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Graduation Celebration! Graduating Senior Floral Design Ideas for the Professional Florist

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Publication Number: P3803
View as PDF: P3803.pdf

Today’s high school and college graduates embrace the many ways they can creatively celebrate their accomplishments! End-of-school-year parties, graduation-related events, and photography sessions provide the professional florist with plenty of opportunities to market and sell flowers! Students LOVE their school colors, and these designs follow their craze, using ribbon streamers, flowers, and other exciting elements of design.

Custom-made designs tailored to the high school and college graduate add excitement to events and provide a sense of personalization. Photographers, event rental managers, caterers, hair stylists, and many other vendors promote graduation products and services, so why shouldn’t florists?

This publication provides numerous floral design ideas that can be customized to suit your clients’ needs. Consider selling these designs within your community, and carefully develop the marketing approaches to attract potential customers.

Flower Bracelet

Every graduate should wear flowers at his or her graduation party! Start the trend in your area by advertising flowers to wear not only for prom, but for other senior year celebrations. Whether a graduation party is at home or an event facility, the graduate can truly stand out with flowers that coordinate with selected attire or school colors.

We created this design on a flattened aluminum wire spiral. Using cold glue, we adhered a silk leaf to the underside, then glued an orchid and button chrysanthemums in place. Be sure to properly hydrate all flowers prior to design use.

Materials:

  • #3 sparkle ribbon
  • cold glue
  • #12-gauge aluminum wire in different finishes (diamond and plain)
  • phalaenopsis orchid
  • plumosa fern
  • button spray chrysanthemums

Wind the aluminum wire around a dowel or fingertip, incorporate both finishes of the wire together, then twirl the sharp ends into tight spirals to protect yourself and the recipient from scratches.

Cold glue is somewhat runny when it emerges from the tube. To conserve cold glue, remove the tube from the box. Cut the box in the center and open one of the halves. Glue the closed segment to the open segment to make a “tube holder”. Once the glue is dispensed, it becomes difficult to use the tube cap again. Use a corsage pin to replace the cap because it keeps the glue from drying within the tube and it can be easily removed and replaced.

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A partially opened tube of cold glue sits in a cardboard holder.
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Various materials needed for the grad bracelet project are displayed, including ribbon, wire and floral adhesive.
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Floral wire is bent into swirls.
A hand is extended to display the completed flower bracelet as it would naturally fit on a wrist.
This wire base easily adapts to the wearer’s wrist with a few squeezes.

Team Spirit

Our graduate is ready for college and the fun of cheering on her team in football season! Capitalize on sports fandom by adorning a team logo football with ribbons and flowers. This design is easy to make and has maximum visual impact with its use of ribbon streamers. We made two bows and long streamers with different patterns and textures of ribbon and bound them with paper-covered wire. Next, we cold-glued spray chrysanthemums into the bows and coated them with anti-transpirant spray. To attach the bows to the football, simply apply 1-inch square patches of removeable adhesive glue (such as Uglu) to the football points and attach the flowery bows in place. Select long-lasting, durable flowers such as carnations, spray roses, and statice for this project to provide long display duration.

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Choose flowers that are lightweight and last a long time out of water when adorning props such as this football.
A young woman holds a decorative football.
Coordinate props and flowers to wear with school colors and outfits.

Hobbies

Our graduate loves growing vegetables and flowers, so we featured one of her gardening tools in her senior portraits. Flowers make everything more special, so why not bring attention to the objects that portray the graduate’s favorite hobbies. Add flower trims to musical instruments, artist easels, or cooking utensils and use these as buffet or table centerpieces. These props are awesome in senior photographs, too! We made our garden trowel design in the same way as the football bows, but combined silk and fresh flowers in her favorite colors of pink and purple.

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Assemble #3 and #9 ribbons in assorted patterns, a garden trowel, and fresh and silk flowers.

Collegiate Colors

Young people love flowers, so they should have them! You can suggest that grads are presented with a bouquet of flowers in the colors of their selected college or university. Future hopes and dreams can be reflected in an arrangement in the colors of their selected school. Shimmers of metallic gold leaves reflect light and make a stylish collar around a combination of lavender and purple flowers. Flowers-to-carry should not be reserved only for bridesmaids. A quick, hand-tied arrangement is the way to go; display several of them in your refrigerator for quick cash-and-carry sales.

A graduate should have a beautiful bouquet of flowers in their favorite color or those of the alma mater. Olympic winners are presented with a medal and a bouquet, so it is fitting to present your graduate with flowers, too!

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A robust bouquet features a variety of flowers in multiple colors.

Yearbook Glam

Have you ever wondered how to generate sales of huge homecoming mum corsages like Texas florists? We have an idea that will turn some heads! We used our graduate’s yearbook as inspiration for a floral bookmark, increasing the scale of the arrangement.

