Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman
Manipulating stems: Snapping at an angle, Bending, Spiraling, Curling and Straightening
Most stems, twigs and even sturdier branches can be bend into shapes. It takes practice and more than a bit of patience. The main idea is to slowly manipulate the branch without breaking it.
These techniques work on any size branch. Obviously you will need more force to bend a branch rather than a twig and will need to cushion the stem with the palm of your hand rather than your thumb or burn the branch rather than just use the heat of your hand or wire the branch rather than use glue to secure, but it is still the same basic idea. I used sturdy grape vines to make this basket.
Start by snapping a twig. Is it brittle or supple? Brittle branches or twigs should first be soaked in warm water to make them more pliable.
Supple branches (such as flowering stems) can be manipulated as is.
If you want the manipulated branch to keep it's shape it should not be too green. As a rule: if sap runs from the branch when you bend it, it needs to mature or dry out. A moist branch will not keep the shape you bend it into as well as a slightly dry one.
Snapping a twig at an angle without breaking it:
Use your thumb or finger as a supporting cushion. Gently snap the twig. Make sure you do not break the twig.
The lower bark should still be intact. This way water will still be transported up the stem to the leaves.
Cut a small wedge.
This tiny twig wedge will prevent the cut twig from springing back once cut and bend into an angle.
Make a deep cut in the twig.
Gently bend the twig open
Insert the wedge into the twig.
Use your thumb as a supporting cushion. Gently snap the twig. Make sure you do not break the twig.
The lower bark should still be intact keeping the twig at an angle.
It is also possible to manipulate thicker branches but you will have to wire and train, cut and wedge, weigh it down or burn it with a flame.
Bending, Spiralling, Curling and Straightening twigs:
I am using cherry stems for this part of the tutorial
Pull the stems from the cherries.
Set the green stems aside to dry slightly
When the stems just begin to brown they are ideal to manipulate into shapes
A gentle bend:
Gently start to bend the twig. Cushion the stem with the pad of your finger. Go slow.
Secure the stem with glue.
To bend it into a circle continue to slowly bend the stem from tip to tip. Roll the stem as you go and secure the ends.
A sharp bend:
You will now use heat to bend the stem. Hold the stem where you want it to bend between your fingers to heat it slightly. If you are bending a branch you might have to heat it with warm water or a flame.
Slowly start to bend the stem.
When the tip and the stem meet secure it with glue.
Bending a big spiral:
Slowly wrap the the stem around a dowel stick. Hold the stem in place for a few seconds with your fingers and release.
Bending a tight spiral:
Wind the stem around a wooden skewer. Because the skewer is quite thin start with a very wide angle
Slowly wind the spiral tighter.
Release your hold and remove the skewer.
Lengthening the spiral:
Pull the spiral for a long spiral
Straightening a stem:
Curvy twigs can also be straightened
Hold the stem firmly between your fingers and pull down.
Work your way from the top to the bottom as if stretching the twig.
Delicate cherry twig, rosary vine and oncidium orchid enchanted forest masquerade masque.
Retail florists and wholesalers are already designing, ordering and preparing their product range for Mother's Day. This is my article that I wrote for the Mother's Day Design...
Weave a wreath to thread a dome for an Autumn leaf design
This is my article that I wrote for the Mother's Day Design Issue of Canadian Florist Magazine
Design Two from my Inspiration Video: Use the same floral ingredients, willow twigs, Lichen, Spanish Moss, Kalanchoe and Gypsophila to make three distinctly different contemporary...
Design Three from my Inspiration Video: Use the same floral ingredients, willow twigs, Lichen, Spanish Moss, Kalanchoe and Gypsophila to make three distinctly different...
Take inspiration from a traditional Dream-catcher design to create a floral armature
Manipulate fresh willow stems to create a sprouting armature for long tulip stems
My article and a floral parasol design featured in DIY Weddings Magazine
A closer look at my design at the 20th anniversary of Canada Blooms and The Toronto Flower Show
My article and Willow Crown design featured in DIY Weddings Magazine
A Fun Halloween design with "poisonous mushrooms" tucked between the moss and petals
This was the first design I did in my "All things Autumn (by which I mean all things chocolate)" floral art demonstration
This was the second design I did in my "All things Autumn (by which I mean all things chocolate)" floral art demonstration
A fragile looking heart made from twigs that can hold a lot of orchids
Barely there skeleton blossoms with Eucalyptus eyes for my Halloween design... Oh! and a Willow Paddle, which probably should have been the main Tutorial... but... well...
Craft a bark sleigh that will last for weeks.
My article and willow birdcage design for wedding rings featured in DIY Weddings Magazine.
Stack a few glass containers and fill each with water to a different level.
My Halloween design... with some scary stuff hidden if you can read between the leaves!
Simplicity to showcase the perfection of the Lisianthus buds
The last design I did for my book launch demonstration looking at aspects that influences my effortless style of designing... this week: often when we see a design element...
My article and winter white Tulle bridal basket design featured in DIY Weddings Magazine.
Craft a willow heart to display 12 red roses to celebrate Valentine's Day.
A sustainable, absolutely no waste floral design using willow to suspend your flower head in your arrangement.
A visual breather from all the bright and festive designs to come when designing for Autumn.
An all plant zero waste, levitating, twig (with just a splatter of autumn leaves, a breath of spiderweb and float of roots) Halloween decoration with an eerie bat skeleton made...
Design 3 looking at How to style with artificial plants and branches using quality faux plants and stems. This week: mistletoe! And also .. give your faux a reason for being...
Now this is quite a discovery! And it honestly is the easiest and quickest way to go from "I still want to decorate for Christmas" to "... aaand I am done, I made our wreath"
Left over flowers and off-cuts are ideal to transform into a quick floral crown or necklace. This is the absolute easiest design, yet!
An all out effective way of keeping a flower stem in the exact spot you want it to be in a clear water vase design.
A simple placement of bud vases... with the tiniest of lemon coloured twist that makes them unusual.
Every designer knows how to stretch their supplies. We use and re-use our dried plant material until our fellow designers feel like hiding it from us. I formed such an...