Bottle Cap Bouquets

Miniature flower arrangements offer a charming and whimsical gift for mom, grandma, or anyone special. A nice feature of these tiny bouquets is that you can show off the beauty of small flowers that always sing backup to showier blossoms in large arrangements. Also, you can use aromatic herbs with small leaves as filler greens to add a pleasant scent.

PHOTO: The supplies for creating bottlecap bouquets.
The supplies for creating bottle cap bouquets.
PHOTO: a tiny bouquet of mini carnation, baby's breath, and a sprig of sage.
This little arrangement of mini-carnations, baby’s breath, and a sprig of sage has pink burlap ribbon wrapped around the bottle cap to mimic a fancy basket of flowers.

What you need:

  • A cap from a plastic bottle, such as a milk container or soda bottle
  • Floral foam (the wet kind)
  • A bunch of small flowers—I used mini-carnations, waxflowers (Chamelaucium uncinatum), and baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata)
  • Fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, and lavender work well because they have stiff stems)
  • Optional: ribbon for added decoration

The directions are pretty simple.

Cut the floral foam to fit the inside of the bottle cap. Start a little larger than you need, and then trim it to fit. Push it into the cap. If your cap is narrow, like a milk bottle cap, you may want the foam to be above the level of the cap so there is enough room to hold the flowers. Otherwise, trim the top so the foam does not stick up. Add water to soak the foam.

PHOTO: hands tracing around a bottlecap and block of foam with a pencil.
Trace the cap on a piece of foam and then carve the foam with a butter knife to fit inside the cap.
PHOTO: hands poking flowers into floral foam.
Begin sticking the flowers into the foam. Here, we started with a waxflower in the center and added smaller flowers and herbs around it.

Cut the flower and herb stems about 3 inches. You can trim them shorter depending on the desired height in the arrangement. Stick them into the foam. You might want to start with one of your larger flowers in the center and then add smaller flowers and herbs around it.

PHOTO: a tiny bouquet of waxflower, baby's breath, and rosemary.
Waxflower, baby’s breath, and rosemary complete this delicate arrangement.
PHOTO: a tiny bouquet of baby's breath and thyme.
Not into pink? This yellow cap with baby’s breath and thyme is fragrant and cheerful.

When you are satisfied with your floral creation, you can either leave it as is—especially if the color of the bottle cap looks nice with the flowers—or you can tie a ribbon around the bottle cap. The best way to keep it in place is by using a few drops from a hot-glue gun. 

PHOTO: a tiny garden created in an old contact lens case.
Surprise! An old contact lens case becomes a miniature garden of waxflower and thyme that smells as amazing as it looks.


When using a shallow bottle cap, limit the number of larger flowers like mini-carnations or mini-daisies to three or fewer. Floral foam has limits. Adding too many flowers will cause the foam to fall apart and the flowers to flop over. If the first attempt suffers from floppy flowers, start over with a new piece of foam and add fewer flowers. 

If you really want more than three large flowers, use a taller cup, such as a medicine cup from a bottle of cough syrup, as the vase. Even then, take care not to overload the foam. This is a small bouquet, after all!

PHOTO: the final bottlcap bouquet arrangements in a group.
Precious and colorful, these-mini bouquets will stay fresh and bring cheer for a few days.

Floral foam is irresistible. Your kids, even teenagers, will want to play with it. Parcel it out in small pieces so they don’t play around with the whole block before you can use it. 

You can use the same procedure to make a mini-dried flower arrangement; just don’t wet the foam. Any way you make them, these little bouquets are sure to bring big smiles from someone you love. 

©2014 Chicago Botanic Garden and

Valentine’s Day Wishes

From ancient China to Greece, Europe, and finally the New World, the tradition of sending messages as a gift of flowers has flourished over the centuries. Popularized in the Victorian era, when public display of emotion was frowned upon, great effort and detail went into the choice of flowers presented in a bouquet. Each flower chosen had its own well-known meaning concealed in its size, shape, color, and even the way it was presented — by hand, singularly, or in a group. Even the number of blooms was important.

While much of the secret language of flowers is lost in modern times, the traditional gift of roses on Valentine’s Day still expresses unmistakable true love. And while many celebrate Valentine’s Day later in the year, we midwesterners appreciate giving blooms in February, when our hearts and senses most long for the color and smell of the garden in bloom.


From the hearts of everyone at the Garden, we wish you a happy Valentine’s Day with a virtual bouquet, and hope that if you were lucky enough to get some flowers of your own today, you enjoy them at least until the snowdrops pop up to welcome us to spring. It can’t be long now!

PHOTOKeep your home bouquet longer with these quick tips from Nancy Clifton, horticultural program specialist:

  • Use floral preservatives that come with flowers!
  • When you are ready to put your flowers in a vase, give each stem a fresh cut. Cutting at an angle opens more area for the flower to take up water. If you can, cut the stem ends in water to prevent the cut from sealing quickly.
  • Make sure that the water you used is room temperature (or slightly warmer) to help your flowers absorb it quickly and easily.
  • Make sure your vase is clean. Dust can hinder water uptake in your bouquet.
  • Keep your arrangement away from direct heat and cold drafts.
  • Pull off bruised petals to keep your flowers looking their freshest.

©2013 Chicago Botanic Garden and