I wrote this post a while back but the floral design tutorial is pretty comprehensive so I wanted to share it again this year.
Many, many moons ago I owned a flower shop. Note I didn’t say I was a ‘florist’. That skill set didn’t come until years later. Let me explain.
First Husband wanted to own a business. He thought there was a lot of profit in flowers. He thought his wife was very creative. He thought ‘we’ could successfully run a flower shop.
He was a BIG thinker.
And he was wrong. On so many levels, Lord, he was wrong.
However, we did open a flower shop. I did learn how to arrange flowers. We did book multiple weddings each weekend. And we did manage to survive for a couple of years.
Then we went belly-up.
I never wanted to see a flower again. Or so I thought.
Fifteen years later I wandered into a craft store and applied for a part-time job. The manager asked if I could arrange flowers.
Huh? Flowers? Well, I’ve never worked with silk flowers.
She said, Go grab some flowers and give it a shot.
Any flowers? Pick any flowers I want? (One-third of the store was packed full of gorgeous silk flowers.)
Yeah. Just go make an arrangement and then let me see it.
Let me tell you, the arrangement was gawd-awful. But I threw a florist bow in it and she hired me on the spot. It’s worth noting she was in a tough spot and really needed someone.
As my arrangements progressed into actual designs, my boss would pull that dang first piece out and remind me how far I’d come. It’s probably still around the store, stuck in a back corner somewhere.
Nowadays, I work almost exclusively with silks. If you’re a purist and ‘don’t do fake flowers’, this ain’t the post for you.
Me, I love ‘em.
Okay, this is a tutorial for a silk floral wreath. A wreath that isn’t completely full with flowers. It’ll probably seem like a lot of stuff just for a wreath but I usually wind up with product left over, so I can make more stuff!
You might be able to do without wire & tape, if you don’t already have it. I use them to lengthen certain pieces, but on wreaths, you usually don’t need pieces very long – usually 3-5 inches will do.
Now you need a wreath base. I like grapevine or straw for fall, because I usually don’t completely cover my base. I like a little texture showing thru. But you can use a styrofoam base or a wire base – you’ll just need about 3 times as much material.
Okay, on to shopping. Hopefully you’ll find stuff on sale. You’ll need focal flowers, ornamentals, fillers, and possibly line flowers, plus ribbon or raffia or even torn calico strips.
The reason I use such a variety is for the variety of colors and textures. I don’t do symmetrical or matchy-matchy, and I try to never put a big bow in any wreath. Your eye will go to the bow and miss all the really cool stuff. By putting all kinds of materials in a wreath, the eye doesn’t settle in one place – it keeps moving. Make sense?
You’ll want a minimum of 2 – 3 of these, about 4-6 inches big, depending upon the size of your wreath. I chose cranberry peonies, but you could use scarecrows, rusted tin decor, pumpkins, whatever you want.
Next, pick some smaller flowers, in a different, but coordinating color.
Now for the ribbon. I bought some w/glitz for my mom. But you could use anything. I like mixing textures. I was already in the check-out line and saw the Sinamay (shiny burlap-py stuff) and had to go find it, but am so glad I did.
Okay, now I take my focal /ornamentals/secondary flowers (the big stuff) and stick them where I think I want them (no glue). When I get them positioned how I want them, I take them out, one by one, and glue them back in.
See how the 2 peonies are staggered, as well as the sunflowers – one higher than the other? Different levels = visual interest.
Then fill in the gaps with your filler – in this case my .99 bushes and leaves.
The final touch is the ribbon. Some designers do ribbon first, but I love at least 2 types of ribbon in my designs and I like them to look really freeform. So I glue them in as accents to the design.
Like I said, it may seem like a lot of stuff just for a wreath, but once you get the hang of making them, it’s a lot of fun!