June 14, 2022

Floral Arranging in a Clear Vase - the Wrong Way!

We often get asked about the best way to create a floral arrangement in a clear vase so that the mechanics are hidden or how to make it look like there is water in the glass. While this project didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped (more details on that as you read further), there are some great take-aways to ensure YOUR project comes out perfectly!

The #1 Ingredient!

We are going to give the Elmer's Clear Glue hack a try in this blog!

Whenever I see this hack, there are a lot of questions about how long it takes for the glue to dry. I'm not going to bury the lede here - I do not yet know how long because my project has not finished drying. I will update this blog the minute I feel confident it is fully cured!

Choose Your Flowers!

Since it is Pride month and I had rainbow flowers left from this blog where I show you an easy way to dye them, I wanted to use them! You can do this glue trick with any flower styles and/or colors.

Use Leftover Faux Filler Stems!

If you don't want to be able to see floral wire through the clear vase, the best thing to do is to not use it at all! In my craft room, I keep a big bucket of faux greenery/filler stems that are leftover from other projects. Some are from really long stems of greenery that need to be cut down for an arrangement and others are from fillers that I pulled off the leaves or colorful bits and stemmed individually. Either way, keep those extra stems around for projects like this one!

To make sure there is a hole large enough on the bottom of the flower to accommodate these thicker stems, I use a bamboo skewer to create a small hole and then gently twirl it outward to expand that hole. Another thing you can do to attach these stems to your flowers is to cut off the plastic at the tip, exposing the wire in the center of the greenery stem (think of it like stripping a cable wire). You will want a bit more glue than usual so I recommend adding a good sized dab to the bottom of the flower and then attaching your stems.

Choose Your Greenery (and wisely!)

Here is where one of my big faux pas came into play. While I really love the play of the small white blooms against the brightly colored rainbow flowers, I forgot to think about their stems. Their paper wrapped stems.

For some reason, when the paper wrapped stems touched the glue, they started to unravel a lot. They also started to bleed color into the clear glue! That is the murkiness you see in the final project picture. Without that error, the glue would have remained crystal clear like clean water.

Choose Your Vessel and Add a Tape Grid!

The clear vase I selected to use has an oblong cylinder shape. My initial thought is that I would use less glue and give it more of a surface area to dry faster. That didn't happen*.

After you have your flowers and your greenery/filler prepped, it is time to prep your vessel. Using tape on the top of the vase to create a grid-like pattern helps to hold your flowers in place while the glue is drying. I used green vinyl tape so it would show better in pictures but clear tape is a much better option!

Once the grid has been created, now is when I would style your flowers and greenery. You want to ensure all stems are cut down to the correct size BEFORE the glue is at the bottom of the vase or you may have a gluey mess on your hands if you need to pull something out to cut it down to size. If you want to be sure everything will go back in the same way you pre-arranged it, set everything to the side in blocks that correspond with the holes in the grid.

Next up, add your clear glue to the bottom of the vase! I started by filling it 1/3 of the way up but as I was adding my filler blooms, I realized that I had cut those stems way too short to get caught in place by the glue. You can also add glass beads or cleaned river rocks to the bottom of the glass container (before adding in flowers/greenery) if you want an added ornamental look to your piece.


*I ended up filling the vase more than 3/4 because I had cut some of my stems too short. It was around 26-28 ounces of clear glue which is a LOT of glue to dry.

Learn From My Mistakes!

And here is my imperfect but sorta cute, sorta finished project! Once the glue is fully dried, I do plan on removing the green tape I used to create the grid. Right now, it is still holding the flowers and filler in place and keeping everything from completely shifting around.

All in all, this was not the most successful of projects. But! It was a fun experiment and I'll leave you with the key points to keep in mind so that your arrangement is a beautiful success!

  • Use plastic, not paper wrapped stems - (I will do an experiment with preserved and dried stems and update this blog in the near future on any "bleeding")
  • Keep your stems long enough to touch the bottom of your vase - (it just gives a cleaner, more realistic look)
  • Use clear tape when creating the grid on top of your vessel
  • Leave a LOT of time for the glue to dry/fully cure - (as of today, the glue has been drying for 3-4 days and has the consistency of a thick milkshake. Ie - is can still move around)

Good luck and let us know how it goes if you give this project a try!