Free Lessons in Flower Arrangement

Flower arranging can be a fun and sometimes profitable hobby, but most people do not know how to properly arrange the flowers to look appealing.

Horizontal Arrangement

Basic designs In arranging flowersBasic designs In arranging flowers
There are many possibilities when creating a flower arrangement, and fresh-cut, dried or silk flowers can be used to make an attractive basic design when you know just a few simple steps.

Often used for centerpieces or windowsills or to cover the top of a long table, horizontal flower arrangements can be displayed where an extended spray of flowers is suitable. A shallow container works best for this arrangement and you should choose the right floral foam for the type of flowers you are using. Green, water-retaining foam is best for fresh flowers and foliage, and the brown and stiffer foam works best for dried or silk flowers. If you are using fresh flowers, the foam should be soaked in a bucket or bowl of water for about 20 seconds so it can absorb the water. Do not over-soak, since the foam can become brittle and break apart. The foam insert should be anchored with plenty of hot glue. Establish the length of the desired design by positioning line material such as straight leaves, iris leaves or bear grass, which are used to create the outline shape of the design. Place the flowers you want the eye to see first, known as focal flowers, such as roses, carnations, etc., in the middle of the arrangement. Arrange the line material on both sides and gently droop over the edge of the container. Be sure to leave enough room to add additional flowers, known as filler material. Fill in the area of the design with the additional flowers and foliage.

Vertical Arrangement

These designs are created to be uplifting and are easily achieved by assembling the flowers in a tall, narrow container. Good plants to use for a vertical arrangement are delphinium, cattails, anthurium, iris or gladiolus since all are naturally tall and straight. Secure floral foam in the bottom of container with hot glue. Place all focal flowers (flowers that you want front and center such as roses and carnations) at the lip and slightly above your container about three or four times the container's height. Use additional flowers to fill in as needed.

Triangular Arrangement

Triangular arrangements are created to give a feeling of stability when choosing deep-colored or brighter blooms that are used near the center of the container. These designs may be balanced equally on all sides or created in an asymmetrical design where one triangle point is extended further out than the others. Make sure your floral foam is secured in the bottom of the container with hot glue. Start by using the smallest flowers and/or leaves to determine the vertical height and horizontal width you wish to achieve. Remember, the height must be longer than the width. Using the focal flowers (flowers that you want front and center such as roses and carnations) and position them in the center of the arrangement and somewhat lower, which will give the design weight and balance. The flowers should droop in an elegant but relaxed fashion. Use additional flowers and foliage to fill in while keeping the triangular shape of the arrangement.

Oval Arrangement

The design of this arrangement is intended to look good from all sides, and can be created with larger blooms that are placed in the center, and smaller ones placed around the edge of the container. An easy way to create an oval design is to use floral tape and tape your container to a lazy Susan. By doing this, you will be able to turn your arrangement as material is being added. Decide how high you want your arrangement to be using line material, such as straight leaves, iris leaves and bear grass, which are used to create the outline shape of the design. Always put the largest, brightest and strongest flowers in the center. Use additional flowers and leaves to fill in around the larger ones.

Check your work

After creating your beautiful design, you'll want to make sure that the arrangement is balanced; if not, then add something or take something out. You will want to make sure the design is proportioned. In other words, you don't want tall flowers in the front and shorter ones in the back. Also, make sure you have enough contrasting in your arrangement by adding just the right mixture of light and dark, rough and smooth, shiny and dull. Your flower arrangement should have a rhythm that flows and should be pleasing to the eye.

About the Author

Based in Maryland, Lisa Proulx has been a freelance writer for more than 10 years. She is a writer and columnist for the "Brunswick Citizen" and a play critic for "The Frederick Gazette." A former columnist for the "Mountain Xpress" in Asheville, N.C., Proulx was also the senior writer for Vegas Radio WTRI.