Ok, so you’re starting to get the hang of this whole “wood flower” design thing. You can tell the difference between a Sophia and a Matured Peony in your sleep. You have a glue gun with a clever nickname. You’ve got your main wire clippers and your backup clippers – just in case. And you’re finally ready for the advanced course.
If you’ve read our blog over on the retail page of tools for beginners and are ready for the next step (or, if you’re jumping in the deep end for an extra challenge) – this post is for you!
Tools for Shaping Flowers
Let’s say you’re ready for a crafting session and some of your flowers are a little smooshed! Never fear, the steamer is here. You know how if you have wrinkly clothes, sometimes you’ll hang them up in the bathroom while the shower runs? It’s the same basic principle here. Steam gently opens up delicate flowers (think any peony styles or flowers with curled edges), making them more pliable and allowing you to reshape them without harm.
Sturdier flowers (American Beauty, Ranunculus, etc) can be reshaped during the dyeing phase, of course. This tool is specifically for your more delicate selections, especially those that you want to keep raw and natural!
Tools for Painting Flowers
There are oh so many ways to make your flowers bright and colorful. Here are my favorites!
If you have a sturdier flower, you can get away with a classic dip dye technique. There, you would completely submerge a flower into a paint/water/glycerin mixture. The flower is fully saturated and there isn't too much you can do to change that main base color once it is on. But what to do with more delicate flowers, like Rosa, Paris, and Peonies?
Enter the Airbrush! Airbrushing allows you to spray a fine, light mist onto your flower. This will result in giving you brilliant colors that respect your flower’s shape that dry almost instantly. Even better for those advanced advanced crafters – you can use this tool for detailed, layering paint techniques.
Our Airbrush recs:
So you’ve just dyed a bunch of flowers, but you don’t have the standard 24-36 hours to let them dry. What do you do?
An oven can help speed up the process because it surrounds your flowers with gentle heat, helping them dry faster. BUT! If you must use an oven for expediting the drying process, I suggest a NuWave (set no higher than 225 degrees). It’s a smaller convection oven that’s the perfect size for floral needs. Two huge disclaimers here, however: 1) if you must use an oven, we suggest it is an appliance dedicated to JUST flower drying. 2) as with all heat sources, please exercise the utmost of caution. Since these flowers are made of wood they can burn. Please keep a close eye on your NuWave if there are flowers inside.
Ok, same scenario as above: you need your flowers dried pronto and you don’t have time for conventional air drying. For this, you can always try a classic dehydrator. The value here (versus a NuWave) is they are usually set to lower temperatures (135-150 degrees) and they have fans and vents to help the hot air circulate over the flowers. In essence, it’s a safer way to get those flowers ready for arranging. One thing to note: I haven’t had the opportunity to experiment too much with a dehydrator, so I can’t personally attest to how well they work – yet!
Stacking Wire Rack
Suppose you need a HUGE amount of flowers for a project and your partner and/or roommate is already drowning in flowers and begging for relief from a full flower takeover. This little beauty can bring some peace back to your household.
These racks and shelves will allow for multiple sheets of flowers to gently air dry. Because they stack vertically, they’re ideal for space-saving. And you don’t need to take my word about whether or not these things work. These are literally the same racks bakers all over the world use to let their cookies and other tasty treats cool!
Different Paint Mediums
I really love playing with all different types of paints, powders, make-up, food coloring...really anything that can provide a new and interesting way to add color to these flowers! Through practice and trial and error, you will find your favorite ways to dye the flowers. Grab some Holi powder, fabric dye, spray paint and/or watercolors and let the experiments begin!
Tools for Gluing Flowers
You have a trusty glue gun - whether it is a cordless Ryobi (possibly named Vikram) or a mini glue gun that has been helping you for years - but here are some other options to help you when it comes to gluing flowers!
If you follow our live tutorials over on Facebook or on our YouTube channel, you have probably seen Stefanie commit a major crafty faux-pas. She sometimes (ok, often) stick the wire into the nozzle of her glue gun to get a dab of glue on it in order to stem the flowers. It’s worked well for her but her poor Ryobi drips quite a bit now. Here is where a glue pot can come in and save the day!
I don’t own one yet but I have heard a lot of good things and seen a lot of other crafters use them and this one comes highly recommended! Basic gist, it is sort of like a crock pot (and actually, some use a small crock pot just for glue!) that gets hot enough to melt the glue so you can just dip your stem in and affix the flower quickly. You can also then dip the bottom of the stem and affix the stemmed flower into your arrangement. This would be great for those large projects where you need hundreds of quick glue dips.
I know. It stinks and it takes a long time to dry/fully cure. BUT! If you are looking to attach sola wood flowers to any metallic surfaces (think signs, metal hoops, corsage holders, etc.), this glue will be your best bet. You will need to have patience as the glue takes ~24 hours to dry but a little dab goes a long way! I have used nearby items (clippers, tape, anything with a little weight) to help hold the flowers in place while they dry. They should be stable enough after 20-30 minutes (so you can move the project far, far away while it dries). Please note - you should use this glue in a well ventilated area.
Tools for Ease of Arranging and Finishing Projects
Do you ever wish your arrangement could easily spin so you can get the full 360 degrees? Would you cry tears of joy if you could cut down a bouquet handle with one cut? These are the tools you need!
It’s a brilliant and simple design that has been around for centuries. It is generally a round board on top of a pedestal and the top board can be spun. Pop your project on top of the lovely susan and now you can simply rotate the board in order to get a full 360 degree view of your project - while you work on it!
Industrial Stem Cutter
If you have ever seen one of these things in action, it is incredibly intense! What it can do is cut a whoooole bunch of floral wire stems at once. If you are in the bouquet business, this can save you a bunch of time and cramped hands by cutting down the handle size in one fell swoop. It's pricey but a great investment!
What Other Tools Do You Need?!
I have a feeling that there are many other items that can and should be on this list. Let me know in the comments what crafty tools have helped you advance your skills while saving you time or, more importantly, your sanity!
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