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8 Tips for DIY Floral Arrangements

LiliGraphie / iStock /

LiliGraphie / iStock /

Spring has sprung and blossoms are in full bloom, making fresh cut bouquets the unofficial centerpiece of the season. Whether it’s an elaborate arrangement on the dining room table or small, simple groupings throughout the home, floral arrangements can brighten up the home in a big way.

There is just one drawback: flowers don’t last forever. Keeping up with a weekly bouquet habit can get very expensive if you’re relying on a boutique florist to bundle your buds. Beautiful as they are, it can be difficult to justify this little indulgence for everyday occasions. But hey—life is short, and so is flower season.

Here’s a compromise: grow the flowers yourself or pick up un-assembled flowers at a grocery store or inexpensive flower market, and do the assembly yourself for a fraction of the price. If you’ve never made your own bouquet, not to worry: these 8 tips will have you arranging flowers like a pro in no time.

Keep The Flowers Afloat
If you only remember one rule of thumb, make it this one: be sure that a flower’s stem is long enough to reach the water in the vase, and make sure that the head of the flower (the pretty part) is completely out of the water.

Start Skinny
Build your confidence by working with smaller vessels that only allow a few blooms. You can graduate to larger vases one you’ve become comfortable working with small arrangements. Don’t forget that several small arrangements grouped together can have an even bigger impact than a large bouquet.

Build it Up
Build a foundation for your flowers with some foliage. Next, use the greens to support your large flowers—the stars of the show. Work with levels, arranging the blooms to different heights. Fill the gaps of the arrangement with smaller accent flowers.

Hide the Flaws
Here’s any easy tip for beginners: swap out the glass vase for one made of an opaque material. This will let you focus on the aesthetics at the top, without worrying about how the stems look.

Does This Look Right?
The best way to determine what flowers look good together is to experiment. Challenge yourself every week with a new theme, like working with three flowers of different sizes, or creating a single-color bouquet. Don’t be afraid to get creative, and remember—the rustic, thrown-together look is on trend right now.

Staying Alive
Cut the stems on an angle before placing them in water. Continue to cut the stems every few days to keep your flowers looking fresh. Commercial preservatives are also available: adding a small packet of the powder will extend the life of your flowers.

And of course—don’t forget to water your flowers! Maintain the level of water and switch it out often enough to keep it fresh.

Meet Floral Foam
If you’re ready to take your arrangements to the next level, look into floral foam. Floral foam is made of a dense, porous material. You simply cut the foam to fit the shape of the vase or container, place the piece of foam at the top of a bucket of water (it will sink down on its own and fill with water), and poke the flower stems into the foam, which will keep your flowers supported and pointing whichever direction you set them in. Floral foam can hold a ton of water, keeping your flowers totally hydrated, thus allowing them to last a little longer.

Floral foam is a great tool for varying flower heights, playing around with shapes (think a spherical bouquet or even a wreath), or simply for playing around with arrangements that gravity would not normally allow.

Let it Breathe
Most floral arrangements look best the day after they’re assembled, once they’ve had a chance to “breathe”. If you’re preparing an arrangement as a gift or for a special occasion, keep this in mind and plan to make your bouquet a day ahead.

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