Ready to go island hopping on your engagement party? Even if you can’t actually get to a tropical isle, how about bringing a part of it to your event? And we’re not talking about some fruit baskets filled with pineapples and a scattering of seashells here. We mean a towering tropical table centerpiece featuring two entire coconut trees! You have to admit, that would be hard to beat. Hard to make, too, you fear? Well, it does take quite a number of steps. But the final effect is definitely worth it!
Materials For This Coconut Tree Centerpiece:
– Crepe paper – orange, yellow, olive green, and brown
– Fresh banana leaves (or green craft paper)
– Bamboo or rattan sticks – 8 pcs., each 18 inches long
– Florist’s foam or Styrofoam
– Floral knife or X-acto® knife
– Wire – gauge 12 or 14 (or old wire hangers)
– Organza wraps – 17″ size, in burnt orange and olive
– Cardboard, chipboard, box board, or old boxes
– Hot glue/ glue gun, scissors, white craft glue
– Crafting cutter or knife
– Olive green acrylic paint
– Empty Pringles® cans or similar – 2 pcs.
– Real banana or coconut leaves (optional)
Make This Tree in 4 Sections:
Step 1: Start with the tree’s base
1. Cut the florist’s foam with a floral knife into an oval shape, approximately 18″ long and 12″ wide or depending on the size of your table. (Tip: You can use a serving tray or mirror as your guide.)
2. Gently shape the top of the foam so that the edges slope downward, giving the effect of an “island.” Paint it green. (Tip: you can also use foam paint or foam-safe spray paint.)
3. Take the empty Pringles® cans and cut a hole in the foam for each can. Insert the cans a few inches into these holes, and secure with a glue gun.
Step 2: Construct the tree trunks
1. Cut semi-circular shapes (in decreasing sizes) out of cardboard, chipboard, or box board.
2. Paint each one green, then cover their fronts (just one side) only with crepe paper—some in olive green and some in brown.
3. To make the trunk, start with the smallest semi-circle and glue its ends together to make a “roll”. Do the same with 2 or 3 more of this size, in both olive and brown.
4. Start attaching the rolled semi-circles end-to-end, alternating olive and brown pieces as you go. Be sure to overlap the straight bottom edge of each piece with the curved top edge of the next. Secure each piece in place with glue.
5. Continue with 3 or 4 of the next size of semi-circles. As you attach each succeeding piece, gradually curve the way you glue them to make the trunk look natural.
6. Keep adding pieces until you have a trunk approximately 24 inches in length—wider at the bottom end and narrower at the top.
7. Create a second tree trunk in the same way. Then, insert the wide ends of the two trunks over the Pringles® cans, and hot glue their bases.
8. For added support, insert 3 to 4 bamboo sticks around each trunk and tie securely with raffia.
(Tips: To make the trunks look as natural as possible, insert additional pieces of olive green and brown crepe paper in between the trunk layers. If available, you can even add some pieces of real banana or coconut leaves. Finally, leave the raffia ties casually disarrayed for an authentic look.)
Step 3: Make the leaves
You’ll be making 8 leaves (4 per tree) using 12 or 14 gauge wire and crepe paper in orange and yellow.
1. Begin by cutting the wire into 8 lengths—varying between 24 to 30 inches each for variety.
2. Next, take the crepe paper (still in its original rolled form) and cut across each roll to make 12 inch-wide strips. Make 4 strips in yellow and 4 in orange.
3. Brush one length of wire with craft glue and position one strip of crepe paper so that its center lies along the wire. Begin attaching the crepe paper to the wire by pressing it against the glue—pinching and pleating the crepe paper as you go along, so that ruffles form on either side of the wire. Be sure to leave one end of the wire bare, as this will be used to attach the leaf to the trunk. (Tip: You can also pleat the crepe paper before attaching it to the wire.)
4. Repeat this procedure to make the other 7 leaves. Then, do the following finishing touches to each:
– Flip each leaf over so that the uncovered side of the wire is visible. Take a length of crepe paper, about 2 inches wide, and pinch and glue it in place to cover the wire. You may use a contrasting color of crepe paper (ex: orange on yellow), if desired.
– Carefully trim the edges of each leaf so that it takes on the shape of a coconut tree leaf—with each end coming to a gentle point.
– Gently bend the wire “rib” of each leaf to make it look less stiff and create a natural curve.
5. To attach the leaves to the trunks, fill each trunk cavity with florist’s foam or Stryofoam scraps. Insert the wire ends of each leaf into the foam and secure them with hot glue. Arrange in circular shape. Use raffia or more crepe paper to hide any gaps where the leaves meet the trunks.
Step 4: Add the “fruits”
1. Take the 17″ organza wraps in burnt orange and/or olive green. Fill each wrap with tissue paper and add some candy (for a surprise), then gather and tie it to form a ball shape with a ruffle on top. Make about 8 of these balls.
2. Attach the balls as “fruits” to the tree trunks, just below the leaves. You may either pin them in place with sewing pins, or tie them with ribbon or raffia. Hint: at the conclusion of the party, let guests know that they can “pick” the fruits from the tree.
Tada – It’s a Coconut Tree Centerpiece!
This one-of-a-kind “tropical island” centerpiece is sure to draw gasps of delight from your engagement party guests. So, we raise our glasses to you for taking on the challenge of making this your own creation…Congratulations! Now, get some ideas on how to plan the perfect tropical engagement party. Read Bring the Caribbean Home for a Jamaican Inspired Engagement Party and A Fun Tropical Drinks Bar for Your Engagement Party.
Share the love by sending in pictures of your creations! We’d love to see them in action. You may email us: feedback [at] bellenza.com.