A Complete Step-by-Step Online Guide to Flower Arranging Beautiful Bouquets

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Fresh flowers can completely transform a space. They bring color, fragrance, and beauty to any room. If you have a fresh floral market near your home, then you know how alluring they look, just waiting for you to choose some and bring them home.

But what do you do with them when you get them home? Fresh flowers need more than just a vase filled with water. They need to be arranged into beautiful bouquets. If you’ve never taken a course on flower arranging or you aren’t receiving bouquets of Hawaiian flowers every month, this can be a daunting task. How do you know what type of flowers to use? How many do you need? Do you need to cut the stems?

Buy enough flowers

Before you even begin placing flowers in a vase, you will need to gather materials that will create an eye-popping arrangement. This includes flowers in colors that you love. Be sure that you buy an odd number of flowers. Don’t forget greenery and any accent flowers that will make your main flowers stand out. It is also important that you have water and plant food for the vase.

Get the right tools or good substitutes

It is helpful to have other useful tools on hand. Floral shears are better to use than scissors for cutting stems and removing greenery. But, if you are not ready to invest in them, scissors will do the job. Floral tape is also useful, especially if you are trying to get the stems to hang a certain way. Again, if you are just starting out, you can substitute it with clear tape.

Your flowers will need a base. Some people also like to use chicken wire as a grid for placing flowers into the vase. You can also wad chicken wire into a ball to place the bottom of the vase to serve as a base for your flowers.

It is also wise to keep your flowers in a medium-sized vase to keep them hydrated until you put them in the final one. This vase can be something simple, like the metal or plastic vases that flower markets use to hold their cut stems.

Choose a vase

The vase you choose should complement the flowers. So, if you have flowers in neutral colors like white, pale pink, or tan, you could put them in a bold, brightly colored vase. If you have colorful flowers in bright yellows or pinks, with plenty of greenery, use a neutral vase – like a clear glass one. You can also use a monochromatic style, like putting pink flowers in a pink glass vase to make a bold, modern statement.

Types of vases

Vases come in several different styles. There are tall, cylindrical vases that look elegant with sprays of tall, bold flowers. Sometimes, these vases only need one or two stems for a modern look. Cylinder vases come in medium and short heights, too.

You could also go with something rustic, like a milk bottle or mason jar. These look great with sunflowers, daisies, or hydrangeas that you pick fresh from your own garden. They are pretty to put on porches and in kitchens.

Square vases look good when filled with greenery and big accent flowers in round shapes. They set off of the angle of the square and look freshly modern. Square vases are not expected, so they should not overwhelm the flowers that are placed in them.

Ceramic vases or milk glass vases are opaque and can look amazing with monochromatic flowers. You will not be able to see the stems. These vases can be very artistic, so be sure you arrangements coordinate with the style of vase.

If you are looking for a unique design for a vase, consider a pedestal or a bowl. You will have to play with the stems and the way you place the flowers in because these do not have the same depth as traditional vases. With a bowl, you might have the flower completely submerged in water, or a bold spray that practically explodes from the wide mouth.

Another type of vase is the simple bud vase. You can use several tiny ones to show of small flowers, or use large ones to display your favorite beautiful blooms.

What if the vase is clear

If you are using a vase that is clear glass, you need to consider what the stems look like the inside of it. The clear glass will show off anything that you put in the vase. One way to create a unique design is to tie the stems together with a beautiful ribbon for an elegant look or use a piece of twine for a homey, farmstand look. If you use a ribbon, tuck the ends in so they do not hang in the water. Another stylish way to finish the inside of a clear glass vase is to use glass beads or marbles so the stems do not show at all.

Flowers are the focal point

When you are designing your arrangement, the vase should be secondary to the flowers. Be sure that you buy enough flowers and greenery to fill the vase. And, buy them in long enough lengths that they will fit the vase. It is better to have stems that are too long rather than too short because you can always cut them to fit. As you are placing flowers into the vase, keep the weight and strength of the stem in mind. Tall flowers with sturdy stems should be in the middle of the vase while heavy flowers that could droop, should be near the lip of the vase.

Symmetry or asymmetry?

Building the shape of the bouquet is completely up to you. There is nothing wrong with clean lines and symmetry. But, you can also design a beautiful bouquet that is asymmetric, with highs and lows. You can use all the same types of flowers, like a bouquet filled with hydrangea. Or, you can mix and match flowers, like pairing peonies with roses or gerbera daisies with snapdragons. Be creative. Think of flowers that can serve as the focal point like lilies, then fill with flowers like baby’s breath and add height with line flowers like curly willow. Eventually, you will see how these different types of flowers work together to create an interesting bouquet.

Basic steps not to miss

When you are getting ready to make the bouquet, there are some basic steps that should not be missed. The first is to remove unwanted greenery from stems to make the clean and easy to stick into the vase. You should use scissors to cut the greenery from the stems and to cut the end of the stem on a diagonal. When you cut the stem on a diagonal, rather than horizontally, the flower will be able to drink in more water and live longer.

Fill the vase and set up a base

Before you put any flowers in the decorative vase, fill half of it with water. Be prepared to change the water twice per week. After you put the water in the vase, add the plant food. Most plant food brands will dissolve, but if it sinks, stir it up. At this point, you can begin to add flowers.

If your vase is opaque, you can start with the greenery. Criss-cross the stems in the vase so they build a sturdy lattice. Another useful base can be created by using clear tape in a criss-cross pattern across the lip of the vase, too. Once your base is substantial, you can add the focal flowers and spread them out in a way that shows them off.  These should be the biggest flowers. After that, add the smaller flowers and filler flowers. These will fill in any holes that you might see. Once you feel like you have everything where you want it, look at the flowers and remove wilted petals. Rotate flowers to show off their most attractive angles.

Begin with a monochromatic theme

When you are just beginning to experiment with flower arranging, monochromatic flowers are the easiest to arrange. If you need to add a second color, stick with basic greenery or a filler like baby’s breath. With one or two basic colors, you will pay more attention to the shape of the bouquet rather than the placement of different types of flowers.

Experiment with shape and accessories

Eventually, you will feel comfortable with the way you place flowers. You will develop your own aesthetic as you begin to see the shapes of the flowers and how they interact with other shapes. You might even try using succulents, fruits, or vegetables in your arrangements.

It is also helpful to look around at different types of bouquets. You might find that you like the classic round shapes of bouquets filled with roses. You might like the way that droopy peonies look in a medium-sized milk-glass vase. Or, you might like the look of the clean lines of orchids in a low pot filled with kumquats.


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About Kristin

Master reviewer of all types of products. Love XL Fountain Sodas!! Cheer Mom extraordinaire. Socialite to all things small town and founder of ItsFreeAtlast.com. Come socialize and connect with me.


  1. Dorothy Boucher says

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us, I love to do flowers but I am not very good at arranging them and often they look like I just plopped them in LOL, I will take notes and work harder on better arrangements for the home.

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