The container you choose will bestow a definite character upon your silk flower arrangement.
You can purchase inexpensive plastic containers and wrap them with colored cellophane or foil to dress up their appearance.
You can even customize containers by gluing lace, ribbon or fabrics to them.
Wicker or willow baskets are also inexpensive and very attractive, and they come in a wide variety of styles. These baskets can be customized by spray-painting them if you wish.
However, using other materials, shapes and colors can add that extra something to your silk flower arrangement that can really make it stand out.
You may wish to complement a certain room decor by choosing a container
of glazed colored ceramic, sculpted pottery, gleaming brass, elegant
glass or cut crystal. These materials can impart visual excitement and
elegance to a design that can make it special.
So, do give some thought to the type of container you will use in your silk floral design. To me, this is as important as choosing the artificial flowers and elements that will compose the design.
Artificial Floral Arrangement:
Whatever type of container you choose for a silk flower arrangement, it is necessary to place some styrofoam or other material inside most containers to support silk flower stems and keep them in place.
Styrofoam sheets and blocks provide the best support and are readily available almost everywhere.
From a styrofoam sheet, cut a section a bit larger than the size needed to fit into the container. Trim this shape for a snug fit, preferably allowing at least four corners to touch the container sides. If your container has curved sides, such as a bowl, it might help to trim the underside edges of the styrofoam at an angle so it fits better.
If using pre-packaged styrofoam bricks, you will need to decide how to achieve the best stability by combining and trimming, depending on the size of the container.
For deep containers you may want to layer two or more pieces of styrofoam, wired or glued together.
I prefer that the styrofoam be recessed a bit below the container rim. The lip thus formed will help to keep the moss or other covering in place. Others prefer to have the styrofoam extend a little over the container (about .5 inch) to provide more surface for stem placement.
Secure the styrofoam in the container using your preferred method (with several strips of double-sided foam tape or Floral Clay, or with a hot glue gun), on the bottom and/or sides of the styrofoam.
Press it firmly into the container to ensure strong adhesion. This is important!
The styrofoam has to support the weight of the complete design, so it must be securely anchored. You wouldn't want your silk flower arrangement to flop out of it's container as you move it, or worse yet, as you hand it to the recipient!
Check this again when the silk flower centerpiece is finished.
Special Note: If your container is a woven basket, you may choose to secure the styrofoam with two or three lengths of thin metal wire strategically placed. (Paddle wire is perfect for this.) Bend the wire into a 'U' shape and position over the styrofoam, passing wire ends through the bottom of the basket. Twist ends tightly together to secure.
How to Cover Styrofoam with Moss
Covering the styrofoam can be optional, but doing so will give the silk flower arrangement a more finished look, especially if styrofoam might be visible.
‘Hiding the mechanics’ is floral industry terminology for saying ‘covering the styrofoam.’
For dried sheet moss:
Gather enough moss to completely cover the styrofoam. Some crafters work with dry moss, but I prefer to dampen it to more easily shape and mold it. (You can blend small pieces of moss if one piece doesn’t cover.)
Dampen the sheet moss thoroughly with water by using a mist sprayer, or soak it for about 30 seconds in a dish.
Remove and blot excess water with a paper towel, pressing the moss flat.
Mold it over the styrofoam block. Make sure it spreads to the container edges all around. Don’t thin it out too much. If there is space between the styrofoam edges and the container sides, you can tuck the moss in for extra security.
For curly spanish moss:
You can use the same method as above, but spanish moss is springier and doesn’t mold as easily.
Once you have it in position, the stems you insert as you build the centerpiece are usually sufficient to keep the spanish moss in place.
In either case, some crafters may prefer to tack moss in place with U-shaped ‘greening pins.’
You now know the foundation basics to make a sturdy silk flower arrangement!
Making A Silk Flower Arrangement:
BASIC SUPPLIES CHECKLIST
- Floral Clay, Double-sided foam mounting tape, or hot glue gun
- Silk flowers and foliage
- Floral tape or paddle wire
- Cutting pliers
Organize the materials around your work area so everything is handy when you begin making your silk flower arrangement.
Do the container preparation first, then proceed with your creation.
You may want to review the Stem Measuring and Cutting section on the 'Silk Flower Arranging: Getting Started' page. You will need to use your own judgement in cutting stems to the proper length. Generally, for pleasing results, the height of a floral arrangement should be at least 1.5x to 2x the height of the container.
Do some preliminary shaping before inserting stems into the silk flower arrangement. Once inserted, you can further shape the blossoms and upper stem sections (if wired) to your satisfaction.
Be careful not to enlarge the hole in the styrofoam by causing too much movement of the stem at its base. To minimize movement, grasp the stem where it enters the styrofoam with one hand, while making adjustments with your other hand.
Inserting stems about .5 inch to 1 inch apart looks natural and makes it easier to add bits of foliage camouflage at the base.
Try not to remove and reinsert stems too often around the same area. This will weaken the styrofoam and erode needed support.
Have fun making your silk flower arrangement!
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