Floral design: how to line a clear vase like a pro...

I frequently use glass vases to arrange flowers. Lining them with greenery is an easy way to enhance the look of the arrangement and disguise the flower stems. I'll show you how to make several affordable designs with three ingredients in three simple steps.

Here's what you'll need:

(1)  Clean glass vases. I get most of mine at IKEA. If you want to splurge on something that will last a lifetime -- or buy someone a nice wedding gift -- I recommend Simon Pearce.

(2) Your favorite flowers. If you're cutting from your garden, be sure to do so in the morning before it gets hot. Always condition them properly before arranging.

(3) Flat green leaves -- real or faux. You know I loathe faux, but this an exception. Most apartment, loft and condo dwellers don't have yards or gardens. And my go-to foliage is not in season during winter months. Of course, you can get real green stuff at your local florist, farmers market or floral wholesaler year round.

{hosta, aspidistra (aka cast iron plant) and aspidistra ribbon}

Here's how:

Step 1:  If you're using cast iron plant, fold the leaf in half and cut the thick vein away from the back side of the leaf to make it more pliable and easier to work with. Cut away any unsightly dead or brown spots.

Step 2: Simply roll the leaf in your fingers, and place it in a dry vase. Once inside, you can unroll and adjust it to cover more of the interior area.

Fill the vase to leaf top height with water.

Note: If you don't feel super confident about your floral design skills, you can hold the arrangement in your hand and keep adding flowers and greenery until you're pleased with the look and shape. Like this:

{okay, this looks pretty good}

Step 3: Carefully place flowers and filler in the vase and edit as necessary. You're done!

{roses & parrot tulips with filler from my yard}

Faux aspidistra is not cheap, so use it sparingly. An easy way to measure the ribbon is to first wrap the outside of the vase before you make the cut. Then follow step 2. You can hide the seam while you're arranging later.

I used a square vase and variegated ribbon for this arrangement.

Here you can see the ribbon below the flowers. It makes a big difference visually. Don't you agree?

I like to give low vases some height by placing them on top of books around the house. They also make lovely centerpieces, especially grouped in odd numbers.

Hostas are flexible and easy to work with. Just cut off the stems and follow step 2. Don't be afraid to use several leaves and overlap them. It adds nice color variation and texture.

{one of my favorite Simon Pearce vases}

Floral designs with one type of flower are very easy to arrange. Here I used pink and white peonies. Add a few buds in between the flowers for contrast.

I line these hanging vases in my sunroom with a strip of cast iron leaf and add one statement flower. Peonies are perfect, as are gerbera daisies and fully-opend roses. Simple, yet elegant.

{vases from Pottery Barn are no longer available, but these are cute}

I hope this has been a helpful tutorial, and that you're inspired to go get some flowers and make your home come alive!


  1. This is awesome!! Elizabeth

  2. What a great idea--this looks so much better than the stems with dirty water ;) Great job with the step by step--your photos looked fantastic.

  3. Beautiful and what a good idea, never thought of doing it like this, thank you thank you for the tip! (I came straight from the BYW forum ;-))!

  4. Such beautiful arrangements and a great DIY post! Definitely worth an A+ ;)

  5. Love this tutorial! I, like The Daydreamer came straight over from BYW :) Lovely blog! x

  6. Such a great post!! Thanks for sharing!


  7. Thanks for the lesson, and I love the sink handles :) - via BYW

  8. This is so beautiful..What is the white filler flower from your yard?


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