Grief looks different from person to person. After losing a loved one, some people are so distraught that they struggle to make a simple decision regarding the funeral arrangements.
Other people throw all of their grief into planning an extremely personal end-of-life service for their deceased family members complete with DIY funeral flower arrangements they made at home.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What You’ll Need to Make a Funeral Flower Arrangement
- How to Make a Standing Funeral Flower Arrangement
- How to Make a Funeral Flower Arrangement in a Vase
- How to Make a Funeral or Casket Spray at Home
- Frequently Asked Questions: Making Funeral Flower Arrangements
If you want to personalize the flower arrangements for your loved one’s funeral, you may consider doing it yourself. Making your own funeral floral arrangements may also be a way to save money on the service.
Regardless of your reasons, we’re here to help. Here are the fundamental steps to how to make a funeral flower arrangement.
We know there are many different types of funeral flowers. For simplicity’s sake, we will discuss two basic types: the standing funeral arrangement and a simple arrangement placed in a vase. You may also consider laying the standing funeral arrangement on top of the closed casket to create a funeral spray.
Virtual funeral tip: If you're planning a virtual funeral with a service like GatheringUs, you can display your flower arrangements in the background for online guests to see.
What You’ll Need to Make a Funeral Flower Arrangement
Before you can begin your arrangements, make sure you have gathered all the necessary materials. If you’ve never arranged flowers before, you may find it necessary to purchase some equipment and supplies.
If you intended to save money on the flower arrangements by doing them yourself, you may be surprised to find that you could have purchased a professional arrangement for not much more than you spent yourself after buying all the materials you need.
- Find a good pair of scissors or gardening shears. These will be used to trim the stems to the appropriate length.
- Buy either an appropriately-sized vase or a styrofoam half ball, depending on the type of arrangement you’re going to complete.
- Wire cutters might be necessary if you need to cut wire to secure the standing floral display to a wire easel. You may also use wire cutters if you use artificial flowers in your arrangement. Speaking of wire cutters, you may need wire to secure the arrangement or wire-backed ribbon to add to the display.
- You may find it handy to have a stem stripper, especially if you are working with flowers with many thorns or leaves.
- You may find it necessary to purchase the wire easel or pillar where your final arrangements will be displayed. You may check with the funeral home or church to see if they have some available for you to use.
- Of course, you’ll also need plenty of flowers. If you are new to arranging, make sure you purchase extra stems. You may find yourself damaging stems or blooms during the placement. You might also find that you don’t have an accurate sense of judgment on just how many flowers it would take to make the arrangement seem full and complete.
Carefully consider what flowers you use. Did your loved one have a favorite? If not, consider using blooms in your loved one’s favorite colors.
Perhaps you could purchase flowers based on the region that they are connected with or their meaning. You should also consider the season in which the funeral takes place. Some blooms may not be available at a particular time of year.
Of course, you could also consider using artificial flowers for funeral flower arrangements. This may not lower the cost of your arrangement, though. You would also have to think about what you would do with the funeral flowers after the event takes place.
How to Make a Standing Funeral Flower Arrangement
You can find several different types of arrangements used at funerals. One of the most common is a standing floral arrangement. Standing flower arrangements are typically oval in shape.
They are similar to a funeral spray that you would see on top of the casket, but instead, you usually see standing floral arrangements displayed on an easel or a three-legged metal wire frame.
Making a standing floral display takes time, skill, and talent. The process feels different from arranging flowers in a vase. Here are some simple steps to get you started.
1. Gather your supplies
Gather the items listed in the previous section. As you look at photos of professionally designed funeral arrangements, you’ll notice that these arrangements are full and include flowers and greenery sticking out in all directions.
To keep yourself from having to return to your flower source in the middle of designing your arrangements, it’s probably a good idea to overbuy stems. This is especially true if you are a beginner and think you might damage some of the flowers as you place them in the arrangements.
2. Place the styrofoam half ball on a flat surface
No matter how tidy you are, you’re going to make a mess when arranging flowers. Complete your work on an easy-to-clean surface.
3. Begin placing the largest flowers in the center of the arrangement
If you purchased flowers in a wide variety of colors and sizes, start your arrangement by placing the largest blooms (or most distinct-looking blooms) toward the middle of the half ball.
You will have to cut the stems to the appropriate length before placing them. Make sure you don’t cut the stems too short, as you won’t want the largest blooms hidden behind the greenery and other filler material.
Whether you surround the largest flowers with blooms or larger sizes or greenery, make sure you cover the styrofoam ball.
You may consider using clear glue at the base of each stem to help hold the flower and greenery in place.
4. Continue placing flowers in an outward direction
Once the center of the styrofoam ball is covered, use longer stemmed flowers and greenery to fill in the outside of the arrangement.
5. Add ribbon or other decorations to the arrangement
You may consider adding a bow or other decoration to your floral arrangement. This could be used to fill in bare spots or could be used to give the arrangement a sense of direction.
6. Attach the arrangement to the wire easel
Using wire, attach the arrangement to the wire easel securely.
How to Make a Funeral Flower Arrangement in a Vase
If you’re a beginner, you might find it easier to make a flower arrangement in a vase instead of making a standing arrangement. Here are some steps to make a simple arrangement using real flowers and greenery.
A DIY funeral arrangement is one way to plan a funeral on a budget and it can also make the arrangement more meaningful. Consider using flowers from your family’s garden or even wildflowers and grasses that grow in your area.
1. Gather your materials
Besides the flowers, one of the most important things to consider when making a flower arrangement of this type is the vase.
Clear glass vases are certainly typical but you’ll need to consider the look of the stems when completing this type of arrangement.
2. Fill the vase one-third full of water and plant food
Use cool water. You may need to stir in the plant food to make sure it dissolves instead of settling to the bottom.
