How To DIY Gold-Dipped Vase Centerpieces

Make a $5 vase look like a million bucks

I’ll never forget the first time I experienced wedding decor sticker shock. Wanting modern centerpieces, we had tasked ourselves with sourcing one hundred cylinder vases of varying heights so that we could arrange floating candles along the twenty-something picnic tables that inhabited our venue’s back deck. I was convinced that I’d be able to find a suitable option at the dollar store, or Ikea, or Target or somewhere (I had not been introduced to the concept of rentals yet). Except, no luck. The only thing I took from that search (other than, eventually, overpriced cylinders) was a baffling understanding of the fact that vases are expensive. Like, way more expensive than normal glass objects. And that’s before you even get to the stuff you’re putting inside the vases.

So for this tutorial, we asked Michelle Edgemont if she could take one of the most basic vase designs you can get at Walmart and turn it into something that looks hip and modern (and not like it cost less than a Big Mac). Combine that with super cheap flowers (aka carnations, aka the cockroach of flowers) and the result is one of my favorite centerpieces of all time. You could even do these with thrifted vases, should you be so inclined.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Black, ceramic vases
  • Gold gilding paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Narrow painter’s tape
  • Turpentine (for cleaning brush)
  • Hot Pink Carnations (30 stems)
  • Light Pink or Peach Carnations (30 stems)
  • Pink Statice (20 stems)

Cost: Approximately $55 for three vases with the flowers shown here, or $550 for ten tables (if you buy your flowers from a flower mart or grocery store.) Carnations usually come in bunches of about ten, and will run you between $0.30 to $0.40 a stem at a flower market, around $0.75 a stem if you order wholesale online (for ease), or you can get them last minute from a grocery store or bodega. Pink statice comes in bunches of about ten as well, and each bunch costs around $10 (or $15 if you order wholesale online.) Keep in mind: if you’re ordering online, you’ll want to order more flowers than you’ll need in case some show up looking sad or broken. On the upside: depending on where you get them, if you order larger quantities of flowers online, the price per stem usually goes down.


1. Tape off the vase. To keep things visually interesting, we did three different designs: the top painted gold, the bottom painted gold, and the side painted gold.

2. Apply the gold paint to the vase. (Pro tip: This paint also comes in silver, bronze, and copper if gold isn’t your cup of tea.)

3. Remove the tape.

4. Fill each vase with water and one type of flower (Pro tip: Using a single flower type keeps this looking more modern and minimal. But you could combine some of the techniques from our floral urn tutorial for a wilder look.)

5. To avoid making a perfect round mass of flowers, make some stems longer and some shorter, placing them in the vase in a wild manner.

6. These can be filled with flowers up to two days before your wedding and kept in a cool, dark place.

Editor’s note: If you live in New York and aren’t a fan of DIY, you can always just hire Michelle to make your flowers for you. She’s pretty awesome to work with, if we do say so ourselves.


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  • AGCourtney


  • KC

    Those look amazing (I especially like the side-painted vase). And now I want to make gold-polka-dotted black vases using those little hole-punch protector stickers, despite having no need whatsoever for vases. Sigh.

    Anyway, I am curious, since I’ve never worked with the stuff: about how much surface area can you get covered per unit of gilding paint, within a order of magnitude or so? (I know different people would lay it on thicker or thinner, but: approximately, with one of the little pots of gilding paint, could you completely cover 1-2 vases, or completely cover 10-20 vases, or…?)

    • A little goes a long way. Guessing, one pot of gilding paint will decorate 15 vases.

      • KC

        Annnnd the gilding paint goes on my wishlist, because it can accomplish A LOT OF SHINY – admittedly, still, the wishlist, not the actual cart, because I do not yet know exactly what I will make shiny with it, not being in present need of centerpieces.

        Anyway, thanks so much for the answer!

  • These look amazing! I am definitely trying this! My bridesmaids are in gold so gold vases would be perfect :) Thanks for sharing x

  • Nell

    Yay! We’re collecting clear bottles and painting them blue for our centerpieces. One thing I will say – VENTILATION is key for any DIY project involving turpentine.

  • Hot! Also, can we talk about whatever is on those plates, because I think I need it in my life.

    • Jess

      They are going on my next dinner party platters. For sure.

  • vegankitchendiaries

    These are bangin’. Definitely going to craft some for non-wedding purposes!

  • Caroline

    These are awesome! I might make one for myself. (Already married, so no need for wedding centerpieces.

  • i love these so much. im obsessed with gold. i had wanted to do gold/glitter dipped jars for my wedding but we never got around to it. i would totally love to do this for our house!

  • kate

    all of these tutorials with michelle are killing it – perfect combo of great looking and easy to execute, every time! and they’re making me want to do all sorts of DIY i didn’t even know i needed…

    • Jess

      I know! I’m the worst at DIY, but all of them seem doable, and turn out so cool. Also, I need these in my house.

  • Rachelle

    Just FYI – I did use glass cylinders for my wedding and Dollar Tree carries them! They’re only one size, so if you’re going for a set of three different sizes on each table you’ll need to find the other sizes elsewhere, but good to know.

  • These are super cute. I’m so into gold and shiny things. :D

  • FancyPants

    Another suhweet centerpiece!

    We are getting wholesale living ferns for our centerpieces, and are now sourcing clay pots to put them in. Gilding the edges/bottom/tops like this would look smashing (and way more PARTY than GREENHOUSE)! Thanks for the (totally doable+translatable) ideas!!!

  • karenjho

    Love, love, love the gold gilding paint!

    We did something similar for our wedding, though we abandoned the taping idea because we just couldn’t get it clean/straight enough. Laziness combined with last-minute hurriedness turned into “ombré”-sprayed black and gold bottles. (You can kinda see one in the centre of the attached photo.)

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  • Steve

    This is a fantastic way to decorate tables at our wedding! We are considering handing out sparklers to each guest to make a unique sparkler exit. If we bought our sparklers at at wholesale pricing and then made these table centerpieces to hand them out, it would be a cheap fun way to make our wedding unique!