How to make inexpensive flower arrangements

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You don't have to spend a fortune to make a beautiful bouquet. Supermarket flowers can make a sophisticated arrangement if you follow a few simple rules. Floral designer Rebecca Cole shares the tips you'll need to make a bouquet that looks like a million dollars.

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  • Rebecca Cole

    Rebecca Cole Floral and Interior Designer Rebecca Cole is now one of the most in-demand interior and landscape designers in the country and has been declared a 'stylish, urban horticulturist' by New York Magazine and a 'garden guru' by the New York Post. more about this expert »

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How to make inexpensive flower arrangements
  • Pick a nice, tight color palette. It’s like the colors in your wardrobe. You might have a lot of great colors, but you wouldn’t want to wear them all at the same time. So choose a few colors only and get a lot of them.
  • Supermarket flowers often last a really long time.
  • For a container, an old antique pitcher is a good choice; but if it leaks, use an insert before filling it with water.
  • Condition the water with flower freshener.
  • Build the arrangement, starting with a base of green. You will want to strip a lot of the leaves.
  • A sophisticated arrangement tip: where the flower starts should be the lip of the vase. You don’t want to see a lot of stem, let the flower be what you see.
  • No leaves in the water if you want to make them last longer.
  • You want to have different sizes and textures, so start with little flower buds and then add big, fun mums.
  • Another tip, find some flowers that have a curved stem and use those for the edges so the flowers curve out. Put the straight-stemmed ones in the center.
  • Keeping a nice, tight color palette, you can create a sophisticated look with supermarket flowers.
Transcript Hi I’m Rebecca Cole for howdini.com and I’m going to teach you how to make fantastic arrangements with the inexpensive flowers you can get at a grocery store or deli. You want to pick a nice, tight color palette. It’s kind of like choosing your outfit for the day. Even though you have beautiful colors in the closet you wouldn’t want to wear them all together. Same with flowers. So I’ve picked a nice color palette of yellows and pinks, kind of purple-y pinks, a little splash of white, and I’m going to buy a whole lot of each thing. So for instance once I fall in love with this as my green or yellow background I’m going to get quite a few bouquets of them. The nice thing about supermarket flowers is that they usually last a really, really, really long time. So they are carnations and mums and things that are really long-lasters. I love to use kind of old, antique-y things. This one is porous though; water would have come out of it, so I’ve just placed a little vase inside it with the water in.  So that’s holding the water. And also keeping it clean. Put the flower freshener in and now we’re going to start building out arrangement.

I’m going to take—since I didn’t really like any of the greens at the grocery store today, I decided to use this as my base. Do a quick strip of the leaves. Put them in. I’m going to do them all. Kind of a little low. Now, you see how the flower starts about there and my vase starts about here, well a little trick for a sophisticated arrangement is have—where the flower starts is where it should hit the top of the vase. So I’m cutting these down just a little bit more. So we really don’t see that not so attractive stem. Another little trick is if you have stems that are really sticking up very straight and you want it to have, to be a little more voluptuous a vase, uh, an arrangement, you can take a stem and cut it a little bit shorter and then stretch it across the whole vase, rather than all the way down. And you see now how it’s sticking out a little bit further. Do that one more time. Stick it out straight this way, and now you see we’re making a really nice curve. I like to build my arrangements in layers so that each flower kind of stands on its own, and is exactly the shape the I want the whole arrangement to be at the end. And one of the things that’s nice about it is I’ve taken off some of the not so attractive stems which is going to help the flowers last even longer, but I’ve also made these little shorter cuts. I have my beautiful vase, and you see it looks good all the way around. It’s nice and round and beautiful.

Now I’m probably going to pick one or two of the flowers and really repeat them. Maybe the white, that’s very nice. Ooo look how nice that is. I actually think I really like that. So once I’ve chosen my white I don’t think I’m going to go to the deep pink. You see how it’s looking a little more confetti-like if you add this? It’s more sophisticated if you keep the white. And this is just a mum, but it’s got a really pretty kind of big and fun, surprising head that I think is nice. One of the things, a little tip on flower, when you pick your flowers is you want things that are a different scale and size and texture.  So these are little teeny, tiny flowers in here, so now we’ve gotten something really big. All right that already looks really nice.

Now we can take our Gerber daisies that come with these straws, and you know what people often do is they plop them in a vase like that’s not so attractive. You don’t really enjoy the head of the flower very much and these straws are not at all attractive. You take them off. Sometimes they’re too tall and they bend over. But now that we have a nice base for our flowers, these are really going to stay in the place that we want them. And you see it’s the same, we’ve got the same color. So we’ve still got our nice tight color palette, but it’s a different size flower head. That really helps; make the arrangement very, very interesting. The other little tip would be that find some of the flowers that have a curve in them naturally. Okay, so this is a straight up one, I’m going to put that more in the center of the arrangement. Whereas the one with the curve I’m going to use for my edges because I want those to curve out. There you go. All right. Now don’t you feel like you’re in the south of France? Very sophisticated, very simple, very beautiful, and all just from a supermarket.  

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