Monday, October 28, 2013

Guest Post: DIY Flower Arrangements


Today my good friend Marta is here to share her wisdom on DIY Flower Arrangements!!! I'm so excited for her to be here and explain this gorgeous craft. Plus, what perfect timing since it's just before the Holiday season? Can you say, saving cash on those centerpieces for your Thanksgiving table?! 

Who doesn’t love flowers?

Flowers are beautiful. They add life and color to your home, and are a really nice way to bring the outside in. However, flowers are expensive. And they have a tendency to die… quickly. For what seems like eternity, I have found myself struggling to find a justification for buying pricy bouquets to fill my lonely vases. 

Luckily, I have recently come across solution to these small barriers to enjoying flowers in my home, and have started arranging flower bouquets myself! It all began when a friend asked me to join her for a Living Social flower arranging class led by perennial professional Sarah von Pollaro of Flower Empowered. I thought “$60 to make my own bouquet? Ugh, so expensive!” but eventually I caved out of both curiosity and excitement. 

This class was everything I could have hoped for and more, and I am excited to guest blog here on Sparkles & Crafts to tell you about it! I was actually able to take my newfound skills and make an equally beautiful bouquet chez moi. Incredible. 

I learned from the class how to make a hand bouquet. What is a hand bouquet, you ask? It’s just a clump of flowers that can fit in your hands or a small vase. It’s what bridesmaids carry as they walk down the aisle. And here we go – four simple steps to make your own flower arrangement:

Step 1: Prep your flowers. 
These suckers have long stems and many leaves. Take off the leaves! All the leaves! They mold if they are below the waterline, and they are ugly. The buds are much more beautiful anyway. Sometimes you need fancy scissors to snip the stems – my normal ones weren’t nearly sharp enough, but my kitchen scissors cut through twigs like nobody’s business. 

If you want to save some of those lovely leaves, you can use them to decorate place settings or a table runner or something – get creative! I just tossed my leaves into the yard but it’s up to you. Speaking of the yard, that’s actually where I picked my flowers for my homemade bouquet. 
I pay grounds fees as part of my apartment rent, so I figured its just as fine to enjoy those flowers outside the apartment or inside the apartment. There are so many flowers that no one would even notice I took any. Nature, gotta love it. 

Step 2: Arrange the flowers. This is where you think AH! I HAVE NO ARTISTIC ABILITY! I WILL FAIL! False. You’ll do just fine. It’s quite simple, actually. 
Start with your focus-flower (a rose, perhaps) in the crook of the thumb of your non-dominant hand. It’s like that nook was made for holding flowers. 

Pinch tightly so the flower doesn’t fall out of your hand. Then, add another flower right next to it, but at an angle. When you bring the flower in at an angle, it allows the buds to sit closer together making for a more elegant end result. 

The stems shouldn’t be parallel – they should look like a wigwam frame of flower stems. Keep adding more and more and more flowers, at angles, to your… hand bouquet. Get it? It’s a bouquet that you literally make in your hand. What a name. Unforgettable. 

Step 3: Secure the flowers. Take a rubber band from your junk drawer and wrap it a few times around your hand bouquet. 
It looks kind of ugly, but it really does keep the flowers in place. If the bouquet is for a wedding, you can wrap the stems with ribbon to match the theme. If the bouquet is going in a vase, you can wrap the inside of the vase with a large tropical leaf (yeah because we all have those laying around our homes) since it is waxy and won’t mold but will also hide the boring stem + rubber band combo. Or you can just do without and look at the rubber band. 

Step 4: Enjoy your arrangement. Take a look… a real bouquet! And it looks so fancy! Might I even say… professional! 

A few tricks of the trade: 
  • To help your flowers live longer, snip the bottoms (just a tiny bit) each day and refresh the water each day. It really makes a difference!
  • You don’t have to cut the stems diagonally, or under flowing water. According to the floral instructor, it doesn’t make a difference to the plant how you cut them stem.
  • The shorter the stem, the happier the flowers. Water has go to all the way up the stem from the bottom of the vase to the top of the flower – if the stem is shorter, water has a faster trip to the beautiful flower buds.
  • Don’t let any leaves fall below the water line. For one, they get moldy and take away from the arrangement. For two, the leaves compete for water with the flowers. No one cares about the leaves mid-way up the stem, so pull those suckers off and just keep the top few leaves to frame the flowers.

On a side note, Sarah von Pollaro’s business has such a great message that I couldn’t help but add this post script. After whatever large grand fancy expensive event the flower arrangements are meant for, they are donated to hospice centers, food banks, women’s shelters, charter schools, and other non-profit organizations that deserve but can’t afford beautiful flowers. What a fantastic and sustainable business! Warms my heart. 


  1. Damn girl, those flowers are GORGEOUS! I still can't believe you got them all from outside your apartment. Though, you are Marta, resourceful is your middle name ;)

  2. I found a rosebush a few blocks from my house in the Costco parking lot! ...Am I allowed to pick some of those for my next bouquet?

  3. Well, I really loved this idea of flower arrangement as it is looking so amazing. I personally love craft work very much and love to search for new and attractive creations. Recently while looking for some great crafts I came to visit a nice collection of marble handicrafts which amazed me. I loved those items a lot and want to share the links with you. The link I found can be reached at It also had some very beautiful art works like in this post.