Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman
Design-time saving tip sheet for a demanding Mother’s Day
Mothers’ day is one of the busiest days in the florist calendar. It is also one of the most demanding due to the varied clientele. Mother’s day bridges generations, cultures, gender and taste, with each customer searching for that all important thank you floral gift.
Many of the customers are also infrequent buyers of floral arrangements and may not have a clear idea of what they are looking for, which taxes the florist even further. This is when time is the florist’s most valuable resource, and though we can’t give you more, we can help you make the most of the time you have.
Tips and tricks are tools, just like your secateurs. They are intended to save moments when moments are precious, and are best kept handy, in plain sight where you can reach for them without thought. For your convenience the tips are arranged in a cut-out and keep poster, to avoid frustration and solve design problems in no time.
Butterfly hair clips: Even though most types of glue we use in floral design dries fairly quickly, we still sometimes need a bit of help to speed things up. Cut out the pins from the inside of tiny butterfly hair clips for the most perfect little claws to hold tiny bits in place while the glue dries, leaving your hands free to continue with the design. It fits nicely around most stems without pinching or bruising and is surprisingly strong.
Prevent teeth marks when bending soft wire with pliers. Even long nose pliers without grooves still damage soft aluminum wire. Open your pliers and wrap each side with the smallest band aid plaster, pad side in.
Positioning a flower under water using a magnet: Flowers tend to float on water and you need some kind of a sinker to submerge or suspend them in the water. Glue the thin side of a corsage magnet to the back of the flower head and place the powerful thicker half outside the vase. This will not only sink the flowers but it will also be easy to move the magnet and position each flower to sit exactly where you want it.
Egg white keeps tulips in tight bud: Sometimes you want to preserve the graphic look of a tight bud flower head for as long as possible. To prevent flowers from opening paint the petal edges with egg white. This also works well with lilies or any flower that has a closed pod shaped bud. To remove the egg white just bathe the petals with a cotton bud soaked in warm water and the flower will pop open.
Reflex tulip petals: To create a full tulip bloom, let the tulip dehydrate out of water for a few minutes. Place your thumb behind the thick part of the petal where it connects to the stem and pop it back and open. If the petal resist or tears wait a few minutes more before trying again. This works best with mature tulips.
Curve stems: The best way to curve a soft spongy stem such as callas or tulips is to let it dehydrate for a few minutes to make sure it doesn’t snap when you bend it and then to gently message the stem into a curve.
Removing Oasis Floral adhesive spills: The last thing you need when you are busy is to struggle to remove a sticky glue spill from your flowers or hands. The easiest way to clean Oasis Floral Adhesive is with Oasis Floral Adhesive. Dip a wooden skewer back into the glue tube, set it aside to become tacky and then use it to dab and roll and lift away glue spills. This works on plant material, tools, fabric and skin
Clear underwater design: In underwater designs it is best to avoid flower food and add a few drops of household bleach to keep the water clear.
Color predictions: Look at the magazine covers in a bookshop, note all the color combinations? Magazines spend thousands of dollars making sure their cover designs are right on trend. Take note of the recurring themes and you will be right on trend too. The added bonus is that magazines are usually working a few months in advance giving you time to order your supplies and still be ahead of the trend curve.
Photo perspective. Sometimes when you are struggling with a design you get so involved in the process that it becomes really hard to keep perspective on what exactly is wrong. The fastest and easiest way to get a fresh look at the design is to take a picture. Looking at the photographic image is like a fresh pair of eyes and you will quickly spot what you would like to change.
Bonus: Above all else, remember to focus on the customer and the design in front of you, finishing before starting with the next. Your dedicated attention will be rewarded multiple times over.
Thank you Canadian Florist Magazine for inviting me to be part of your February/March issue. It is an inspirational resource for all Florists. Have a look at the online magazine.
For the original Tutorials mentioned in this article and additional pictures:
Butterfly hair clips are the perfect little claws to help you hold tiny items in place while you wait for glue to dry
Even long nose pliers without grooves still damage soft aluminum wire. Pad the pliers with a plaster.
Flowers naturally float and you will need some kind of sinker to keep them suspended under water.
Follow the flower's natural curve but you can also curve only sections to create an elegant crescent or a curve at the tip of the stem
The finish of every design should be flawless. Make sure there are no bits of glue visible in your design by carefully removing all traces of spills.
Manipulate fresh willow stems to create a sprouting armature for long tulip stems