My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

Braiding three Tulip stems

Choose three fully developed Tulip stems

Choose three fully developed Tulip stems.

Tulips are harvested long before they show any colour. It is one of the few flowers that continue to grow once cut. Each flower grow about the length of their flower heads every day. Keep the Tulips well hydrated until the flower head is plump and open.

Remove all the foliage from the stems

Remove all the foliage from the stems

Set the cleaned stems on a flat working surface

Set the cleaned stems on a flat working surface

The stems need to dehydrate to become more flexible for plaiting

Do not set the flowers in water. The stems need to dehydrate to become more flexible for plaiting

As the cellular structure of the stems weaken it will become more pliable making it possible to braid the stems together without snapping it. No need to be concerned, because the moment you set the stems in water it re-hydrates and will still look fresh for days in the vase.

After about 30 minutes the stem will flop over when you pick it up

After about 30 minutes the stem will flop over when you pick it up. Carefully watch the flowers, though. You want the stem to be pliable but there should be no visible sign of stress on the flower petals

Place the stems on a working surface to match

Place the stems on a working surface to match in length. Cut to be exactly the same.

Look carefully at the flower head. Each flower is closed in two crowns and three perianth petals.

Carefully remove two petals from the first tulip

Carefully remove two petals from the first tulip

This opens up the cup

This opens up the cup

Carefully remove two petals from a second tulip to open up that flower cup

Carefully remove two petals from a second tulip to open up that flower cup

I used to just reach into the flower and pinch away the stamen as a little girl

I used to just reach into the flower and pinch away the pistal and stamen as a little girl...

Use a knife and cut the stamen away to create a flat surface

But you really do get better results to use a knife and cut the stamen away...

Flat surface inside the tulip

... to create a flat surface

Do the same with the other ope cup Tulip

Do the same with the other open cup Tulip

Place a tiny drop of glue on the wound

Place a tiny drop of glue on the wound. This not only seals the wound preventing further moisture loss but also keeps the flower cups in place

Slip the full tulip into the tulip with the open cup

Slip the full tulip into the tulip with the open cup

Slip those two tulips into the second open cup of the flower head

Slip those two tulips into the second open cup of the flower head

Three Tulip heads connected

Three Tulip flower heads connected

When I did this as a child I just latched the flowers together with a thin blade of grass

When I did this as a child I just latched the flowers together with a thin blade of grass... no glue required

Of course with floral glue the conection becomes completely invisible

Of course with floral glue the connection becomes completely invisible. Loosely rest the flower heads in your hand...

Just let the stems dangle down to set the glue perfectly

... Just let the stems dangle down freely to set the glue perfectly

Set the three stems down on a working surface

The three stems are now ready to be braided together

Carefully start to braid or plait the stems together

Carefully start to braid the stems together. Set them aside for a few more minutes if the stems start to snap, but they should be quite dehydrated by now and fairly easy to braid

For more details on braiding (or plaiting or a French knot) see the Tutorial below

Move down the stem and braid as you go along

Move down the lenght of the stem and braid as you go along

Braided Tulip stems

Braided Tulip stems

Latch the stems together with a thin blade of grass

Latch the stems together with a thin blade of grass

And secure the grass with a double knot

And secure the grass with a double knot

Give each stem a fresh cut at an angle

Give each stem a fresh cut, just above the white area on the stem, at an angle to increase the surface that will be exposed to water.

Place the stems deeply into a water filled container to recondition

Place the stems deeply into a water filled container to recondition

Fully opened flower heads

Design Note:
This is what the plaited Tulip flower heads looked like five days later. Fully opened and still hydrated.

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Tutorials

21 March 2012 Where to cut Tulips to condition

Here is a trick to make sure your tulips will condition thoroughly

11 May 2011 Slow down tulip growth, after the stems have been severed from the bulbs

Tulips continue to grow after being cut. Sometimes when you make a very small design or for competition or bridal work you want to minimize growth. The best way to do this is to...

25 April 2012 A plait, a braid or a French knot grass collar

"Plaid" and "braid" are synonyms, and where you are from will most likely dictate whether you use plait (British) or braid (American or Celtic). Some people also refer to...

Favourite Flowers

Tulipa

Tulip

Related Designs

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22 February 2017 Perfect!

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3 February 2011 I've got my head in the clouds

Wax and Rainbow Oasis keep the flower heads in place.