Fabulous Florals: How to Arrange Flowers Like a Pro
Time to stop and smell the roses! 🌹 While it may seem complicated, floral design is actually quite easy when you break it down step-by-step. Even if you’re a newbie, you can easily pull off a homemade masterpiece that looks professional using handpicked blooms from your garden or local grocery store. With these 10 steps and a little practice, you can create stunning one-of-a-kind arrangements that are guaranteed to delight. 🤩
Step 1: Gather Materials
Let’s start with what you’ll need…
The shape and type of vessel will help determine the design of the floral arrangement, and there’s no shortage of options! It can be tall, slim, rounded, short, wide, rectangular, a combination of all these, or somewhere in the middle.
The trick is to have enough support for taller stems and enough room to let the flowers breathe without restriction but not so much space that they droop over the sides or float aimlessly.
For example, tulips and other top-heavy flowers like the support of a straight-sided vase to prevent drooping.
Be sure to consider the color and material of the vase and how it coordinates with your bouquet.
Baskets are also an attractive option- you’ll need a plastic base set inside the basket to hold fresh water and the arrangement. Surround it with moss as a lively filler that hides the plastic.
The base is what you’ll be placing the stems into so that they stand up securely in your desired shape. There are three types of bases to choose from:
Frogs are like little pincushions with upward-facing pins that you stick the stems on.
When molded into an open sphere shape, chicken wire makes an excellent base for inserting stems in a dome fashion.
Florist’s wire keeps thinner stems and heavier stems from drooping when they’re wrapped in the appropriate gauge. A quick trick is to turn a plastic berry basket upside down for a sustainable base.
Green floral foam does double duty by hydrating the flowers when wet and holding them in place.
Prior to use as a base, soak the green foam for two hours in a water and flower food solution.
Flower foam comes in brick form, spheres, wreaths, and more; plus, you can trim it to custom-fit any container!
You know that little packet of white powder that comes with your market flowers? We bet you didn’t know you could buy it in a bigger container!
It has three life-extending, freshness-inducing ingredients: a nutrient to feed the flowers (they get hungry too!), an acidifier that balances the pH of your water, and a lovely biocide to delay the growth of fungi (which is not a “fun guy”). Okay, the science is lesson over! Class dismissed! 🏫
Floral shears and branch cutters are the best choices to trim the stems. In a pinch, you can use garden clippers, but if you resort to kitchen shears or (gasp!) craft scissors- you’ll dull them, cramp your hand, and probably mangle the stems in the process. For use with wire, you’ll need to purchase a pair of wire cutters to get the job done.
This is what you’ll need to prep your vessel. Florist adhesive, green floral tape, and clear floral tape are all efficient ways to connect your arrangement. Florist adhesive works no matter what and bonds your stems to almost anything (ribbon, foam, plastic, glass, and other stems or foliage). Green floral tape is stretchy, and it sticks to itself when you wrap small pieces around your stems. Clear floral tape is best for making grids on the top of your vessel to keep the stems in place. It’s also very handy for use with clear vessels because it keeps stems from splitting underwater (if they’re prone to doing so).
Wood and water picks are commonly used in floral corsages and arrangements to keep them fresh before purchase. Wood picks are wired, inserted into the green foam, and excellent for use with non-floral elements of your arrangement (like pinecones or fruit). Water picks are tubes of water placed at the end of the stems to securely hydrate and extend their life. They also trick your eye into thinking the blooms are growing right there in the vessel!
Step 2: Decide on a Design Style
Just like interior design, flower arrangements have different design styles. It’s all about the theme, the occasion, and what will best complement the space where you place the arrangement. Several variables will factor into creating the perfect design, such as color scheme, shape, size, and mood.
Let’s get into the deets of a few design styles:
A centerpiece is a classic flower arrangement that will never go out of style. Commonly arranged in vases 4×4″ or 5×5″, centerpieces are most typically placed in the center of a dining table.
A taller version of the traditional centerpiece arrangement, bar arrangements are typically found on top of a bar to draw guests’ attention to a busy, happening area. Another fantastic spot to feature a bar arrangement is a fireplace mantel to add dimension and height.
Bud vases are mini arrangements often accompanying centerpieces or bar arrangements to help fill the space. They also act as complementary accent pieces by reinforcing the color scheme, style, or mood. Bud vases will hold fewer blooms than their larger counterparts but still make the overall floral design feel complete and cohesive. Fantastic for powder rooms or guest baths. 🛀
Long and Low
Long and low arrangements are exactly what you think they are! A cousin of the centerpiece, they’re usually arranged in long, low rectangular vases or low bowls. This style of arrangement is often used in tablescapes to create one cohesive floral story. They work incredibly well on a dining table as their low stature prevents them from being visually in the way of the person across from you.
Compact arrangements have a classic and timeless feel. In this style, all of the floral elements are at the same length, meaning nothing is sticking out of the main “dome” of the arrangement.
Loose and Wild
In this arrangement, the flowers are not uniform or rigid in structure; instead, they are wild and free-flowing. Very boho-chic, the floral elements are often overflowing from the vase.
