The Japanese art of flower arranging, called “Ikebana,” has developed over centuries. Those who study ikebana consider it more than simple flower arrangement; it is a spiritual practice that reflects an appreciation of nature, with all parts of the arrangement in harmony. It uses not just blooms but also stems, branches, and other materials in several styles that follow precise techniques.

One ikebana style, called moribana, uses shallow dishes to create a piled-up floral look. The blossoms and branches are often arranged in the container by placing into the spines of pin frogs, or needle holders. This type of vase is very simple to make and it’s a beautiful gift.

To make an ikebana vase, you’ll need a shallow pot or glass dish. The container is important when designing the arrangement, so many different shapes, colors, and sizes of containers can be used. I chose a stoneware pot, likely intended for bamboo plants, which was shallow and also had no holes in the bottom (very important!).

You’ll also need a pin frog and some adhesive. You may choose to use floral clay instead of permanent adhesive to stick the pin frog to the bottom of your container. You can also use more than one pin frog. When deciding where to place the pin frog, it helps to look at some examples of ikebana arrangements. They are often asymmetrical, so you will probably not want to position the pin frog exactly in the center of your container.

Once you’ve placed the pin frog, you may want to add some stones to the bottom of the container. Polished river rocks in different sizes and colors will add color and interest to the arrangement, particularly if your shallow container also has a very wide opening.

Depending on the type of container you use, this project can make a very inexpensive gift; mine was around $16. You can always include an ikebana book with your gift, too, to provide everything they will need to start learning about Japanese floral arrangement.

Have you ever tried creating an arrangement in an ikebana style? What types of flowers or branches did you use? Did you use a special vase? Please share your thoughts!

Ikebana photo top left from Wikimedia Commons.