I was recently asked to make two large flower arrangements for a church’s 8th grade graduation service. The students picked bright orange and bright green (!!!) Gerbera daisies as their class flowers, so the arrangements would center around those flowers.
These flowers are going to go on the altar at church, but you can use the same techniques for making large arrangements for your home or for a budget-conscious wedding. I feel like I should stress that don’t actually know what I am doing, but I will share a few tips that have worked for me the past and that have produced some decent-looking results.
1. THINK IN 2D: Regular tabletop arrangements need to be beautiful from all angles; this kind of arrangement will only be seen from one angle which changes the way you approach arranging the flowers. Height and width are important for impact; depth isn’t as crucial.
2. FACTOR IN SCALE: This is especially important if you are making flowers for a church altar. The space is large and most people will be seeing the flowers from far away. Tiny flowers and small arrangements don’t work as well.
3. HAVE A PLAN: While you are picking out silks at the store, hold them in your hand or lay them out on the floor to get an idea of how they will look after you have arranged them. This will help to prevent you from buying too many (or too few) stems.
4. KEEP IT GREEN: As pretty as the focus flowers may be, large flower arrangements don’t look right without filler flowers and greenery.
5. MIRROR, MIRROR: If you are making two arrangements, it is best to make them mirror images of each other. To do this easily, work on both arrangements simultaneously. Place a flower in one arrangement, then place the same kind of flower in the other arrangement.
6. STEP AWAY: Since the scale of these arrangements is bigger than usual bouquets, take a minute now and then to step back and look at the whole picture.
To make a large silk flower arrangment, you will need:
several stems of silk flowers
vase or container
floral wire and/or tape
floral or wire cutters
hot glue gun (optional)
First, shove some floral foam into your vase or container. You can buy the fancy stuff at the craft store, or save some money and buy it at the dollar store.
Position your tallest/widest stems in the back of the arrangement. Use these flowers to create an imaginary box that will be the outer perameters of your arrangement.
I like to start buy placing my focus flowers first. Yay, alliteration! Remember to place one flower in the arrangement, and then mirror it in the other. Use your floral cutter to trim the stems to the correct length, and be careful of rogue stems ricocheting off of walls and furniture.
One of the many benefits of using fake flowers is that the stems are usually wired which means you can literally bend them to your will. But sometimes even bending the wire won’t make the flowers go exactly where you want them to. A little green floral tape can help to position the flowers and will be almost invisible in the final product. The same goes for green floral wire.
One by one, add in your filler flowers. Fill in any large gaps, and be sure to remember that height and width are more important than depth.
I added a little ribbon to the vases and called them finished. I sent a few pictures of the arrangements to the school to see if they were satisfied with the end result, and they asked if they could be made a little fuller. They were definitely right; these did look a little scraggly.
If changes need to be made, it’s very easy to move flowers around or add or remove stems. Silk stems are very forgiving! I added more green and white Gerbera daisies and think the arrangements look much improved!
I used these same tricks when my cousin and I made the altar flowers for her sister’s wedding a few years back. Since we had made the arrangements ourselves from silk flowers, we were able to move the altar flowers to the reception for extra decoration. Then my aunt and my mom each took one arrangement to display in their houses. It makes for a very nice rememberance of the day!
For more wedding and flower arranging ideas, check out the “DIY I Do’s” link on my sidebar!