3. Add greenery
Instead of starting with the focal blooms, begin your display by arranging greenery in the back.
Crisscross the foliage stems so your flowers can be secured against them when you add them later.
4. Add your focal flowers
Your focal flowers may include massive blooms or those of a particular color.
Trim the stems at a diagonal so they absorb water easier and last longer. You’ll also want to remove some or all of the leaves from the stems.
5. Add secondary flowers and greenery
Once you place the background and focal point of the arrangements, add secondary flowers and greenery to fill in the arrangement.
Step back periodically to make sure the shape of the arrangement is pleasing.
6. Add ribbons or decorations
As you complete your arrangement, you may consider adding a ribbon or other decoration to the arrangement.
The box may be placed on a wire stem, which goes in the middle of the arrangement, or it may be tied around the vase.
7. Determine the placement of the flowers at the funeral
Flower arrangements in vases aren’t as secure as those placed on wire easels.
Carefully consider where the vases will be placed at the funeral so that they don’t tip over if someone bumps them.
How to Make a Funeral or Casket Spray at Home
Casket sprays are time-consuming to make, especially for someone with little experience. Regardless, some people feel solace when they complete a creative project to honor their loved ones.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make a funeral or casket spray with items you can purchase from your local craft store.
1. Prepare your materials.
Purchase an Oasis jumbo floral cage. If you can’t find one at your local store, you can purchase it on Amazon. There are also instructions online on how to create your own “cage” over the foam block.
As your foam block sinks into the water, gather up the other items you will need for the project. Once the foam block has soaked up water, place it in a plastic bag so that the block retains as much moisture as possible.
2. Add greenery
Consider the shape of a casket as you begin to add greenery to the arrangement. Since the casket spray sits on top of the casket, it should be shaped like a rectangle or oval. This means that you should use the longer greenery on the shorter ends of the floral cage.
You might need to trim the greenery ends to get rid of brown edges or make the layers more symmetrical.
3. Add the ribbon
If you plan to add a ribbon to the casket spray, consider doing so after the greenery is added but before placing the flowers. This will allow you to design your floral display around the ribbon.
4. Add large flowers in the middle of the arrangement
Most florists would suggest placing the flowers with the largest blooms in the center of the arrangement. Insert the stems of the flowers into the foam block.
5. Add additional flowers in a symmetrical pattern
Most casket sprays follow a symmetrical pattern. As you add other flowers to the arrangement, make sure you are doing the same on each side.
6. Add flowers with longer stems along the side
Consider the size of the casket as you create the spray. If the casket is closed, you might want to make a spray about three feet long. Give the spray some length by adding flowers with longer stems. You can get by with a smaller casket spray if the casket is short or it will be open during the service.
7. Fill in gaps with baby’s breath
One technique that florists often use is adding a filler flower, such as baby’s breath, into the arrangement. This is the last step in the process, so use these tiny flowers to fill in any gaps in the arrangement.
8. Adere the arrangement to the casket
You don’t want your arrangement to slip during the funeral. Some floral cages come with small sticky squares that will hold the spray in place without causing damage to the casket.
Frequently Asked Questions: Making Funeral Flower Arrangements
Before you undergo the task of designing funeral flowers for your loved one, do a quick reality check. Do you have time to complete the task? Does it make sense financially to complete the project yourself instead of hiring a professional? Are you emotionally ready to tackle this project?
If you are ready to create your loved one’s flower arrangements, here are some questions you might have.
Where can you purchase artificial or silk flowers?
Buy artificial or silk flowers from a local craft store, such as Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or JoAnns. You also might check with a local florist.
Most people planning a burial have the funeral just a few days after the death. Unfortunately, this means that you might not be able to order silk flowers online and have them arrive on time. Of course, if death is imminent, you could consider purchasing silk flowers from an online store such as Afloral, Save-On-Crafts, or Amazon.
What websites have good funeral flower inspiration?
For all things creative, turn to Pinterest for inspiration. Your online search for floral arrangement ideas for a funeral spray will undoubtedly lead you to this website.
Also, consider searching YouTube for quick video tutorials. Watching a video will not only help you with the design aspect, but you will also learn the tricks of the trade from professional florists.
You can always see what kind of arrangements are available for purchase from professional florists. While it would not be ethical to steal their designs, you can look at the shape and color of their pieces for inspiration.
As you choose your flowers for the funeral spray, you might want to do a bit of research on the language of flowers. This Victorian idea that flowers (and specific colors of flowers) have meanings may be lost on most of the people attending the funeral, but you will know.
Finally, don’t forget to look inside yourself when designing the flowers for your loved one’s funeral. Consider what flowers remind you of your loved one. Think about what other elements you can add to the arrangement to make it as personalized as possible.
What are some other quick tips for saving money on a funeral?
One of the best ways to save money when planning a funeral is to pre-plan the service. Typically, a person planning their own funeral will choose things based on their budget. However, families in grief often make selections based on emotions.
You can still save money even if your loved one passed away before they were able to plan their own funeral. Consider buying the casket from Costco and having it shipped directly to the funeral home. Have all the services in one day. Have the family use their own vehicles to arrive at the funeral so that you can save on transportation costs.
Other Ways to Personalize the Funeral Service of a Loved One
Many people take great care in how they say goodbye to their loved ones. They choose readings based on what verses gave comfort to their loved ones while still alive. They select songs important to the deceased and the rest of the family.
They carefully choose the clothing that their loved one will be displayed in at an open-casket funeral. They may even write the eulogy for their loved ones.
There are plenty of ways to personalize funerals. Choosing the perfect funeral flowers is just one way to do it.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, you have more than just the eulogy to think about. Handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.