How to create beautiful arrangements with artificial flowers
Once upon a time, I bought fresh flowers every week. I loved the ritual of choosing the flowers I wanted to put together, methodically preparing the stems and deciding how to arrange them. Fresh flowers lift a room and can make home feel even more special, but it comes at a cost! Dropping at least £5 a week on fresh blooms was not sustainable, especially once we bought our own home and had a mortgage to pay. So I turned to finding a way to bring the same joy to a room, without the cost. And thus began my love for artificial flowers.
If the word ‘artificial’ conjures up pictures of fake rubbery plastic plants, let me stop you right there. I knew if I was going to switch to artificial and retain the magic of natural flowers, I’d have to do it right. So I invested in ones that looked (almost) as beautiful as the real thing. This is an area where it’s worth spending a little more to get a better look. And if you’re regularly buying fresh flowers you probably can afford to invest, because your artificial versions will pay for themselves after a few weeks.
One of the wonderful things about artificial flowers is the fact that they’re much lower maintenance, but that doesn’t mean there’s zero care involved. Artificial flowers will last much longer if they’re cared for correctly, so remembering to give them some TLC every now and again can go a long way. Here is a detailed cleaning method for your flowers, but don’t feel you need to do this every week! On a weekly basis, I just run a dry microfibre cloth over the leaves and petals and it gets the worst of the dust off.
How to clean your artificial flowers
You will need:
Two dry microfibre cloths (or towels or dishcloths)
A damp microfibre cloth
A gentle all purpose cleaner (such as this one)
An old (clean) make up or paintbrush
Remove your flowers from their vase and shake them upside down over a dry microfibre cloth, towel or dishcloth to remove dust. A microfibre cloth will be best as they attract dust well, but any will do.
Spray a little all purpose cleaner onto a slightly damp microfibre cloth and patch test it on a small area of each variety of flower you are cleaning. If there is no damage, take each stem in turn, and starting at the top of the flower, gently wipe the leaves and petals. You can also use an old make up or paint brush to get into the folds between the petals.
If the flower is particularly damp after cleaning, dry it gently with another microfibre cloth. Lay it to dry on another dry cloth.
At this stage you might want to clean your vase too!
How to arrange your artificial flowers
Once your flowers are cleaned and dry it’s time to rearrange them, and this is the fun bit! Here are some tips for making your flowers look their best.
1. Mix a variety of shapes and sizes
Use a combination of foliage and flowers of different shapes. For example, you could use flat roses and rounder peonies as I have. When you’re putting together your arrangement, spread each variety across the bouquet. Larger blooms tend to be better near the centre of the arrangement. Length-wise, you want a variety too, though you generally don't want your stems to be more than double the height of the vase. If any are too long, you can cut the ends with wire cutters or simply bend them back on themselves.
2. Use the natural shape of the stem to build your arrangement
A good way to start an arrangement is to layer flat foliage towards the base and adding flowers on top (though you’ll want to keep some foliage throughout so it doesn’t like too unnatural!). If you have floral stems with a slight bend in them, they might be better suited to the base of the arrangement where they’ll naturally fall over the rim of the vase. Straighter stems can go in the middle. One of the added benefits of artificial flowers is that you can also gently bend the stems to achieve the shapes you need.
3. Keep checking different angles
Turn your arrangement as you put it together, particularly if you plan to display the arrangement in the centre of a room. You might also want to step back to see how it looks from a distance. You want to make sure that it looks good from all angles!
There are no hard and fast rules and the best way to learn is to give it a go, so keep playing around and see what you like most.