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My “Must-Do” Fake Flower Decorating Tips

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Learn my fake flower decorating tips and tricks behind creating realistic flower arrangements.

This time of year when we are eager for the departure of winter, adding colorful fresh flowers around our homes is one way to welcome spring into our lives. 

I love fresh flowers and try to use them most of the time, but sometimes it is just not possible.

When I can’t find what I am looking for in my yard or from the grocery store and I am desiring the visual joy of the color pops that flowers provide in my house, I don’t mind using fake flowers.

Not just any fake flowers though, I am very picky about the ones I buy and thought for today’s post I would share my fake flower decorating tips with you that can really make the difference when it comes to making them look as realistic as possible.

Fake flower decorating tips using craft store flowers

This time last year, I painted a vase with craft paint to place behind my sofa. In it I put fake forsythia. I loved it, the vase and the flowers looked fresh and vibrant in my living room. When summer came the forsythia went into a bag and into storage.

Fast forward to this week where I am tweaking the decor around my house for spring. I brought the vase and forsythia out of storage, except I decided I didn’t want to use the stems in the same way as I did last year.  This is one of my tips on how to make fake flowers look real.

How to decorate with fake flowers all through the year.

Don’t Use Fake Flowers in the Same Way Year After Year

Change it up. Place your faux stems in a different vase or container.  Move them from room to room so you get lots of mileage out of your purchase. I use the same forsythia branches every year, but placed them into a basket to help brighten up the firebox instead of the vase.

See the hydrangeas in the glass bottles on the mantel? When I first decorated the mantel for spring, I placed real flowers in the bottles. They have since died…

Fake purple hydrangea flowers on top of a glass fronted cabinet

…so I went to my fake flower storage stash and plucked out a few fake purple hydrangeas that I used to have on top of a cabinet in the kitchen of my previous house.

Fake flowers when you take care of them can last a very long time.

Fake Flower Decorating Tips

Fake flower decorating tips showing fake forsythia in fireplace box

TIP #1: To help space the forsythia in the larger container, I placed a few bunched-up plastic grocery bags into the basket and around the stems so they would fall evenly around the basket.

TIP #2: Real flowers, their stems and leaves are not perfect. Fake flowers look better when they are not perfectly arranged or placed perfectly symmetrical.

Yellow tulips on Kitchen decorating with wood bread boards.

TIP #3:  RESEARCH FRESH FLOWERS – Before you can buy good-looking fake flowers you need to know what real ones look like. Visit a florist or look at images of real flowers online. Be sure to check out the leaves. Each flower has its own leaf shape, veining and texture. Makers of fake flowers are getting better about making the leaves and stems look real.

Look for the best colors and most realistic looking flowers. If you search and are choosey you will be surprised at just how nice many at the craft store look… Even the dollar store, sometimes has a few types of fake florals that look good.

Tips and tricks on how to make fake flowers look real.

TIP #4:  CUT YOUR FLOWERS APART – Just because fake flowers are sometimes sold in a bunch doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. Separate the bouquet/bunch into individual stems. All it takes is a few snips using an inexpensive pair of wire cutters and you’ve got a bunch of individual flower stems to arrange in no time. Don’t use scissors as you will ruin the blades.

Once cut, you can arrange and place the flowers just as you would fresh flowers.  If using a glass vase this in even more important since you don’t want to see the stems being held together as a bush through the glass.

TIP #5:  BEND THE STEMS –  A real flower does not stand perfectly straight on it’s stem, they softly droop to the sides of a vase. So using your hands, bend the wire stems a bit so they will stand more like a real flower.

Decorating ideas using fake flowers. Pink Peonies from Crate and Barrel

TIP #6:  ADD WATER TO THE VASE – When using glass vases to display fake flowers, make sure to add water to the vase. This tip alone will make fake florals look more realistic. If metal ends of stems are visible, cut them off with wire cutters and then place in  water. If the metal can’t be cut off,  apply clear nail polish over the metal and let dry, then place in water. This will keep rust marks from forming on the glass.


TIP #7: GO MONOCHROMATIC – One thing I don’t like about grocery store flowers is that many are sold in mixed bouquets. I prefer to decorate with flowers that are all one color and type. Find one fake flower in the color you like and fill the vase or container with them.

