Photo from Celebration of Clematis by Kaye Heafey & Ron Morgan
A list of tools
for floral designing & How to prepare floral foam and the containers.
Waterproof tape is an all-purpose method for holding either
soaked or dried foam in place. It comes in two colors: white and green.
The tape is waterproof and pressure sensitive. Once adhered
to a dry surface, it will remain firm and in place even when exposed to
moisture. It sticks on pottery, metal, plastic, wood, glass, ceramics...
Waterproof clay is the designers’ tool for positioning candles
and figurines. It will also anchor dry materials like anchor pins to
each other or to vases; frogs to bases, dry foam to bases etc. It is
waterproof and heat proof; can assist in positioning and holding ribbons
and tissue, and will hold fruit in place for cornucopia displays. Make
sure the surface is absolutely dry and free of dust or the clay won’t
Clay Waterproof Tape- Waterproof tape is a fast easy and all purpose
method for holding either soaked or dried foam in place. The tape is
waterproof and pressure sensitive. Once adhered to a dry surface, it
will remain firm and in place even when exposed to moisture.
glue pot is a small electric pan, or glue skillet that you can either melt small pellets
or (if it comes with an attachment) broken glue sticks at a low temperature. Use it for placing your foam by waiting until the
glue is melted, but not hot, dip the four corners of the floral foam
into the glue, and push it onto the bottom of the container. Pan melt
glue is also used to secure the ends of silk flowers in foam when making
large arrangements. Dip the ends of the flower stems into the pan glue
before inserting into the floral foam.
Hot glue gun and glue sticks may be used instead of pan melt glue
pellets. They come in high and low temperature styles and in various sizes.
Floral stem tape, a strong stretchable tape adheres to itself
without sticking to your fingers. It is the ideal way to lengthen and
strengthen stems. Use to create
corsages, bouquets, headpieces, cascades, nosegays or boutonnieres. As
the tape is stretched, the adhesive material is activated. Stretch the
material as you wrap it around fresh, dried or silk flower stems.
pins or foam prongs secure the floral foam firmly to the bottom of a vase. Affix the pin to the bottom of the vase with
hot glue or waterproof clay. Then press the foam into the pins of the
Floral Wires or stem wires
comes in different gauge
sizes, colors and styles. The higher the gauge number the more flexible and
thinner the wire
is. Floral wires come covered and uncovered as well as in different
painted colors. Choose between spooled or pre-cut wires. Floral wires are used to lengthen and support stems. You can
use them for hanging wreaths by shaping them into loops. Perfect for
securing floral material to wreaths and forms.
Cups are small, inexpensive containers designed to hold taper candles in
floral foam. A necessity when making centerpiece arrangements that will
have taper candles in it. Use floral clay to secure positioning of your
Before floral foam was available, arranged flowers were held in place
with chicken wire, sphagnum moss, cut greens, pine needles or newspaper.
Transporting arrangements was difficult with water sloshing and flowers
moving. Flowers lasted a day or two at most. The advent of floral foam
expanded the art of floral design.
There are many types of floral foam, and it comes in various shapes,
styles, textures and sizes. The blocks can easily be cut with a serrated
knife (or florist knife) to fit the size of your container.
Plastic foam or
Styrofoam is coarse, non-porous foam. It is very sturdy
and a good choice for working with large silk flowers or swags. It can
be cut and wedged into a container or cut smaller than the container and
secured to the bottom with hot glue or pan melt glue.
Desert foam of Dry Floral Foam is also coarse and non-porous, but it is
easier to penetrate than plastic foam. Secure to the bottom of the
container with hot glue or pan melt glue. Perfect for silk and dried
Oasis foam or water holding floral foam
is highly absorbent. It is best for fresh
plants, because it holds water and is easy to penetrate. Leave a space
between the foam and the sides of the container so water can be added to
the flowers. This softer, finer foam is also preferable for standard
silks and dried arrangements. It is perfect for inserting either thick
or fragile stems. When using silks or dried flowers, the foam can be cut
up in blocks and stuffed inside the container or shaped to fit, and
wedged securely in place.
Preparing the Saturated Foam
Floral foam bricks self-saturate quickly and continue to wick water to
the flowers for the life of the arrangement. Water lost by evaporation
or consumed by the flowers needs to be replaced. The saturated foam is
not a substitute for water. It is best to add bottled water with
preservative to your arrangement daily. As little as 10% moisture loss
will cause flower wilting.
• Fill a soaking container with fresh water and a proper amount of
• The foam should be large enough to be wedged into place and extend 1
to 2" above the rim of the vase. This allows for top and side
placement of stems.
• Cut a wedge in the foam so you can add water daily. Place the cut
out section at the back of the container.
• Allow foam to free float in a flat position. There should be enough
water to fill the brick and allow it to float free when fully saturated.
Don’t force the saturation or air pockets will form in the foam.
• When foam is fully saturated, place in vase and tape down with
some foam to fit the bowl. Using waterproof clay, secure a plastic foam
prong on the bottom of the bowl. Impale the foam on the frog.
Mound the top of the
foam using extra pieces taped together with water proof
tape. Using a strong glue, hot glue or pan melt glue, adhere
the foam to the dish.
pieces of floral foam snugly into the entire vase with . Wedge a piece
of foam, that extends an inch or two above the top of the vase.
Insert a loose ball of
floral netting inside it and stretch it until it pushes against the
interior surfaces. Holding it self firmly inside the bowl.