An exuberant hand-tied design created with a chicken-wire armature.

Floral design, step-by-step photos and text by Shelayne Hammack, Twist Flowers located in Reno, Nev.

Bouquet photos by Jessica Lillian, Jessica Lillian Photography,Reno, Nev.

When developing a color palette for a bridal bouquet, I am often inspired by one or two flowers, and I build around those. For this cheery composition, I was drawn to yellow garden roses, embodying April sunshine and the onset of spring. Tulips with a complex pink coloration were the next botanicals that drew me in. From there, I chose other botanicals in soft yellows and buttercream as well as vibrant magenta and rich burgundy hues, to create a sophisticated and balanced harmony of colors.

When I design a bridal bouquet, I always think about how it will be photographed; therefore, I’m intentional with accent colors, to create range and depth. Also, for this design, I employed a modified spiral hand-tying technique and a chicken wire armature. I use this technique for bouquets that will be moved around a lot and need a strong support system.

DESIGN TIPS: If you have small hands or arthritis, the chicken wire armature will take pressure off your hands and help you better manage the bouquet’s structure. Also, loosely bind the bouquet stems with waterproof tape as you design rather than waiting to bind all the stems when it’s finished. Alternatively, you can bind the bouquet stems with self-fusing binding tape, stem wrap, raffia or other material of your choice.


Step 1

Form a piece of chicken wire (approximately 2.5 inches to 3 inches by 1.5 inches by 2 inches) into an oval shaped armature.

step 1

Step 2

Insert the first two stems into the chicken-wire armature—through the top and out the bottom—so they form an “X.” Position one stem a few inches taller than the other, to create some initial depth in the bouquet. These first two flowers should have strong stems, such as garden roses or stock. Bind the stems where they overlap with waterproof tape, binding tape, stem wrap or other binding material of your choice.

Step 3

Continue arranging stems at opposing angles and at varying heights, to create a “spiral” of stems below the chicken wire. Arrange three to five stems of each flower type at a time, leaving one to three stems of each flower type for final insertions, to be placed where needed to achieve the desired shape, color distribution and depth. I started with garden roses and followed with stocks and stems of pepperberry. At this point, the chicken-wire armature will be mostly covered.

step 3

Step 4

Next, add butterfly Ranunculus, sweet peas and pepperberries (I call them “dancer flowers”; they add movement to the bouquet). Group those botanicals near each other, for a more pleasing and less busy aesthetic. Finally, arrange tulips, Scabiosa and blackberries at various heights, to create depth. Be constantly aware of depth and spacing of the flowers as well as the shape and size of the bouquet, and be sure to arrange all stems at opposing angles, to create a beautiful spiral of stems.

Step 5

Bind all the stems where they cross (binding point) with waterproof tape, binding tape, stem wrap or other binding material. Ensure that each stem is secured in position. Wrap the binding point with silk ribbon, to cover the tape or other binding material. Insert three ¾-inch pearl-head corsage pins into the stem bundle, to secure the ribbon.

Step 6

Cut all stems to an equal length, and place them into a vase containing properly proportioned flower food solution.


materials flat lay


Rosa spp. (garden rose)

Matthiola incana (stock, gillyflower)

Tulipa gesneriana (tulip, Didier’s tulip, garden tulip)

Ranunculus spp. Butterfly series (butterfly buttercup, butterfly Ranunculus)

Scabiosa atropurpurea (pincushion flower, scabious)

Lathyrus odoratus, Japanese (sweet pea)

Tasmannia lanceolata/Drimys lanceolata (Tasmanian pepperberry, mountain pepper)

Rubus fruiticosus (blackberry, bramble)


• OASIS Florist Netting

• OASIS® Waterproof Tape (Green) or OASIS BIND-IT Tape (Green)

• Atlantic® Pixie Pins, Pearl

• Silk ribbon (Ivory)