Pro Florist Tips for Making Your Own Beautiful DIY Flower Arrangements

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

It’s so easy to push a button and order flowers online (and a wonderful option for those far apart) but imagine delivering a handmade bouquet filled with vibrant, fragrant, seasonal flowers. Too expensive? Not more expensive than the internet. Too complicated? Nope. We can do it!

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

I decided to write this post because I’m making handmade Valentine’s bouquets this year. The only problem? I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to flower arranging. ‘Teachable moment!’ I thought, so on the fly, I contacted Sprout Home Chicago to see if they’d be up for offering some tips for novice flower arrangers like me. Carly and Stephen, the superstar florists at Sprout, welcomed me with open arms to visit, watch, and pick up some pro-pointers to share with all of you.

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

Carly’s (Sprout’s head florist in Chicago) Pro Tips:

1. Start with a good base: Begin with a few small branches of leafy greens to build into.

2. Let it flow: Allow the shape of the branches to determine the shape of the bouquet. Organic and free flowing arrangements are so much more interesting to look at than a perfect ball of flowers.

3. Ease up: Hold the flowers loosely in your hand, and continue to rotate as you add, so the beauty can be seen from all angles. You can make adjustments as necessary.

4. Keep it simple: Everyone wants to grab all the prettiest flowers and stick them in one bouquet, but the best bouquets feature only a few knockout flowers. Use filler and greenery to accentuate and blend them.

5. Fill in the holes: View your arrangement from the top and all around, and fill in any gaps.

6. Bonus tip: Make sure to select fresh floral, trim the ends of the stems, and change the water every few days for flowers that last.

Check out the gallery for step-by-step building of a bouquet:

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1: We started with a base of greenery by holding one branch vertically, then placing a second branch over it at a 90-degree angle, then moving clockwise until we had a foundation for our flowers. **Before adding flowers, we removed extra leaves (that would be under water) from each stem. (Image credit: Julia Brenner)

Notes on Flowers:

  1. Spray roses are fantastic filler flowers because they’re relatively inexpensive and offer a lot of “bang for your buck” according to Carly.
  2. Stay open to possibilities. For example, the day I visited, they were in the process of creating arrangements with raspberry bushes, branches, and seasonal greenery. Options to look for at your local florist this time of year include poppies, ranunculus, garden roses, citrus branches, flowering branches.
  3. Never be afraid to ask for help! If you’d like to create a handmade bouquet but aren’t sure where to start or get stumped along the way, your local florist will be more than happy to help.
(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

The Stars:

Carly and Stephen will spend Valentine’s Day crafting symbols of romance for hundreds of lovebirds, loved ones, and crushes, so I thought it would be fun to hear what their perfect Valentine’s evening entails…

Carly: My fiancé Bret and I will be sipping some delicious wine (he might be drinking whiskey…) in front of our fireplace with our pup, whilst listening to our favorite records. Joy Division, Sam Cooke, Peaches, Wolves in the Throne Room… our collection is pretty eclectic. For dinner I’ll make a lavender whole roasted chicken recipe that I’ve been obsessed with lately, with some sort of ooey-gooey chocolatey goodness for desert. I feel like I’m writing the intro to some soft-core cooking show. Lol.

Stephen: Per tradition, my boyfriend and I both work on Valentine’s Day (it’s actually a delight making others’ holiday a memorable one)… Sometime close to the 14th, we plan a dinner date. Perhaps it’s a little out of the ordinary, but we avoid the candlelit moments and instead choose a restaurant we typically utilize for delivery (hey, who doesn’t love dinner showing up at your door, especially this winter?). Usually, this winds up being a spot we’ve never been before in person, and often won’t be again. A lot of laughter and little planning is required. We’ve mastered the holiday that’s easy to fit into our busy and often conflicting schedules! I usually top this off with the best floral surprise you ever did see. No surprise there!

Thank you, Carly & Stephen!

And a huge thanks to Sprout Home in Chicago!