Cue the Julie Andrews!
"These are a few of my favorite things..."
In furthering my commitment to debunk the mysterious world of floral design, I want to share with you all some of my favorite products I use every day. If you want to up your home arranging game these items are a fantastic place to start.
#1 - Japanese Style Floral Shears
These puppies are amazing! The tools you use to cut your flower stems are so important. To ensure your stems are drinking up as much water as they can, you want a super clean cut that doesn't mash your stems.
Solution: Japanese Style Floral Shears also called Ikebana scissors. These super sharp snips feature a large comfortable handle, giving you the full leverage of your whole hand. The finger grip ensures an ergonomic feel that doesn't tire your hands either. Carbon steel blades are super sharp and don't rust. Don't be fooled, these tiny snips can cut through the thickest of stems without batting an eye. Pretty reasonably priced too at $25-$30 a pair.
I personally switch between these snips and my floral knife. For the home arranger a great pair of shears is a must. Floral knives take practice (i.e. lots of bandaids) so I don't recommend them for home use. Kitchen shears and regular scissors are too long too give a strong, swift cut to your stems. So do your flowers a favor and give them their own special scissors.
#2 - Cold Glue
Another secret to floral design success is cold glue aka "floral adhesive." This stuff is an amazing oops fixer and is great for stretching your flower purchases to the max. This waterproof adhesive is formulated for flowers and won't wilt them the way hot glue would.
Cold glue has changed the way wearable flowers like corsages, boutonnieres, even flower jewelry are made because it allows you to glue flowers to almost anything (ribbon, wood, walls, other flowers).
I love experimenting with this glue, for example, covering a vase with interesting looking leaves or maybe attaching some short flower heads or succulents to a piece of driftwood. As I said, this glue is great for fixing oopsies too like when a flower head is broken off the stem. Glue it back together or glue to a green pipe cleaner. The glue cauterizes the stem and seals in the moisture so you can save that broken flower for a few more days instead of tossing in the trash.
#3 - Chicken Wire and Floral Cages
I''ve mentioned chicken wire in previous posts because it really is a great way to "green" up your floral designing by avoiding floral foam. It's also great for newbies because it keeps your stems in place once you put them into your arrangement. Added bonus: it helps space the stems out instead of having that tight, crowded feel.
It's reuseable, easy to work with and shape into the perfect size and shape for any container or vase. Just cut a small square and crumple into a ball.
More recently, I've fallen in love with floral cages, which are the next level up from chicken wire.
Holly Heider Chapple (whose a rock star in the flower world and also my spirit animal) is the inventor of the floral "pillow." The pillow is a plastic reusable cage that goes one step further from the chicken wire. It can be lifted out of the container, keeping the stems totally in-place and allowing you to easily change the water. Fresh water is so so important for longevity with flowers and the pilllow makes it very easy.
#4 - Quick Dip
Speaking of longevity...one of my most asked questions is how to make your flowers last. This is a secret weapon for flower hydration. Because there are no secrets between friends, I'm sharing with you a trade secret: Quick Dip. This hydrating treatment gives flowers the ability to pull moisture into their stems and quickly rehydrate.
If you've ever come home from the store and your blooms are looking a bit droopy they need a extra boost of hydration. To use Quick Dip, pour a small amount (like 1 inch) into a cup or dish. Give your stems a fresh cut and place in the Quick Dip for only 3-5 seconds, then into a bucket of fresh water to drink. This product is especially great for hard to hydrate flowers like hydrangea (see my post on hydrangea care for more details). A little bottle of this product lasts a long time, so its a great addition to the home arrangers toolkit.
#5 - Notebooks
Let's get one thing straight: I am a notebook freak. I collect notebooks like shoes. I have a notebook for every compartment of my life and floral design is a big one (with many notebooks!).
But in all seriousness, I use my notebooks to keep track of all my work. I'm an older millennial which means I'd much rather sketch a design on paper than on an ipad. I'm no artist, but drawing each flower ahead gives me an idea of the shape and texture of the end product.
If you are someone that likes to play with flowers and create new things keep track of them! Just like baking a cake, keep track of your recipes (3 roses, 5 snapdragons, etc.) and how much you bought. One day when your cousin wants you to make 25 mason jars for her baby shower, you'll know exactly how many pink carnations you need.
Hope you enjoyed discovering the tools that help me every day. Lucky for you they are all readily available to the public on sites like Amazon and in most craft stores. Happy arranging!
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