There’s nothing more gorgeous than a natural bouquet of flowers you handpicked yourself – we understand – but silk flowers just aren’t what they used to be. You can find faux flowers that are so close to the real thing (by sight and touch), that it’s completely acceptable to use them now in your well-designed home. Here are a few things to consider when deciding: To Silk or Not to Silk?
- Do you have access to hand-pick flowers in your (or your nice neighbor’s) yard
- Honestly – will you water them?
- Can you afford store-bought flowers, considering the pricetag and longevity?
If you answered no to these questions, then silks just might be your answer. Let’s face it, you have highlights in your hair and you’re wearing nailpolish like the rest of us – we all have a little fake in us. Don’t be ashamed. Enjoy it – then go buy fake flowers with pride. Then take pictures and send them to us. Ok, back to the tutorial, I got side-tracked.
Although they (silks, if you forgot) can be pricey when pre-arranged (insert “price of pre-arranged marriage” joke here), they are very affordable when bought as single stems – we’ve even found some great quality silks at our local dollar store! No, we are not kidding.
We chose to go the silk route for our Fourth of July bouquet because we’re budget-conscious and Liz said she’d totally re-use them in her home after the photoshoot. Two birds, one stone – er, bouquet. Here’s how we did it:
- Choose a vessel. Clear glass, tin can, pottery, traditional vase, hollowed-out gourd, you name it – it’s a perfectly great vessel for your creation. We chose Liz’s old fishbowl. It needs a flowery makeover because it makes her feel sad whenever she thinks about all the fair-fish she’s won and subsequently killed over the years (poppy knows what I’m talking about).
- Gather your flowers. Choose a color and type theme. For example, you might want to go Tropical, Natural or New England – so pick flowers that, when combined, have the feel you’re after. Don’t be afraid to bunch a few different types of flowers together in the store – or wherever you’re “picking” – so you get a preview of what they’ll look like in a vase. Pick colors that you love together, who cares what the rules are? Choose three showstopper stems – or multiples of three (I learned that in my Interior Design class) and then add some “greens” (leaves, stems, branches, grasses, etc). Wow, this is getting wordy. Maybe this should have been 2 steps.
- Measure & cut, baby. Is this self-explanatory? Hold the stem up next to your vessel and cut down to the height you want – FROM THE BOTTOM, people, please! If you’re using real flowers (ya hippie), you can only let your freshly cut flowers sit outside water for about thirty seconds before they re-seal themselves (because they’re in pain and/or dying slowly). So re-cut or pop them in water quickly and you might still make it to heaven.
- Ring around the… vase? Place most of your greens around the outer edge of your vessel of choice. Make sure to save a few stems for later.
- The Big Ones. Take your showstopper stems and add them, in an artsy staggered fashion, in the middle of the vessel. Use your leftover green stems to secure them in place.
- Perfection. Now that all of your stems have been added to the vase, step away. Step AWAY, I tell ya! Get a glass of water, take a minute break. Then, come back and re-arrange as needed.
If I was to squish this flower-arranging tutorial into an easy-to-remember acronym, it would be… VCMCSSLWP. Duh:
- Walk away
How is it possible that I actually have MORE steps in my acronym than in the tutorial? Yeah. Also, if you’re using real flowers, don’t forget to add water please. So, the acronym is now actually VWCMCSSLWP. So easy, right?
A few notes about OUR process:
We chose a Fourth of July theme but purposely left out the red – from the traditional red, white and blue – because we wanted to be able to display these babies year round. We also didn’t want it to scream patriotism (not that we’re not patriotic – GO USA!) while simultaneously clashing with Liz’s decor (take a peek, here).
We first measured…
Then, using a method which took way too long to figure out (yes, a hand-saw was involved), we used pliers (ok we used crimpers, but we recommend pliers) to cut through the plastic of the stems and then bent the stems back and forth in the same place until they finally snapped in half.
*Be careful since they are made of wire and are very sharp when you snap them in half*
We had to do this a few times since we kept placing the stem in the bottom of the vase to try and get the “perfect” height (see “measuring” photo above).
Then, we just stuck all the flowers in haphazardly and then bent them until we were happy with how evenly distributed they were. But you should totally follow our tutorial above – I mean, we lived it so you don’t have to. We did try to arrange them with heavier flowers kind of staggered throughout for color and size balance. And we tweaked and re-tweaked until we got it just right. For example, if it looked like there was a little too much white on the left of the bouquet, we tried to move them around to include a little more white on the right side.
Want to get the babies involved? If they’re too young to cut and arrange poke-your-eye-out stems, check out this fantastic book.
Here’s a little preview of The Rose in My Garden, an amazing cumulative story with seriously poetic grace. Your kids will love it.
So tell us what you think! Are peonies your style? Maybe you’re more of a rose girl?