Ok, gather in kids! Here's our 30 Designer Tips for making silk floral arrangements and stems appear more real!
1) Don't buy junk! We know that sounds obvious, but sadly....it's worth stating! If you buy junk flowers, and then are upset because the arrangement looks like junk....we gotta have a little conversation! Just like anything in life, there are huge differences in quality in the market. Yes, you can get flowers at a dollar store, but the quality is drastically different from what you could get at a specialty retailer that focuses on quality stems (like us :) ) . And you might be surprised at the prices, because a specialty retailer who really focuses on quality faux flowers is quite competitive price wise with better flowers, than big box stores. It's the norm for us to have better stems at lower prices than the stores around us in our physical location!
2) Know what real flowers look like!! We know this sounds silly, but have you ever seen a sculpture or a painting of a person/animal and something just seemed off and "cartoony"! Maybe the arms were too long, or the face was out of proportion, or etc. You didn't know what it was, but you knew something was wrong. Well, chances are with flowers, even though you may not know all of the details of a bloom or stem, if you something was majorly off...you would know. And we're going for realistic interpretations, not cartoons interpretations of flowers!
3) Unless you live in the tropics....don't use tropical flowers! We're not talking about orchids! We're talking about Bird of Paradise, protea, etc! And if you don't know what those are....definitely don't use them ;) ! You want to use flowers that are grown in your area!
4) Buy artificial flowers that come in the same'ish colors they come in nature! Everybody knows a fake blue poinsettia when they see one because they don't come that way, or a purple magnolia! There are lots of ways to add color to an arrangement with different textures aside from flowers! Blues + purples are easy to add with berries. Green is easy to add with green hydrangeas, but stay away from other green flowers because they often look very fake. Even real green roses look fake sometimes! Most of the other colors come in a range of flowers! But please remember, neon colors most likely don't really exist in nature! :)
5) Correct proportions are key! Bigger isn't always better when it comes to flowers! Daisies the size of a car tire are never the answer! Buy life like sizes!
6) Massing out one flower is a fool proof way of arranging that appears more realistic!
7) When it comes to arranging the flowers, we want them to look like you could have clipped them from the garden and brought them in. So complex designs, unless for a special occasion, can read very artificial very easily! So pretend your Martha Stewart and get your arranging on!
8) Realistic faux flowers, have a range of colors in them, not just one color. Think of a rose! Many of them have a little variance, it's not like Mother Nature spray painted them one color all over!
9) If you aren't going to change the arrangement out seasonally (no shame if you don't), buy faux flowers that you can get in real flowers in the grocery store year round. Hydrangeas, roses, tulips, ranunculus are all great options. Sunflowers, peonies, etc in the off seasons are easy signs that the flowers are fake.
10) You may be tempted to buy flowers in bushes, because they are inexpensive, but that's not the only adjective for them....they are also cheap looking. The flower heads are usually very low quality and the colors in them are really intense with no variance and you get a bunch of the same flower, and the stem on the flower is usually just a coated wire. If you're going to mass a project out, and you aren't going to see individual flower heads in the arrangement, this might work for you (think Rose Parade) But if people are going to be up close and personal with the arrangement, stay away from bushes! People use silk flower bushes in cemeteries for a reason, they are cheap, the color shows from a distance, and no one really gets up and close with them! So please don't put them on your dining table or in your living room!
11) Quality pre-made bouquets however are a great place to look for pre-collected stems that work together. These are great if you are unsure what to use together, or if you're going to do a mounded arrangement, ie. you aren't going to see the stems. The money has been spent on the blooms and not the stems, which is where you should be spending the money if you aren't going to see the stems in a mounded arrangement.
12) Don't buy flowers with weird details! Like water drops.... Don't even get us started on this!
13) Just because they are described as "real touch" doesn't mean they are more realistic. Marketing is the devil! :)
14) Most flowers or stems don't grow straight in nature! Be sure to fluff or bend them into more interesting shapes. Think of a tree branch...they don't just go straight! Even birch which is often thought of as straight has bends! So just because the stems had to be put in a box and shipped, and are most likely straight as a board, don't let them stay that way. You gotta love on them a little bit!
15) Foliage on floral stems can work for you, or against you! Sometimes the flower or berry are incredibly realistic, but the foliage is very fake looking. No worries, you DON'T HAVE TO USE THE FOLIAGE! TEAR THEM OFF and don't use the foliage!
16) Branches with different size blooms help create a more realistic illusion! It helps create the look that the stem is at different part of the blooming cycle!
17) With that said, the same thing goes for flowers in arrangements! Different size roses in the same color can help create texture and make the arrangement more realistic looking. Flowers don't all come in the same size all of the time. An arrangement with all of the same size rose of the same color (for example) is a dead giveaway that they are fake.
18) We suggest using at least 2 different kinds of greenery in an arrangement. One style seems too simple, and more than 3 kinds can seem like you went to a buffet and through everything on your plate!
19) If you need height, use real branches from the yard. There's no reason to buy fake branches, because these can often look the most fake! Everyone knows what a real branch looks like, so you might as well make it easier for yourself, than harder.
20) Glass vases can be a nightmare! Yes, they make the arrangement look like it's in a real vase, but the truth is, many stems aren't as pretty as the flowers, and we don't want to see them! So a solid container where you can't see in solves that problem!
21) If you do use a glass vase, don't use those "glass" beads or "glass" rocks from the 80's.....We don't want your arrangement to look like it's on the set of Mama's Family!
22) If you do use a glass vase, this may sound obvious...but cut the stems! Don't bend them....Real stems don't necessarily do that!
23) We've heard many people say, "Just put water in a vase and put the fake stems in it"...BUT....Not all faux stems can go into water! Some paint or plastic on the stems will break down into the water! And the metal in the stems sometimes can rust! Paper wrapped stems definitely can't go into water! There are a lot of things that can work against you here! So the safest answer is to not use water. HOWEVER there are stems that can go into water. These stems are marked as so on a label, and usually are a little more expensive.
24) Put floral foam in the container, cover with green moss, and then add your flowers! By covering the foam with sheet moss, you will most likely use less flowers and no ones wants to see a brick of foam!. The moss will blend in to the flower arrangement if you see it, where as a floral foam block stands out, and you'll just want to use more and more flowers to fill in.
25) Simple styling is usually best! Unless you are one of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and have lavish flower arrangements all over the house, simple arrangements of hydrangeas with a couple of accent flowers can do!
26) Realistic greenery is just as important as realistic flowers! A fake leaf is just as much as a bad sign as a blue poinsettia!
27) All berries are not created equal. Berries usually aren't just one color, but have a depth of colors on a stem of them. And huge berries don't help make an arrangement look real either!
28) Dust you're flower arrangement. It doesn't have to be a huge effort, just grab a can of air and spray it off! Doing this every 2 weeks or so will keep it fresh looking.
29) Smaller arrangements can come across as realistic much easier than bigger arrangements? Not everyday is a wedding day in your house! And chances are you're not a Vanderbilt! :)
30) Move the arrangement around the house every so often! Especially if you entertain a lot! If something is set in one space for a long time, people just expect it to be there and know that it's silk. By moving it around, it appears you just like fresh flowers in different places.
If you enjoyed this blog, then you may also Love our 4 Principles + Go-To Formula for creating beautiful combinations of flowers and colors! Check it out here!