How To: DIY Plaster-Dipped Vessel Centerpieces

One lush, overflowing centerpiece creates an unforgettable tablescape and lets you keep everything else spare and simple. This arrangement of hellebores, andromeda, garden roses, dahlias, clematis, delphiniums, and porcelain vines is displayed in a custom compote that's actually just a footed bowl dipped in plaster. 

Photography by: Linda Pugliese


  • Plastic mixing container (larger than the vessel)
  • Plaster of Paris wooden stir stick
  • Powdered pigment in color of your choice
  • Vessel or vase of your choice 
    Note: If your vessel is smooth, like a polished metal or glass, prep the surface with spray paint to give the plaster something to adhere to.
  • Paint brush (optional)
Photography by: Bryan Gardner


1. Cover your work surface with a protective cloth. In a plastic container, add the plaster powder to water by sprinkling or sifting it on top (the ideal ratio for Plaster of Paris is 2 parts powder to 1 part water); tap the container to remove any air bubbles.


2. Continue adding powder until it covers the surface and ceases to be easily absorbed into the water. Using a wooden stir stick, mix together until it reaches the consistency of heavy cream.

Photography by: Bryan Gardner

3. Add the powdered pigment and stir until color is dispersed. 


4. Dip the vessel into the plaster mixture, rotating it inside the container until it's well coated in plaster. Remove and let dry. 


5. If there are any bare areas or if you wish to build up more color and texture, use a paint brush and add more of the plaster mixture to the vessel.

About the Author

Jaime Buerger

A senior editor at MSW, Jaime edits the planning section of the magazine and writes stories on flowers, home décor, stationery, and more. Since she started, she's learned the difference between buttercream and fondant, what the 4Cs of diamonds really measure, and how to properly address both the outer and inner envelopes of an invitation. She also eats more than her fair share of...


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