This arrangement style uses flowers in a single color. A no-fail option, it’s guaranteed to make an impression whether you go with all-white or a pop of color that’s complementary to your decor. It’s a very easy way to create a high-impact focal point!
Dark arrangements feature blooms in bold, dark colors. They evoke a moody vibe that definitely brings the drama. 🎭
When it comes to feminine arrangements, think colorful, soft, and fun! You’ll typically see bright or pastel tones, like light pink, white, purple, peach, and soft red.
A rustic floral arrangement has a casual vibe that often uses natural elements like bark or other wood accents.
The Japanese art of floral arranging, Ikebana means “making flowers alive.” This type of floral arrangement is not meant for decor alone. Its main purpose is to learn to appreciate the things we normally ignore, like the specific shapes of flowers and other natural elements.
See? Not too tricky so far! Remember, you can’t go wrong with an open mind and what’s currently blooming. If you don’t have your own personal cut flower garden (and lucky you if you do, can we come over and snag a few stems?), you can try your local market. Notice what catches your eye in various shapes and sizes and ponder how you can connect them in a beautiful arrangement of your own.
Step 3: Flower Selection
If you’re not sure which florals you need, don’t fret. Include a variety of the big three: texture, color, and blooms. Select either an array of colors in the same type of bloom (like light pink, coral, and white peonies) or a variety of blooms with fewer colors (like white chrysanthemums, white roses, and white hydrangeas). The texture is super important, so be sure to mix it up (like with ruffly peonies and smooth tulips).
Now it’s time for the fun part – mapping out the arrangement! You’ll want to separate your selections into the groups listed below:
The Strongest Stems
These will create the frame and support of the arrangement. They can be varying heights and either stand up straight and tall when supported by the base or lean gently against the sides of your vessel. Branches also fit into this category.
Large leaves, ivy, and ferns will make the arrangement more lush and full by filling the gaps in the sturdy stems.
Pro Tip: If you’re doing more of a contemporary statement in a clear glass vase, you can wrap leaves around the inside of the vessel to disguise the stems.
These larger, wider blooms will create an overall floral effect and hide your building materials nicely (i.e., chicken wire, foam, etc.).
These are the extra-special pop of color and/or texture you want to be featured in the arrangement. Don’t trim too much off the stem- it’s best to keep them taller so they stand out.
These gentle, whimsical stems are delicate (like baby’s breath). They can be slid into the arrangement as your last step to finish the look. They also create a bit of movement for visual impact.
Got it so far? It’s time to get hands-on! 🙌
Step 4: Cut n’ Prep
Whether you’ve purchased (or handpicked!) your desired flowers, follow these easy steps to prep and ensure longer life:
1. Pull or trim off any damaged petals, buds, and extra leaves from the stems.
2. Trim 1/4 inch diagonally off the stem bottoms using your shears. Then, place them directly in the water.
3. Immerse your trimmed stems in a vase or bucket of water with flower food. This doesn’t have to be your final vessel, just a placeholder to revitalize the blooms.
Pro Tip: When arranging the flowers, cut the stems again one by one to fit the desired height. Be sure to cut them under running water to prevent them from sealing up. ✂️
Step 5: Prep Your Vase
It’s essential to create a sturdy foundation that will keep the arrangement intact. To do this, take your (preferably clear) floral tape and create a grid over the vase’s mouth. Then, place the stems in the grid holes. Alternatively, you can insert a floral frog or chicken wire, as mentioned above. Let’s cover our bases next…
Step 6: Cover Your Bases
Begin inserting the branches, sturdy stems, and tallest blooms into the grid you just created. Cover the space vertically and horizontally by securing the strongest stems with your green floral tape. This creates a lovely framework and a launching point for the rest of the arrangement. It’s go time…
Step 8: Hello, Focal Flowers!
The biggest blooms are the focal flowers placed in odd numbers for a natural, well-rounded visual. Flowers with a unique texture or color also make excellent focal flowers. Keep them energetic in the center of the arrangement rather than having them stick out on all sides.
Pro Tip: Set the arrangement on a Lazy Susan so you can cruise around all the sides without the clumsiness of handling the vase.
Step 9: Fill’er Up!
Time for the filler! Aiming for a dome-like shape, place your choice of filler flowers around the focal flowers. Smaller flowers look lovely grouped in clusters of threes or fives- just as they would be found in nature. Textural elements are a delightful addition when used sparingly.
Step 10: Finish It!
Now, to put on the finishing touches! Place the most delicate blooms, and floaters last so they don’t get crushed by the more sturdy blooms. Baby’s breath is a beautiful choice, as is yarrow or sedum.
See? We told you it would be easy peasy! Ooh, and we all want to see your handiwork! Be sure to share your epic floral creations in the DIY forum of the Clubhouse! 😍
And don’t forget to check out the AMAZING vases in The Store!
By the way, we think you’ll LOVE this: Which Tabletop is Totally You?