Say it with Flowers

A floral-inspired craft, just in time for Valentine’s Day.


At Portland Children’s Museum, we often experiment with clay, paint, pencil and paper, but we also love to explore more unusual art materials, such as live plants and locally grown flowers. This project is inspired by our Artist in Residence, Jen Richardson-Greene. As a sculptor, florist and busy mom, Jen wanted to encourage her young daughter to explore the materials that were a part of her profession. The results were delightful. Creative, inventive, funky, delicate; each arrangement is a new artistic adventure.


Oasis floral foam


Plastic or glass vessels to arrange plants in

Plant shears or scissors

Locally grown flowers and greenery

Optional: pebbles, acorns, pine cones or other small items with which to decorate


1. Let the kids help select the plants. We recommend picking two or three colors to work with. Look closely and notice the different shapes and color variations of plants available. Take a field trip and ask farmers or florists questions about their products or stay home and draw inspiration from your own garden.

2. Prepare an area that can handle small amounts of water and plant cuttings. Cut a piece of Oasis floral foam and place it in your container. Add a small amount of water and let the foam soak it up. You should have a small amount of standing water left over, but not so much that the foam is covered.

3. Play and design! Cut flowers to desired height with shears or scissors and gently push stems into floral foam. Taller flowers may tip over depending on the size of your foam pieces; if this happens simply cut the flower shorter or use a larger piece of foam. Go with your instincts, don’t be afraid to take plants apart and use the pieces, or add the optional decorations. Be ready to embrace surprises!

Jess Graff

Jess Graff

Artist in Residence Manager at Portland Children's Museum
Jess Graff is a Portland-based artist and educator, and the Artist in Residence manager at the Portland Children’s Museum. She has been teaching and working in the arts for 13 years. The Artist in Residence program brings regional professional artists to the museum to work with children and their families through drop-in programming. The residency program at the Museum is made possible by generous funding from Arlene Schnitzer and the Collins Foundation. For more information about Jess’s work please visit
Jess Graff

Latest posts by Jess Graff (see all)