Flowers have been a subject of art and literature since the dawn of civilization. With luscious blooms and gorgeous greenery, their enchanting reputation is well-deserved.
Historically, flowers have held special significance for society. Some are painted on canvas, while others are exchanged between loved ones. In contemporary times, flowers are used to adorn homes and special events in one’s life.
To see the beauty of flowers for yourself, we’ll look into the best way to admire them: the art of arranging flowers.
This guide aims to help you learn the intricate essentials of floral arrangement. With a few tips and tricks, you’re sure to adore the world of flowers even more.
In This Article
What is the art of floral arrangement?
Floral arrangement is the art of creating beautiful designs with flowers to convey meaning. In history, arrangements were used to send discreet messages of love. Today, flowers are used to create depth and meaning for homes, buildings, and more!
By learning how to create your arrangements, you, too, can become a floral designer at home. All you’ll need are a few tools, techniques, and tips to become a home-grown florist. (Related Article: 14 Flowers to grow)
Why learn how to arrange flowers?
Arranging flowers is something of a secret language that was popularized in the 18th century. As a highly symbolic art, a simple floral design conveyed several meanings. Today, flower arrangements can be used for different purposes.
For home decoration, flower arrangements add personal style and creativity to your living space. On weddings and romantic dates, homemade bouquets are a lovely way to show affection and intimacy.
There are also practical reasons to make your own arrangements:
Aesthetics and Creativity – What better way to express yourself than to create your flower arrangement? Learning the basics of designing flowers boosts your artistic muscles.
Emotions and Effort – A little patience and time can make this hobby rewarding. Plus, flower arranging can be a fun bonding activity with loved ones!
Savings – DIY arrangements are often cheaper than paying a professional florist. Sure, a pro can give wonderful results, but why not learn the basics for yourself? You can save money and enjoy your time, too!
Guide To Flower Arrangement and Design
Starting A Floral Arrangement: Tools and Supplies
The first step in your floral arrangement journey is to gather the necessary tools. Here are a few of the essentials you will need:
Flowers – Buy flowers fresh or choose to DIY your arrangements with pre-made bouquets.
Water – For most arrangements, water allows flowers and stems to stay fresh for longer.
Floral Foam – Floral foam is an important tool that allows flowers to stay in place. This green, sponge-like foam holds water well and keeps arrangements looking vibrant.
Scissors – To trim and give shape to your arrangements, sharp cutting tools are a must.
Floral tape – This specialized tape keeps arrangements tied nicely with its discreet, green color.
Containers – Vases, jars, or boxes that can contain your arrangements are recommended.
Ribbons, Wire – Keep ribbons and other accessories inside your floral design toolbox to add variety to your pieces!
Basic Flower Arranging: Principles of Design
A floral arrangement is best done when certain criteria are considered. To become a pro at arranging, there are some important considerations. Step into your inner artist and consider the following principles:
The first principle of design is proportion. Proportion dictates the relations between the different elements of an arrangement. For example, the size of a flower stem compared to the vase.
Like any work of art, certain tricks are done to establish proportion. The height and length of your vases and containers will matter here.
For a basic arrangement, aim to keep your flowers at least 1-1/2 times taller or wider than a chosen container. Through this technique, fresh bouquets will appear as if they are bursting in bloom and coming to life.
The principle of Harmony covers the combinations of color and texture of your arrangement. To make a bouquet appear harmonious, an interplay of elements is involved.
For one, color is an important way to put flowers together. Classic combinations include pairing contrasting colors (Red and Green, Orange and Blue, Yellow and Purple) to enhance a bouquet.
Wedding arrangement bouquets often involve harmonious shades like white and lilac together. The colors suggest that the wedding is a pure, important event, like the color white.
Harmony also involves the arranging of textures. Fall bouquets, for example, often involve a mix of greenery, pine cones, and large flowers. This shows the beauty of flowers and the awesomeness of the season.
A little goes a long way with textures and colors, as they make your designs look dynamic and lively.
Like music, a flower arrangement needs rhythm. This principle of design describes the motion of flower blooms and their appeal to the eyes.
