Flower Arranging Basics
If you fancy a go at flower arranging and are confused about all the products and am not sure where to start, this article is for you.
Flower arranging can be easy and fun. But like any skill it requires patience and practice. Do not be put off if your first flower arrangements do not turn out exactly as you wanted. Be prepared to make mistakes and modify your ambitions to suit your skills. That is the best way of learning.
Firstly a few basic steps
- Have some clear ideas of what effect you are trying to achieve with your flower arranging. A little research is a good place to start. The Internet and magazines are full of useful flower arrangements.
- Decide upon the flowers you want to use. Although any flower can now be bought all year round I always think it is good to choose flowers that are in season at the time. Not only are they less expensive, but can also more effective. Think about your overall colour scheme for the wedding or function. Are the flowers available in those colours?
- Do not only think about the flowers. Consider what is the arrangement going in. Think about the mechanics of your arrangement: how will it stay together. What sundries do I need? This can be the boring bit of flower arranging however is very essential, you will need to decide which sort of oasis foam product to use for the base, from the foam rings, to standard foam bricks and trays.
To help you plan your flower arranging, below are detailed the main florist sundries essential for flower arranging.
Florist foam also known as Oasis foam(a trade name of Smithers Oasis)is the main medium for holding most flower arrangements in place. Oasis foam is the starting point of most flower arrangements and floral art. It comes in 100’s of shapes and sizes for different purposes, some of which we will cover here.
There are two main types:
Wet foam or Fresh Flower Foam
Wet foam or Fresh Flower Foam is normally green, quite soft and must be soaked in water before use and a single block of flower foam can hold 2 litres of water. The most common and versatile shape is the foam block. A single block measures 23 x 11 8 cm and is cut into the required size to fit the container. When cutting your foam make it sit about 15mm over the height of the container. This will give you more flexibility when working on your arrangement.
When using wet foam place the block into a bucket of water and allow it to sink naturally. Modern foams only take about 1 minute to absorb about 2 litres of water. Do be tempted to push it down. When ready, remove it from the foam immediately. Allow it to drain for a few minutes. It is now ready to use.
Wet foam can only be used once. Also try not to take flowers in and out. The foam will easily break-up and become unusable.
Remember to keep the flower arrangement foam topped up with water. This will ensure maximum life of your flowers
Dry Foam is used when arranging artificial or dried flowers. It can be bought in the same shapes and sizes as most wet foam. It is easy to cut and easier to shape that wet foam and also more riding. A word of warning -when arranging with dry foam keep it away from your eyes. It stings like hot needles. It only lasts for a few seconds however it is not recommended!!
Used to make hanging wreaths or as a base for table arrangements. They come in a variety of sizes from 8 inches upwards.
There are two main types:
Plastic backed which are available in 10", 12". A "must" if you want them for table flower arrangements. The plastic backing gives you extra protection against water getting on your best oak table. The plastic base also water reservoir for your flowers
To use either type follow the same instructions for soaking as in foam block. Foam backed products
Foam Backed Wreath Frames have a strong waterproof foam backing. They are lighter and best suited to wall hanging arrangements.
Similar to wreath frames except without a centre hole. Great for large "full" floral arrangements.
If you want a centre hole for a candle or similar use a knife to remove foam as needed.
Typical uses of Posy Pads are Christmas Decorations, Wreaths, funeral tributes.
There are 100's of specialist florist foam products for Flower Arranging . Many of them are in stock all the time. Some of our best sellers are:
Foam Designer Bases
A new addition to flower arranging. A cross between a plastic backed Posy Pad and a Plastic Backed Wreath Frame . Comes in 2 sizes 9" Foam Designer Base and 12" Foam Designer Base. Ideal for Table Top Arrangements which include Candles .
10 plastic cages complete with either flesh flower foam or dried flower foam. Soak the foam( (if wet variety) and clip the cages together to form a 5ft garland. Any length of garland can be made by adding cages.
When arranging Foam cages they can be refilled with fresh foam.
