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Flower Arranging Basics for Home Decorating

As easy as it is to order flowers online or go to a florist to get custom made bouquets, there is something special about doing things yourself. The beauty and fragrance of flowers are for some reason much more noticeable if you are the arranger of a great bouquet. Intricacies and patterns will come alive to you that you have never noticed before, and think about how impressed your friends will be when you tell them that you made that beautiful design yourself! If you are a creative type that loves flowers, keep reading for practical principles of floral design. It's easier than you might think.
Picking your flowers (and vase)


When selecting your flowers, try to pick a few colors and shapes that will work well together. You can go with a monochromatic design (all one color) for a contemporary look, choose all warm
colors for a strong happy statement, or mix every color you love for a natural feeling that will bring the outdoors indoors.


Single, larger blossom flowers, such as roses, carnations, zinnias, tulips or lilies, usually make up the focal points of a piece. Taller stems with multiple flowers can balance things nicely.

Delphinium, gladiolus, and snapdragon are good examples of flowers that can add extra height and texture. "Filler" flowers, or stems with many small buds, are great for topping of a bouquet with a full and delicate look.



Choose a container that will complement the shape and color scheme you have in mind. If you are just starting out, go with a traditional size vase -- not too tall, and not to squat. As a general rule, your container should be about one-third to one-half the size of your finished arrangement. So, for a vased bouquet you'll need mostly flowers with longer stems. A smaller bowl or basket is fine, too. You'll simply have to cut stems shorter and may need floral foam to help position each bloom. It helps to start with the simpler designs and work your way up, and a vased bouquet is often recommended for a first project.


Putting it all together

Once you have selected your flowers and vase, its time to start putting things together. If possible, first cut each flower stem diagonally about one inch from the bottom while holding the end of the stem under warm water. Use your kitchen sink or a large basin. This helps ensure each stem will absorb moisture and nutrients easily. As you cut each flower, transfer it to a temporary "work" vase, which should be halfway full of water.
Next, fill your "real" vase about two-thirds of the way with warm water. Make sure it doesn't leak. Add flower food if available. (Follow the instructions on the packet.) Place a few of your larger blossom flowers in the vase and step back. This will give you a better idea of how to proportion your bouquet. If the stems are too long, simply cut them shorter. If they are too short, try a different container, or add pebbles or marbles to the bottom of the vase to elevate your flowers.



If the flowers appear too bunched up, try cutting them at different lengths for more variety. Don't worry if some blooms don't stay in exactly the right position at first. Continue to the process by adding more flowers, adjusting their height and position as you go. The stems should all fit comfortably in the neck of the container and begin to hold their positions better as more flowers are added.


Displaying your finished bouquet

The most important part of creating your own arrangement is to make sure everyone sees what you have accomplished. Display your arrangement in a cool area, away from direct sunlight and excessive heat or drafts. If you decide to display the bouquet on a table, use a coaster or dish under the vase to protect the wood surface. It's also a good idea to keep flower arrangements away from electrical appliances, as an unexpected spill might cause damage to your equipment or even cause injury to someone.



Don't forget that not every bouquet has to be a masterpiece. The important thing is to have fun, experiment, and use your creativity. You'll find lots of inspiration in magazines, on web sites, and in nature. Just find some simple looks you like, and try duplicating them at home. Over time, you'll get more confident and creative, and who knows? You may find it's a great way to make very personalized gifts. So, pick up some flowers today, and make a beautiful bouquet. You might discover a talent that's ready to bloom in you.
About the author: Sponsored by 1-800-FLORALS flowers. For additional flower design tips, floral decorating ideas, design schools, and more, visit this Flowers Information guide online.
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