Hand-tied bouquet

Gifts: It is easier than you might expect to to put together a "hand-tied" bouquet.
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Flowers are particularly lovely if you don't routinely buy them yourself. It is easier than you might expect to to put together a "hand-tied" bouquet.

Tradition would have you believe you need to take a course / read  a book / be born into aristocracy to have a go at flower arranging. But if you keep it simple, there is no reason you should go wrong.

The nice thing about doing it yourself is you can choose exactly the flowers and colours you want!
It will make things easier to stick to a few varieties eg. a couple of types of flower and a "greenery" addition. The trick is to go for varieties with the roughly the same stem length, as you want to collect the ends at the bottom to enable the bouquet to stand up. All of the stems will need a trim, so you can do some evening up, but avoid buying selections that are inches out!

I decided on pink lilies, pink roses and green chrysanthemum. The lilies are not yet fully open, and roses never last that long in my experience, so I am hoping the lilies will take over as the roses fade! I went for a simple pink theme.

You will also need some clear cellophane (on the roll, so you can cut to the length you want), string or twine, decorative ribbon and (optional) tissue paper. 

The tissue paper can be sandwiched between two square layers of cellophane to make a decorative wrapping for the base of the stems, with extra water tightness!
The technique can be a bit "fiddly", but is in principle quite straightforward. You might want an extra pair of hands the first time you try it out, or with very long stems / heavy flowerheads. 

Trim the end of the stems at a 45 degree angle and make sure they are all roughly the same length.

Remove leaves from the bottom 2/3 of the stems, so you can manipulate them, and thorns if you have particularly dainty hands! I left mine on and didn't get any nasty injuries...

Count up your different varieties so you know roughly how many stems of each you have. Then you can start arranging, using one hand to fix the stems and the other to pass new stems into the bouquet. 

Start with a central, thick, upright stem. Add one more stem (or two, if you're feeling dextrous) across the first, at an angle. 

Closing your hand around the swivel point, slide the flower heads up together, giving the stems a little twist around themselves at the same time, so the stems remain diagonally across each other. Rotate the entire bunch slightly in your fixed hand and repeat with the same pattern of flowers. 

Keep an eye on the end of stems, ensuring they roughly line up. Tweak any that stick too far out the bottom, either by pulling them up in the bouquet or clipping the end. You want to create a base that will stand up for itself

As you repeat these steps, the bunch will get bigger. Keep a firm, circular grasp around the same pivot point in the centre, where you will notice your stems all twisting. Hold on to here at all costs!

Once you've placed all your stems, replace your hard-working hand with a tight wraps of string or twine. This is where it is good to have another willing pair of hands!

Here's a chance to trim off the pesky odd millimetres from any stems...

Now you can wrap the bottom of your stems in a first layer of cellphone. I used two with my tissue paper lying between. It is easiest to poke the stems into the cellophane and then down into a jug or vase, to give you a "well" to pour your water into...

Now, while it still stands in the vase, you can tie the cellphone securely around the same "waist" you tied the flower stems. You can also take it out and check how well it stands. A few adjustments, without untying the bunch, will often allow it to stand straight. 

Admire your handiwork
Wrap in a further, longer layer or cellophane to protect, and tie with ribbon. 

They  look particularly nice popped in a gift bag with some matching tissue paper. If you can get a wide-based bag, it will help a tall bouquet stand up well.


  1. Lovely presentation! I am terrible at flower arranging, really like your simple to follow, "Pivot point" idea, and the ideas of keeping your selection of flowers limited. I love your idea of sandwiching the patterned paper between the layers of cellophane as it makes it very posh-looking, and is quite protective in transit.