How To: Arrange Flowers In The Hand

Step aside shop bought flowers, it’s time to wow your friends and family with a bunch of blooms you’ve arranged and put together yourself.

You don’t need to be a professional to create a beautiful, picture perfect bunch of flowers. To help get you started, we’ve teamed up with flower lover Clare Nolan to give you the best tips and tricks to create the perfect bunch. Simply follow these steps on how to arrange flowers Clare Nolan style, and make your bouquets stunning, elegant and fresh…

“The majority of my everyday flower displays are put together in the hand (as opposed to building them stem by stem in the vase). It’s the quickest way to achieve a mixed bunch and gives you the freedom to change things as you go along. They can be as simple as a posy of foraged wild flowers arranged on the way home to a more elaborate mixed bouquet for a friend’s birthday – master the basic techniques and you won’t look back.”

The Hand-Tied Posy

This works on the same principle as the No-tie posy (below), but it’s the way a florist would do it. It involves turning the bunch as you make it so that the stems create a spiral. This makes it a little neater and holds together better. This posy can work for anything from a small-scale one up to a showstopper – basically it’s as many stems as you can grip hold of in one hand. It might feel a bit fiddly to make the first few times, but it will get easier with practice.

Autumnal bunch of flowers

HOW TO:

1. Have all your conditioned flowers and foliage laid out and ready to use. Strip off any leaves that remain on the bottom 15cm of the stems and any thorns.

2. I normally start off a hand-tied posy in the same way as a no-tie posy: with a stem of soft foliage (or three if they are small) and a focal flower, then I add some filler, then a secondary flower and then continue with the rest. I’m right-handed and I hold the arrangement in my left hand, adding new stems with my right. Switch over if you’re left-handed.

3. Every third stem or so, you turn the bunch in your hand. Keeping the stems facing the same direction, add another three stems and turn again, and so on. The spiral formation will begin to happen. As you continue adding flowers, position them a little lower so that you get a nice rounded shape.

4. For a slightly wilder feel to your bunch, pull a few of the flowers a little higher out of the main bunch. I find this works best with the smaller, wiry-stemmed flowers, to add a little quirk. Once you’re happy, tie the bunch with string where you’ve been holding it and secure with a double knot.

STYLING TIPS:

– The height at which you hold the bunch when arranging affects how close the flowers are together. If you want a more relaxed open bunch, hold the stems lower down. If you prefer something a little denser, hold them nearer their heads. I find working in front of a mirror helps – you can see how the bunch is coming together much more easily.

The No-Tie Posy

Aka, the arrange-and-plonk technique, is the quickest, easiest way to create a mixed bouquet. It’s best for small arrangements and for designs where the flowers and foliage will be nestled closely together.

Summer arrangement of flowers

HOW TO:

1. Get ready with all your conditioned flowers and foliage laid out and ready to use. Strip off any leaves that will be below the waterline in your vase. I normally start off the posy with a stem of soft foliage (or three if they are small) and a focal flower, then I’ll add some filler, then a secondary flower and then a bit more foliage and so on, until I’m pleased with how it’s looking. I’m right-handed and I hold the arrangement in my left hand, adding new stems with my right. Switch over if you’re left-handed.

2. If I’m keeping the stems long, I’ll finish off by adding some foliage to the outsides of the posy to soften how it sits in the vase. This also helps to hide the edge of the vase. If the posy is going to be ultrashort, I don’t bother.

3. Once I’m happy with the results, I’ll cut the stems to the length I want – holding the posy up to the vase to check I’ve got the length right. Then I’ll ease the posy into the vase and gently let go.

STYLING TIPS:

– The beauty of not tying the bouquet is that you can tweak it really easily once it’s in the vase if something does not look quite right or you need to add in something extra. In a no-tie arrangement, I’ll often wait until the end to add that little bit of magic – a wiggly stem or a trailing bit of foliage.

– Don’t feel that things always need to be symmetrical and form a tidy dome shape. I’ll often weight the display to one side to knock off the symmetry so that there’s a sense of movement through the arrangement.

– Stems can look messy as there’s no pretty twisting technique here to show off, so you might want to use an opaque vessel. I used glass vases here so that you could see what things looked like.

In Bloom by Clare Nolan book cover

Extracts taken from In Bloom by Clare Nolan, published by Kyle Books, £26.

For more floral inspiration, learn how to make a flower frog bowl thanks to Clare.

MAKE A FLOWER FROG BOWL   »
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