How to Make a Bouquet
A bouquet of flowers can be just the thing to show someone you care, to say "I love you," or to commemorate a joyous occasion. Going to the extra effort to assemble the bouquet yourself can also save you money while allowing you to personalize the gift. Whatever the event, whoever it is for, with a few tips and some healthy blooms, you'll soon create a bouquet that no one will want to throw away.
Planning Your Bouquet
Determine your bouquet's color scheme.The focal point of most bouquets is a distinct centerpiece flower. The colors in the bouquet are generally coordinated with the color of this centerpiece, either to compliment that color or bring out contrast between the different colors of your blooms.
- Deciding on the color scheme of your bouquet before choosing your flower can help you narrow down which flowers you will use in your bouquet.
- Choose complimentary colors by selecting ones close to each other on the color spectrum.
- Contrasting colors are those that are on opposite sides of the color spectrum.
- Remember the order of the color spectrum with the acronym Roy G Biv, which stands for:
Take into account your bouquet placement.The lighting and environment your bouquet will be in will influence how well your colors work together. Bright lit rooms will highlight subtler shades, while darker rooms might require bolder color choices.
- A bulky bouquet might not be the ideal choice to give to your significant other at the start of a date, as it might be cumbersome during the date.
Save money with flowers in season.Buying flowers that are out of season for your bouquet can add a significant cost to your bouquet making. Seasonal flowers, in addition to being more affordable, will also look more natural in your arrangement. Some popular seasonal flowers include:
- Spring: daffodil, hyacinth, lilac, narcissus, peony, stargazer lily, sweetpea, tulip.
- Summer: chrysanthemum, lavender, forget-me-not, daisy, hydrangea, iris, Asiatic lily, Oriental lily, aster, queen Anne’s lace, snapdragon, sunflower, zinnia.
- Fall: aster, chrysanthemum, dahlia, marigold, zinnia.
- Winter: camellia, Casa Blanca lily, daffodil, forget-me-not, holly, jasmine, narcissus, poinsettia, stargazer lily, star of Bethlehem, sweetpea, tulip.
- Year-round: baby’s breath, calla lily, carnations, eucalyptus, gardenia, gladiolus, heather, lily of the valley, orchid, rose.
Use odd numbered blooms in your bouquet.It is an old European tradition to arrange flowers in odd numbers, and in many cultures, an odd number of flowers indicates joy.Beyond this, an odd number of flowers creates uniformity between your centerpiece and the flowers around it.
- Avoid the number 13 when arranging your flowers, as in some cultures this number is considered unlucky.
Gather or purchase your flowers and bouquet making supplies.Now that you've figured out your color scheme and chosen some suitable flowers, you'll need to go to your local florist or the floral section of your grocery store to buy some flowers. Including these, you'll also need:
- Floral or stem wrapping tape
- Floral wire
- Fresh flowers
- Household bleach (optional)
- Rubber bands (optional)
- Scissors or a vegetable knife
Evaluating and Pruning Your Flowers
Prioritize tight buds.These will bloom as the existing flowers wilt, creating better balance in your bouquet over a longer period of time. Buds that are just breaking open and with a glimpse of color are a good indication the flowers will be suitable for your bouquet.
Inspect the stems to gauge the health of your flowers.Hold a stem by the base and see if it stands up. Weak stemmed flowers are sometimes an indication the flower is old, sick, or otherwise damaged. Verify that the stems aren't smelly or slimy, as this often indicates the blooms have been in water too long.
Examine leaves to judge the overall condition of your flowers.You'll want leaves are crisp and clean with a rich, even color green. Any spots or bleaching may indicate disease, which can lead to rot and shorten the life expectancy of your bouquet.
Cut your stems evenly.A general rule of thumb among flower arranging experts is to keep the top height of your blooms even. Use your scissors to cut your stems so that the length of each flower's stem is about the same, and be sure you cut the stems on an angle. An angled cut will allow the stem to draw up water more easily, lengthening the life of your bouquet.
- Cutting your stems under running water will lengthen the life of your blooms.
- Woody stems, such as roses, should be split the bottom. This will allow water in and prolong the life of your woody stemmed blooms.
- It's best to start with longer stems, about 12 inches long should do. Then trim these to suit your purposes of your situation. A small flower girl might require shorter stem length, a bouquet/present, longer stems to accommodate a vase.
Remove thorns and unwanted leaves.Thorns can poke the recipient of your bouquet, making your bouquet less desirable. Run a knife along the stem to shuck thorns free of the stem. You can also use your scissors to snip each thorn at its base. Many of your leaves can also be removed; the central point of your bouquet are its flowers. Too many leaves and you won't be able to see the flowers for the trees.
