Basic Florals
Taught by Nora Creeach of Bluebonnet Crafters

Lesson 1

Any bunch of flowers stuck in a glass jar looks good and brightens a room but how much nicer is a well arranged floral bouquet? In Basic Florals we will show you how to achieve this end with the least difficulties. You will not be told to place a rose at 3:00 or 5:00 o'clock but will be shown basic sizes and shapes that allow you to design floral presentations using what you have on hand or those flowers you like.

You will need some specialized equipment. We suggest a small carrier similar to the ones sold to hold cleaning supplies to keep all your supplies in. With this pick up and go you are ready to make an arrangement at a moments notice.

  • Sharp knife: for cutting soft or thin stems
  • Pruning shears (Secateurs) for thicker stems and branches
  • Greening pins
  • Wire in a light, medium and heavy gauge
  • Wire cutters
  • Kitchen or heavy shears (scissors)
  • Pail
  • Floral foam (Oasis holds water for fresh flowers. Styrofoam for silk or dried)
  • Floral tape and clay
  • Frogs both spike and grid
  • Aerosol expanding foam
  • Spanish moss or
  • Sheet moss
  • Wired picks
  • Craft glue
  • Other supplies as listed in the individual projects
  • Assorted Ribbons
  • Color wheel
  • Variety of containers

    A variety of bowls, vases, baskets and pots. It is a good idea to have a tall crystal type vase that can be used with long stemmed flowers and more formal arrangements, A shorter rounded bowl style vase and an open flat dish or bowl. All vases are not restricted to just use as a vase. Look around your kitchen, pots, pitchers and even jars and cans can be used with a little imagination. The bulk of the containers in your inventory can really be anything that will blend with your décor and hold the flowers and mechanics of an arrangement.
    Given a bunch of fresh flowers a beautiful arrangement can be made in a teapot, pitcher or cooking utensil. When making the arrangements for your own home, use what you have on hand. If you are taking an arrangement as a gift you can purchase a container suitable for the type of arrangement or use anything that will hold the water and the mechanics of the arrangements and suits the design. You are limited only by your imagination.

    The mechanics of your arrangement, that part that holds the arrangement in place according to your design, can also use marbles, chicken wire, pins, wired picks and decorative objects.

    Types of FloralsGroup of florals

    These are distinctively shaped flowers that are the highlight of an arrangement. Not every arrangement will include these flowers. Magnolias, orchids and lilies are some flowers that would be used as a exotics.
    Linear Elements:
     These are tall slender flowers and greenery that are used in an arrangement to establish the line. Eucalyptus, grasses, gladiolas, snapdragons, delphinium and irises work well to establish the line of the arrangement.
    Main Elements:
     These are the flowers that form the bulk of your arrangement. They add weight and mass and can be considered the focus of the arrangement. Roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, daisies, tulips and most other flowers that have a tight solid head fall within this group.
    Filler Material:
     This is the small flowered light airy material that is used to compliment the main flowers in an arrangement. It can be either all greenery material or some of the flowering fillers. Baby's breath, gypsophelia, light airy ferns and statis are some of the material that is used to give a finished look to your design.
    The raw materials of floral design are color, shape, texture and space. Use of these elements form the basis of your arrangement, therefore a basic knowledge is required. As a general rule your "eye" will let you know if you have the correct balance and color variations in your arrangement. Usually orange and pink are not compatible colors but some shades and hues of these do blend well.

    There are four main color schemes that are used in floral design. The first is Monochromatic. This means that all material in the arrangement will be shades of a single color (greenery and Babys' Breath can be added without changing the monochromatic designation). The complementary color schemes provide the most contrast and uses those colors directly opposite on the color wheel. The adjacent color scheme uses any three colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel. The triadic color scheme includes those colors that fall at the three points of an equilateral triangle placed on the color wheel. This is the most difficult arrangement to establish since a slight variation could cause a jarring rather than an appealing arrangement.

    Besides the actual color the effect of dark and light must be considered. The darker shades will appear recessed while the lighter will appear to come forward. This can be used effectively especially in the monochromatic arrangement.

    In the floral arrangement you will need to consider not only the shape of the individual components but the final shape of the arrangement. It is usually best to limit the number of shapes you incorporate in your arrangement to avoid confusion. Conversely an entire arrangement of only one shape can become monotonous.

    We can provide additional interest in your design by varying the textures from smooth to rough. The arrangement should also flow from one element to the next providing periodic resting places for your eyes with the highlighting of individual floral elements.

