Notes on DIY Flowers

When it came time to write my first book, I boldly included a couple of floral projects in the mix. DIY flowers are becoming more popular with DIYers and I figured that needed to be addressed in a hip, fun craft book. Then reality set in. Me? Do flowers? I was petrified!Of all the wedding crafts I’ve done, flower arranging is my weakest area. There’s just a certain flower-arranging-gene I lack. And I had just committed to creating how-to projects. I’m happy to say that it all worked out but not without a little drama.

The floral projects are among my most favorite in the book. I’m quite proud of them and can’t wait ’til the book is released so you can see. Now that I, Miss FlowerPhobia, have gotten through the DIY drama, I have some tips and hints that I’d love to share with you.

• Flower arranging, like any other skill, takes some time and practice to master. If you’ve never arranged flowers, the day before your wedding is the absolute WORST time to try to figure them out. Spend some time practicing working with the flowers you want to use in your wedding. Buy a few bunches and learn how to take care of them well ahead of your wedding date.

• Cutting and arranging flowers will take longer than you expect. Even though I had done a few practice runs with my projects, putting together my floral projects on set took longer than I anticipated. Allow yourself plenty of time to do your flowers so that you’re not rushed and just slapping things together at the last minute. Cutting stems and removing thorns (even with a handy thorn remover tool thingie) takes FORFREAKINGEVER. Or, it did for me.

• White flowers bruise. Badly. If you’re using white or light-colored flowers buy lots of extras to replace the icky ones you’re sure to encounter. I used stephanotis for one of the projects and, boy howdy, did they ever bruise and discolor even though I was using the utmost care.

• Not every grower/supplier is the same. Do your homework! Price isn’t the only thing you should be looking at when selecting a vendor. Order a test bunch to get an idea of their quality and customer service.

Also check out:

  • * Their shipping rates (most send via FedEx Overnight – this costs a bundle!)
  • * Return and cancellation policies
  • * Hours of operation and access to customer service help (phone or email?) in case something goes wrong
  • * Delivery terms and schedule
  • * Do they ship closed buds or are they nearly in full bloom?

• Not every flower is the same. Learn all you can about the care of the flowers you’re ordering. Some require warm environments. Some like it cold. Some should have their stems cut under water. Some don’t. Some need several days to bloom. Some only last a day or so once they’re cut. Some can handle direct sunlight. Others can’t.

• If you’re doing more than 1 project, enlist helpers to get you through them. You’ll have enough on your mind and schedule without the added burden of doing all the flower arrangements by yourself.

• You’ll need water. Lots of it. Have buckets (the big 5 gallon ones are perfect) of water on standby to place your cut flowers in. Remember: some flowers like cool or cold water, others like it warm.

• Figure out transportation ahead of time. Unless you’re creating the arrangements at the venue, you’ll need to transport the flowers from your workspace to the site. Decide well ahead of time how you’ll get them there. Remember that you’re arrangements and bouquets will be bulky and that they’ll need to be in a cool place en route. The trunk of a car isn’t your best bet, especially on a hot summer day.

• Flowers have scent. It sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it? I always loved gardenias until I was in a small room with 100 of them. The scent was overpowering to the point of nausea for me. Seriously. So, when picking your flowers, keep in mind the scent factor. Work in a well-ventilated area and keep the stinkiest flowers to a minimum.

• Protect yourself. Use gardening gloves when you’re working with flowers. You’ll save your manicure and (mostly) avoid being pricked (and sliced open) by thorns and stems. FYI: Roses are vicious, malevolent flowers that exist merely to gauge you with their needle-like thorns. Stephanotis excrete a sticky substance that’ll get all over your fingers and draw every bit of lint and dirt to you while you try, in vain, to keep those white blossom pristine.

Do you have tips to share? We’d love to hear them!

 

10 thoughts on “Notes on DIY Flowers”

  1. rzlna, it wasn’t for a wedding but for projects for my book. The flowers were stored in the photographer’s studio, some in the ‘fridge and some in a cool, dark room. Some flowers need to be stored *cold*, others don’t. It’s important to learn how your flowers need to be stored before you buy them. Your florist (or whomever you buy your blooms from) should be able to guide you on proper care for each type of flower you buy. If they can’t answer – don’t buy from them. I know of brides who’ve successfully stored flowers in cool garages or spare bathrooms overnight.

    Since the flowers were at the studio, I didn’t need to transport them. However, the best way to transport is in a climate-controlled vehicle (meaning air-conditioned) with a large, flat surface to hold all the arrangements. (i.e. a van or SUV) with fold-down seating and a non-slip mat underneath the boxes or whatever you’re carrying the flowers in. Car trunks can get too hot (especially in summer months), even on short drives.

  2. rzlna, it wasn’t for a wedding but for projects for my book. The flowers were stored in the photographer’s studio, some in the ‘fridge and some in a cool, dark room. Some flowers need to be stored *cold*, others don’t. It’s important to learn how your flowers need to be stored before you buy them. Your florist (or whomever you buy your blooms from) should be able to guide you on proper care for each type of flower you buy. If they can’t answer – don’t buy from them. I know of brides who’ve successfully stored flowers in cool garages or spare bathrooms overnight.

    Since the flowers were at the studio, I didn’t need to transport them. However, the best way to transport is in a climate-controlled vehicle (meaning air-conditioned) with a large, flat surface to hold all the arrangements. (i.e. a van or SUV) with fold-down seating and a non-slip mat underneath the boxes or whatever you’re carrying the flowers in. Car trunks can get too hot (especially in summer months), even on short drives.

  3. Boquuets can be made 1-2 days before your wedding. Just be sure to store them in a cool location after putting them together, and keep them watered, too.

  4. Boquuets can be made 1-2 days before your wedding. Just be sure to store them in a cool location after putting them together, and keep them watered, too.

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