Beautiful Flower Arrangements Every Time

by Thursday, September 1, 2016


Post party let down is real. The house is quiet, food is mostly gone, and it’s time for clean up. But looking on the bright side, there’s still fresh flower arrangements around the house! Festive or formal, it really doesn’t matter. Flower arrangements are the quickest and easiest way to spice up any room.


Flower arrangements are one DIY activity I’m happy to tackle. I love picking out flowers, playing around with different containers and arrangement sizes. I almost always do my own flowers when I throw a party – big or small. And, I’ve helped friends and flower with flowers for showers and weddings.


I’ve gotten pretty good over time, but I’m kind of a one trick pony. Typically my flower arrangements are fairly formulaic. I do what I know. I’m always in awe of ‘real’ floral designers who come up with some pretty amazing arrangements. The better I get, the more I want to learn, and that’s where The Flower Chef comes in. I attended a book signing at The Loveliest here in Dallas for Carley Cyinder, aka The Flower Chef, and picked up her new book – a modern guide to do-it-yourself floral arrangements. Exactly what I needed to break out of my flower formula rut!


It’s taken awhile, but I’ve finally made it through the book and picked up some great tips along the way. It starts with the basics so even if you’ve never done anything outside of putting a grocery store bouquet in water, you’ll do just fine.

The Flower Chef

Here are five of my favorites tips (I’m assuming you already know to always trim the stems, change the water frequently and no leaves or foliage below the water line!):


How to Use Unique Containers

Sometimes you want more that just a plain white or glass vase. But you probably don’t have a stock of interesting flower vases lying around. If you have a cool container from somewhere else in your house that you want to use but aren’t sure about whether it would/should hold flowers and water, just create the arrangement in something slightly smaller (flower vase, tin can, whatever) and slip it inside. Voila!


This seems so obviously, but this has absolutely happened to me before. When I was doing flowers for Greg’s 40th Fiesta, I wanted to use terra cotta planters as the vessel but couldn’t get them watertight. Can’t believe I didn’t think of doubling up.


Taking Care of Your Hydrangeas

Know how I said my flower arrangements are pretty formulaic? Well, Hydrangeas are part of that formula. First of all, they’re beautiful and they remind me of Cape Cod. But practically speaking, they take up a lot of space in an arrangement and provide a really strong base from which to work. I don’t usually make a grid for my flowers unless I’m trying something special so Hydrangeas create stability for other flowers.


I knew the secret to buying Hydrangeas that will last is to make sure the flower head is firm to the touch. But I didn’t know how much Hydrangeas love water and that you need to pound open or make vertical cuts in the steam to help them drink up all that water. Or that Hydrangeas can drink through their leaves so placing the flower head under running water or dunking it in a bucket of water will extend the life of the flower.

Prepping Hydrangeas


Lining Your Containers

I know you’ve seen those awesome arrangements where the glass vase is lined with something cool so you can’t see all the flower stems – cranberries, sliced fruit, leaves, candy canes, you name it. I’ve never tried this before because I wasn’t totally sure how to keep everything in place – eye catching for sure, but it seems like a lot of work.

Lemon lined vase

Photo from The Flower Chef

Well, according to The Flower Chef, it’s that handy vase-within-a-vase trick again. All you need to do is place a slightly smaller vase inside the larger vase and fill in the space in between.


Work with Odd Numbers

The rule of odds is a pretty universal design approach. And it works for flowers as well. Apparently our eyes naturally pull together items in pairs; so odd number clusters appear more interesting. This goes for organizing flower bunches within an arrangements or even in terms of how many bud vases you cluster together.

Photo from The Flower Chef

Photo from The Flower Chef

Buying Enough Flowers

TFC’s tip is – ‘Cup your hands above the top if the vase, as wide as the desired circumference of the the arrangement. When you buy your flowers, cup your hand above the bunches of flowers to see how many steps you need to buy.’ In my experience, you always need a few more flowers than you think, especially if you like the tight cluster looks. (Also part of my formula – it’s easier for us amateurs to work with.) If don’t have enough flowers, you’re stuck, but if you have a few too many, you can always make another small arrangement. (I usually just fill a little bud vase with any extras and place it in the guest bathroom.)


Just adding my two cents on types of flowers – TFC book has step-by-step instructions on how to make all sorts of interesting flower arrangements. She tells you exactly what types of flowers and how many to buy. Easy.


But if you’re just winging it, like I often do, I either go for a variety of flowers and textures or do all of one type of flower. I love texture and I think adding foliage or branches or berries, really makes a difference in the overall look of the arrangement.

Some of my favorite things to sneak in for texture are eucalyptus, yellow billy balls, dusty miller, freesia, kale or of course, succulents (but those can be harder to work with in an arrangement).


But if your only option is what’s availability at the grocery story, grab a bunch of the same flowers for the monochromatic look. Little more elegant, IMO.

Hydrangea Flower Arrangment

What are you favorite DIY flower arrangements tips?




Everything You Need to Get Started: 

The Flower Chef Book // Floral Tape and Wire // Mint Julep Cup Container //  Blue and White Vase // Frosted White Vases 

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