From quality and durability to functionality and size, check out Ashlee’s guide to what you need to consider when choosing the right floristry tools for you
There are many factors that come together to create a truly incredible floral display. While the fresh or faux blooms you choose and the vase that contains them are important, having the right tools available can elevate your craft and enhance your arrangements. But with so many tools available, knowing where to start can feel overwhelming – and that’s why I’m here to help! In this guide, I’ll share my top tips on how to select the right floristry tools for you.
Choosing the right floristry tools
While it’s always tempting to bag a bargain, I recommend investing in high-quality, well-crafted floristry tools when you start to build your collection. Choosing cheaper options that don’t last very long can end up being a false economy. Instead, I look for tools made from strong, durable materials so that they can withstand daily use and produce consistently great results.
Floristry is a hands-on craft, and your tools should be able to cope with various tasks such as cutting, shaping, and manipulating flowers without breaking or bending out of shape. When browsing, look for tools that are strong and well-constructed, so that they can be a go-to tool in your kit without fear of them wearing out quickly.
Before you start building your floristry toolkit, consider the specific tasks that you’ll be performing and choose tools that are specifically designed for those purposes. Whether you need to trim stems, arrange flowers, or create intricate displays, having the right tool for each task can make all the difference. Look for tools that lend themselves to easy and precise handling to make your work more efficient.
Ergonomic tools are designed to reduce strain and fatigue on your hands and wrists, even with prolonged use. There’s no need to suffer for your art! I recommend looking for floristry tools that have comfortable handles with a good grip as these reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries or accidental cuts.
When choosing floristry tools for your kit, consider how easy each piece will be to clean and maintain. Tools that have removable parts or can be disassembled and reassembled are usually easier to clean regularly and keep in good condition. Try not to use your tools for any non-floristry tasks if you want to improve their longevity.
With your scissors and secateurs, it’s a good idea to regularly scrape away resin from the blades and rinse them with water, adding a small amount of washing-up liquid and a scrubbing brush if needed. Make sure to dry them thoroughly to prevent rust and, to go the extra mile, you can wipe the blades with a drop of camelia oil.
6. Size and weight
When you’re working with your hands, the size and weight of your tools can have a big impact on your comfort and ease of use. Tools that are overly heavy or too large can be hard to handle, especially when you’re looking to do more intricate tasks. Try to choose tools that fit comfortably in your hand and are the right weight for you as this can make a significant different to your overall experience.
7. Brand and reputation
Consider investing in tools from reputable brands that have a proven track record for quality and customer satisfaction. Reading reviews and customer feedback can also help you find out how reliable the tools will be and how they’ll perform over time.
Floristry toolkit essentials
Whether you’re looking to build your first floristry toolkit or expand your existing collection, it can be difficult to know what will make the biggest difference. I’ve personally experienced that sense of confusion that can overtake you when faced with a wall of tools at a warehouse or wholesaler. However, years of trial and error have left me with a list of toolkit essentials that I believe every florist needs to have in their kit.
1. Floristry Scissors or Secateurs
A high-quality pair of floristry scissors or secateurs should form the basis of your kit. These are the only way to make precise cuts that will maintain the health of your flowers. My personal favourites are the Niwaki Higurashi Scissors and Niwaki Sentei Secateurs. These are both incredibly durable pairs and have carbon steel blades that help to reduce bacterial build-up and rust.
I’d also recommend having a pair of fabric scissors in your kit so you can cut ribbons cleanly with a professional finish. Try to choose a pair that’s easily distinguishable from your other tools (mine have a sunshine yellow handle.)
2. Flower Conditioning Buckets
Having a large bucket available is essential to provide the best possible care to your flowers, especially during the initial conditioning stage. Dutch floristry buckets are one option, but they can be expensive. I love using power-coated steel floristry buckets, which are available in various sizes and can accommodate a range of stem lengths. Apothecary-style glasses vases are also a good alternative and usually have medium-size openings so your flowers will have ample space to breathe and develop.
3. Collapsible Compost Bags
When you’re engrossed in creating a design, it can be easy to disregard the mess that comes along with it. Standard household bins aren’t always suitable for long flower stems, which can snag on bin bags and cause holes. To avoid this, I suggest using a collapsible fabric compost bag, which can be easily moved around and cleaned out.
Perfect for binding hand tied bouquets, twine is available in both natural and green varieties at most homeware shops and garden centres.
5. Paper-covered Wire
Paper-covered wire provides additional support and security for larger bouquets or garlands. It can be neatly secured without the need for any unsightly knots or bows.
6. Bind Wire
Available in a range of colours, bind wire is ideal for wreath-making. It’s the perfect choice for binding flowers and foliage onto wreath bases.
Particularly useful for wired designs, Stemtex is self-adhesive and activated with warmth. It can take some getting used to, but it’s great at locking moisture into stems.
8. Pot Tape
Also known as anchor tape, pot tape is a strong waterproof tape that secures chicken wire inside your vases. Dark green tape is an enduringly popular choice, but clear tape can work just as well for light-coloured or glass vases.
9. Chicken Wire
Galvanized chicken wire with a 2.5cm gap between hexagons is a classic choice for floral arrangements. Choose a higher-end gauge to provide additional support in both large and small displays.
10. Kenzan or Flower Frog
A Japanese invention, a kenzan or flower frog is a weighted disc with metal spikes that offers strong support for ikebana arrangements. Place them at the bottom of a low or footed bowl, secure with floral fix, and add chicken wire to create light and airy designs.
11. Floral Fix or Putty
Floral fix or putty is a handy toolkit essential that can secure a kenzan or flower frog in place and stops it moving around in the vase.
12. Floristry Wire
Offered in a range of lengths and thicknesses, floristry wire is ideal for making flower crowns. Opt for a sturdy width to ensure each flower is held securely in place.
13. Water Vials and Flower Picks
Water vials are slim reusable plastic tubes fitted with rubber caps that help your wreaths receive additional hydration. Simply insert the spike into the moss, trim any excess, and fill the tube with water as needed. Watch my tutorial to learn more.
14. Wire Wreath Frame
These reusable frames provide a solid base for moss-based wreaths. If you’re looking to display your wreath on your front door, I’d suggest buying a 30cm/12” frame.