How to Make Fake Flower Arrangements as Pretty as the Real Thing (For Under $20)

updated Mar 23, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

I love flowers, but I hate when they wilt away. That’s why I’ve always erred on the side of decorating my space with succulents, but I have to admit that there’s nothing like the soothing pop of color that manicured flowers add to my bedroom. 

As I watched my Valentine’s Day bouquet wither last month, I wondered, “Why can’t this last forever?” As it turns out, they can — sort of. After following New Jersey floral designer and vintage furniture curator Michel Sims on Instagram for months, I saw her post gorgeous faux bouquets in the most fabulous vases. It dawned on me that I could try designing a faux bouquet, too. 

What are the benefits of fake flowers?

Fake plants are divisive, but I firmly believe that they also get a bad rap. Of course, faux flowers don’t provide the same benefits as real ones. According to the Texas A&M Ellison Chair in International Floriculture, surrounding yourself with plants can improve a person’s memory, quality of time, and general happiness. Plants can also decrease stress. Meanwhile, faux plants can spruce up a room with color but obviously cannot breathe life into your space. 

Many horticulture experts say that faux plants are bad for the environment because they’re produced with bleaches and dyes. However, there aren’t many studies on how artificial plants impact the environment. (The cut flower industry isn’t without its negative impact, either, as real flowers need to be shipped by air due to their shelf life, tend to be wrapped in cellophane, and require plenty of water to both grow and stay fresh.) Choosing to purchase a few fake flowers over buying real ones every few weeks may be a more sustainable way to decorate if you aren’t throwing the fake flowers out immediately after their use.

It helps that the decor is now slowly coming back into style, too. For decades, designers declared that fake plants — from sunflowers to lemon trees — were eyesores because they’d stick out as artificial. But nowadays, faux flowers are so well produced that they can masquerade as the real deal, especially if you’re using them sparingly throughout your house.

What to consider before designing your arrangement:

It’s worth thinking about two key things before you get started: “When I create an arrangement, I highly consider the season and mood,” Sims told Apartment Therapy. I chose to design my bouquet for the springtime and evaluated what color combination would look marvelous in my bedroom. 

Next, you’ll want to gather your materials — and if it’s safe, picking your faux plants in person can provide plenty of inspiration. I headed over to Sims’s go-to place for faux flowers, Michael’s, and walked up and down the aisle picking and choosing which flowers might be right for me, all the while keeping Sims’ advice in mind. She prefers flowers like tulips and ranunculus, which “pop out in funky, flowy ways that make an arrangement look very abstract and something worthy of being in a garden of a museum.” I then utilized several empty baskets to mix and match flowers until I found the right combination. 

Before I left, I stumbled upon a vibrant peach vase and thought it’d be perfect for my bouquet. “I advise against clear vases for faux bouquets because you can see the false details,” Sims told Apartment Therapy. Opaque vases, on the other hand, obscure bent wires or rough cuts. “You won’t be able to see the bottom stems of the faux flowers,” she added. The New Jersey floral designer also loves searching for vases at thrift stores and always lets the right vase find her. 

Credit: Andie Kanaras

How to make faux bouquets look real, according to an expert:

According to Sims, making your arrangements look real starts with your selections. “I love picking pieces that have movement and flow since that will allow you to easily move pieces around and give the stems that flowy feeling that a real flower has,” she told Apartment Therapy. 

To make fake flowers look that much more realistic, Sims recommends “fluffing up the flower petals with your hands [or] softly tucking the ends of the petals with a scissor,” the same way you’d do with a balloon string or a thin ribbon. 

“The goal is to make the flowers have the same movement as a real one, and you will end up with a realistic-looking faux flower arrangement that will live in your space for a long time,” Sims notes.

And arranging faux flowers can be your next indoor springtime hobby:

It took less than half an hour to assemble my bouquet — and while flower clippers can be helpful for cutting through thick wire, they’re not necessary.

The exercise also inspired me to arrange a bouquet for my boss, and plan an afternoon arranging faux bouquets with my mom and sister. You’ll need plenty of flowers for each person to pick and choose from, and at the end of the session, you can either keep your own or gift it to someone else in the group. Now, I’m aware of a faux bouquet’s magical power: They can not only be an affordable addition to a home but a lovely gift and activity to partake with loved ones, too.