How to Style Floral Arrangements Yourself (& Keep Them Alive)

I got the idea for a post on DIY floral arrangements from my friend Joelle (of La Petite Noob) who suggested I share some of my tips, and I loved the idea for a few reasons –
1. Because if you’ve been following me for any amount of time you know that fresh florals are essential to my existence (& home)
2. I definitely do get regular questions about how I make my arrangements and make them last
3. There is no denying fresh florals are a fairly short-lived investment, so why not maximize them?!

If like me, you too believe that it’s all in the details, read on for some tips on how to style floral arrangements yourself, and keep them alive 🙂

(image source: @studiomcgee)

Buy Wholesale
This is the NUMERO UNO way to get the most bang for your buck – not only is perusing flower markets my fave past time, BUT you get so many more options to choose from and SO many more actual blooms to work with for your arrangements. For an average of $40 I can usually get enough for 3-4 small but full table top floral arrangements, versus one shitty generic filler bouquet from let’s say a grocer. If you remember, I also went this route for my DIY bridesmaid boxes and saved a ton. My fave spots in Toronto are the St. Lawrence Market, Avenue Road or the Toronto Flower Market which happens on Saturdays from May to October & is a great way to support local growers!

Don’t Overlook Affordable Floral Options
I am personally a SUCKER for more expensive bloom varieties like ranunculus, peonies & roses, BUT a great way to help keep your DIY floral arrangements within a budget is to utilize overlooked options as well. For example, a simple bunch of baby’s breath in a bud vase or some eucalyptus or cotton stems is SO pretty, inexpensive and easy to pull together (you essentially just stick them in a vase). Buying from markets is also a cost-save because you are typically buying what’s naturally in season. Which brings me to my next point…

(image source: @ashleykane)

Mix It Up
If you’re going for more professional looking floral arrangements think about what they all have in common – they are very rarely a single type of bloom. Keep that principle in mind when you’re selecting your own. For example, I usually like to choose 1-2 pricier options as my ‘highlight’ flowers, one fuller option to give mass and 1-2 types of complimentary greenery. Also try to choose varying stem heights if possible to add some interest.

Use The Right Tools
So now that you have your blooms, what do you do? Well to start, don’t keep them out of water for too long. Once you’re home, pick your vase and use that to determine the height you’ll cut your stems to (I tend to like mid height ones, but whatever you feel for the spot you’re putting it in works!). Then cut the stems on a diagonal angle (45 degrees) using flower sheers (it makes a cleaner cut that allows the plants to drink the water more easily) AND remove any excess leaves that would fall below the water line in your vase. Then, if you have, put some flower food in your vases (you know the sugar packet looking powder that usually comes with a flower delivery?). Keep in mind you don’t get these when you buy wholesale so I just build up a collection from flowers that do include them and try to use 1 pack split between 3 varying sized vases. I also always use cold water to fill my vases, and if you’re working with anything with a thicker stem only GENTLY tap the bottom of the stem with a hammer to help with water absorption.

Actual Arranging
To actually style your floral arrangements, I like to start with my fuller bloom first – you’ll want to build around/through this to make the floral arrangements balanced. See below for how I put rununculus THROUGH the hydrangea. If you shove super full single-stemmed blooms in last it will look really compartmentalized (it took me a while to figure this out lmao). Then fill in your secondary bloom until the vase looks covered and rotating as you go. I like to literally turn the vase with each new stem I insert to make sure it looks equally nice from all angles or in the event it’s placed in the centre of a surface. Repeat based on the size of vase/number of different types of flowers you’re working with. Lastly, insert your greens – I like to put some around the edges and a few in the centre for some height if it suits. Alternatively, if you’re going for a more undone looking piece and not with any big round blooms, you can start with the greenery around the edges so it hangs and then fill into the center (essentially, working the steps in reverse). If I’m buying for a tablescape, I tend to look for a lower-to-the-vase full option in 1-2 colours only to create an easy and uniform look down the centre (for example, last Christmas when we hosted I did all red and white roses down the centre of the table).

(image source: @intl_peach)

Start A Collection of Vessels
This is another great way to keep styling your own floral arrangements affordable on an ongoing basis – any arrangements that you buy (or send) that include a vase are VERY marked up. Avoid that by having a collection to choose from that can accommodate several styles of blooms. I recommend starting with clear glass options because they go with everything (differing sizes/heights if possible and a mix of round or square), and then slowly growing it to include more fun options (I have a set of mirrored, frosted and some opaque patterned ones now that I really love). You can also acquire unique options by washing and keeping ones you’ve received from deliveries, showers, weddings, etc. I also REALLY love to scrape out and wash any used candles that I like the jar from, or even simple mason jars. Plus, these look super pretty displayed on any open shelving you may have.

Don’t be Lazy With Upkeep
If you want to enjoy your floral arrangements for more than a few days, the initial steps I mentioned re: cutting and water will help, but I find that changing out the water at around the 5 day mark help keep your blooms fresh for at least another several days. I have friends who swear by throwing in an ice cube to provide a ‘shock’ to the flowers, but I prefer to just swap out all the water and rinse the vase if it’s gotten a bit gunky.

Have these tips inspired you to try your own arrangements? What are some of your tried & true tips for floral arrangements? Or perhaps fave combos to try? Let me know in the comments below, xx.

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