Tools, Containers, & Mechanics of Floral Design Modified by the GA Ag Ed Curriculum Office July 2002
Knives • One of the most important floral design tools because flowers must be cut before arranging • Pocket knives and paring knives are the most commonly used types.
Clippers • Also called floral shears • Used for cutting and trimming thicker flower and foliage stems
Wire cutters • Several types of wire cutters are available: • Wire Snips: have a spring action handle and short blades; can be used to cut thick items easily • Utility Wire Scissors: serrated; used to cut wire and plastic; often have longer blades
Strippers • Also called rose strippers or dethorners • Used for removing thorns and leaves from stems
Scissors • Ribbon scissors have long slender blades, and they should only be used on ribbon, netting, and fabric. • Utility scissors are used to cut thicker materials.
Function • Containers are the foundation of a design. • Containers that house fresh flowers must hold water and provide a deep reservoir. • The opening in a container should be big enough to hold all the stems of a design. • The container should be heavy enough to support the actual weight of the design.
Shape and Size • The shape of the container should flow visually with the arrangement. • The shape of the container will often dictate the form of the finished design. • Container size should be proportional to the flowers -- not too big or too small.
Style • Certain container shapes portray a period style theme. • The color of the container should be compatible with the flowers of the design. • The texture of the container reflects the mood of the design. For example, coarse textured baskets reflect a casual mood and rugged style.
Materials • Glassware: common, affordable, and versatile; simple and elegant • Plastics: come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors; can take on the appearance of other materials • Baskets: charming and homey; can be used to create many different looks
Materials • Ceramics: includes pottery, stoneware, and porcelain; glazing can create a polished and formal appearance • Brass: highly reflective and elegant; generally expensive; used for special designs
Establishing the Foundation • A secure foundation is necessary to arrange flowers and have them remain where you put them. • Popular foundation materials include floral foam, pin holders, grids, and lacing.
Floral Foam • Porous material designed specifically for the arrangement of flowers • Must be soaked in water if used for fresh flowers • Do not reuse foam after soaking. • It is best to cut floral foam with a knife. • Foam should be anchored with tape, pins, or glue.
Pin Holders • Also known as needlepoint holders or frogs • Has a heavy metal base with many closely spaced pins sticking upwards • Requires more time and care when used in a design
Grids • Used mostly in clear glass containers to make arranging easier • You can get pre-made plastic grids, or you can make one by taping off the top of the container.
Lacing • A grid made by interlocking foliage stems • Leatherleaf fern is commonly used in lacing.
Wire • A gauge number indicates thickness. For example, a lower number equals a thicker wire. • Types of wire –straight – paddle –chicken • Wiring techniques –pierce – hook-wire – insertion
Glue Adhesives • Helps to keep individual pieces of an arrangement securely fastened together • Common types • pan-melt • glue guns and sticks • liquid floral glue • spray glue
Clays and Tapes • Floral clay is a putty-like substance used to anchor items into water. • Floral tape is a paraffin-coated paper tape that sticks to itself when stretched.
Ribbon • Adds a decorative touch to designs • Ribbon width is referred to by numbers such as #3, #9, #40, etc. • A larger number equals a wider ribbon.
Types of Ribbon • Satin acetate ribbon is the least expensive and most commonly used. You can also use: • wired ribbon • paper ribbon • metallic ribbon • decorative lace • print/novelty ribbon