How to create the perfect dried flower bouquet

Dried flowers are a great low-maintenance way to brighten up your house. Here, a florist takes us through the simple steps to styling your own bouquet.

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Dried flowers were one of the biggest interior trends of 2020 and their popularity is set to grow even more in 2021. Luckily, they’re also a very practical, accessible way to decorate your home. Unlike fresh flowers, dried bouquets don’t wilt or require water and they can last for years if you care for them properly.

Florists all over the country are starting to offer dried flowers alongside their traditional fresh arrangements, including online florists like Bloom and Wild. You can easily order a ready-made dried bouquet online or head to your local florist to pick one up but if you’re looking for something a little bit more special for your home, a friend or a loved one, styling your own bouquet adds a personal touch and floristry is also a fun, creative skill to learn. 

Anna Forster, founder of Mary Mary Florals, a florist based in Liverpool offering fresh and dried flowers, shares her expert insight into making the perfect dried flower bouquet.

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Drying your own flowers

Buying individual dried flowers from florists to make your own bouquet is the quickest and easiest option to make your own dried flower bouquet but if you want to start completely from scratch with fresh flowers, you can dry your own flowers at home. 

There are two methods: air-drying and microwave drying. Air-drying can take up to three weeks, whereas microwave drying takes only 24 hours. Stylist has a full tutorial available for both methods if you do opt for this extra step.

Anna explains that drying flowers is a process of experimentation but that you can try it with any fresh flowers you have available to you, even those that have been in a vase for up to a week, as long as they have not already started to decompose. “The biggest sign of flower decomposition is petals dropping so make sure to begin the process of drying your flowers before this starts to happen, ideally within a few days of buying the fresh flowers,” she says.

Styling your dried flower bouquet at home

Now for the fun part where you can bring your wannabe-florist dreams to life! For the following steps, you can use the flowers you have dried at home or the ones you have chosen in your local florist or online.

A dried flower bouquet consists of three elements: focal flowers, filler flowers and accents, Anna explains, so make sure to use a combination of them all.

“Focal flowers you can use include peonies, helichrysum, poppy heads, sunflowers, hydrangea and achillea. Good filler flowers to use are limonium, gypsophila, broom, thistle, carmathus, solidago and palm leaves. And your accents can be flowers like lagurus (more commonly known as bunny tails), miscanthus, phalaris, muni grass, amaranthus, craspedia, eucalyptus and pampas grass.”

Like with fresh flowers, when it comes to colours, it’s all about personal taste. You can opt for more muted tones or a bright colourful bouquet, picking a colour scheme that matches your interiors taste.

    What you’ll need to style a dried flower bouquet

    • Scissors
    • Twine
    • Dried flowers

    How to style a dried flower bouquet

    • 1. Gather your flowers and lay them out in front of you, separating them into focal, filler and accents

    • 2. Make sure the base end of the stems are all leaf free

    • 3. Bring together your focal flowers followed by your filler flowers in your hand (don’t hold them too tight as this will restrict what you can put into the bouquet)

    • 4. As you add each flower, turn the bouquet slightly to create spiralling stems

    • 5. Add in the accent flowers to create height and movement in your bouquet

    • 6. Once you have finished, tie your bouquet loosely with twine. Avoid tying your bouquet too tightly as you will lose the natural shape you have created

    • 7. Cut your stems down to size according to the vessel you are putting them in. You want all the stems and the twine to be in the vessel with just the bouquet resting at the lip. Do not cut your stems too short – it can take a few attempts to get the desired height

    • The finished product

      How to make a dried flower bouquet – the finished product

    Caring for your dried flowers

    One of the great things about dried flowers is that they are fairly low maintenance and can last for a very long time but there are some important care instructions to follow:

    “Do not put your dried flowers in water”, Anna stresses. “This will make their stems weak and mouldy. You must also be careful to keep your flowers away from humidity and direct sunlight, as your flowers will not last as long in these conditions.”

    Keeping your flowers in direct sunlight, however, is an option if you are looking to create a natural sun-bleached look, turning your flowers into a golden sandy colour over time. “This is an alternative to using chemically bleached flowers which are very harmful to the environment,” Anna explains.

    Your dried flowers should last for 2+ years if you’re careful to look after them properly. 

    • Anna Forster, Founder of Mary Mary Floral Design

      Anna Forster is the owner of the Liverpool florist, Mary Mary Floral Design, who specialize in dried flower bouquets. Anna has a Level 2 Diploma in Floristry and she has been a florist for eight years before she founded Mary Mary Floral Design two years ago.

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