I have found that a sure-fire way to spark joy in my life is to bring fresh flowers into my home. In Raleigh, we have several local florists that are really great at what they do. While I would love to have their arrangements in my home year-round that isn’t very realistic. These florists inspire me to try my hand at arranging every so often and it has become therapeutic in a way. I love that no two flower arrangements will ever be the same and there is so much personality in any given arrangement no matter how grand or simple.
While I am no expert, I have found that I have certain practices that reoccur any time I set out to arrange my own flowers. These steps serve as a sort of recipe that I tend to follow to guide each arranging experience. I try to go with the flow and let the flowers speak for themselves – it’s a lot more fun this way!
I often source flowers and greenery from Trader Joes since they are usually beautiful and affordable. I also love to supplement with anything I find outside that catches my eye! There is no right or wrong way to play with flowers. I say if you are drawn to it, then go for it! So let’s get to it.
Here are my steps for arranging your flowers at home.
1. Gather and prep materials
Start by preparing your space and materials. I like to clear a large space either on the floor or at a table. You can lay out some newspaper or craft paper to protect your area as well. I make sure I have clippers, scissors, clear tape, and my vessel close by. Make sure your vessel is about half full of water. Then go ahead and organize your flowers and greenery by type. At this point, I will unwrap any packaging and trash that so it is out of the way.
2. Prep your vessel
Any time I arrange flowers, I create a tape grid on top of the vessel. This will help stabilize your arrangement and make placement easier when starting. I cut several strips of Scotch tape in half lengthwise then placed them on top of the vessel and trimmed the edges so there is a 1/2 inch past the vessel lip. Secure the tape ends down the side of the vessel. You may also use a floral frog or chicken wire in place of a tape grid but I find tape to be a more accessible method.
3. Begin arranging
I find the easiest way to begin an arrangement is to identify the more structural pieces of greenery or flowers. Starting with these pieces will help guide the overall shape of your arrangement. To identify these pieces, I will grab various stems and hold them straight up to see their natural shape and curve. I typically like for arrangements to have asymmetry so the eye will follow the work from one side to the other. I choose to start with this stem because of its natural curve. Make sure that you trim all stems and remove any lower leaves that would come in contact with the water in your vessel. These steps will prolong the life of your arrangement.
4. Add in larger flowers
Once I have a few stems placed, I will begin to add in some of the larger focal flowers. In this case, I began to include some peonies. Again, I wanted to focus on asymmetry so I gathered most of the peonies in one area and planned to place some smaller flowers in the adjacent areas. Generally, when placing larger flowers I will cut the stems short in an effort to keep these blooms lower to keep the arrangement grounded.
5. Fill in with secondary blooms
After the desired shape begins to take form, I begin to include some smaller, secondary blooms to fill in some of the larger gaps. Again, I try to ground my pieces with anything that is medium to large size and allow for smaller and longer stems to add height or length to draw your eye through the piece. You can see how I have added the tulips here to emphasize the curve while also filling in the in-between spaces.
Quick tip: Consider placing your vessel on a lazy suzan while arranging. This way you can turn your arrangement every so often to ensure you are designing a piece that will be beautiful when viewed from any angle.
6. Fill in with greenery
At this point, you want to be careful not to add too many flowers, or the arrangement will become overcrowded and end up in a jumble. I try to always have some fuller greenery stems on hand that will help fill out the remaining spaces nicely without taking attention away from the intended focus. Here I have used eucalyptus to do just that.
7. Add finishing touches to enhance the shape
To finish off most of my arrangements, I like to add a few more strategically placed stems to enhance the overall shape and again help draw your eye through the piece. I liked how this piece was a bit more full on the right side but also liked the height of the upward curve on the left side. Before adding the pussy willow stems, it felt as though the two sides were a bit uneven because of how full the right side was. Adding in just a few of the pussy willow stems helped to increase the height and balance out the two sides. Additionally, I like to add in a few grounding pieces of greenery that fall over the edge of your vessel. I absolutely love included stems that drape down low like the variety of eucalyptus I have added here. This enhances the organic nature of the piece while also helping to camouflage your tape grid.
And there you have it!
One more tip for the road – do not be afraid to edit at any point while arranging. There were several times during the creation of this piece where a stem I had in place was not acting in a way that supported the overall arrangement. It is completely okay to move things around in order to adapt to the direction of your piece. As I said, the steps I laid out here are really just a guide and every arranging experience is completely new and different. Allow that sort of spirit to come through in your own arrangements and feel free to ask any questions in the comments!
I hope this has been a helpful guide to creating your own flower arrangements at home. I really enjoyed creating this piece and can’t stress enough how a project like this should be fun!