The Height and Placement of Your Materials


One of the key first steps to starting an arrangement is to determine how long your line materials should be and where and how they will be placed within the container or vase. All of this will depend on the style of the arrangement being created, the container, and the type(s) of branch or stem materials being used.

As a general rule, the length of the longest stem is usually based on the container’s combined height and width multiplied by a factor of 1½ to 3 times. The second mid-length stem is about 2/3 to ¾ the height of the first stem. And the third stem is about ½ to 2/3 the length of the second stem.

Although you can determine the lengths of the three main stems or branches, each one has its own bend and volume consisting of smaller branches, leaves, flowers, berries, etc. Therefore, where and at what angle you arrange the rest of your materials will be different for every ikebana arrangement. The school and style of an arrangement combined with your eye and creativity all come into play. Still, visual balance of length, angle, volume and empty space must be simultaneously satisfied for a successful ikebana piece.

Examples of Arrangements Using Various Line and Auxiliary Materials