This time of year isn’t the prettiest in Alaska. Snow is waiting to melt, everything is brown and dusty, and there’s a certain stale odor in the air. But there is LIGHT – so much daylight.
Erin of Blomma Designs, photographer Anne Marie Moran and I decided to take advantage of our ever-increasing sunlight last weekend.I brought my sister, Farra, along too. We all met at Erin’s studio to create modern floral wreaths. It was the perfect respite from Alaska breakup season.
I thought we should share this crafting experience with a step-by-step tutorial. The luscious photos are by the talented and delightful Anne Marie of Anne Marie Moran Photography.
This tutorial will teach you the basics of arranging greenery and flowers on a wreath form and how to wire flowers, a technique that’s invaluable to florists. We’ll be using an unusual base: the inner part of a quilting hoop. A quilting hoop is like a giant embroidery hoop. We had to purchase ours online. You could also use this tutorial to make a smaller wreath using embroidery hoops from a local craft supply store.
What you’ll need:
- One 23-inch quilting hoop
- Green floral wire
- Green floral tape
- 1 bunch mini pittosporum
- 1 bunch plumosa fern
- 1 bunch scarlet mini carnations
- 1 bunch lavender button mums
- 1 bunch purple matsumoto asters
- 1 bunch white wax flower
- wire cutters
- floral snips (regular scissors will work too)
- monofilament or fishing line
Step 1: Remove the outer part of the quilting hoop. You could make another hoop using the outer part but for this tutorial we’re using the inner hoop.
Step 2: Start with wiring on the plumosa fern. Determine where you want your arrangement to lie on the hoop. The plumosa will set the parameters of that shape. Snip a piece of fern and hold it to the hoop with one hand while tightly wrapping the wire around the hoop with the other hand. You can either cut a length of wire and wrap it or keep the wire on the paddle. I prefer the latter because I can pull the wire tightly around the greens when the paddle is attached.
Wire the plumosa with stems pointing toward the top and then pointing toward the bottom of the hoop. Fill the space in between with more fern. There is no hard-fast rule to arranging the fern. It kind of has a mind of its own so let it do its thing – just look out for hidden thorns!
Step 3: Start wiring in bits of pittosporum. Cut a spray of this greenery leaving a three-inch stem. Nestle the sprig in the plumosa so the stems are hidden. Arrange in the same direction as the plumosa.
Every so often hold the hoop up in front of you to make sure the greens are facing outward and everything is to your liking. Add more greens to cover any open spaces in the area on which you’re designing.
Step 4: Start wiring in the wax flower. Create little clusters of wax flower so the blooms face outward instead up only upward. Secure with a little florist tape. Wire in place as you did the greens, tucking the stems between the greenery so they are hidden.
Now it’s important to hold up the hoop to see that the wax flower isn’t running all parallel to the hoop. The flowers should be facing outward toward you. If they are looking too flat then just wire more clusters of wax flower in so they face more outward.
Step 5: Time to wire the mini carnations! Cut a carnation leaving a 2-inch stem.
Take a 4-inch length of wire and fold it in half to create a kink in the center. Poke one end of the wire through the base of the carnation where it looks like there are little green petals. Push the wire through until you reach the kink in the middle. Lay the wire on both sides of the stem and wrap tightly with floral tape. Now your carnation can bend to your will. If the wire you have is too light of a gauge, then poke another wire through the stem perpendicular to the first and wrap again.
To wire the button mums and the asters, just fold a piece of wire in half, hold it up against the stem of the flower and tightly wrap with floral tape starting from the base of the stem to the bottom of the stem.
Wire about 10 or so flowers. You can create a larger looking carnation by putting three or four carnations together and binding them with floral tape. This can then be used as a focal point for your hoop.
Step 6: Determine where you want the focal point of your hoop to be. This is where you should wire in your biggest bloom. Secure your bloom in place as you did the greenery. Since the blooms are wired you can turn the bloom to face outward once you’ve wired it to the hoop.
Step 7: Once your focal flower is in place begin wiring in other blooms from the outside in toward the focal point, tucking in stems beneath what’s already wired to the hoop.
Step 8: Take another look at your hoop held out in front of you and determine whether there are any gaps that need to be filled. At this point you can start tucking in bits of plumosa, wax flower and pittosporum without needing to wire them. They can be poked through the wire that’s already on the hoop.
Step 9: Now it’s time to hang your hoop. Cut two lengths of monofilament and tie them to two points at the top of the hoop. Since the hoop is weighted it probably won’t hang correctly if you only tie one string to the middle. With two pieces of string you can find the best balance when hanging it.
Step 10: Hang your hoop and admire your beautiful work for many days. These flowers dry nicely so the hoop should look wonderful for a long time.
View more photos of our floral adventure at Blommadesigns.com.