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Flower Arrangements: The Right Materials Make All The Difference

Apr 9, 2008
There are only a few essential tools for your new hobby of flower arranging.

Tools

Sharp knife - Preferably a pocket knife for safety purposes. It should be kept sharpened at all times.

Flower shears - Choose a pair which you can use with the least effort. Not too heavy, not too light.

Pruning shears - These are used in the arrangement of thick, woody stems and branches.

Wire Cutters Household shears

Containers

Suitable containers may be purchased at your neighborhood shops or found in the attic or basement. Its fun discovering how many vessels of all shapes and sizes can be adapted to flower arrangement.

For design purposes, we will put containers into four categories.

1 - Square

2 - Horizontal

3 - Vertical

4 - Complex

Always keep in mind that the container is there for two reasons; one is to hold the arrangement; the other is to beautify it. It must never detract from or over power the design. The vessel for your arrangement must always be more subdued in tone and less complex in shape than the rest of the composition.

Ideal vase colors are white, subdued greens, browns, tints and shades.

Clean containers regularly. Bacteria, if left in the vase too long, will shorten the lives of your flowers.

Holders -

A veteran flower arranger is undoubtedly in the possession of a variety of holders. The secret to successful arrangements is the employment of the proper holders for the various types of plant material.

Following, are listed some of the more popular holders.

Frog - Needle holder

Wire holder - An example of which is the hairpin holder.

Glass holder - This is a flat cylindrical block of glass with holes bored halfway through the top surface.

A way to secure these holders to the bottom of the container is to role a piece of clay between the palms until it forms a suitable sized coil to fit around the bottom of the outer edge of the holder. The inner surface of the container should be clean and dry before pressing the holder and clay into it. After the holder is secure, the clay is pressed lightly around the joined edges of the holder and container thus forming one unit.

Chicken wire is also an excellent means of holding the arrangement. It may be shaped to fill the need. Keep in mind that it must always be rolled in layers and not crushed into a mass. This will avoid looseness, and will give the stems firmer footage.

The holder selected should be the one which will best support the arrangement in mind. Stems which have to be picked up and replaced every half hour are definitely not in the right holder. After a little experiment, the selection of holders will be one of the easier tasks of flower design.

Additional Equipment

Modeling clay - Oily base.

Quartz sand - For special effects and supporting dried arrangements.

Collection of interesting pebbles and stones of unusual origin; such as granite, sandstone, black pebbles.

Water sprayer - To give certain arrangements a dewy appearance.

Florist's string - For tied bouquets and other construction work.

Scotch tape - Can be used as a flower holder by criss-crossing it at the mouth of narrow necked vases.

Corsage kit

Wires - These usually come in twelve inch lengths which are cut in half for corsage work. They are numbered according to thickness; 22, 24, 30, 32, these being the most suitable thicknesses.

Roll of soft wire

Floral tape - Preferably green and white.

Bases - Like the container, the base is part of the design, and should be chosen wisely for line, color, form and texture. The beginner will need only a few of the basic shapes. However, one should learn to employ them; as they tend to anchor the arrangement to its setting; giving it a feeling of unity.

Now you have the basic tools, you are on your way to the wonderful world of flower arranging.
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