Archive for the ‘Ever Wonder How…?’ Category

Ever Wonder How…? Part 4

November 3, 2009

Ever wonder how… to make a floating floral raft?

The first floral raft I ever saw was this R. Jack creation on the Love and Splendor Blog.


(Photo by The Image Is Found).

There are also some amazing Japanese flower rafts on the net, like this one:

ocean flowers

(photo from here)

Piggybacking off my last post, I thought I’d share how I created the floral rafts in this picture.  I’m often asked to create things that I’ve never done or even seen before.  This was one of them!  I’m sure there are many ways to do this, so let me know if you have another method that works.


1.  Purchase styrafoam sheets, at least 2 inches thick.  Mine came from a floral supply store.

2.  I wrapped satin ribbon around the foam and secured it with pearl pins for a nice, tailored look in the water.

3.  I gathered different height candle holders and positioned them on the styrofoam.  I took wooden picks (aka hyacinth sticks) and stuck them around the candles like a little fence.  They keep the candles in place.  I was worried that the weight of these candles would be too much for the foam. Surprisingly, the foam is very bouyant and I could have probably loaded the rafts with even more.

4.  Next, I took 3″ round caged foams (see picture below, from the fss website) and spaced them evenly on the styrafoam.  It took about 10-12 cages per raft.  Note:  If you’re using sturdy flowers like mums and carnations which do ok without a water source, you can insert these flowers directly into the styrafoam sheets using toothpicks or pins.

caged foams

5.  I wanted the rafts to look like fluffy beds of flowers, so I chose flowers that would give me a lot of coverage (hydrangea, stock, open roses, and ivy).  I inserted the flowers into the foam cages and tried to keep the arrangement low, so as to not block the view of the candles.


6.  We used LED pillars for one reason- if the wind blew these suckers out, who was going to jump in and relight them?  Real wax LED’s look realistic from a distance.

7.  Oh yes, remember to LIGHT THEM/TURN THEM ON FIRST before you dive in to set them up!

8.  We created hooks on the bottom of our rafts with ribbon, and attached fishing weights to the hooks with fishing line.  You can spray paint the weights light blue to blend in with the bottom of the pool.

9.  Hindsight is 20/20, and I realize now that we could have attached the  fishing line to opposite sides of the rafts, and then tied them to waterproof suction cups on the walls of the pool. You would need to  test it out ahead of time to make sure they would be secure enough.

These are incredibly labor intensive, which can make them very pricey.  I think a simple raft with votive candles on a bed of petals or greenery would be just as gorgeous (and a little more budget friendly).





Ever Wonder How… Part 3

October 7, 2009

Ever wonder how... to prevent “sweaty vase syndrome”?

I like the look of stacked vases.  The picture below features bubble bowls stacked on top of cylinders of submerged orchids.

entry 2
Photo by The Image is Found.

I also love creating floral cake stands with glass vases and plexiglass.

Photo by Trista Lerit Photography.

I’m also loving enclosed terrariums, like the one below via Grey Likes Weddings.

terrariumLidded apothecary vases filled with flowers are also sweet.


Here’s the potential problem:  flowers and plants sweat, and if the evaporated water can’t escape, it causes fogginess inside the glass.  This is not such a cute look.  I’m embarrassed to point this out, but you can even see my vase is sweating a little in the picture above!

I learned a cool tip passed on to me by my head assistant, Shana.  She is full of wisdom and I’m blessed to have her on my team.

Step 1.  Find a stick of clear glue for a glue gun.

Step 2.  Use sharp scissors to cut it it up  into little pieces, the thickness of a pencil eraser.

Step 3.  Use a glue gun to glue the pieces to the rim of your vase or jar.

Step 4.  Place your plexiglass sheet/vase/lid on top.  The little  glue gun pieces prop up the cover just enough to allow air circulation, and help to prevent your vase from fogging up.

What makes this so handy is that the glue pieces are hardly noticeable, they come off really easily when you’re done, and every florist has glue sticks in her/his toolbox somewhere.  I have yet to try this trick on a super hot day, when sweat of all kinds is all too abundant.  Can anyone vouch for this, or have another solution?







Ever Wonder How…? Part 2

June 26, 2009

Ever wonder how… to keep fully wrapped bouquet stems hydrated?

*Disclaimer: Sorry if this post seems a little risque! I’m trying to be technical.  Thank you to my assistant Shana for sharing this amazing little trick with me!

I’m about to share with you all a little florist secret- shh! Don’t tell anyone I told you this!

Take for example this stunning bouquet by Karen Tran via Away Soiree:


Notice that the satin ribbon wrap fully covers the stems, even at the bottom of the bouquet, allowing for a luxe, tailored look.

