Learning to put together a hand-tied bouquet is the most basic and most well-known form of flower arranging there is.
Note: Most Bridal Bouquets are Hand-Tied Bouquets! Practice these steps until you can do it well.
Designing the Classic Bouquet
One of the nicest things that you can do for a friend or loved one is to bring flowers. What is even better is if you put a little effort into arranging them into a beautiful arrangement, that looks very natural, but is, in essence, quite contrived!
As always, you begin with flowers that are cleaned, thorns removed, and they've been sitting in water for a couple of hours, rehydrating.
When creating a bouquet, consider your purpose. When creating a bouquet for a friend, consider their favorite colors, or favorite flowers. Do they like spring or summer colors and flowers more?
One good way to start is to stick with a single color family. For example, white is the most common color for a bridal bouquet. When you are shopping for flowers, look at all the colors of white that are out there. There are an infinite number of hues of white, that when combined can be truly stunning.
Remember to have at least two bunches of flowers, perhaps even three, depending on how generous your bunches are. You will begin at the center of the bouquet. You can start with either flowers or foliage. Your choice.
Here we have three yellow roses that are placed on top of the foliage I have chosen for the center of the bouquet. You will criss-cross the stems as you work.
Working in a criss-cross accomplishes two things:
1. Creates a domed effect with the center of the bouquet being the tallest.
2. Creates an interesting fanning of the stems at the bottom that can be used in a decorative fashion.
Because you are working from the center out, you can easily design your bouquet the way you choose.
Some floral designers like to create circles of color starting with one color at the center, and then working their way out using the same flowers for each layer/ring.
In this case, I'm looking for a more informal approach. I want these roses to be the focal point at the center of the bouquet, so as I cluster the first flowers together, I turn them, continuing to criss-cross the stems as I work.
You can use twine to help hold the flowers in place, in fact this is a good idea if you're a beginner. Once you learn how to do this, you won't need to use twine!
I changed my mind, and decided that I didn't want all yellow flowers in the center, because I was using the white spider mums as an interesting change of texture and color contrast. Notice how I have used three of these, with five yellow roses.
Remember to work in odd numbers whenever possible. It lends a much more artistic look to your work rather than a systematic one.
Continue on in this fashion. Remember to hold the point where all the criss-crossed stems meet with a loose, but relatively firm grip in your non-dominant hand.
As you continue to add stems, rotate the bouquet counter-clockwise, and the bouquet will take shape with the even, domed appearance at the top.
Add material until you are satisfied with the size and variation of colors and textures in the bouquet.
Don't forget to turn the bouquet toward you so that you can evaluate how it is looking from the top. Because you are very focused on the method of creating this bouquet, you may forget to keep track of how you're doing.
I like to tie a rubber band in the center where all the stems are criss-crossing.
This helps to hold the bouquet in place while I set it down. I may want to add a decorative finish and I need both hands to do this.
You can tie a ribbon here, wrap the bottom of the bouquet in decorative paper, mylar, or lace.
Set the bouquet down on the table. If this is done exactly right, you can actually balance the bouquet on the table top. Really good designers can put together a beautiful bouquet that stands by itself in just a few minutes. They're amazing to watch.
Take this time to cut all the stems even to one another at this time. Even if you don't plan to set this on the tabletop, you do want it to look finished and beautiful.
Don't forget to keep your flowers hydrated. Even if plan to give them as a gift, even when you transport them, you want them in water.
Professional Tip: All bridal bouquets are delivered in water, and they are removed from the vase of water just before the bride walk, or for photos. (Make sure to warn the bride that the stems are wet. Having a towel handy to catch drips will avoid getting water stains on her bridal gown.)
Here is another hand-tied bouquet that was released from the rubber band just prior to being placed in a vase. Notice the use of whites, light creams, and pastel peaches in this arrangement.
Decorative Ribbon Finishes
You can simply tie a bow of lovely organza ribbon to finish a bouquet off as simply as possible.
Or, you can create a beautifully wrapped ribbon finish that will protect the bride or bridesmaids' hands as they carry their flowers.
You can be as decorative as you wish for this. I have seen designers use buttons, wired pearls, brooches, jewelry for this part of the bouquet.
You really only are limited by your imagination.
This bouquet is tied with organza ribbon that has been wrapped and decoratively knotted at the front. Once it is tied off, you can add the finishing touch of the corsage or boutonniere pins. Isn't that a beautiful way to finish a wrapped bouquet?
This method requires about 10 feet of ribbon. One way to measure is to roll the end of the ribbon off the spool, let it reach the floor, wrap it around the back of your neck and back to the floor. Add another foot or two then cut it.
Begin in the center of the ribbon for your first knot.
We will go through the steps of wrapping stems. For this example, we are using the silk bouquet I created for an earlier article. Because I plan on using the white organza ribbon, I decide to rewrap the stems in white floral tape. This comes in white, tan, dark green, and light green.
I just want to make the handle a little less noticeable because the ribbon is so sheer. When you work with ribbon that you can't see through, you can usually skip this disguise step.
Wrap the stems completely up and down once or twice until everything is adequately covered.
Next wrap the stems with the ribbon. Again, because the organza is such a sheer and lightweight ribbon, you will need to wrap it several times for full coverage.
Finish by bending or folding the end of the ribbon under, then pinning it through the stems at that point to give it a completely finished touch.
Take care when placing the pins through the stems. You want them to go more horizontally through the stems rather than vertically, otherwise your friend or bride runs the risk of poking herself on the pins.
Flowers Make a House a Home
Studies have been done that indicate people relax more, have reduced stress, even lower blood pressure when they look at beautiful things from nature, such as a bouquet of flowers.
