Don’t think you can arrange flowers?
I’m here to tell you that yes, you can.
Trust me. Seriously. I will give you the formula.
And I’m going to give you my secret to doing it CHEAP. I’m including this secret for free. Just for reading this blog, you get Dani’s secret formula.
I threw together these 4 arrangements recently for a function at my kid’s school that I was helping to organize. I didn’t feel right blowing the slim budget on a florist, so I made the 4 arrangements myself. Now, I happen to like playing with flowers, and I have the patience to go through the trial and error that it takes to get it looking right. But I’m going to tell you all you need to know so you can do it, too.
I’m going to start by giving you my most important secret – how to make your bouquets cheap. Not cheap looking, mind you! Just cheap.
Secret #1: How To Make Cheap Flower Arrangements
Mix store bought flowers with free garden flowers. The store bought flowers add style and pizazz, and the garden flowers are free filler. Think of the 80/20 rule. 80% free from the garden, 20% funky store bought flowers to jazz things up. Here, I only used 2 or 3 florist flowers per bunch. Trust me, it works.
To make these 4 flower arrangements, I bought one bunch of sunflowers, one bunch of kale, and 2 bunches of seeded eucalyptus to fill out the bottom. That’s it. Total cost – $20.
Don’t be afraid of being creative when picking flowers from your garden. Use branches from shrubs or plants with interesting foliage. If you don’t have flowers in your garden, hit up a friend or become really chummy with the neighbourhood cat lady with the overgrown garden. Usually people who have flowers have lots and are happy to share. Sometimes you can sneak a few from empty lots and fields. But I didn’t tell you to do that.
Secret #2: The Easiest Bouquet For A Beginner
Your secret weapons for making great flower arrangements this time of year are hydrangeas and autumn joy. Easy. These grow abundantly, look great together, and dry beautifully in case you happen to forget to water your creation. Hydrangeas are large enough so that you can easily make a full-looking bouquet. Add a few little branches from a shrub, and some ivy if you can get your hands on it. Bunch these together and they look great without any florist flowers added, and best of all – they are FREE. I had all these plants at my first house and it was my standard fall combo. You can fancy it up like I did here with the sunflowers and kale, but I think it looks just fine as it is.
Secret #3: Get Some Rocks And Foam
Have you ever used floral foam? Trust me, it makes making a beautiful bouquet easy. For these 4 bouquets I bought 2 bricks of floral foam from the florist for $2.50. All you do is cut it with a knife to fit the shape of your vase. It holds your flowers in the right place, so you can get a nicely shaped bouquet. Saturate the foam with water, and then just push the stems in. Don’t like where you put your flower? No worries, just pull it out and try again. The floral foam can get a little bashed up and still work fine.
If you’re using a clear glass vase, you need to hide the foam. I do this by leaving a little space between the foam and the vase, and filling the space with rocks. I use smooth polished ones from the dollar store, and I keep them to reuse again. In the old days I used to have a gravel driveway and I would just gather a few handfuls of stone from there. When I was done with the flowers, I would just toss the gravel back on the driveway like a good recycler.
Secret #4: How To Copy These Bouquets
If you’ve never tried to make your own flower arrangements before, and you’re a little unsure, you could just make one like mine. Here’s all you need to know.
I started with a few armfuls of hydrangeas and autumn joy, with some odds and ends thrown in, like a bit of pink chrysanthemum and some garlic chive flowers that were past blooming. Strip all the leaves below the blooms.
These flowers were mainly green, pink, and burgundy colours. I chose purple kale from the florist as an accent flower and some bright sunflowers just for fun. For a green filler plant, I chose seeded eucalyptus. I find the soft silvery colour looks great with just about any flower, and the seeds add some interest. And I love that it’s droopy – these kinds of flower arrangements always look great with something droopy hanging down.
I cut the floral foam to fit the vase, leaving enough room around the foam to add a layer of rocks. I drenched the foam and started adding my flowers. I used the hydrangeas first because they were the largest, placing the first one in the middle and then four surrounding that one, leaving lots of space in between for the other flowers. The first flower in the center determined the height, with the other flowers arranged around to make a bit of a dome shape.
After the 5 hydrangeas, I added the feature flowers – 1 kale and 1 or 2 sunflowers each. Then I filled in some of the space with autumn joy, and then added more hydrangea until the bouquet was filled out. The final touch was adding a few stems of seeded eucalyptus around the bottom. I only had enough for 2 or 3 stems per vase, but it did the trick. Don’t be afraid to pull the flowers out and adjust them if you have to – the foam is very forgiving. Just be careful when you are pushing the flowers into the foam so that you don’t bend the stems.
So here’s the final formula for a pretty and cheap fall flower arrangement:
Garden hydrangeas + autumn joy + 2 store bought flowers + something droopy = gorgeous fancy looking arrangement.
To make these four arrangements, I already had the glass vases and the polished rocks. This brought the total price to $22.50, or $5.63 each. Cheap.
At this rate, you can make 10 for $56.30. That’s one for each member of the family including the dog. And you have extra left to impress your in-laws. And don’t forget to drop one off for the cat lady who’s flowers you stole.