Faux flowers, fake flowers, silk flowers, artificial flowers. All words that incite thoughts of that unsightly flower aisle at the craft store. Packed with all ranges of super fake, to tried-to-make-it-look-real, to just completely giving up on anything natural and showering it with glitter… All of these things deter crafters from seeing the faux flower aisle as an exciting project to tackle.
When you have to look through so much garbage to find anything remotely real-looking, it’s exhausting.
Allow me to share some tips I’ve picked up along the way, to create a stunning faux arrangement of your own!
First: container, container, container. When your aiming for a natural, alive look for your faux flowers, choose a container that you would put a fresh flower arrangement in. Not glass, as the stems of faux flowers rarely are something you want to show off, or metal that is to light and will make for an arrangment that is off balance and easily knocked over. Look for a wood container or connect with a potter and have a ceramic created just for you. Faux flowers are a bit of an investment financially, so make sure your container is something that will support the overall design, both in structural support and in appearance.
Selecting your flowers. When you head to your local craft store, have a realistic budget in mind. Plan to buy more than you need, if you don’t use it you can always return it. I usually start by grabbing something in a color that I gravitate towards, and holding different contrasting colors next to it. Some shades and saturations of colors don’t compliment others, so as you find flowers, keep them clustered in your hand and put back anything that doesn’t please your eye. Pay attention to the feel of the flower. The materials used to make it, will determine how real it actually appears to be. If it feels like plastic, or has a sheen to it, stay away. Look for a matte finish, which is often accomplished by the use of rubber rather than plastic.
Be mindful of the types of flowers. Usually the aisle will be somewhat organized by seasons, if your near spring there will be an abundance of tulips, daffodils and the like. During winter there will be a takeover of pine and berries. Choose flowers that you might see growing together in a garden. Roses, dahlia, hydrangea, ranunculus are great together. If your going tropical, make a definite decision and stay only tropical use, anthurium, birds of paradise, ginger, and tropical foliage.
Dried Flowers. There is a fine line. I prefer a dried flower that has simply been dried, and not artificially colored with a scent added, in my opinion it then becomes potpourri. Go on a hike and find some beautiful branches, or to the beach and find a cool piece of drift wood. Be careful with gathering seed pods outdoors, as they usually as some point will crack open up and spill their seeds, big mess.
Moss is a great way to fill in any spots in the floral foam that are showing, without having to cram flowers in and compromise the design. Look for moss that feels and looks alive. A great moss that dries beautifully is reindeer moss. It comes in a bright natural green, and can be rehydrated if it is brittle to the touch by soaking it in water.
Tools. Most stems of faux flowers can be cut with a simple wire cutter. The thicker the stem, the thicker the wire is inside of it. I usually have on hand more heavy duty wire cutters, and well as a bolt cutter, than can snap right through any stem.
Getting started. You now have your container, your beautiful life like flowers, some dried elements for texture, moss to cover any mechanics, and the tools you need. I always looks up some inspiration before I begin. Sift through Pinterest and find some arrangements you like and keep at the back of your mind when designing.
Take each flower, and bend each leaf and stem to a natural looking position. On a natural flower and plant, the leaves direct rain droplets downward to the roots of the plant. They should be right side up, slightly dipping towards the center. The face of the flower, in nature moves to the sunlight. Move the head of the flower to face upward at different angles. The biggest issue I have with faux arrangment I often see, is a lack of depth a negative space. If you have two of the same flower, place one a little deeper than the other. In nature, no florals are a perfect round ball sticking straight up. Place a flower or branch alone off to the side, and balance that line by mirroring/flipping it on the other side. If you are going to have piece of green or ivy, place it on one side long and the other side shorter.
There is nothing natural about symmetry, the natural option is usually asymmetric.
Here are a few photos of a faux flower arrangement I recently made for a client!
I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Tag me in your photos, best of luck!