You don't have to turn everything into a huge, ornate arrangement. Simply arranged buds or blossoms can lighten a room and make you feel better.
Everyday Flower Arrangements
When you think of flower arrangements, most of the time you simply think of the dining room table. Where are other places in the home that would benefit from a floral arrangement? If you are going into the floral arranging business, these are some places you could suggest that your clients place floral arrangements:
Entry Way Foyer - This is where first impressions are formed by people who visit your home. A beautiful plant or arrangement here will provide an excellent first impression. If you use lilies, remember to remove the anther portion of the stamen or you'll have stains on the floor, carpet, and possible the clothing of your visitors should they brush up against it.
Dining Room - See, you weren't far from wrong. This is the most popular room in the home to decorate with flowers. Remember to allow for height issues so that diners can see those across the table from them. If you are using heavily perfumed flowers, make sure their perfume doesn't ruin the palate of your diners for dinner.
Living/Sitting Room - Usually this room has a low coffee table that would look nice with a corresponding low arrangement, or a color coordinated arrangement.
Kitchen - Most families still live in the kitchen and yet we still put most of our flowers in the dining room. The kitchen can have something like a growing basket or pot of herbs and then some small arrangements of perhaps a single tulip or daisy in a water glass. It doesn't have to be fancy. Do make sure that the oven heat doesn't make the kitchen too unfriendly for your flower choice.
Bedroom - This is one place having flowers and plants is a really good idea. Having something pretty to look at as soon as you wake up in the morning has been shown to put people in a positive frame of mind. Do you need any other reasons to put flowers by your bedside?
Guest room - A slender vase with a few pretty flowers is a really nice way to welcome a guest to your home. Your friend or relative will feel very pampered by having fresh flowers in their room.
Bathroom - Choose varieties that prefer high levels of humidity such as tree ferns, orchids, or certain grasses. If you want to treat yourself, place a single stem of a daffodil, or a tulip or calla lily inside a tall slender glass vase filled with water. Or take some rose petals or some lavender and sprinkle it in your bath for a nice way to pamper yourself. Lavender is very relaxing and helps with both headaches and insomnia.
Garden Parties - You really should have fresh flowers on the table when you entertain outside. It goes with the gardening theme, and lend an air of luxury to your event.
Keep your pets in mind. Not all flowers are safe for pets.
Holidays and Celebrations
We all love to celebrate during the holidays, and we often will use flowers for that purpose. The biggest thing to remember is that often during the holidays, you are going to pay a premium, especially for certain types of flowers.
Roses, during the first two weeks of February, especially red roses, easily double, triple, and sometimes quadruple in price.
Remember this if you happen to be ordering flowers for a large event or a wedding because your client is going to be really unhappy when you give them a quote.
This often happens when people want to get married on Valentine's Day and want red and white roses for their wedding. It IS very romantic, but it is also going to cost a great deal more.
Other holidays that you need to keep in mind for floral arrangement ideas include:
Valentine's Day - Considered the busiest floral holiday of the year. As stated, red roses are at a premium during this time. However, you can make good friends with your clients if you steer them toward other flowers that are in the red or pink hue, but aren't necessarily the long-stemmed red rose. I've seen a heart-shaped oasis completely covered with soft pink carnations, and it was absolutely stunning!
Easter - This was the time of Easter bonnets and wearing flowers in your hair, or orchids on your shoulder. Many people still really appreciate a springtime floral arrangement as a memento for this holiday.
Mother's Day - This is the second busiest floral holiday of the year. Sending flowers is the most popular Mother's Day Gift out there. This is a really good time to be innovative and market your talents to the men you know. They usually buy both their mothers and their wives an arrangement. You could do a 2 for 1 type of special.
Father's Day - Not a big floral holiday! Sorry.
Independence Day - Some people really enjoy decorating for all holidays, and an innovative florist finds ways to put a red, white, and blue floral message together.
Grandparents' Day is in September, and this could be another opportunity to reach out to your customers and clients.
Halloween is the beginning of the big holiday season and people are looking for floral arrangements that will take them through the autumn holiday season. You could perhaps consider creating a twig and grass arrangement for a fee and then charge a surcharge for flowers that will last a week or two, but the twigs and grass will last for a month or more, so you could offer another 2 for 1 deal.
Thanksgiving - This is a great opportunity to make the most of the miniature gourds and pumpkins and baby corn that is available now.
Christmas - This is an excellent season for floral designers. Many people entertain during the holiday season, and nothing is more special than a fresh flower arrangement when people arrive for your holiday gathering.
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Many of the holidays and celebrations covered the seasonal floral arranging ideas, but something I like to consider is creating really high quality silk flower arrangements to be used for several weeks at a time. This is especially for the client who prefers not to mess with having fresh flowers in their home. Too messy, forget to water, die too soon, etc. You've heard all the excuses. Answer them by offering a silk flower arrangement that will do none of those things. The worst it will do is get dusty, and that is easily handled.
Getting your clients to use flowers as an extension of themselves will help you to grow your business and it will help them to be healthier and happier people.
Here are a few more pictures of flowers that are used around the home.
Here is a fun device that I like to offer to clients who want to have an "arranged" look to a bunch of flowers they get from the grocery store, but don't want to take the time to arrange them.
Similar to using chicken wire to help support stems in a more upright, yet relaxed position, this decorative wire flower fits on the top of a vase and holds the stems of your flowers in place.
Remember, flowers can be used anywhere, for any occasion. Even businesses recognize the difference when they use fresh-cut flowers as opposed to silk flowers. Their customers have a perceived sense of high class and quality when they frequent an establishment that decorates with fresh flowers.