“Practice makes perfect!” Is most certainly true. When I first began working with flowers, creating arrangements became pretty natural to me, but for some reason, no matter how much I would practice, making hand-tied bouquets was without a doubt my biggest challenge. “Keep trying. Eventually, you’ll get it!” my mother would say. I would spend endless hours watching videos and reading books just to master the skill. It was like I was missing a secret ingredient. It wasn’t until I attended a Sarah Tallman floral class in 2012 that I finally got the groove of it.

Now, don’t be fooled. Even though I was lacking the skill, before Sarah, I still managed to whip out some beautiful (bootlegged) hand-tied bouquets for my brides and their bridesmaids with the help of a bouquet holder. So, if you’re a bride-to-be looking to make her own wedding bouquet with no practice time available or an aspiring floral designer who hasn’t mastered the hand-tying skill and doesn’t want to turn down an opportunity because of it, this post is for YOU.

Let’s BEGIN!

Things you’ll need:

  • Fresh floral foam bouquet holder (VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure to have an extra one. Just like any floral foam, once you insert a flower and remove it, you can’t reinsert in the same place; the stem won’t hold in place.)
  • Shears, scissors, knife, etc. (something to cut your stems)
  • Floral tape
  • Cylinder vase
  • Brooch, pendants, or any other embellishments you would like to use
  • Bouquet pins
  • Ribbon of your choice of color
  • Flowers of course! I used pink peonies, cool water roses, pink hydrangeas and dusty miller.


The main objective here is to create the illusion of a hand-tied bouquet and the only way to achieve that is my covering the handle of the bouquet holder with the stems of the flowers you will be using. Start by cutting about 8″ from the bottom-up of all your flowers. Don’t worry about cutting too much; you only need about 2″-3″ of stem from the bud of the bloom down. You will notice in the picture below how much stem is left on the flower.


OKay, Now you’re probably asking yourself, “Why would I do this if I could buy a bouquet holder that already has fake stems?”  


FAKE is the problem. They look fake and cheap. Trust me on this. You’ll notice the difference by the end of this tutorial. Moving on…

Once you have all your stems cut take one and wrap it with floral tape. Do not cut the tape off the reel.



Attached the stem to the handle of your holder making sure the top of the stem is touching the bottom of the foam cup. Wrap the stem and handle together with the tape. Continue until the entire handle and any visible gaps are covered.



It should look as unattractive as this. Don’t worry. This is what we call mechanics and it will be covered with your ribbon later. Tell me, does this handle look anything like the fake one? Hmmmm….


Cut all of the stems evenly and soak the foam in fresh clean water for a few minutes or until there are no more air bubbles.



Place the holder in a cylinder because it’s time to get busy. 😉


When making a bouquet like this there is no right or wrong. I like to start with my largest bloomed flowers, which in this case are the peonies. I placed the first one a bit off centered; I will built around this one. I placed my other two fully bloomed peonies as well.



I used hydrangeas to cover most, if not all, of the rim of the foam cup and placed a few blooms around as a filler. Chances are the hydrangeas will pop out of your arrangement at some point because the stems are too short. Don’t panic! Take a toothpick, attach it to the stem with floral tape and reinsert into the arrangement.

For some crazy reason, unbeknownst to me, I like to group my roses in three. I placed them in areas where there was a large space between the peonies and any obvious gaps.




Lastly, but not the end, I added dusty miller to finish filling any spaces and to cover the bottom of the foam cup. I love dusty miller because it adds texture and subtle touch on WOW. The individual leave when pulled of the dusty miller stem are very flimsy causing an impossible insert into the foam. Gather a few leaves and wrap the ends with floral tape. Like the hydrangeas, you can also use a toothpick but in this case it wasn’t needed.


Once you think you’re almost finished it’s time for the evaluation test. Place the arrangement on the center of a table and walk around the table. Make sure all sides are even and that your bouquet is a round dome shape. Look out for any gaps and/or spaces that look like a flower is missing. I had two and they turned out to be the perfect spaces for two closed peonies I had left.

Carefully take out the bouquet from the cylinder – this might be the time a hydrangea pops out. With a floral pin and ribbon it’s time to cover up the ugly stem handle mechanics. I like to start at the back of the bouquet. Wrap your ribbon all the way down leaving about 1.5″ – 2″ of exposed stems. Then wrap the ribbon back up to your starting point, cut and fold the end of the ribbon, and secure it by adding the pins inside the fold.



You can add your embellishments to the handle with pins and/or hot glue. I decided to use one of our fabulous brooches and VOILA!

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Let’s know what you think.

By: E.