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Beginner Guide to
Floral Arrangements


Hi there! Welcome to Fakoory’s Field Guide to designing beautiful floral arrangements.

If you picked this up, you must be interested in making outstanding floral creations for special occasions or maybe you’re just about to begin your small business. 

We’re here to make sure you’ve got a checklist for everything you may need to be successful in your venture. 

Quick Find

Basic Supplies

Floral Foam – Provides a base for flowers. Flowers are inserted to hold them in place. Dry foam is used for dried and silk flowers. It comes in many shapes like bricks, spheres, cones, and wreaths but can also be found in novelty shapes like hearts and footballs. Foam can also be cut into any shape needed. It comes in green and white.

Pin Frog – Device with lots of sharp pins pointing upward used to hold flowers in place when foam will not work.

Floral Tape – Paper coated with paraffin or wax in 1⁄2 or 1 inch widths. When it is stretched and pulled tight, it sticks to itself. It is used to cover and bind wire and stems.

Floral Wire – Attach to floral stems to add stability or secure items together. It is available in lengths, spools and various gauges or thicknesses, as well as a variety of colors. The smaller the gauge number, the thicker the wire.

Floral Sticky Clay – Helps affix candles, pin frogs or floral prongs to the base of any vase or dry surface. It works best when the surfaces are clean and dry. Typically comes on a roll, like tape.

Wood Pick – A narrow piece of wood with wire attached to the top. Wired wood picks allow you
to combine several stems onto one insertion point and are used to add non-floral elements like fruit or pinecones into an arrangement. Available in various lengths.

Greening Pin – A two-pronged metal pin with an
s- or u-shaped top. Pins are used to secure moss or other foliage to a foam base. They are also great for securing burlap, ribbon or fabric to a straw form.

Corsage or Boutonniere Pin – Used to attach a floral design or ribbons to clothing. They usually have a pearl round top.

Waterproof Tape – 1⁄4 inch wide green tape used for live floral arrangements in water. It bonds well to surfaces and continues to stick when wet.

Chicken Wire – A wire mesh used alone or in combination with floral wire to provide additional support to stems or floral material.

Liquid Resin – Used to create the look of water in glass containers. The soft gel dries hard to hold stems firmly in place.

Glue Gun & Glue Sticks – Invaluable for floral arranging because of their ability get into tight places and control glue application.

Wire Cutters – Use to cut artificial flower stems or wire.

Wreath forms – Foam base to which flowers, leaves, branches, berries and other decorations are glued. Available in a variety of sizes.

Wreath frames – Metal base to which flowers, leaves, fabric and other decorations are tied or glued. Available in a variety of sizes and shapes, such as circles, ovals, hearts, squares and other novelty shapes.

Types of Floral

Choose from a huge floral selection in sizes ranging from just a few inches to more than 70 inches in height.

Stems – Single blooms on one stem. 

Sprays – Single stem, multiple blooms.

Bushes – Multiple stems, each with multiple blooms.

Garlands – A decorative cord, made of flowers or leaves, that can be hung on Christmas trees, banisters, doorways or railings.

Greenery – Any green foliage or vegetation.

Wreaths – Any arrangement of flowers, leaves or stems formed into a ring and used for decoration. Wreaths can be made from a number of materials, including grapevine, wire, straw, foam or burlap.



The basic elements of faux flower arranging are the same as working with fresh flowers. The three rules remain 1) build the basic structure or line, 2) add points of focus and 3) complete with some filler for a gestural finish.

No matter your container, a solid base is important. Cut dry floral foam to fit snugly inside the container, letting it rise about an inch above the top edge of the container. Waterproof floral tape or hot glue below the foam will secure it in place.

Long stem pieces will need to be pre-trimmed before starting the arrangement. Be careful not to cut them too short at this point, as they may require additional trimming as each one is placed.

Design the structure of the arrangement, keeping in mind the contours of the vessel and the pieces you have chosen for the arrangement. Create an arrangement that will best accentuate their unique beauty. Artificial flowers and floral foam allow you to choose numerous shapes: horizontal, vertical, triangular, oval, crescent-shaped, s-shaped and more. Begin with the pieces that naturally give you that fundamental shape, such as greenery and branches, and build or layer your work.

Once you’ve built your base, start placing the main eye-catchers. Position them asymmetrically and at various heights for a natural-looking display. Trim each flower as you go, and use the wired stems to bend each piece to the exact place you want it. If you don’t like the way the arrangement is looking, just reposition the flowers until you do.

Look at your arrangement from all angles in order to see what may be missing. Use wispy pieces to fill in any gaps and add some more expression to your arrangement.


