One of my party goals has been to improve my flower arranging skills. I put together this Easter centerpiece from grocery store flowers and I’m walking you through this easy DIY.
Flowers can be so expensive and while I love them, it’s hard to spend so much money on something that doesn’t last. Fortunately, one of our local grocery stores has a pretty good selection of flowers that don’t break the bank.
Here’s how to create an Easter centerpiece you’ll love.
1 – Pick your vase. Since this is for the middle of our Easter table, I chose a low, wide planter that will be easy for guests to see across. The arrangement also will be seen from all sides. You want to choose your vase, style and use before you pick flowers so that you buy enough. With all this in mind, you can eyeball the right quantity of flowers. At the store, bunch all your stems together so you can picture how the buds will look in the vase.
2 – Think flowers = 2/3, vase = 1/3. If you think about your arrangement in thirds, you want the flowers to take up about 2/3 of the space (height and width) and the vase to take 1/3 of the space. That puts the focus on your flowers more so than on your vase. Even if you pick a loose, minimalist style and don’t need as many flowers as you might for a fuller arrangement, you’ll want to stick with these proportions.
3 – Keep seasonality in mind. Don’t go shopping with an unrealistic ideal of what flowers you may find available. Instead, focus on color, shape, stem strength and freshness. Be flexible about the type of flower. I picked white and yellow flowers including:
- Hydrangea (3)
- Roses (12)
- Carnations (12)
- Tulips (12)
Be sure to pick a variety of bloom sizes to keep your arrangement interesting.
4 – Prep your flowers. Once home, fill a clean sink with cool water. Snip about one inch off each stem at an angle and let the flowers rest in the water until you’re ready to work with them.
5 – Oasis or no Oasis? Before I knew about the no-Oasis movement, I bought a pack of six Oasis blocks. If you’re not familiar, I now know that the dust from Oasis has carcinogens. For a florist working a lot with the product, that could be a huge concern! The foam blocks also can’t be recycled, so they aren’t environmentally friendly. But, here I am with this pack of blocks, so I’m going to use them and then not buy any more.
If you want to avoid Oasis from the get-go, use floral tape to create a grid on your vase. The grid will support the flowers and help keep them where you place them.
If you are working with Oasis, plop a block in the sink to soak up the water. When the block is heavy and saturated, place it in your vase or container. (Obviously, this requires a container that isn’t clear.)
5 – Start creating your basic shape by placing three of the largest blooms first. I had one hydrangea in each third of the vase with the tallest one on the left side, to help me create an asymmetrical arrangement.
6 – Add some low filler to extend your arrangement and create its outer edges. Once I had the flowers on my table, I felt like the filler looked too weedy and I replaced some of it with more carnations and tulips. I like it much better with my second try choices! Just keep experimenting until you’re happy.
7 – Keep adding flowers in thirds around the three large blooms, mimicking the height and angles you first established. Periodically turn the vase so you address all sides of the vase.
If you’re not sure how much to cut off each stem, hold the flower against the vase and view it at eye level. Remember: you can always cut a stem shorter, but you can’t add height back once it’s gone.
TIP: As I’m trimming the stems and removing lower leaves, I drop them all into a grocery bag that I hang on a cabinet door knob. It makes clean up easy.
8 – Place the finished arrangement on your table and look at it from all angles. It helps me to take a few quick photos of the flowers. It seems like “problems” show up in the photos that you don’t see with the naked eye.
See? Too weedy.
Here’s the new and improved arrangement, with more tulips and carnations and less weedy filler.
Here’s an overhead look.
If you have leftover flowers, create a separate smaller arrangement. It’s always nice to have flowers in the kitchen or bud vase in the powder room. If the flowers in your centerpiece go over, you can pull from your backup flowers and replace blooms as needed.
Every day or so, top off the water and floral preservative in your vase.
Looking for more flower arranging tips? Check out this post about how to create a front-facing arrangement.