How to Arrange Flowers

Ahhh the wonderful art of arranging flowers!  To some it’s pure enjoyment and to others a good mode of torture.  To take the torture out of it and increase the enjoyment is not as hard as it seems.  By following some  basic steps of design you can create beautiful floral arrangements and find a new and rewarding hobby.

Begin by learning to be observant.  As you go to stores to shop look at their floral displays and make some mental notes about what you like about the arrangements you see.   The doctor’s office,  friends and relatives homes, the floral shop, magazines all are great places to get your creative juices flowing and to start forming opinions on what you like and what you don’t like. 

Now you are ready to take the next step; to try an arrangement out on your own.  Flowers, silk or real can be expensive so look for ways to save money.  Collect things you can find in your own home first.  Do you have an interesting pot or basket that you could use?  What kind of flowers and greens are growing in your garden?  Do you have some interesting craft rocks, dried moss,  or large twigs that you could use?   

Collect or buy the items that you don’t have and that you will need.  If it is a fresh flower arrangement you will need a container that will hold water.  If you are making a smaller arrangement the floral oasis that soaks up water is very useful and will hold your flowers in place well. If you are making a silk or dried flower arrangement the dry floral oasis that doesn’t soak up water is best to use.

  All craft stores have these items.  If the arrangement is to be on a larger scale then a large vase should be used.  Colored rocks, sand or  shells can be used in the bottom of the vase to enhance the overall appeal of the arrangement and add stability.  Consider other items that add appeal such as curly willow twigs, butterflies, or other objects that might add to the appeal of your arrangement and enhance the theme you have chosen.

The trick to making a beautiful arrangement is to keep in mind the elements of design that apply to every type of decorating project.  The elements include:  Theme, Shape & Size, Color, Balance and Texture.

Theme is an important element to keep in mind when making your floral arrangement.  Do you have a spring theme, a country theme, a holiday theme, a formal or casual theme?  Decide the theme that you want to pursue and let that inspire you in the colors and types of flowers and greens that you pick and even what you choose to display them in.

Take a look at the shape of your basket or pot.  Is it squat, tall, or does it have an interesting shape or texture?  Use the vessel you are going to put your arrangement in to inspire your creative juices.  You may find that the vessel itself sets the theme of your arrangement and the type of flowers that you will be using and the colors that will compliment it.  Often times people overlook the pot when if they are observant they will discover that the arrangements that they like the most are often those that have pots, baskets or vases that they have a strong attraction to.

 Texture is important in your choice of flowers and greens as well.  If you choose all of your flowers with the same smooth texture and basically the same shape your arrangement will be boring.  Rough textures side by side with smooth textures will add interest and appeal to your floral arrangements.

Now consider shape and size.  Look at the pot or basket you intend to use.  What shape and size is it?  Take the size and double it.  For example, if your pot is 12″ high and 6 ” wide  your arrangement should not be any taller than 36″ from the bottom of the pot to the very tip of the arrangement and should not be any wider than 6″ past the side of the pot on each side.  Basically, two thirds of the finished arrangement should be the flowers, and one third the pot or vase.

Now we come to color.  The one element which is most quickly noticed in an arrangement.  Though more than three colors can be used in an arrangement it is best to start by keeping it simple.  Pick three colors for your arrangement.  This is in addition to the greens that you will be using.  Choose one dominant and at least two supporting colors for your arrangement.  It is perfectly fine to use different hues of flowers in the same color as long as they are in the same color scheme.  For example, a light and dark rose colored flower can be used in the same arrangement as long as they only differ only in hue.  Keep in mind what colors go together well and which colors will fit your theme. 

Take for example this scenario:  You choose to use large white lilies, Bright pink roses, and small blue dahlias.  You can add other white, pink or blue flowers that match if you find that the arrangement needs more.   

Greens are essential to all arrangements.  Without them the arrangement will look incomplete, as if something is missing.  The greens are like the eyebrows and eyelashes on your face.  We hardly notice them but without them it is definitely obvious that something is missing.  Greens add texture and interest.  If you look at mother nature you will find that every beautiful flower has green leaves.  Let nature inspire you in your own work.   You will be using more greens than anything else so choose them carefully.  Greens range in dark, light, dusty, and vibrant colors. Some are wide leafed some delicate and thin leafed.  Which kind of greens will fit with your flowers, your theme and with the vessel you are using to put them all in? Arrange the greens in your container first and then add the flowers.  It is easier to set up the size and shape with the greens first and then add the flowers and other elements after.

Now consider balance.  Though balance is one of the elements to think about when determining the size of your arrangement, it also applies to where in your arrangement you place the flowers, greens and other elements such as twigs.  Though it is boring to have everything the same on all sides of the arrangement,  it is important to have a balance between the various elements in your arrangement.  Think about an arrangement that has all the large flowers at the top and the smaller flowers at the bottom.  Would it look balanced?  Would it be appealing to the eye?  Of course not!  It lacks balance.  What about an arrangement that has a long twig coming out of the top and right of the arrangement?  What could balance this to make it look pleasing?  Perhaps having some long greens flowing down the arrangement and to the left side would help to offset the twig and adding flow and balance to the arrangement.  

 By using theme, texture, shape, color, and balance to guide you while arranging your flowers you will find that you can’t go wrong.  As you gain experience and confidence it will become easy to create beautiful and appealing floral arrangements.