Simply Garlands are fantastic for creating a voluptuous swag of flowers and foliage that will make any mantelpiece, banister or window look absolutely stunning and they are easy to use!
Florist foam filled cages which interlock to create a flexible and secure base for any type of swag.
First you will need to soak the garland cages. Then simply click them together using the brilliant interlocking system to the full length that you need.
Create a textured base effect insert foliages in to soaked foam, If you want your garland to have a nice full voluptuous effect then you will need to use shorter stems of foliages and make sure that they are inserted deep into the garland also using extra lengths at each end to create a trailing effect.
Auto corso’s are a great invention when flower arranging. They are flower foam for fresh flowers in a plastic cage with a sucker pad on the bottom. Once you have created your arrangement you can stick the auto corso anywhere! They are great for the wedding cars, glass, windows and mirrors and they don’t leave a mark!
A Florette is a florist tray with a handle filled with fresh flower foam which is caged to hold the foam in place. They are generally used as pew ends (If you want to make a smaller arrangement then it’s best to use a Le Klip), once decorated with flowers they hang off the end of the church pews or why not have them at your reception and decorate the end of the tables. They have plastic pads on the back of them to protect the surfaces.
Some pews have hooks on them ready to hang the pew ends off, however if your church doesn’t you can simply attach some ribbon through the hole in the handle and hang over the end of the pews.
Florettes are available in 3 sizes:
Le Klips work in the same way as a Florette except they are a dome shape and have a up and over handle which is to go over the end of the pews.
These are available in 2 sizes:
There are numerous pre-made plastic florist containers on the market designed to help with flower arranging. Visit our special section on florist containers. If you do not want to use these, any water tight bowl is acceptable.
Junior Saucers are the smallest florist container. 12 cm across x 3 cm deep. Ideal for small table arrangements. As a rough guide should make arrangement up to 20 cm across.
Florist saucers are designed to take a foam cylinder without cutting. 14cm x 4cm. Ideal for arrangements 20 cm to 25 cm across.
A D Bowl is designed to take a third block of foam. The most versatile of the small florist containers in that flower arrangements can be up to 30 cm across. The square base gives it a very solid structure.
Compote Dish Code
A Compote Dish Code is similar to a Florist saucer except with a raised base.
Supplied in two parts 14cm high with a top saucer of 13 cm. Ideal for designs that cascade.
Florist tray with handleor a spray tray is perfect as an inexpensive pew end or to create flower arrangements to hang over the tables at the reception. 22cm x 3cm
Florist trays are available in 2 different sizes they are ridged and a great base for long and low arrangements that would be perfect for table top flower arrangements.
The smaller of the of the florist trays measures 25 x 13 x 3 cm which is perfect for fitting a whole block of flower foam. A rough guide to the size the arrangement will be 30 cm x 20cm depending on what type of flowers you use.
The larger of the 2 is called a double block florist tray and measures 49 x 12 x 3cm and is perfect for holding 2 blocks of flower foam and as a rough guide to the size of the arrangement again depending on what type of flowers you use is 55 x 20cm.
The florist tray is a easy to use and inexpensive, all you need to do is soak the flower foam as we’ve said above then place in the tray and using some anchor tape (S0025) to hold it in place and you’re ready to create your arrangement.
Designer bowls are ridged plastic bowls which are available in a fashionable range of colours which are perfect for table centres.
They work in a very similar way to the florist tray except because they are available in a fashionable range of colours. The Oval designer bowl is 23 x 18 x 5 cm : this will hold a 3rd of a block of flower foam. The other shape is square 22 x 22x 5cm and will hold ½ a block of flower foam.
Galvanised Containers are now used by many flower arrangers as a very effective flower container. The most popular are the small flower buckets coming in a range of 2", 3", 4", 5", 6" and 7". Although the small buckets will only take a very small arrangement they can be used as part of a larger arrangement. The 2" buckets have now become very popular to use as part of a wedding favour
Although they are waterproof, if you want to use them with a flower food, this will after a long period of time corrode into the galvanising and create rust.
To create a flower arrangement with a difference consider using some of the new galvanised tins.