Handmade: DIY Bouquet For Mama
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we asked our resident floral fanatic and graphic designer, Leesa Mealing to show us how to put together a thoughtful bouquet for our mamas!
Who doesn’t love to receive a gorgeous bunch of flowers? What’s even better is if you have made it yourself and mama’s always appreciate a little thought given to their gifts! To create your own bouquet there are a few things you’ll need to get started, including a clean large table to work at, a bucket of fresh flowers & foliage, a pair of sharp secateurs, paper to wrap, scissors, tape and ribbon. Don’t forget some twine for tying!
Flowers & foliage
You don’t have to use exactly what we have used, instead we suggest working with what’s in season in a colour palette of your own choosing.
3 x Queen Proteas – our focal flowers
5 x Chrysanthemum Disbuds – our secondary flowers
1/3 bunch of Eucalyptus – our foliage
1/2 bunch of Sweet William – our transitional flowers
1/3 bunch of golden rod – our transitional flowers
If you have purchased your flowers from a super market or florist, they will generally already be prepped and fairly good to go. If you purchased your flowers from the flowers markets, it’s likely you’ll need to a little prep work before you begin.
Start by stripping the stems of your floral materials. This means removing everything that will sit below the waterline when your bunch is placed in a vase. This usually leaves the top quarter of the stems with a hint of foliage and a flower. In the case of your foliage, you might want to leave a little more (around 1/3) of the stem. We do this to stop bacteria that can grow when the flowers are placed in water, turning the water murky and smelly and causing your flowers to have a much shorter lifespan. Clean stems are happy stems!
Next we place our materials before us on the table so we can gauge the size and shape of everything. Have a few lengths of twine pre-cut so that when you are finishing arranging, you can tie it off so nothing moves about in your bouquet.
Once your materials are prepped, it’s time to get started! In this method, we are starting with our focal flowers, our scrumptious looking Queen Proteas. We will be grouping our flowers in the arrangement and using what is called the spiralling as a method to help position the flowers. The key to spiralling your flowers is to hold the first flower between your index finger and thumb, adding each new stem behind the previous. The higher you hold up the stems, the smaller the arrangement will be. If you have cleaned your stems enough, there should be no foliage under your hands and if there is, remove it. As you add each flower, rotate the arrangement but keep it between those same fingers, adding a stem at a time. The stems should splay out openly at the base.
We have grouped our focal flowers and are going to build around them, so once you have your focal flowers in position now is a good time to add a little foliage. You can position it in such a way as to help keep the proteas where you want them, thinking of it a bit like packing material.
Next we moved onto our transitional flowers, in the form of Sweet William and Golden Rod – these are the flowers that add a little light and shade to the bouquet and help support the larger florals while adding colour and shape to the design. Be sure you are checking the position of the flowers in your hand as you add more. Sometimes things can move a little or slip down. Avoid pulling them up by their heads and instead loosen your grip enough to push them up by their stems.
The Golden rod adds a brilliant pop of yellow, which we’ve added in 3 different size groupings. By arranging it this way, it spreads the colour out through the bouquet but also help balance the arrangement. Don’t forget to add in a little more foliage as you go to spread out the green but also to help lock your flowers in position.
Once you run out of flowers or you are happy with the size of your bouquet (whichever comes first!) it’s time to tie it off. Take a long piece of the twine and use the hand holding your bunch to catch the end of the twine. Wrap it around the stems a few times, keeping it nice and tight before placing the bunch on the edge of the table and knotting the string. Make sure the weight is on the stems not the flowers so nothing gets squashed!
Now we can cut our stems all to the same length. If you aren’t going to wrap it, check the depth of your vase before you trim!
If you have spiralled properly, your bouquet should stand up all on it’s own! Look mum, no hands!
Now for the final steps – wet packing and wrapping! We recycled the cellophane our flowers came in for this part, but just make sure your cellophane doesn’t have any holes in it. Take a piece big enough to cover the bottom of your stems. We are going to put a little water in this eventually so a good size piece ensure there are no leaks! Lay your bouquet diagonally on the plastic before bringing up the bottom corner and then the sides. Gather it all nice and tight and tape it over your tie point.
Lift the bottom corner of the opposite side, folding it up over the stems. The paper should come up high enough to offer your blooms protection, but not so high that your flowers disappear completely.
We added a cute little bow made from some hessian for a fun finishing touch. Take a length of ribbon and create four bows, two on each side by folding the ribbon loosely back and forth. Keep your fingers tight on the centre to stop it from unraveling. Fold the centre of it in like an accordion and tie off with a long piece of twine. You can then use this long piece of twine to attach the bow to your bouquet!
Fold the tails of your bow in half and and snip into them to create the little v shape on each side. Ta-dah! You are finished! You can add a few drops of water to by pouring it in down slowly down the stems – you a bottle with a narrow mouth for this, pouring close to the middle to be sure it goes into your cellophane bag.
Now you have a gorgeous bouquet to give to mum and a whole new set of skills! If you have some left over flowers, why not make up a few little ones to give some of your favourite mums.
When you place your flowers into a vase, be sure the vase itself is clean. Recut the stems on a 45 degree angle with sharp scissors or secateurs. You don’t need to fill the entire container with water, just enough that the bottoms of all your stems are well covered. Add a drop of bleach in the water to help stop bacteria from growing on your stems and causing the water to go smelly. Check and change your water regularly! Some flowers are thirstier than others, so if you have big drinkers, make sure they are getting enough. We suggest changing your water every second day, adding a drop of bleach and recutting your stems before placing them into the fresh water.
When Leesa isn’t graphic designing for Tree of Life, she can usually be found surrounded by flowers, teaching floral workshops and designing beautiful arrangements!
Photography by Britt Murphy | Clothing & Accessories by Tree of Life | Words & Florals by Leesa Mealing