Using a school pennant as the main element, we stapled a variety of ribbons, including #100 and #40, together, then added a bow with the same stapling technique. A plier stapler is easier to use than a desk stapler because its design allows for easier access within the ribbon loops.

Cold glue holds some fresh flowers within the focal area of the bow. Half of the ribbon streamers are held within, and the bow peeks just outside on the top of the book.

This is such a cute way of including books in a photo shoot or adorning a book for a presentation. The design can be made small and dainty in the same way, and no glue, staples, or wire contact the books. If a yearbook is not available, substitute books about the student’s favorite subject.

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Materials for a decorative pennant include various ribbons, a school pennant, fresh flowers, and a stapler.
A young woman shows off a fully decorated pennant.
Many different types of accessories can adorn a book, and designing is so simple.

Sunny Days Ahead

What graduate is not feeling footloose and fancy free in her last days of high school or college? She will love wearing a sunhat brimming with floral trims at her sunny open house or in her senior pictures. Do not underestimate the fun young people will have when presented with such a prop! This big box store hat with attached silk scarf was augmented with a small wreath of corkscrew willow to provide an armature for flowers. We used this method for attachment because some customers may bring in their own hats and may not want glue residue on them.

Once the willow was attached to the scarf via paper-covered wire, we glued silk and fresh flowers to the framework and fabric. Our roses were too bulky for the design, so we attached their petals to add the soft lavender color. Coat the fresh materials with anti-transpirant spray.

A robust bouquet feature a variety of flowers in multiple colors.
Straw sunhats are the perfect prop for springtime photo shoots.
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A summery mixture of permanent and fresh flowers gives our graduate a fun prop for photos and for outdoor parties.

The Crowns

Crowns of fresh or permanent flowers are popular again, and they are so easy to create. Remove and clean miniature carnations, statice, and waxflower, leaving short stems, about 2 inches long. We used #12-gauge aluminum wire as the backbone and bound the small flowers to it using bullion wire. These decorative mechanics do not need to be concealed; in fact, the effect of the mechanics showing through the design is attractive. Coat the finished design with anti-transpirant spray.

In Europe, graduates are given crowns of foliage as a sign of their achievements. We made our “crown of laurel” with Italian ruscus in just a few minutes.

First, we cut a length of #12-gauge aluminum wire and wrapped it with two stems of the ruscus. We added some deep red ribbon to the wreath by tying it in knots, leaving some soft crescents in place for a rhythmic effect. You can clip off any extraneous foliage and, if desired, glue in fresh flowers. These leafy crowns can be made several days in advance and refrigerated within plastic bags to keep them fresh.

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This design uses two stems of Italian ruscus and #12-gauge aluminum wire.
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A laureate’s crown of Italian ruscus and red ribbon.
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Our flower crown features Italian ruscus, asparagus fern, white statice, yellow-tinted waxflower, and miniature carnations.
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A flower crown.

Graduation Day Bouquet

Promote the use of flowers in everything that you do! Give flowers as gifts; they are the perfect way to say, “Way to go, grad!” Pure hues of school colors will reflect beautifully for outdoor commencements, parties, and photo shoots, and the recipient will not want to part with them. You can sell them with the cost of a vase included to avoid the need for water tubes. In this way, the bouquet can be used as a party decoration, too. Choose line flowers to accompany the mass and filler flowers to create an elongated arrangement that is held in the crook of the arm. Add playful ribbons to catch the breeze.

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Graduates love receiving their special floral bouquet.
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School colors stand out from the crowd when customers “say it with flowers”!

References

Hunter, N. 2013. The art of floral design. 3rd ed. Delmar, Clifton Park, NY.

Wood, M. 2007. The seasonal home. Winward, Union City, CA.

Johnson, J., McKinley, W., and Benz, B. 2001. Flowers: Creative design. San Jacinto, College Station, TX.

McKinley, W., Cravens, L., DelPrince, J., Scace, P., Gallagher, J., Jaras, J., & McGukin, S. (Eds.). 2022. The AIFD guide to floral design (3rd. Ed.). Schiffer, Atglen, PA.

Nowak, J. and R.M. Rudnicki. 1990. Postharvest handling and storage of cut flowers, florist greens and potted plants. Timer Press, Portland, Oregon.

Scace, P. and DelPrince, J. 2020. Principles of floral design. 2nd Ed. Goodheart-Willcox, Tinley Park, IL.


The information given here is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products, trade names, or suppliers are made with the understanding that no endorsement is implied and that no discrimination against other products or suppliers is intended.

Publication 3803 (POD-10-22)

By James M. DelPrince, PhD, AIFD, PFCI, Associate Extension Professor, Coastal Mississippi Research and Extension Center.

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Authors

Portrait of Dr. James M. DelPrince
Associate Extension Professor

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