TIP #8: ALLOW A FEW BUDS OR PETALS TO DROP – Natural things never stays the same, real flowers shed, so let your fake flowers shed a few blossoms or buds on the table.

TIP #9:  BUY ODD NUMBERS – When arranging flowers real or fake, use odd numbers of stems or branches. Odd numbers just look better. Buy enough to fill the vase. I always buy more than I think I will need and am always glad I did. If I get too many, I can always return them. You can’t do this with real flowers.

Yellow tulips on a wall cabinet that was made over into a sideboard by adding bun feet.

TIP #10: The reason these tulips look realistic is that their stems are thick and really resembles that of a real tulip. Many fake flowers come on thin wire stems and have cookie cutter dark green foliage.  These petals have texture to them an the leaves have realistic looking veins which helps give a more realistic feel. Plus the color looks more translucent and not one solid opaque yellow color.

TIP #11:  USE FLOWERS THAT ARE IN SEASON – An old-school rule about decorating with fake flowers was that you should only use fake flowers that are in season so they seem more realistic. I agree with this, but don’t let it influence my decision if I see pretty pink tulips in the middle of winter for sale at the grocery store.  Nowadays you can buy any season of flower any time of year at the grocery store or florist.

TIP #12: STORE IN PLASTIC BAGS – To keep fake flowers from getting dusty, give them a shake from time to time. I have even run them under water and allowed them to dry upright in a vase.  To store them, place in containers with large plastic garbage bags over the blooms. This way they stay clean, but won’t get crushed.

The next time you bring a bunch of fake flowers home from the store or get them out from storage, they are all always going to require a little fluffing and bending of the stems.  Doing a little tweaking will have them looking realistic in no time. And best of all, unlike real flowers, fake flowers will last for a long time so your purchase will be well worth it.

TIP #13: Use % OFF COUPONS  – When buying fake flowers from the craft store, I always wait until they are on sale or I have a 40% – 50% off coupon. I can get double the amount.

How to make your own fake flowers using tissue paper and dollar store items.

Want to make DIY fake flowers. I made these with tissue paper.

Fake flowers for fall in a basket on a mantel

In the fall, I used a mass of fake fall flowers in a basket on my mantel.

Fake purple tulips from Pottery Barn

The only thing fake flowers will never have is that fresh flower smell.  I make up for this by diffusing essential oils throughout the house. :-)

Tips and tricks on how to make fake flowers look realistic.

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  1. Thank you for your wonderful tips on using artificial flowers. I always need help with my arrangments as they looked too symmetrical and uniform to look right. I will use your tip of separating the stems and having them droop over the side a bit. You are always so helpful!

  2. It was just luck that I found the last bouquet of flowers at Michael’s on sale but they worked out so nicely! I got some yellow and white flowers that were long and droopy and a few brightly colored carnations, and dang, I was very proud of myself! for a lot less than $10!

  3. When I was reading about feng shui last year, I discovered they don’t recommend fake flowers. Well, I bought a tiny fake plant last year for our kitchen, and I’m hooked. The kitchen window is under a carport so doesn’t get direct sunlight, so a real plant won’t do. I’m loving all the fake little succulent plants available now too. I might get one for our northern facing bathroom which gets zero sunlight.

  4. Yes, I too use fake flowers. It’s a real budget saving option.

    This time of year I too like to have real flowers, especially on my dining table. Last week I bought a bouquet of pale green mini-carnations at Walmart $4.97. Great buy! But…. though the color was gorgeous I needed a little more color (in this case pink) to tie into the colors I used in the adjoining LR.

    I happened to have some very, very real looking pale pink roses garnered from a floral shop arrangement where they’d used both faux and real flowers. The real ones were of course long gone, but the faux ones were there for the picking. ;-) Added to the real mini-carnations, the arrangement looks very cottage-y and very pretty. You cannot tell the roses are faux until you look closely.

    Many times, I too have used all your tips for making faux flowers look real. Even dollar store faux flowers will look much better when cut apart…that’s probably the best tip ever. :-)

    Diane, your tips are always spot-on and very good for small budgets…though anyone will benefit from them even if they have much more to spend. :-)

  5. All good tips I’ll pin, but the best was the Christmas flowers only gift card! I’m always trying to figure out something my husband can give me …