How to: flower arrangement

How to: flower arrangement

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red and white roses in a clear glass vaseIs there anything better than a beautiful bunch of flowers? I’d argue no. I have somehow always had a knack with arrangements. Like anything, it’s only gotten better with practice. I did the arrangement here for a recent Holiday photo shoot and was super pleased with the results. It’s probably the nicest one I’ve ever done and wanted to share the steps, plus some tips to keep in mind for any arrangements.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 dozen roses; prices vary on these. I get mine at Vons for $9.99 a dozen.
  • 1 bunch of mixed florists greens; approx. $5.00. Look for interesting stalks of any kind.
  • 1 bunch of Bear Grass; approx. $4.00. These are long wispy strips of green.
  • 5″ to 6″ inch clear square vase; I bought mine for $7.99.
  • Pebbles; a 2lb. bag of these are $3.95 at Crate and Barrel (you won’t even need half of that).

OPTIONAL: A flower frog or floral foam. I’ve never worked with a flower frog, but it looks like it would make my life much easier. You place them in the bottom of vases and they hold flowers in place at very specific angles. Particularly handy for a dense, sculptural arrangement like this. They’re reusable and really pretty genius. Floral foam does the same but personally, it kinda gives me the creeps, I hate how it feels. I’m weird like that…

And off you go…

  • Fill your vase with water and place a layer of pebbles along the bottom of the vase.
  • Wrap the Bear Grass into a circle and insert into the vase. The easiest way to do this is to place one end in first and swirl and tuck the rest of it.
  • Now it’s time to place your roses. Tip: Place your vase at the edge of the table. This way you can hold your flowers up against the edge of the vase and get a good idea of where to cut the stem to the desired height. When in doubt cut longer rather than shorter. Cut off all foliage below the water line. It will only rot and shorten the life of the arrangement.
  • As you start to place the roses, the first few will just flop to the edge of the vase. To fill in the center, you just cut the roses a bit shorter. Tip: work slowly and carefully. You’ll get a prettier piece if you do.
  • Selectively cut off leaves as you work. You don’t want it too stark or too bushy looking.
  • Once you have all the roses in, fill in with greens. Ideally these should stick out above the roses in random spots. And these are perfect for filling in holes.

And that’s it! It’s way easier than it looks. This red and white piece was perfect for Christmas, but you can custom choose colors for the occassion. It’s a small, dense arrangement that’s perfect for a dinner table (you can see your guests over it) and looks way more expensive than the approximately $40 it cost to assemble. And as you should do with all of our how-to’s, proudly exclaim “I made that!”

10 thoughts on “How to: flower arrangement”

  1. 1. That arrangement is effing gorgeous and I am jealous of your mad flower arranging skills.
    2. I, too, fear that floral arranging foam. It just ain’t right. *shudder*

  2. Is the bear grass OK in the water, cause I know keeping the foliage out of the water helps to prevent rot and the arrangement lasts longer.

    Gorgeous arrangement, Stef.

  3. Kate, you know I was just thinking about that. Leaves do rot in water which will shorten the life of the arrangement and make the water stinky. But I think bear grass must be sturdier (more like stems) because it holds up really well in the water.

  4. Flower arranging is totally art – and I am not good at it, so loved these tips. Whenever Stef is visiting me (or when we lived together) I always made her arrange any flowers that came into the house (she didn’t mind, she enjoys it!).

    Now that I need to do it myself, I could really use the flower frog – I’ve saved some foam from past professional arrangements, but they are so weird, they make my teeth itch as the saying goes.

    Very pretty arrangement Stef and a nice photo too!

  5. I’ve always wanted to do this for my job but no one would give me a job. So I do it for fun. I love it, it makes all my stress go away. Lovely arrangement Kid!

    “I don’t like the way it feels” brings back memories.

  6. So pretty Stef! I’m with Krista, you have mad skills! And I don’t know why but I have to agree that floral foam is just kinda weird =)

    Joan, now we know where Stef gets her mad flower arranging skills =)

    Making Flower arrangements is fun! A good friend of mine had all of her bridesmaids, and her Mom and Aunt make all the arrangements for her wedding. We went to the flower market in the Early Early AM in NYC got tons a flowers, and made all the arrangements for the reception, using mason jars she had saved up. Wrapped the jars with a pretty piece of tissue paper in the center and a bow and boom we had a weddings worth of arrangements.. Her mom made the bouquets for her and all us bridesmaids.. it was one of the funnest pre-wedding things I’ve ever been involved in!! Making flower arrangements with friends is so fun, I highly recommend it! =)

  7. Thanks for the tips! I can sort of arrange flowers with longer stems – just plop them in a vase and arrange until things look nice. But, whenever I tried something like this it was a big mess – I always thought that the middle flowers should have longer stems, not shorter – it’s all becoming clear to me now – thanks! Can’t wait to try another arrangement with some farmers market flowers this week-end.

  8. Corinne, Middle flowers would be shorter on a short arrangement like this one. It’s whole different story on a regular vase. Maybe I’ll do one of those as a how-to soon.

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