My sister graduated college last weekend (it’s completely crazy to me, I still haven’t gotten over it.) I decided to celebrate with a quirky bouquet that fit her personality. I also thought it would be kind of fun to make the bouquet in her school colors, which are red and purple. Most school colors don’t look great together, so I opted to only use one of the two, with an accent elsewhere. I love working with fresh flowers, so I’m always jumping at a chance to create another bouquet. This one shows a little school spirit, and shows off the personality of the graduate.
Here’s what you need:
- A bunch (around 5-6) of your focal flower, a larger flower that will be the main piece of your bouquet, I chose peonies.
- A bunch of a smaller flower to help take up space and accent your focal flower (mine are alstromeria)
- A bunch of filler flowers to help take up space and add some texture. I found this gorgeous limonium and decided to use it as my color.
- A bunch of greenery. I used eucalyptus because my sister likes things that are out of the ordinary, but there are a lot of great choices to use.
When you get to your local florist or grocer, take stock of what’s around and decide how you will create your colors when you can see what’s there. Most places offer pre-made flower bunches, which are a lot more inexpensive than buying flowers by the stem. I found all of these flowers at a local grocer.
Here’s How to Make Your Own Bouquet…
Start by conditioning your flowers. This means preparing the flowers for arranging. Fill a bucket with a few inches of lukewarm water. Unwrap any bunches you bought. Remove the leaves from the stems of flowers and from the stems of your greenery up to the top few inches. You don’t want any leaves adding bulk to the stems or dead leaves immersed in your water. Next, cut the tip of each stem at a 45 degree angle so that it can soak up as much water as possible. Let your flowers soak in the water for a few hours. This will help them be as hydrated as possible while you work with them.
Once your flowers are done soaking, grab a piece of greenery first to give yourself some structure. Hold it in your left hand, and place one of your focal flowers at a 45 degree angle a few inches down from the top of your greenery, depending on how much you want the greens to stick out. The 45 degree angle will help you layer your stems evenly and create a nice spiraled effect with the stems. Keep layering flowers around your bouquet. The order is up to you. If you want a more natural look, try pairing like flowers together, if you want symmetry, evenly disperse your flowers. It may take a few tries to get control of all of your flowers, and your hand may cramp, but don’t give up, once you have a nice amount of flowers, things get much easier. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a bouquet on my first try, but I am kind of a perfectionist.
Once you have your bouquet looking how you want it, grab a piece of twine with your left hand. (It’s best to have a long cut piece beforehand). Place one end, about six inches in under your thumb in your left hand and slowly wind the twin around the stems. Once it’s wound a few times, place it on the table and tie a knot to hold your bouquet in place. Cut all your stems to the same length and leave in water until just before the ceremony.
Since I drove about an hour to get to ceremony, and knew it would be about 3 hours after that I until I would see my sister, I opted to create a water pack to keep the flowers fresh. You can just wrap the flowers in tissue and skip the following steps if you plan on putting the flowers in some water within a few hours of taking them out. If you’ve got a long wait ahead of you, you can create a DIY aqua pack to keep the flowers in water without a vase.
Lay down 3-4 layers of plastic wrap, more if you need the pack to be held together for a while. Set the bottom of the bouquet in the center of the wrap and lift up the ends around the stems.
Take your rubber band and wrap it a few times around the stems about 3-4 inches from the end. Set your bouquet aside.
Lay down a layer or two of tissue paper in your other school color and place a piece of freezer paper on top of it. This adds another semi-waterproof layer and some extra structure. Trim the tissue to the size of the freezer paper. You can use decorative scissors or scallop the edges if you like. Wrap up the edges just like you did with the saran wrap, but paying more attention to the appearance of the wrap. Grab a piece of twine or coordinating yarn and wrap it around your tissue just like you did when tying the bouquet.
Your wrap is complete, just grab a water pitcher or something else that can pour a thin stream of water and fill it up. Carefully pour a little bit of water at a time right in the top center of the bouquet. The water will trickle down straight into your pack. Give it about an inch or so of water, you can usually feel it in the bottom.
Your bouquet is ready to bring along to graduation! Just make sure not to lay your bouquet down if it has the water pack, because it will spill! Most hand tied bouquets made like this should be able to stand up on their own if you need to set them down. Just make sure that you cut all the stems to the same length.
Congrats to the class of 2014!!