When you buy or receive a bouquet of fresh cut flowers, is your next step to plunk them in a vase of water? With a few basic florist supplies, you can elevate your blooms from flowers in a vase to a professional looking floral arrangement. With a little practice, you may delve into corsages, ikebana, or wreaths.
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Frogs or Kenzan
Flower frogs, or what ikebana designers call kenzan, accomplish what green floral foam cannot: it holds flowers in place, while also contributing to the beauty of the design. This is important in shallow containers where you can see the anchoring piece. Frogs resemble little pincushions, only the pins are facing upwards. Antique flower frogs are highly collectible, so watch for them in thrift stores.
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If you’re like many people, you probably have at least two types of adhesive in your home: white all-purpose glue, and super glue. Florist adhesive is different in that it works in wet or cold conditions to instantly bond your fresh flowers to wet foam, glass, plastic, ribbons, foliage, and plastic. This is the supply essential to making intricate corsages and boutonnieres, but you can also use florist adhesive to make garlands and wreaths for home decor. You can buy a tube of adhesive gel for working with small surfaces, or adhesive spray for making densely packed pavé-style designs.
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There are several kinds of useful cutting tools for the florist, including floral scissors, ribbon shears, and bunch cutters, but a basic branch cutter is necessary to prepare flower stems for conditioning. If you try to get by using your regular household scissors for this task, you will experience hand fatigue and dull your scissor blades quickly. A branch cutter resembles a pair of garden clippers, and will slice through the tough stems and woody branches of floral material easily.
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Clear floral tape is useful in making grids on the top of vases and containers to help flowers stay in place. Clear waterproof tape is also needed to secure the bases of stems on certain flowers, like calla lilies, to prevent them from splitting underwater. This is especially important when you’re using a clear vase in your arrangement, and don’t want to see a collection of scraggly, shredding stems in your design.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Green floral foam has two purposes: to hold flowers in place in your design, and to keep flowers hydrated for the life of the arrangement. Before you insert flower stems into this foam, you must hydrate if for approximately two hours in a prepared solution of water and flower food. Use the foam immediately after hydrating it. Foam comes in a variety of shapes and sizes to inspire your designs, including bricks, spheres, and wreaths, and you can cut it to fit any container.
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Remember that little packet of flower food you got with your last bouquet? You can buy this arrangement-extending elixir in larger quantities, to get the most life out of all of the flowers you harvest from your cutting garden. This white powder contains three ingredients to keep your stems fresh: a biocide to curb fungal growth, a nutrient to feed the flowers, and an acidifier to balance the pH of your water.
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Green floral tape isn’t sticky at first, but it is stretchy and will adhere to itself as you wrap your stems. This self-adhering quality is activated by wax in the tape that becomes tacky as you stretch the tape. Use green floral tape to wrap bunches of flower stems tightly together, as in corsage or wedding bouquet work. Beginners trying floral tape for the first time will find it easier to work with several small pieces of tape rather than a continuous strip to prevent it from becoming a tangled mess.
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A water tube or pick is helpful for keeping flowers hydrated when their stems are too short to reach the foam or water level in your vase. A water tube has a rubberized cap that secures the stem and keeps water from leaking out of the tube. Water tubes also enable you to insert flowering stems into the soil of potted plants, giving the illusion that flowers are growing among the greenery.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Florists use wire in a variety of gauges to strengthen and lengthen flower stems in their designs. Without wiring, flowers with thin stems and heavy blossoms would soon begin to droop. Florists often conceal wired flower designs with green floral tape. Consider buying a wire cutter if you plan to use wire often so you don’t dull your scissors.
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If you are working with a multitude of thin stems and a small insertion space in your florist foam, wired wood picks allow you to combine several stems onto one insertion point. Wired wood picks also make easy work out of inserting a thick stem, like that of a sunflower, into your foam. Use wood picks to insert non-floral elements into your arrangement, like fruit or pinecones.