes in bright colors.
posted by xris at 2:55 PM on March 6, 2015

The seed stalks of various decorative grasses are quite attractive. They tend to last for a long time, too. I have a set of pampas grass seed stalks in a vase, where they have lasted quite well for three years. As to where to get them, well if you have landscape grasses in your area you might be able to take some without altering the appearance of those grasses significantly. Of course, now is not grass season.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 2:56 PM on March 6, 2015

Flowers on flowering branches can last a while.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:58 PM on March 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

What about branches from various types of trees? Lizbunny had a great idea with pussy willow - they are so beautiful and reminiscent of spring. You can try this website. They have some really amazing silk flowers and artificial as well as natural plants/flowers.
posted by ATX Peanut at 3:00 PM on March 6, 2015

Glass marbles. Glass ball Christmas tree ornaments.
posted by monotreme at 3:36 PM on March 6, 2015

Are you open to potted flowers instead of fresh-cut? I've had beautiful orchids and African violets (all bought at Home Depot) that have lasted and lasted despite total neglect. There are a bunch of articles like this that might help if want to go that route.

In the dried category, Billy balls are nice and bright. It looks like there are some more colorful varieties of eucalyptus branches available these days, too. And I kind of dig the look of these dried chili pepper "bouquets."

Plain old lemons look pretty great in glass bowls/vases, too. If you search permutations of "non-floral centerpieces" (usually will bring up wedding Pinterest pages, but so be it), you may find some other pretty durable options that'd work for you.
posted by argonauta at 3:51 PM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Brooch Bouquets may work as well. As you can see, not all of them have to be a standard ball shape. Most of the pins here are links to etsy for easy purchase instead of DIY.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 4:10 PM on March 6, 2015

I got some of these earlier this week and they look pretty good.
posted by slenderloris at 4:31 PM on March 6, 2015

Pinwheels! Another mefite has a vase full that I've always admired. I believe they were table decorations from her wedding.
posted by mollymayhem at 4:47 PM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dried flowers!
posted by Specklet at 4:49 PM on March 6, 2015

West Elm and similar home stores have (in the past, I can't seem to find any that are currently available) carried paper flowers that are quite pretty. I bought a bunch of small white flowers (?? crocuses? snowdrops?) on clearance a few years ago and really like them.
posted by quaking fajita at 5:18 PM on March 6, 2015

If the vases are clear why not fill them up with brightly coloured things. I have a square glass one I fill with sea glass I collect anytime I'm near an ocean. Also decorative balls/shells etc look great in them.

Twisted willow sticks look great too, or sticks that you can hang brightly coloured decorations off.
posted by wwax at 5:26 PM on March 6, 2015

Colorful string lights? I have these 'retro mini party lanterns' which I sometimes coil up in a large glass vase, but there are a whole lot of different sorts here. I actually bought mine at a street market in Bangkok, but wasn't sure where to find another picture of them.

If you don't like cactus but would like colourful live plants maybe you would like bromeliads? The 'flowers' last a couple of months at least, and then the plant dies, but you can either grow new ones from the old plant or throw them away and get another. They come in lots of different shapes and colours.
posted by AnnaRat at 5:33 PM on March 6, 2015

There are all kinds of dried grasses that are really pretty, and I also like Coco Lashing and Curly Willow branches in tall vases. I have one blue vase full of pretty rocks, sea glass, and beach-smoothed wood that I've picked up here and there, and it's a fun little time capsule too.
posted by gemmy at 6:49 PM on March 6, 2015

We pick bittersweet on the beach in the autumn and winter; lovely bright orange pods.

In the summer, sunflowers seem to last a lot longer than other cut flowers. Statice too-- they will just turn into dried flowers.
posted by BibiRose at 9:05 PM on March 6, 2015

Bloomaker long life flowers.

These are real flowers that last longer than your average cut stem flowers. I've tried these and mine lasted around 3 weeks.

The only problem is that they are always sold out at the store I go to buy them at, so I haven't been able to get more.
posted by rancher at 9:21 PM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hydrogel Balls. They're made from acrylamide - but they're polymerized so they're actually polyacrylamide which is rather innocuous.

They get moldy, though, especially if people play with them with their hands.

They're also sold as a semi-solid growth medium for indoor plants; not sure how those stay free of undesirable microbial overgrowth.
posted by porpoise at 10:17 PM on March 6, 2015

Giant lollipops.
posted by slateyness at 4:53 AM on March 7, 2015

Any interest in making fake flowers less lame?

The way to do it is get good looking ones and arrange them with real greenery. I cut leafy branches off my camellia for this. Have a few different types of flowers so you can rotate but stick to one kind of flower in each vase. You want it to look like cut flowers from a garden, not trashy bouquet from the supermarket. Use glass vases & add water. Let a couple leaves stay when they drop off.

I get compliments all the time on my dark pink peonies and ranunculus. I have to tell friends a couple of times before they get it in their heads that they're fakes.
posted by stellathon at 2:02 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Glass stones
Gold Ting-Ting
Wooden Flowers
Decorative Balls, either matching or a variety.
posted by soelo at 8:18 AM on March 9, 2015

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