Where flowers bloom, so does hope.
–Lady Bird Johnson
My love of flowers started in my Grandma’s garden. She spent hours puttering there, pulling weeds, staking plants and singing hymns. My assigned tasks, while she gardened, consisted of making mud pies decorated with flowers and braiding bachelor buttons into flower chains.
Whether you are looking forward to bringing flowers in from your own garden, or you just simply couldn’t resist that pretty bouquet at the grocery store, there is a way to have crazy good, lush floral arrangements using fewer flowers! That means more bouquets for less money! Who doesn’t need more flowers in their life and more change in their pocketbook? (That’s what my grandma would have called it.)
Florists accomplish this by creating a grid over the opening of the vessel with floral tape. I have two problems with this method.
#1–I can be less than coordinated at times and my tape usually ends up all sticking to itself rather than to the vase in the appropriate pattern.
#2–You can’t decorate green floral tape! It’s boring!
The other method that one can employ is using a floral frog in the bottom of the vase to help position flowers, but this is best for traditional vases and doesn’t solve the problem of holding the flowers in the position you desire at the top of the vase.
It is only fair that if I am going to point out the flaws of traditional flower arranging methods that I present you with an alternative, and so today I want to show you my solution to flower arranging!
(This is where the skies part and the angels sing!)
I call them flower bonnets. (I think my grandma would have really liked that name!) They are super easy to make and can be fitted to any kind of container for your flower arranging pleasure! The sky’s the limit!
Flower Bonnet Supply list:
Needle Nose Pliers
Paper for Pattern Making
Optional: Decorative doodads to hang from your flower bonnet
Gloves to protect your hands
Instructions for Flower Bonnets
Once you choose a vessel to use for your flower arrangement, you will want to trace around the top of it on a piece of paper to use as a pattern for cutting your wire. Once you have your pattern drawn, you will need to decide how much overhang you want. Less if you don’t plan on decorating your bonnet, more if you do plan to glitz it up a bit. At this point you can add the extra amount to the drawn pattern and cut it out, or you can cut out the pattern as originally drawn and then use your ruler to help guide you in cutting the right size of bonnet from the chicken wire. This is what I did because I was making flower bonnets for two vessels that were the same size around the top. I planned on decorating one, but not the other. So I cut out one paper pattern to use for both flower bonnets, then using wire cutters I cut beyond the paper pattern with my ruler to guide me. Based on the amount of overhang I needed, I added 3” around one pattern and only 1” around the other.
The decorated bonnet was for a vintage trophy cup. I had 5 crystal chandelier drops that I wanted to hang from it and wanted the bonnet to have a draped effect. First I formed the wire bonnet over the top of the vessel and bent it into shape. This is where you can get creative! You could leave it ruffled and simply trim away sharp edges and then hang whatever decorative items you have decided to use from the rim of the bonnet. I cut half moon shapes out around the rim to form five lower hanging points to hang the crystals from. This is where wearing gloves makes sense as the cut wire can be sharp! Having had a run in with a hot cast iron skillet the night before, I found that the wire sticking me hurt less than the gloves rubbing on the blister on my hand, but do be careful! Depending on your design, you may also need to use the needle nose pliers to twist some wires together after you cut sections out or as a way to secure sharp ends. Put it back over your vessel and just work with it a bit to get it to look the way you like. Then glam it up!!! You could use stacks of old shirt buttons threaded on a wire as decorative drops, chandelier drops, or perhaps more seasonal decorative items. Do what you love! Make it your own!
If you don’t plan on decorating your bonnet, you will simply need to bend the edges to form it around the opening of your vessel. Trim anywhere that is too long and you are done. I did this on a vintage crystal compote that would normally not be suited for holding flowers due to it’s lack of depth coupled with it’s wide opening. There are so many different containers that you probably have around the house that you can now use to hold flowers with the structure that the wire flower bonnets provide!
Tea cups . . .
Small silver tea set components . . .
And guess what, this also works on regular old vases!!!
Wilder’s Rules For Flower Arranging
Rule #1–There are no rules!!!
With that rule in mind, its time to really let your hair down and arrange those flowers!!! Sticking the stems through the holes in your bonnet gives them a structure to lean against so they won’t all fall to the outside of your container. In fact, you can actually build your arrangement to be flatish on one side if you need to to accommodate any space limitations you might have. I did this with the arrangements in both the trophy cup and compote so that the would tuck into the space I wanted to put them in. The structure of the bonnet holds the flowers in place without having to use more flowers for support that would be facing and, as in my case, be crushed against the wall. Play with different lengths and placement until you achieve the look that you want!
Keep in mind that I intentionally photographed the finished arrangements so that you could plainly see the flower bonnets. In reality they are not readily noticeable. It’s amazing that even on the two bonnets that I cut with longer overhangs in order to attach the decorations, the chicken wire fades into the background and only the chandelier drops are highlighted.
For the long lasting displays do keep these flower arranging tips in mind. Be sure to trim away any leaves that would be under water and cut your stems on the diagonal for best water absorption. Also, add the packet of preservative to the water that may have come with your bouquet, or make your own using 2 Tbsp. sugar and 2 Tbsp. white vinegar for every quart of warm water.
Oh my flower bonnets, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
I love thee because I can now use fewer flowers to make lush full arrangements.
I love thee because I can build my arrangement to fit particular spaces.
I love thee because I can use creative containers to display my flowers.
I love thee because I can now decorate the space showing below my arrangements.
Now it’s your turn . . . go grab yourself a bouquet and give the flower bonnets a whirl! Let me know what you think!
Happy flower arranging!!!
P.S.–Don’t forget to share these fun ideas with a friend!!!