Anyone who is aspiring to become a florist must have sufficient knowledge of florist tools and floral supplies for florists. Having the right tools and supplies will allow you to construct bouquets of all types and sizes, from wedding bouquets to wreath frames.
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Types of Floral Tools & Supplies
Florist knives are essentially paring knives, and they are most suitable for cutting stems and stalks. Many florist knives can be folded, which makes them easier to stow away and store in pockets. Whether you go for a paring knife or a more portable folding knife, keep in mind that you need to keep your blades sharp. Sharper blades create neater cuts, which usually translate to better-looking work.
While floral foam looks like regular foam used in beds, it’s a special type of material that gives away more easily and does not return to its original shape. Floral foam is also absorbent (for obvious reasons) and is the common go-to for many floral arrangements. these come in small ‘bricks’ measuring 9 inches long and 4 inches tall. Green floral foam is for wet arrangements, while brown floral foam is generally used for dry arrangements.
Florist shears or swell-blade shears are used primarily for cutting woody stems. Woody stems are tougher to cut with ordinary paring knives (and that presents a risk of injury), so it would be best to use shears instead. Swell-blade shears not only have thicker blades – but the blades are also serrated, which helps them saw through tougher, woody branches. You can also use your florist shears to snip away at florist wire while completing arrangements.
When a branch or stem is too tough for a pair of florist shears and you end up pinching the branch/stem, it’s time to bring out the pruning shears. Pruning shears are excellent for florist work because it produces a nice, flat cut and works just like a regular pair of scissors; only it has a lot more leverage and muscle in it. We remind everyone that pruning shears must never be used for cutting florist wire as this may dull the edges of the blades.
Ribbon scissors look a lot like regular scissors, but their blades have been engineering to slice through common materials used in florist arrangements like netting and ribbons. While you can use regular scissors for florist work, you will notice early on that they will be worn out quickly, especially if you complete several arrangements per week. Save yourself a couple of bucks and grab some ribbons scissors, as these are designed to withstand frequent use on tougher materials. You can use a large pair of utility scissors for everything else.
Underwater cutters or underwater stem cutters are a special type of tool used to cut one or more stems underwater with a single motion. The larger model of this tool looks a lot like a table paper cutter, with its large swinging blade and rectangular space for what needs to be cut. The practice of cutting wilted stems underwater is a time-honored florist tradition and is done to help flowers survive. Wilted portions of the stem do not transport nutrients anymore, and by removing them completely, your flowers will have a better chance of surviving a few more days.
There are different types of anchoring materials used in florist practice. The most basic is adhesive tape, which can be quite useful even when you are working with sturdier materials like florist wire. Sometimes, using a bit of tape is all you need to stabilize an arrangement. Then we have anchor pins. Anchor pins are four-pronged plastic pins with a wide base that are designed to latch on to floral foam so you can secure the foam after with pan melt glue.
Pan melt glue or hot melt glue is used for floral arrangements, specifically for attaching any quantity of floral foam to a sturdy base or container. Since hot melt glue will not readily adhere to a floral foam, we use anchor pins to give the glue something to grab before it cools and hardens.
Take note that hot melt glue and glue sticks/rods used in glue guns operate on the same principle. The only difference is that pan melt glue often comes in a square form factor, and you can heat a batch and apply the way you conventionally apply glue or paste to any surface.
Frog and Pin Holder
The frog and pin holder (also known as needlepoint holder for florists), is a fixed type of mechanism used for smaller designs or constructions involving only a handful of flowers. The frog and pin holder has many needle-like projections that help stabilize flowers. These are adequate for constructions or projects that have line designs. A frog and pin holder can also be used with florist wire or chicken wire.
A greening pin is a small pin that is used to secure foliage and moss in an arrangement. It doesn’t have a sharp end or a spring mechanism. It looks more like a giant staple more than anything but built with sturdier metal.
Water tubes are the most commonly seen of all florists’ supplies. You will see them all the time with single-flower arrangements and they’re pretty effective in keeping flowers alive for a day or two, depending on what solution has been added to the water tubes. Water tubes have enclosed tops to keep the stems inside during transport, and to reduce the chances of spillage as well.
Wood picks are added to constructions or arrangements to keep stems upright and sturdy. These are more commonly used in dry arrangements where the flowers already have dried stems, leaves, and flowers.
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