Recently, my niece and I saw the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. We, of course, loved it!! For her 10th birthday, I really wanted to get her a rose under a bell jar, like in the movie. I searched for some, but there are none being mass-produced or sold by any retailer. The only ones I found were on Etsy, and, while beautiful, they were a bit more expensive than I was hoping for. As usually happens when I discover things that are too expensive, I thought to myself “I could totally do that!” And, so can you!
- Large Cloche/Bell Jar with wood base – $15. I found mine at Michael’s. It was $30, but I had a half-off coupon from the Michael’s app
- Small wood balls or spools to add some height to the jar – $3.16. I set the jar on a few different options before choosing my favorite. You’ll want something tall enough to hide the battery pack under the jar. The ones I found were 79 cents apiece.
- Fake Rose – $5. Make sure it is a size that looks good under the jar. Michael’s had a gorgeous large fake rose, but it was too big. I ended up going with a slightly less gorgeous (but still pretty) one from JoAnn’s that fit better.
- Fake Rose Petals – $1. Rather than buying another $5 fake flower to tear apart for petals, I picked up one from Dollar Tree. The flower itself wasn’t nice at all, but since I was just pulling petals off, it worked perfect! You can also find fake rose petals in the wedding section of most craft stores, but, again, why pay the extra money?
- Battery-powered LED string lights – $0. These, I already owned. (I have a few of them actually.) Make sure you get the LED lights on a wire string so they are easy to bend – and, as LED’s, they will not get too hot. You can find these in craft stores, or on Amazon for cheap, like under $10. For a bit more, you can get them with a remote control too. 6 feet is plenty long enough for this purpose.
- Floral Tape – $1.50. Just basic green floral tape
- Wood stain, paint brush – $0. I used a dark stain that I had left over from a previous project, as the base of the jar was already stained, and the wood spools were unstained. I prefer a foam brush for applying stain.
- Spray or brush-on polyurethane to finish the wood – $0. I already had a satin spray on-hand, but glossy is a good option too!
My Project Total: $25.66
- Wire cutter to cut the fake rose down to size.
- Latex Gloves. Stain is awful to try to get off your hands!
- Super glue, or other fast-acting adhesive. This is for gluing the lights in place around the rose petals. I found super glue did discolor the fake rose a bit, but I’m not sure any glue would behave any differently. If you have other options, go for it. I’d avoid hot glue for this purpose, however, as the petals are very thin and you’ll burn yourself. As it was, I got my fingers stuck with the super glue a few times.
- Acetone, or other solvent. To un-stick your fingers after using the super glue! And to remove stain from your hands/arms/face (depending on how aggressive you are with your staining!)
- E6000 or wood glue. This is to attach the spools to the base. Neither are fast-acting adhesives, so be sure to give yourself some time for the glue to cure.
- Hot glue gun. To glue the rose petals and lights in place on the base of the jar.
- Handheld drill with drill bits. Best to have a few drill bits that are around the same size as the diameter of the fake rose. More below
- Scissors to clean up the edges of the fake rose and petals.
1. I started by staining the wood pieces, knowing this takes the longest amount of time for drying. The base I purchased already had a medium-colored stain on it. I wanted to stain it with my stain to try to match it to the new feet. I applied the stain to the base, let it sit for a few minutes, then wiped it off with paper towels. For the spools, since these were unfinished, I applied the stain and left it on. This helped to darken the wood quicker to match the base. I did end up applying a second coat in a few places. When the stain was dry, I sprayed the entire thing with a spray polyurethane to finish it with a matte satin finish.
2. Once the stain and poly were dry enough (a couple hours), I glued the spools to the underside of the base. I used E6000 adhesive, and made sure the spools were spaced evenly around the base. I actually looked at it with both three feet and four feet and liked the look of four better. Once glued into place, I let it sit for about 24 hours so the stain and the adhesive could dry. Make sure to follow your adhesive’s directions.