- Exercise caution while de-thorning your blooms. If you intend on using a knife, be sure to slide it along the stem away from your body to prevent accidental cuts.
- You'll likely not want to completely denude your flowers of leaves. Doing so can sometimes create a lack of fullness in your bouquet.
Prepare your container, if applicable.If you plan on putting your bouquet into a vase or some other container, first fill it with fresh, cold water to prolong the life of your blooms. Then add a few drops of bleach to the water to kill any bacteria that might have been in your cup, in your water, or on your stems.
- Purifying your water with a few drops of bleach is a great way to prevent rot, disease, and decay, all of which can cloud water and create an unpleasant smell.
Arranging Your Flowers
Place your centerpiece.If you are using a vase or container, you should use one hand to hold the position of your flowers as you add to the arrangement with your free hand. If you are planning on making a traditional, stem-wrapped bouquet, hold your flowers with your non-dominant hand and add to your arrangement with your free hand. Organize your centerpiece so it is the middle of your bouquet.
- Your centerpiece flower will usually be a specially chosen flower or accent. Around this central flower, you will build the rest of your bouquet.
- You may find it helpful, as your bouquet grows in size, to use a rubber band to hold your bouquet in place.
Add flowers around your centerpiece.Work your way around your centerpiece, adding flowers one stem at a time as you do so. Working from the inside of your bouquet to the out will prevent it from looking thin or patchy. You may want to arrange your blooms at regular intervals, or you might want to see how clusters of your accent flowers work with your centerpiece.
- Remember to keep the top of your blooms evenly aligned! Extend your bouquet about an arm's length in front of you and hold it at eye level to check the height of your blooms.
Add greenery and other accents last.Now that your central bouquet is built, you'll have a firm idea of where you should fill out the flowers with accents flowers and sprigs. Berries can add a vibrant touch to your bouquet, as can accents like peacock feathers, bouquet jewels, and bear grass, to name a few.
- If you plan on using ribbons on your bouquet, seal the ends after you cut it to prevent fray. Depending on material, sealing method can vary, but usually applying a weak flame to the frayed end for a few seconds will cause the fray to fuse.
- A thin seam of hot glue can also work well for preventing your ribbon from fraying.
Bind the stems of your bouquet if not using a container.Take your floral wire and wrap the entire length of the stems in a spiral pattern. Cut excess wire with your scissors, and then press your floral tape onto the topmost part of the wire to fix it in place. Pull the tape tight and corkscrew it down and around your stems to block them from view and create a snug stem-bundle.
Inspect your bouquet and make any finishing touches.Be sure to double check the height and balance of your bouquet, as you may have disrupted the balance of the arrangement while binding stems and adding accents. Be sure the top of the flowers are of level height and the flowers distributed in a pleasing fashion. Now you're bouquet's ready for that special someone of yours!
Coloring Your Bouquet for a Special Occasion
Coordinate the color of your bouquet for weddings.White roses are the traditional wedding flower, and a bouquet using the white rose as its main accent would likely match well with the bride's gown. You may want to choose an elegant lily or orchid as your centerpiece, as the gold color of theses flowers' inner parts can create an elegant appearance.
- The white rose symbolizes unity and purity, making this the perfect flower to commemorate a new marriage.
Make a bouquet for mother's day.Choose mom's favorite flowers for your centerpiece and accent flowers, and coordinate colors to whatever her favorite might be. Mother's day roses are popular, but can be expensive due to increased demand.
Create a "thank you" bouquet.The color of roses can symbolize many different things, including gratitude. Though the recipient would likely appreciate any flowers you give as a way of saying thanks, dark pink roses are the traditional color for conveying this.
Theme your bouquet to say get well soon.Hospitals can be drab, and even your own home can become dull and lifeless when recuperating from an illness. Select vibrant, cheery colors for your get well soon bouquet.
- Green is symbolic of nature, and can promote tranquility, health, and can have a calming effect.
- Orange is considered to be an energetic, enthusiastic color, and may be just the thing to cheer your ill friend.
- Red is associated with love, warmth, and has been known to evoke strong emotions. You might pair this color with orange to create a pleasing effect.
- Yellow is a color associated with happiness and warmth, though can be overwhelming. Use yellow in moderation in your get well soon bouquets.
Color your bouquet to express your sympathies.Mournful occasions are best suited with soft, muted colors. Depending on culture, the kind of flowers you use in a funeral bouquet can vary drastically, but generally lilies, chrysanthemums, and orchids are suitable for these occasions.
- Place limp flowers in warm water that reaches up to the neck of the bloom to invigorate the flowers. Warm water rises more quickly than cold. When the water reaches the flower it will perk up a bit and stand tall once more.
Video: How to make a mixed flower bouquet
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