March 4, 2011

Some Things (About Twisting Stems) Are Illuminated

Twisting stems is a very personal process; I find that most designers have their own way of doing it. But Belinda very politely requested a how-to post on the matter, and she is so wonderful I really don't feel in a position to decline. So here goes. Please comment with any questions or tips! Mastering the twist is an ongoing process, and I am still learning. : )

Step 1. Gather your flowers and botanical textures and impulsively tidy up their stems below the tie-off point. Not only does this help keep their water clean, it makes for a more bad-ass looking twist.

Step 2. If you are right handed, hold your first stem in your left hand. With your right hand,  take your second stem and cross it atop the first,  so that the second flower head lays to the left of the first flower head and the second stem lays to the right of the first stem. (Some people find it more comfortable to do this in the opposite direction).

Step 3. Continue crossing each stem in this way. Every so often, take the whole bundle in your hands and turn it so that you are adding stems to a different side of the bouquet. While it is possible to add stems to the center of the bouquet, it is much easier to keep checking in on the bouquet's shape and composition as you go, adding and fussing as needed before moving ahead.

Step 4. When you're happy with the size, shape, and composition of your bouquet, it's time to tie off. I like to use about a yard and a half of fine jute twine, which I wrap fairly loosely around the stems many, many times. This holds the stems securely without crushing them.

Step 5. Hold the ends of the stems together with your left hand and use your right hand to (carefully) trim the stems with a very sharp knife (swipe!).  Place the bouquet in water, or spread the stems into a spiraled stand and take a few pictures!


  1. You stem-twirling angel!!! Thank you so very much for kindly sharing your expertise, you make it look so easy (but I know it ain't!). I will nail this, I will, this summer!xxx

  2. Thank you Belinda, it's my pleasure!

    I know it can be tricky at first, but I have every faith you'll get it down pat this summer : ).

  3. Beautiful twirling! I don't know about you, but I find a mirror is always useful too (not for checking out yourself but seeing how the shape of the bouquet is coming on).

  4. Oh yes, good call Florist in the Forest! The mirror is a definite must.

    Thanks for visiting everyone!

  5. Um, I've never been able to do this. Believe it or not my hands are too small to hold very many flowers.....

    Okay I'll try again. Yours is a thing of beauty.
    xo Jane

  6. Hi Jane! Yes, I can commiserate. Paddle hands definitely have the advantage here, but I find it helps to kind of tilt the bundle, so that your fingers cradle the stems rather than go around the entire circumference.

    In the meantime, take comfort that tiny handed people have the advantage in scrubbing inside small vases, unromatic as it sounds.

  7. The finished result is perfection!

  8. I love this bouquet--the hellebores especially! Beautiful!

  9. Thank you so much Denise and Julianna! I say this almost every month, but I just love this time of the year. It's almost impossible to not create something lovely with all these freakin' gorgeous spring flowers around. And isn't it great hellebores have such a long natural season? They are rock stars.

  10. jaime,

    that's a lovely tutorial. i adore the hand-tied style. yours is especially nice because its quite loose and natural looking. gorgeous.


    ps ill be working for DD@straycat this spring/summer/fall, so you may get some emails from me asking for advice!

  11. Thanks Lisabette! I'm so glad you stopped by; I think I heard about your work with DD, maybe back last Spring? How wonderful that you will be joining the Stray Cat crew! They are an amazing bunch, and DD is such a knowledgeable and fun person to be around. I'm sure you'll love it!

    Please keep in touch- I'd love to enjoy DD's flowers vicariously :).

  12. Thanks, Jaime! Barb gave me a great lesson this morning, but it will be really helpful to have this tutorial to refer to, too!

    Barb's friend Jan

  13. Thanks, Jan! Best of luck with the wedding flowers! I am sure they will be beautiful. : )