I have a treat for you today if you ever want to assemble a beautiful floral centerpiece. I recently took a flower arranging class, and I’m spilling everything I learned about DIY flower arranging.
This is a Fall flower arrangement, but you can apply these same rules to any season. Once I learned this formula, assembling my arrangement was pretty easy.
Before we begin, think about color. The easiest way to make a floral arrangement look cohesive is to choose colors close to one another on the color wheel, for instance – pinks and reds, blues and purples, yellows and greens.
Some people think that you should choose the opposite color on the color wheel, but this can cause your arrangement to look a little disconnected unless you are a pro!
When in doubt? Make an arrangement the same color. Choose different varieties of flowers in the same color scheme.
For this tutorial – I went with a maroon color scheme. Some items have more pink tones but are still in that same pink/maroon family of colors.
Now let’s look at the flower arranging formula to help us achieve a great look.
DIY Flower Arranging Formula
Here’s the simple 5 item formula you need to remember every time you go to the store to pick up your floral items:
- Height/Something Tall– You need something tall to help establish the height of the arrangement. Branches from trees, tall flowers or foliage, olive branches, and long pieces of greenery all work well here.
- Filler/Something Lush – Flowers with multiple stems, leaves, or greens – anything that is round, lush, and bountiful will help shape and fill out the arrangement. Greens are great for this! Think thicker varieties of greenery – like ferns, ivy, evergreens, even kale, swiss chard, and herbs.
- Center/Feature/Star – When you look at an arrangement – the center/feature element is the star of the show. This is the biggest flower in the grouping. These are usually placed in the center, perhaps slightly off to the side. But mainly in the center of the arrangement. Think large flowers – dahlias, hydrangeas, large roses. Your feature element can also be beautiful fruits and vegetables like artichokes, peppers, and pomegranates.
- Accent/Something Smaller – The accent items add exciting color and texture to your arrangement. Choose something smaller than the feature flower and different from your filler items. These accents add interest to your arrangement.
- Vessel – An attractive container makes an arrangement look much better than a basic, boring container. Perhaps you have something that was passed down to you in the family? Or maybe an exciting flea market find? Footed urns are beautiful, as are antique vases. It’s also fun to think outside the box with vessels – terracotta pots can be really neat pitchers, vintage jars, and even low bowls work.
Let’s start arranging.
How to Arrange Your Florals
- Start with a clean container. Fill it with fresh water and add some flower food.
- Group all your floral items into little piles – the height, the filler, the feature, the accent.
- Establish the Shape: Start with your fillers. You want them to spill out to the sides – if everything is straight up and down, it will look unnatural. We want to create whimsy and movement. We want the eye to move across the arrangement. As I went along, I spread the kale out. You don’t need to get this perfect on the first try. There is room to fluff and move things around as you go.
- Next, place your height items where you want something taller. The filler establishes the shape; the height will round it out up top and on the sides. I wanted my height branches to look natural, so I spread them like a fan opening. If they droop a little – that’s ok! It adds interest. Follow the lead of your flowers/branches a bit.
- Now, take your accent flowers and fill in the bare and empty spots. It’s best to have the accent flowers vary in height. Perhaps one is taller, and one is shorter – mix this look throughout.
- Grab your feature flowers and stick them in the center – or a little off-center. It’s best to use odd numbers here. Remember, the eye likes odd numbers because it can find a middle.
- Finally, take more accent flowers to help fill out more of the arrangement. Or, rearrange your fillers as needed. The final floral design should be organic and natural looking.
More Flower Arranging Ideas
I mentioned earlier that many elements for a great floral design could be found right in the ol’ produce section of your grocery store. I wanted to elaborate a bit more on that.
Most fruits and veggies are fair game as accents or a feature in your arrangements. Walk down your produce aisle and see what sparks your interest.
Here are some ideas:
- Fruits: Grapes, Pears, Lemons, Oranges, Pomegranates, strawberry branches, figs, and apples.
- Vegetables: Kale (Green and Purple), Swiss Chard, lettuce, Carrots, Peppers, and mini pumpkins.
- Use Nature as a base, too: Floral arrangements can be housed in hollowed-out pumpkins and cabbages.
- If using a clear glass vase: Line the outside with sliced limes, grapefruit, and lemons for an interesting touch.
- Use the Vase within a Vase trick: Place a smaller, skinnier vase inside your larger one. Line the fruit slices between the two vases to hold them in place.
- To get your fruit and veggies to stay up in your arrangement – poke them onto a BBQ skewer and stick the skewer in your arrangement like you would any other stem.
- Look at popular floral designers for inspiration. Some of my favorites? Farmgirl Flowers, Floret Flowers and Tulipina.
I also wanted to mention that hardcover floral books can help teach and inspire you about floral design. They also make excellent coffee table books.
Keep a stack together so you and your guests can peruse them. Some flower-arranging hardcover books I recommend you check out are Martha’s Flowers, Floret Flower’s Cut Flower Garden, The Flower Workshop, and Color Me Floral.
I love how this turned out. And this DIY floral arranging costs me a total of $9! The Hydrangeas and Greens were from my backyard. I already had the container. The carnations were $7 at my grocery store, and the kale bunch was $1.99. You can get a lot of bang for your buck this way.
I will try more floral arranging designs for each season, gifting these away more often. Hopefully, our floral design skills will continue to be refined!