10 no-time, no-money last-minute Easter decorating secrets

April 14th, 2017
Posted In: Decorations/parties

I woke up to Easter decorating rather late this year.

You may already have your spring door wreath, complete with succulents and quails’ eggs on your door.

And you may already have your Easter egg ‘tree’, your mantelpiece ablaze with beautiful spring bulbs and an Easter table that Martha Stewart would be proud of.

Easter decorating ideas

It took less than 10 minutes to fill these bottles with food dye and add one tulip each.

Or, like me, you may be expecting guests, and they may be expecting Easter decorating. Which, somehow, never made it onto the ‘to-do’ list, in spite of us all being urged to think of Easter as ‘the new Christmas’ in decorating terms.

Clever recycling Easter tips

Everything here comes from the garden or the kitchen…pull the labels off your tins of chickpeas or tomatoes and you’ll find this lovely corrugated iron effect.

Here are some super-quick ideas you can do. Most of what you need will come from the garden.

1) Go for bright and light colours

Dig out anything bright or light. Reds, blues, greens and yellows all work well together in spring.

Use a riot of bright colours in Easter decorating

Mix bright and light colours together. I bought the duck napkin rings about twenty years ago, and have just re-found them at the back of a cupboard.

2) Jam jar flowers and weeding the garden

Jam jar flowers are so Easter. If you have jute twine in the tool shed (I have Nutscene in various colours), tie it round the necks. You can also use ribbon, if you have any.

(NB: links to Amazon are affiliate links which means you can click to buy. If you do, I may get a small fee, but it doesn’t affect the price you pay.)

Then fill the jars with anything that you will probably need to weed out over the next few weeks.

Jam jar flowers for Easter decorating

Jam jar flowers tied with garden twine and filled with ‘weeds’

In my garden, that’s lamium, smyrmium perfoliatum and a very hairy borage that has just popped up from nowhere.

And some purple kale has gone to seed creating gorgeous racemes of yellow and purple.

Look for flowers from vegetables gone to seed.

The tall flowers in the old bottles are from some kale plants which have finally run to seed after serving us well throughout the winter.

The self-seeded euphorbia could do with thinning out, too, but that’s not a plant to be cut in a hurry. Only cut euphorbia with gloves on, and wash your hands afterwards. You do not want a trip to A&E because you’ve rubbed your eyes with fingers that have been cutting euphorbia.

3) Jam jar 2: make one bunch of flowers go far

You may have time to buy a bunch of flowers. Make them go further by putting separate colours in different jam jars.

Divide a bunch of flowers into separate colours and put in separate containers.

I bought this bunch of ranunculus in Faversham market for £5 – it’s the only thing I bought for this post. Divide any mixed bunch into separate colours and separate containers for a contemporary effect.

4) Or take just a few blooms from the garden

I cut only five tulips for a party to use in the bottles below. That means that I haven’t diminished the display in the garden.

Recycle bottles as vases

These bottles are San Pellegrino drinks bottles or scent diffusers. You can also use beer or lager bottles, and vintage milk bottles are lovely. The water is coloured with food dye.

Down in this corner of England, all the daffodils have baked to a crisp in the heatwave. But there are lots of tulips around. You could cut a few branches of blossom, but I pruned mine into the shape I wanted.

Next year, I may try to remember to leave a few surplus branches on the fruit trees to use in flower arranging.

5) Use food dyes to liven up glass bottles

I only had ten minutes to ‘do the flowers’ for a party at our house recently.

Emma Slade's book launch

The first Western woman to be ordained as a Buddhist nun, former City banker, Emma Slade, launches her fascinating book ‘Set Free’.

Emma Slade, a Buddhist nun, also known by her ‘nun’ name of Ani Pema Deki, was launching her autobiography ‘Set Free’. It’s the story of how she went from a City financier to a Buddhist nun, via a life-changing violent experience.

She has now set up a charity ‘Opening your heart to Bhutan’ to provide equipment for disabled Bhutanese orphans, and the book aims to raise money for the cause.

Back to flowers, however. I got five bottles and used a few drops of food dye in the water.

