Selection of Wire and Wiring Techniques Introduction to Floral Design
When should wire be used? Rule #1: Only wire when a flower cannot be used satisfactorily without it!
Why do we use florist wire? • Straighten crooked stems • Support weakened stems • Keep flowers upright and help prevent wilting • Hold flowers and foliage in a desired position
Why do we use florist wire? • Prevent flower heads from breaking off • Replace flower stems on corsages so the corsage stem is not bulky • Add accessories to corsages and arrangements
Selecting Wire • Wire is sold in 12 pound boxes • Boxes contain straight wires 18 inches long • The number of wires per box varies according to the size of the wire…why?
Selecting Wire • Wires are coated with green enamel to help prevent rusting • The color makes it less noticeable in the design • Wire can also be purchased on spools
Sizes of wire • Florist wire comes in various weights and diameters called gauges • Sizes range from 18-thickest, to 32–thinnest • The LARGER the number the THINNER the wire!
Sizes of wire • 20-26 gauge is most common • Choosing the proper size of is important: wire that is too large will damage the flower or if too thin, the flower will not be properly supported
Rules of Wiring: • Select the smallest wire that will support the flower and still hold it in place • Don’t use too much wire or it will detract from the arrangement—remember Rule #1
Methods of wiring: • Straight Wire • Hook • Piercing • Wrap • Stitch
Straight Wire Method • Used when the stem remains attached to the flower • Often used when wiring flowers for vase arrangements • Wire should show as little as possible!
How to Straight wire: • Hold a piece of wire parallel to the flower’s stem • Insert into the calyx (fleshy part of the flower below petals) • Push wire up toward the top of the flower • Wrap the wire carefully around the stem going between the leaves
Hook Method: • Used on flat-headed flowers such as daisies, asters, chrysanthemums • The hook helps prevent flower from breaking off of stem • The stem may be removed or left intact (depends on use of flower)
How to Hook: • For corsage work, cut the stem so that only ½ inch is left below the calyx • Remove all remaining foliage • The wire is pushed up through the calyx and out the top of the flower
How to Hook: • The wire may also be pushed in the center of the stem • Then, bend the end of the wire that sticks out top of flower into a small hook • Pull the wire downward so that the hook disappears into the flower head
How to Hook: • If using the flower in a corsage, it is now ready to be taped • If using the flower in an arrangement, bend the wire around the stem to support it
Piercing Method: • Used on flowers that have an enlarged calyx…such as? • Only use this method if the flower is going into a corsage or the stem will not be visible
How to Pierce: • The stem is removed about 1 to ½ inch below the calyx if for corsage work • Insert a wire through the calyx at a point halfway between the calyx and the petals
How to Pierce: • If for a vase arrangement, push the wire until it sticks two inches beyond the calyx • Then, bend both ends of the wire down • Wrap the longest end around the stem
How to Pierce: • For a corsage, push the wire so that the flower is located on the midpoint of the wire • Then, bend both sides down parallel to the stem, wrap one length around the stem and other length of wire, and tape
Wrap Method: • Used on foliage made of many small leaflets (leatherleaf) • Used on flowers composed of many small florets (baby’s breath)
How to Wrap: • Cut the stem to what length? • Make a hairpin from 26-28 gauge wire • Hang the hairpin over the lowest pair of leaflets so that the bend in the hairpin rests behind the stem
How to Wrap: • Wind one wire over both the other wire and the stem of the leaflet • Wrap the stem and wire with tape
Stitch Method: • Used most commonly on broad, leathery skinned leaves • Foliages that have been wired are much easier to use because the wire creates an extended petiole
How to Stitch: • From the back side of the leaf, take a 26 gauge wire and pass the wire through the leaf along the midrib • A stitch is made about halfway up the leaf
How to stitch: • Bend both ends of the wire down the back of the leaf • Wrap one half of the wire around the other half and the petiole several times • Tape the stem beginning at the base of the leaf
Always Remember! • Select the method that best suits the type of flower and its intended use • Keep all wire hidden as much as possible!