Florists will use almost all parts of a bouquet, including stems and leaves, for rhythm. The stem of a flower can be used to make an arrangement look tall or long. Even the choice of a container (whether a vase or basket), can make a design look alive.
The most important part of rhythm is its ability to keep a viewer’s eyes invested. An arrangement that keeps your eyes moving from the first part to the last usually has an effective rhythm.
To add rhythm to your designs, you can use floral stems to create straight lines. Additional accessories, like ribbons and dried flowers, add shape and movement to your pieces.
Balance involves the stability and symmetry of flower arranging. It is measured in visual weight as if all parts of an arrangement look equal.
To give yourself an illustration of balance, simply observe famous paintings. Van Gogh’s arrangement in Sunflowers is a perfect example.
The shape of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers shows balance; all of the blooms in the painting look symmetrical. No element looks too tall or longer than another, and the color is not jumbled. Each part of the work gives equal weight.
Of course, symmetry is only the first of many types of balance. When you arrange your own blooms, creating equal weight is key.
To ensure balance, cut the stems of some blooms if necessary. Trim off some tips from the leaves, and envision a certain shape for your arrangement. Feel free to space flowers by height and length to add balance, too.
Balance is at the heart of flower arranging! It is also a personal choice when creating. Often, an imbalanced arrangement will look intuitively cluttered or out of place.
Related to balance is dominance or the visual organization of an arrangement. While all parts of a floral arrangement carry equal weight, there is usually a specific part that we will look at first.
Dominance establishes a focal point in a design that catches our eye at first glance. It is the part of the piece where we begin to look.
In a bouquet, larger blooms will take dominance over the little ones around it. With most arrangements, it is usually the center that is most dominant. Strong colors are also dominant.
To create dominance, you can choose an underlying theme in your arrangement. A curved vase with curved flowers can create this effect. Certain flowers, like roses, can create a focal point.
Like the mesmerizing pyramids of Egypt, this arrangement makes use of a large bottom layer and a small top layer.
Different colored flowers with stems and leaves
A shallow vase or container
To start a triangular arrangement, arrange your bottom layer on well-moistened floral foam. For the first layer, cut the stems short. Next, cluster your flowers together to form a triangle shape as you go up. Top off the arrangement with fewer flowers at the highest point.
Most triangular arrangements are decorated with protruding leaves to enhance the flowers. Choose flowers that pair well with each other, like different-colored roses or in-season blooms.
For taller vases, vertical arrangements enhance height and elegance. These are best executed with long-stemmed flowers as a focal point.
A main flower with a long stem (Tulips, Roses, Sunflowers are recommended)
Secondary, smaller flowers
A long vase or container
Accessories: Flower wire
Begin your vertical arrangement by reinforcing foam in (at least) two layers. Next, choose smaller flowers to adorn the base of the container. Once the bottom is filled, put your central flower as a focal point.
Ideally, top it off with floral wire to add rhythm and movement. Most vertical arrangements have a distinct center, but feel free to experiment without one!
To celebrate springtime and its lovely blooms, consider the horizontal arrangement. Beautifully placed in baskets and wooden boxes, this style adds a rustic touch.
3-4 varieties of flowers
A horizontal container; boxes and baskets recommended
Green, leafy stems (optional)
Begin your horizontal arrangement by making a grid of floral foam. Next, add patterns of different colored flowers. Choose complementary colors to create harmony. Add flowers around the container until filled.
As the last step, add greenery to your creation by placing leafy stems around the container. This can add texture and enhance the center flowers. Use floral tape if necessary.
Though popularly seen on Christmas wreaths, circular arrangements can decorate front doors all-year-round!
Seasonal Flowers and Leaves
(Optional) Accents – Pine cones and ribbons recommended
The first step of your wreath is in the wiring. Carefully shape the main wires of your arrangement into a circle. Afterward, place leaves around the base to cushion the design. Finally, add flowers and other accents to finish off.
Wreaths are designed according to season. Most Christmas wreaths use an assortment of poinsettias, while fall ones use maple leaves. Check which flowers are in season to maximize your work!
Make sure to tape flowers into place and trim off any sharp wires for safety. Wreaths can be placed by a patio to welcome guests, or in living rooms as a cozy accent.