Sharp tools are a must in floral designing. A sharp knife used for cutting flowers stems will make clean cuts without crushing the stems. A clean cut is imperative in aiding water absorption by the flower stem. A folding pocket knife with a quality blade is the best, longest lasting knife. Other cheaper knives with plastic handles won’t last as long nor will they cut heavy stems.
Sharp scissors are necessary to cut ribbon cleanly and neatly. Ribbon scissors must be used only to cut ribbon and fabric. Cutting just one wire with your ribbon scissors will ruin them. Serrated scissors are heavy duty multipurpose scissors that can be used to cut wire and woody stems.
Wire cutters with a spring are easier to operate when cutting wire and corsage stems. Wire cutters have a short blade and are ideal for cutting heavy materials.
Floral tape is waxed crepe paper that will stick to its self when stretched. It is used to cover floral wire for use in corsages and bouquets. Waterproof tape is used to secure floral foam in a container. It is available in green, white and clear colors in ¼ or ½ inch widths.
Florist wire is usually green and comes in precut 18 inch lengths. Sizes vary from #16 (the heaviest gauge) to # 30 (the lightest gauge). Several gauges are necessary in design work to make corsages and bouquets, strength stems and to bind materials together. The most common gauges used in floral design are #18, 20, 22 and 24. Paddle wire is on a spool in a continuous strand that may be used to create garlands and wreaths and to bind together heavy materials. It is also available in a variety of gauges.
Greening pins are u-shaped wire, much like a hairpin, and are used to hold moss to foam. Wooden picks have a wire attached to one end and are used to cluster dried materials together in foam, attaché bows to plants and to extend the length of a stem. Chenille stems come in a variety of colors and are used to secure bows. Chenille stems look like large pipe cleaners.
Floral foam comes in heavy or light weight depending on the flowers being used. To soak the foam place it in a sink filled with water, do not dunk it under the water. Let the foam float and fill naturally, thus assuring you will have no dry spots in the middle of the foam. It will sink to the bottom as it absorbs water.
Ribbon comes in a rainbow of colors and a variety of widths. The bigger the number the wider the ribbon will be. # 3 ribbon is generally used in corsages and bud vases. Plants are usually dressed with #9 as are most pew bows. Funeral work requires a wider width such as a #40. The most commonly used ribbon is satin, however, there is a great variety of ribbon available today. Wired ribbon holds its shape for use in decorations, wreaths and Christmas trees. Printed ribbon has a wide range of uses in decorating. Lacey, silky ribbon is available for use in wedding bouquets and corsages.