Bowl fillers – River rocks, marbles, sea glass, sea shells, mother of pearl, miniature pinecones and even rice lights can fill your container, cover the stem ends and also help hold them in place.

Containers & Vases – Because faux floral doesn’t need to be fed or watered, containers can be glass, galvanized tin, metal, wood, stoneware, paper maché, ceramic or terra cotta. Containers

come in several shapes, including square, oblong, cylindrical, conical, oval, flatback, jug with handle or even novelty containers like a small pickup truck or a wheelbarrow. Terrariums are also a popular way to add a lush focal point to any space. Choose a container based on personal preference that also complements the arrangement.

Decorative Objects – Candles, feathers, faux birds and butterflies, eggs and bird nests can add more life and interest to your arrangement. They can also give your display a nod to the season.

Floral Ribbon – Satin, grosgrain, wired, and burlap ribbon, pre-tied bows and even rope can add a finishing touch to your arrangement and help it tie in with your decor.

Measurement Guidelines

How much garland do you need? How big should a wreath be? Here are some rules of thumb to help ensure you fill up on enough floral to achieve the right scale for your space.


For a standard 36 inch door frame, use a 20 to 24 inch diameter wreath for a classic look. Use a 28 to 30 inch wreath for a dramatic look.

For oversized doors, use a 30 to 36 inch wreath.


To calculate how much garland you need for your door frame, measure the height of your door frame and double. Then measure the width of your door frame. Add both measurements together to determine the amount of feet you need. Optional: add another foot or if you want garland to puddle on the ground.


To calculate how much garland you need to wrap a down the banister, measure the length of the staircase and the height of the newel post from the handrail to the floor. Add the two dimensions together and double the amount.

To calculate how much garland you need to swag a banister, measure the length of the banister, then multiply by 1.5.


To calculate how much garland you need to swag a mantle, measure the width of the mantel, then multiply by 1.5.

Still not confident you’ll have enough? Use a piece of string or twine to wrap and swag your door, banister or mantel until you get the look you want. Then just measure the string!

Tips & Tricks

  • Floral arrangements are often placed into a container or vase. Use Spanish moss, excelsior or moss to cover the foam or any other mechanics in an arrangement.
  • Glass marbles and river rock can be used with or without liquid resin to create a design that looks like fresh flowers and to hide stem ends in a glass container.
  • Floral glue is often used to secure items in a silk arrangement or wreath.
  • Use the height of your arrangement to decide where to place it in your home. Smaller, lower arrangements are great for kitchen countertops and tables. Larger, taller arrangements that draw your eye upwards can be placed on a mantel or higher surface.
  • Style your arrangement with authentic, natural elements. For example, a vase of faux wildflowers looks more believable next to a piece of real driftwood.
  • Use blooms that are a contrasting color. Artificial flowers that match too perfectly to your decor look staged.
  • Decorate seasonally. Choose faux blooms according to what time of year the real varieties are in bloom. Succulents and faux plants work any time of year.
  • Choose arrangements that are more free-form. Greenery poking out of your arrangement at varying heights looks more realistic than an arrangement that is perfectly symmetrical.
  • Make ready-made wreaths look fuller by stacking two together.
  • Don’t use faux flowers in the same arrangement or in the same place. Change up their containers and locations to fool visitors into thinking they’re fresh.
  • Look for the most realistic faux florals by comparing them to the real thing.
  • Just because faux florals are sold on a bush or spray doesn’t mean you can’t cut them apart and even bend the stems to make them look more realistic.
  • Odd numbers of stems almost always look better in a vase or container.
  • Add water to clear vases to make faux stems look fresh. If the metal wire is exposed, coat it with clear nail polish to prevent the ends from rusting.
  • Wreaths aren’t just for front doors. Use removable hangers to hang wreaths to cupboard and closet doors, or even the wall.
  • The larger the wreath, the higher you should hang it on your door.
  • Larger wreaths have added weight, so be sure to use a sturdy metal hanger or a securely- fastened nail.

Care & Cleaning

Faux flowers, greenery and arrangements never need trimming. They never get “sick,” and they always look their best. Keep them looking fresh as the real thing with these cleaning tips:

  • Brush flower petals, leaves and stems with a clean makeup brush or toothpaste to remove dust.
  • Alternately, use a hairdryer or vacuum cleaner to blow away dust. Use the lowest and coolest air setting possible. Handheld vacuums are preferred over uprights.
  • Dust weekly, moving in light back-and-forth motions over the areas where dust commonly accumulates.
  • If flowers are silk, use a cleaning spray specifically made for silk flowers, misting lightly.

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