3. Drill a hole for the lights and rose to go through. Start with a drill bit the same size as the diameter of the rose stem. and drill a hole in the center of the base. See if the rose fits in the hole snugly. If not, go up a size. Try again. Try threading the light string and the rose through the hole together. I did this in a few tries, because it is better to have to drill 3 times with 3 different drill bits than to use one that’s too big and have a hole you can’t fill. Stop when the rose and the string lights fit tightly with no additional support required.
4. Cut the stem to the right length. I think the rose looks more authentic with a bit of an S-curve to it. This also keeps the rose in the center of the jar. Cut the stem so that you can have that bend to it, and so it does not touch the top of the jar.
5. After the wood base and legs are dry, start wrapping the lights around the rose. Start by pulling the string lights through the hole in the base. The rose does not need to be in-place (it’s easier if it isn’t), but your lights must be fed through the hole before you start. Peel back the petals of the fake rose as far to the center of the rose as you can. The innermost ones will be impossible to budge. Take the end of the string light and tuck it into the center of the rose. Start wrapping the string around the base of the center bud. I wrapped at least twice around, then closed a couple of the petals I’d peeled back earlier. I’d wrap around those petals, near the base, and then close a couple more petals. Before each petal close, I’d put a drop of super glue over the wire, the close the petal. Note: I tried wrapping the lights around the rose once or twice without glue to see how it went before doing the final wrapping and gluing. Practice makes perfect – super glue is forever. You want to make sure you’re not using too much, or too little of the string lights, making sure to leave some to wrap around the stem and the base of the jar. Also, sometimes, when wrapping the lights, the bulbs will match up exactly, which isn’t great. I often bent the wires so that the light would not pool together in one place. Continue wrapping until all the petals are closed again. You should still have a couple feet of string lights left to wrap the stem and the base.
6. Wrap the lights around the stem and secure with the floral tape. This took a bit of finagling, as I wanted to be sure to leave enough lights to wrap around the base. I also removed the leaves from the stem (pretty easy to pop them in and out with the fake rose I had) while I wrapped the lights. Once I had everything in place, I wrapped it with the floral tape to cover the wire. Be careful to not cover the lights themselves, and also to not cover the holes where you re-attach the leaves.
7. Insert the stem into the hole and secure in place. Make sure you’ve pulled all the lights through the hole first, while leaving enough slack to be able to access the battery pack underneath the base – preferably without having to tip the jar/base over to do so. If your hole isn’t too big, the rose should stay on it’s own. If not, you may need to add a drop or two of glue from your glue gun. Bend the rose stem into the desired shape and placement.
8. Arrange the lights along the base. My base had enough room in the groove carved out for the jar that I could run the lights around it. I secured it every few inches with a drop of glue from the glue gun. You may want to just leave yours arranged around the bottom of the stem in a nice manner. You do you.
9. Cut and arrange the petals. I took the cheap dollar store rose and cut off the nicest looking petals. Using the scissors, I rounded off the part that connected to the flower to make it look nicer. I then placed the petals around the stem, covering the light strings as best as I could, and making it look ‘random’. I secured each petal with a drop of glue from the glue gun.
10. Turn on the lights and step back to admire! See that you have enough petals, the lights are lining up where you’d like and that the stem is bent the way you want. Set the jar on top and you’re done! (notice how, in the first picture, the battery pack is hiding under the base!)
A few additional tips:
- Fake roses are notorious for having bent leaves. You can fix this with an iron and a towel (or rag). Lay the leaves (with their stem) on one side of the towel and fold the towel over it. Iron the leaves through the towel. Use steam if you’ve got it. This should flatten out the bent areas. Also, while it’s warm, you can bend the stem a bit to the shape you want. I used this method to make sure the leaves pointed down and bent so the fronts were facing toward the front of the rose.
- Some LED light packs come with a timer option. Super pretty night-light, no?
- I probably should have drilled the hole, then stained the wood. You can’t really see it once the rose is in place, but on the underside, you can see where the wood broke with the drill. Not a big deal, but if I did it again, I’d drill first, then stain.