How to make a hand tied bouquet

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One of the prettiest, and trendiest, ways to give a bouquet of flowers is to hand tie them with ribbons. Floral and interior designer Rebecca Cole shows how to make a beautiful hand tied bouquet, perfect for a bride, or any lucky recipient.

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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 a hand tied bouquet

Do you admire beautifully tied flower bouquets? How professional and crisp they always look? If so, here are some simple steps you can follow to learn to tie like the pros.

Step 1: Cleaning Your Flowers
Make sure your flowers are clean and in nice condition. To do so, take the leaves and thorns off and then put them in water for about an hour to ensure they are well hydrated.

Step 2: Arranging Your Flowers
To get started you should take some greens—three or four—stems and lay them across your hand. Then take four flowers and lay them across your hand right next to each other on top of the greens. After you have the flowers laid out in your hand, wrap your hand around the flowers and make one little twist with your wrist so that the green parts slightly move into the middle. After you have done that then start the process again, laying more flowers into your budding bouquet. Each time you make the twist the greens and the flowers are going to move more into the middle of the bunch, making a nice round circle.

Step 3: Tying Your Bouquet With Wire
When the bouquet seems round and full enough, take some narrow green wire to tie up the bunch. Cut the wire with wire cutters. If you are using professional clippers there should be a wire cutter built into the clippers (the wire cutter is usually found at the bottom of the clippers). With your cut wire in hand, wrap your bouquet around twice in one direction and then twist it around tightly, then wrap your bouquet twice in the other direction and cut off any excess wire.

Step 4: Cutting Your Bouquet
Hold your now tied flower arrangement tightly by squeezing it. You want to give the stems as sharp and tight a cut as possible. You can cut them straight across or you can cut them at an angle. If they are meant to be carried, say in a wedding, you should cut them on an angle.

Step 5: Picking and Measuring Your Ribbon
After you have secured your bouquet with the wire and your flowers have been cut, you’ll want to tie it with some pretty ribbon to cover the wire. When choosing a ribbon a neutral color works great. The best way to measure the correct length for the ribbon is to drape the ribbon around your neck and let the ribbon fall to the floor, then cut the ribbon at the floor. It will seem like much more ribbon than you need, but you’ll use it.

Step 6: Tying Your Bouquet With Ribbon
Now you are ready to tie your flowers—place the ribbon underneath your bouquet and bring it all the way to the top of the stems near the flowers. Then wrap it around really tight once, keeping your thumb on it so it stays tight and then wrap it again really tight, again using your thumb to hold it in place. You’ve basically just twisted both sides around each other.

Now you are going to add a twist—literally a twist—and begin to bring the ribbon down the stem a bit. Wrap the ribbon again and before taking it down toward the bottom of the stem make one little twist so you are creating a small knot. Then continue to wrap the ribbon around again and make a second twist—another knot—right near the same spot where your first knot is. You’ll see your twists are starting to line up nicely. You are going to keep doing this until you run out of ribbon.

For your last twist/knot you should bring the ribbon up slightly in the back so that the last knot arrives in the middle of the existing ties/knots, rather than at the end or bottom where it would likely be. Once you’ve done that you can simply tie a bow.

Transcript Hello I’m Rebecca Cole for howdini.com and I’m going to teach you how to make a hand-tied bouquet. First you want to make sure your flowers are nicely conditioned which would mean that you take off the leaves, the thorns, and put them in water, leave them in water for about an hour. Have a nice, good cut at the bottom, and I’ve done that now to all my flowers.

Now I’m going to start with the green. I’m going to take three or four stems, just lay them across my hand like this right in a row and then I’m going to start my flowers. Now I’m going to lay four flowers right next to each other. Some of them will be exactly the same thing. I could do something a little different as well. So you so I have one, two, three, four all mixed in with the greens. I’m going to pull the greens down a little bit. So I want them to be staying at about the same level.

Okay, now I’m going to make one little twist. So I had them flat and now I’m twisting them so that these become in the back to you, the front to me, and these greens now, instead of being just at the outer edge, are going to go into the middle because now I’m going to lay my hand out here again and I’m going to start the process all over again.  See and there’s just a nice, flat little line. But now I’m going to take them and hold them together and do a little twist. You see how it’s starting to become a little round circle? Twisting one more time.

Take either wire or tape. Um, if you have clippers you don’t want to cut the wire where you usually cut your stems. Most clippers have at the very bottom a little notch that’s for wire cutting. So use that part. Still holding my bouquet wrapping this around once, twice, holding on to that part I just wrapped around. And I’m going to take the other part once, and now I just do a little twisty tie and then wrap that around.

Now I’m going to do my perfect cut which is the whole bottom. I would like to make it a lot shorter. Hold them together. Squeeze them tight. It angles perfect for carrying a bouquet. So if you were making a wedding arrangement you’d want to do a nice angle. The nice thing about that is now can you see we can really almost stand it up all on its own.  

All right so it’s beautiful, but we need to hide that not very attractive wire and do a nice tie because usually this is a present. So pick a nice, kind of neutral ribbon. The best way I think to measure this is to just put it around your neck, have the ribbon touch the floor at the bottom, and then cut it touching the floor at that side. And then not only do you have the right amount you have the perfect half. Place this underneath my bouquet all the way to the top. So now I’m going to wrap it around really tight once. Keep my thumb on it so that it stays tight. Let’s wrap it one more time at the top. Now, this time before I just twist it both sides around again. Where they meet, take them, have them pass over each other, and then before you take it back around the bottom we’re going to do one little twist. So it’s almost like you’re creating a little knot. So now I’ve wrapped it around again. I’ve just, at the back you just pull it around both ways. Okay just like you were wrapping one way and then the other. And then I’m going to come back around to where that knot was and right at that same spot, take them and twist them again. So you do one twist and now you see my little knots are lining up nicely. Let’s keep doing this until we run out of ribbon. That’s going to be my last one on the bottom. I’m going to come back around and the last time at the back I’m going to pull it up slightly so that my last knot arrives more in the middle of this rather than at the end. And there you see we have a really pretty line with a really nice knot. And now we have enough ribbon if we wanted to tie a bow we could. I’m going to tie a little bow right here.  So now we just make one little loop, and then once you’re done with it being really tight see how the ribbon kind of stands up on its own?

Now you can just keep it straight, cut off like that. If you were going to use this as a wedding bouquet you could cut a nice, sharp angle right here because that makes a really perfect little finish.  And voila! You have a beautiful hand-tied bouquet.

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