Since the bridal bouquet is the star of all wedding flowers, it’s crucial that the flowers have a supply of water until the last possible second to keep blooms fresh. I usually don’t do full bouquet wraps for this reason. I feel more secure when I deliver the bouquets in a vase with water so I know the thirsty stems are drinking and are ready for a full day of wedding action. But there IS a way to keep fully covered stems hydrated. Don’t giggle please. Condoms.

Here’s how:

1. Simply create your hand-tied bouquet and leave it unwrapped in a vase of water until the day before the wedding.

2. Drench some paper towel in water. I mean DRENCH.

3. Wrap the drenched paper towel nicely around the bottom of the stems. Bunch a little bit around the bottom, but you don’t want it to look bulgy.

4. Fill the tip of a condom with water and roll the condom over the stems, essentially creating a sleeve. Not too much water- you don’t want any leakage!

5. Voila! If the rubber apparatus does what it’s supposed to do, you’ve got a sturdy, sealed reservoir of water for your stems. Simply wrap with ribbon and go!

Another plus about this method is that it prevents the green stems from staining white ribbon, which can be a big problem.

Does anyone have any other nifty ideas for wrapping bouquets? Let me know!

Ever Wonder How…?

June 9, 2009

As a floral designer, I’ve vowed to never stop learning. I still like to attend design seminars when I can, and I’m always asking other florists and my super savvy assistants if they think I could do something faster, prettier, or smarter. I might even go back to flower school to take some classes (and hopefully TEACH some classes someday.) In my new “Ever Wonder How…?” series, I’ll be posting some neat florist tricks of the trade addressing some questions that I certainly had before becoming a florist. And please, if you have an even better technique than what I am showcasing, leave me a comment!

Ever Wonder How… to decorate a cake with fresh flowers? That’s one thing I didn’t learn in floral school, surprisingly. I’ve seen and tried many different techniques.

  • Some florists just stick the stems directly into the cake (after rinsing the flowers of course! A gentle fruit and vegetable wash works well for this.)
  • Some actually wire and tape each flower, essentially creating a ton of little boutonnieres to stick into the cake. Some wire and tape the flowers onto picks, and insert them into the cake. Can you say time consuming?
  • Some use tiny floral foam cages, fill them with flowers, and lay them on the cake (with cellophane in between, to protect the cake).

Now, all those ways are fine and dandy. They work. I’ve tried them all. But something always weirded me out about sticking an ordinary flower stem into a gorgeous, priceless confection. First off, no matter how well you rinse, are you really getting off all the pesticides and preservatives? And I doubt that florist tape and wires are much cleaner. My issue with the floral foam is that sometimes the cages leak out water and tiny green foam particles, which could be toxic. And the foam is heavy- I do NOT want to see a cake collapse because I’ve just topped it with a 5 pound arrangement. A collapsing cake is one of my recurring nightmares. I’m serious, I can barely breathe when I put flowers on a cake.

The best and easiest solution I’ve found came from my assistant Montita, who spent most of her life in Thailand. She is full of snazzy ideas that she picked up from her home country. Basically, she’s the bomb.

  • Step 1: Select the flowers you’d like to use. Now this is kind of a bummer- most flowers are indeed toxic to some extent. I think the only common wedding flower I DIDN’T see on the on that list was roses. Hmm. That doesn’t leave us with much, right? Keep in mind that there are some flowers that are considered more toxic than others, including ivy, delphinium and kangaroo paws, so try to avoid those. Thankfully, this method really reduces the flower-to-cake contact, so you don’t have to lose sleep over this.

    Some white roses from my garden.

    Some white roses from my garden.

  • Step 2: Cut off the stems completely, leaving just the flower head.IMG_0355
  • Step 3: Take a clean toothpick and poke it into the bottom of the flower.IMG_0357
  • Step 4: If you’re really concerned about your flowers making any contact with the cake, you can cut a small circle of celophane, a little smaller than the flower head. Then pierce it with the toothpick and shimmy it up to the flower head so it acts as a barrier between the cake and the flower.
  • Step 5: Simply insert the toothpicks into the cake and voila! Couldn’t be easier! The best part- it doesn’t leave a huge gaping hole in the cake like a flower stem would.

Thanks for joining me for my first “Ever Wonder How…?” I’ll see ya next time!

And now, I’ll leave you with some pretty pictures of florified cakes 🙂

Photo by Sarah K. Chen

Photo by Sarah K. Chen

photo by Christine Marie Photography.

photo by Christine Marie Photography.


photo by Jasmine Star Photography.

cake table

photo by Jason Q. Tran

photo by Jessica Claire

photo by Jessica Claire