Tuesday, January 31, 2012

easy floral arranging tips

It's true- one of my required courses in college was Floral Design.  And, as with any serious science course, (you didn't realize that floral design was a science?) the class involved both a lecture and a lab.  In my case, a night lab. 

I don't know about you, but I always considered night labs one of life's real cruelties.  To have to go to class at night?  When it's dark out?  During my dinner time?!?

Somehow, I made it through that semester.  And there have actually been multiple occasions over the past twelve or so years since (how can it have been that long?) that I've been glad I did. 

So, without any further complaining about missing dinner, here are, what I consider, the five key points of floral design:

Lesson 1: any container can be a vase.  For the arrangements we made over the weekend, we used one actual glass vase and four smaller glass jars.  I believe that the glass jars all came from candles we have purchased over the years, finished, cleaned out the jar, and saved it for just such a moment.  Much like the Scouts- we like to be prepared. 

We cut thin strips of burlap and wound them around each jar, securing with a straight pin.  This not only looked cute and went with our color theme, but it unified the dissimilar containers to look like a group. 

Lesson 2: you will need help keeping your flowers in place.  You can use any number of things- a chunk of florist's foam, a flower frog, or tape.  We used regular old scotch tape and made a grid over the top of each container. 

Lesson 3: greenery is your friend.  And it's cheap.  If you were to make a flower arrangement using all flowers, it would not only be very expensive, it would be so full of flowers that you probably couldn't appreciate them each properly.  Before you start adding flowers to your design, you want to fill in the outer edges with green stuff.  In this case, we raided the yard and clipped eucalyptus, cedar, and sprigs from a nice green bush. 

Using the holes in the tape, I put greenery around the whole outer edge of the container.  I tried to have some hanging over the edge and some standing straight up.  A good rule of thumb is that your highest piece in the arrangement should be no more than two times the height of your container. (I can hear Dr. McDaniel cheering me on right now...)

Lesson 4: add flowers in layers, starting with the big ones.  We bought three bouquets of different types of white flowers from the grocery store.  If you are worried about your skills as a flower arranger, or you don't have a great flower selection to work with, just choose flowers that are all the same color.  Using one color flower in different shapes and textures always looks good.  I somewhat evenly spaced my first flowers throughout the container, keeping the flower heads fairly close to the top and letting them rest on the greenery. 

Lesson 5: fill, fill, fill!  An attractive flower arrangement is a full flower arrangement.  Instead of seeing individual flower heads, you want to see one solid shape of flowers.  This shape should be slightly rounded, with a few longer pieces sticking out as accents.  You also want to stuff in enough flowers to hide your tape or floral foam.  Don't forget to add a few that can peek out under your greenery around the sides.  Turn your vase as you work so that you don't leave any bald spots. 

And, done!  We made five flower arrangements in one hour for about $12.  Not too shabby.  If you want to see some more pictures of the finished arrangements, you can check out the photos that were taken at the shower

Happy arranging!

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