    Our next considerations are the principles of design. Every artistic discipline incorporates these principles. Beginning with your focal point a feeling of balance and stability is formed as you build your arrangement from this point. The arrangement should have a smooth flowing look regardless of the angle from which it is viewed. Each arrangement will have the main or mass as its focal point. This is not necessarily always at the center front bottom of the arrangement but it is the point that becomes the visual base. As we demonstrate each of the different shapes of arrangements this base or focal point will be easily discernible.

    The scale or proportion of the floral elements of an arrangement must work together to make a pleasing whole. Scale is the actual size of the elements whereas the proportion refers to the relationship between the different elements. In this area we include not only the floral elements but also the container and any enhancements such as the addition of ribbons, bows, figurines and the like.

    The entire arrangement should provide for a smooth flow of the eye from one highlight to the next. This rhythm in design is achieved with the colors, the line, contrast and repetitions used within your design. Contrast highlights the differences between the elements from the dark to the light, from the smooth to the rough and the tight firm flower head to the light airy babys' breath.

    Using all these design elements provide us with arrangements that should naturally have a dominant or focal point. After you have designed and built your arrangement you should be able to see the dominant area. If it has not developed naturally it is time to add an additional flower that greatly contrasts or something else that brings a dominant point to the arrangement.

    Another element in floral design that must be considered is the container. Virtually anything can be used as a container. The only requirements are if using fresh flowers that it will hold the oasis and water. When making a vertical arrangement the floral element should be one and one half the height of the container where a horizontal arrangement will be one and one half times the width of the container.

    Traditional Arrangements

    Round or Mound Arrangement


    Some of the traditional floral shapes are:

    Round or Mound Arrangement:
     This is one design that does not contain a focal point. You begin in the center of your container with the tallest flower and form circles around this center each row graduated slightly so that the finished arrangement ends with the edge of the container and forms a smooth mound or half circle of blooms. This arrangement is composed entirely of form or mass flowers. This arrangement can be varied using color and size of flowers so that small bits of greenery or filler type flowers can be used but they are kept within the rounded shape with the center remaining the highest point.
    Equilateral Triangle Arrangement
    Equilateral Triangle:
     The focal point is located at the center of the base line and all three sides are the same length.
    The Fan:
     Which is an equilateral triangle standing on one point where the floral elements fan up and out.
    Right Triangle:
     This forms a 90 degree angle the height should be slightly longer than the width and the focal point is located at the right angle.
    Crescent Arrangement:
    This arrangement is a "C" shape with the focal point being at the lower left side.
    "S" shaped arrangement:
     The focal point in the middle where the curve changes direction. This is usually used in a tall container where the florals extend above and fall below the edge of the container.
    This arrangement is used as the centerpiece or is placed on low furniture . If the container is visible the arrangement length should be one and one half times the height. If the container is completely covered then this proportion should be maintained by the entire arrangement. As a general rule this forms a symmetrical long low and fairly narrow floral display. The height is established by one of the form flowers and the length and width are determined by line florals. Additional form and filler florals are used to complete but all are kept within the height, length and width established.
    Non Traditional Arrangements:
     In the modern world of floral arrangements with the new colors and use of silks the arrangements can be as simple as a single flower to a multi colored, mixed florals, unstructured bunch with little relation to the traditional arrangements. As with most artistic endeavors let your "eye" guide you. If it doesn't look exactly right re arrange until it does.
    I do not want to give rigid rules for floral design. Design is the basis for your arrangements and it should be your design.

    In the individual instructions we may name some flowers but understand that it is shape of flower and substitutions can be made by any like shape so use what you have or if you will have to purchase flowers purchase those that you like. A rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, daisy, camellia and anemone are all interchangeable as the flower of choice for the given arrangement.

    In addition to the traditional shapes listed above we will also cover topiaries, basic wreaths and swags. Just for fun we have added meanings for some of the flowers so that an arrangement could deliver a message, some flower conditioning if you are working with fresh flowers from your yard and other flower trivia.

    Ivy is often added to the bridal bouquet or wedding decorations since it is the symbol of a happy marriage. Click on the "Flower Meanings" below to find some other floral meanings.

    Click HERE for directions on making a Floral Bow.

    Click HERE for Flower Meanings

    Bluebonnet Logo

    The Bluebonnet is a Lupin and in the Victorian Language of Flowers, Lupin means imagination. Because of our location in Texas and the meaning we chose the Texas State Flower, the Bluebonnet, for our company name and logo.

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    Basic Florals

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