Fill old bottles with food dye colouring and water

The San Pellegrino bottles and scent diffusers, filled with dye. Some of the tulips took the dye colour up after about five days, but you don’t need to worry about that for the first 48 hours.

Do this carefully. Food dye stains if it runs onto surfaces and you only need a few drops.

But it’s very easy and creates a dramatic effect.

A mixed pack of coloured glasses are very useful if you like decorating tables. You’re not tied to a colour theme, and they will add life to a plain table or mix in with a coloured one. I’ve bought some from Amazon in the past.

6) Recycle tins and bottles to re-use as vases

Recycle old tins to use as planters

Use old tins as flower pots. You’d have to drill drainage holes in them if you want the plants to flourish, but it won’t matter for just a few days.

Recycle glass bottles as vases

An old gin bottle plus vintage milk bottles and a few other things. Our friends Rosalind and Robin keep them by the sink and pop in a few stems of whatever’s in bloom all year round.

Recyle bottles of different sizes as vases

The ranunculus again, in an old gin bottle (the gin is Eskimo gin, given to us by some Canadian friends). The earthenware bottle is an old inkwell – they’re easy to find in Faversham’s monthly vintage and antiques market on the first Sunday of every month. The San Pellegrino bottle is on the left and an empty scent diffuser from Zara Home at the front.

7) Dig up plants from the garden to use in your Easter decorating

Pot plants are great on tables. If you don’t have time to pop out to the garden centre, grab a trowel.

I dug up some muscari, a primrose and a parsley plant. The parsley had self-seeded in the path, so that’s another nice bit of weeding done!

Use plants from the garden in pots

The parsley in the Golden Syrup tin self-seeded itself in the path.

I’ll probably re-plant the primrose.

8) Paint garden pots to use as planters

I use tester pots to paint standard terracotta pots. They dry quickly, and don’t require any expertise. I am famously useless at any kind of craft, so if I can do it, so can you.

Don’t bother with any special preparation unless you are a perfectionist. I just got a paintbrush and painted the pot. It was dry in a couple of hours.

Paint garden pots

The primrose was dug up from the garden, and put into a terracotta pot painted with some paint from a discarded tester pot.

9) Use all the same tricks for your mantelpiece

Jam jar flowers onto the mantelpiece

The bunch of ranunculus in four jam jars….

Mixed bunch of jam jar flowers

And the same bunch in one jam jar….which do you prefer?

10) Channel the 1950s and 60s…

Spring is a time of fresh growth and hope. But it’s also nostalgic.

Evoke the Easters of the past by finding something you haven’t used for ages.  Wash china, iron tablecloths and give everything a new lease of life by presenting it differently.

My mother used to dye eggs, buy hot cross buns and serve a roast chicken. Before battery hens, roast chicken was a luxury.

However, I must warn you that food dyes will dye your fingers, your worksurface and your sink. But they won’t dye brown eggs very well. Most eggs now seem to be brown.

Recycle vintage china and glass

This eggcup has been in Mr Middlesize’s family since the 1950s. He guards it carefully.

The egg above was a duck egg, which is paler. Use alot of food dye, and it’s difficult to get even.

A moment after I took this photo, I turned my back. The dog ate the duck egg…

You may notice a lack of chocolate eggs in this post. If you are waking up to Easter decorating on the Easter weekend, Easter eggs will be sold out. Round here they go on sale just after Christmas, but are usually out of stock by the Wednesday before Easter.

This post is out early, due to Easter. We’ll be back to coming out on Sunday mornings from Sunday 23rd. Plus look out for occasional ‘Wednesday giveaways.’ If you’d like to get them straight into your inbox, sign up to receive this blog in the box on the top right. Thank you!

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Easter decorating tips: recycled and vintage tins, bottles and china make charming Easter ideas


2 comments on "10 no-time, no-money last-minute Easter decorating secrets"

  1. Your photos are exceptionally lovely – maybe you could do a blog on how to take such lovely photos. They look as good as those on digdelve.com, Dan Pearson’s blog which is praise indeed. Oh I do hope treating Easter like another Christmas never catches on. Enough.

    1. Thank you so much, I fussed over the photos for ages, and didn’t quite get to where I thought I ought to be with them.

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