How to Use Floral Mechanics for a Better Bouquet, According to Florists

From flower frogs to willow branches, these mechanics will help keep your blooms in place.

<p>MaskaRad / GETTY IMAGES</p>


If you enjoy making bouquets—be it with store-bought blooms or flowers from your cut garden—you may wonder why the final product doesn’t look like the arrangements you get from your local florist. Their secret? Floral mechanics. Although they’re not a necessity, mechanics are what keep your blooms in place and help you form the overall structure of your bouquet. While there are many types of mechanics, both natural and manmade, there are a few common options that florists depend on most.

Related: This Basic Formula for Creating an Impressive Flower Arrangement Works Every Time

Floral Tape

<p>Jamie Grill / GETTY IMAGES</p>

Jamie Grill / GETTY IMAGES

One of the most beginner friendly mechanics is floral tape. “Floral tape makes a bouquet complete,” says Tina Merola of Blooms by the Box. “This magical tape is made of a crepe paper substance coated with wax. The wax is released when the floral tape is stretched and then will stick to itself, making it the perfect stickiness for wrapping flower bouquet stems.”

To use floral tape, hold it just below the neck of the flowers. “As you spin the bouquet, slowly wrap the stems and move upward under the blooms until you reach the top,” says Merola. Once that’s done, wrap the floral tape downward, pulling it tight until it gets tacky.

Alternatively, you can use floral tape to break the mouth of the vase into small segments. Cut a few pieces of tape to your desired length and use them to make a simple grid. Place greenery into the outer segments and focal flowers in the centermost segments.

Flower Frog

<p>Malkovstock / GETTY IMAGES</p>

Malkovstock / GETTY IMAGES

Flower frogs have been around for decades—and have even become quite the collector’s item over the years. The purpose of this practical trinket? To separate and give stability to bouquet blooms. “With a vintage flower frog, you can create a two-sided bouquet that holds the stems firmly in place and is similar to a chicken wire cage or pillow,” says Merola. “The greenery should be inserted first, followed by the flowers. Longer stems should be added to the sides, and focal flowers should be placed lower in the center.” You can use a flower frog in tandem with floral tape by wrapping the stems tightly once the flowers are in place.

Chicken Wire

<p>Sharon Erlenmeyer / GETTY IMAGES</p>

Sharon Erlenmeyer / GETTY IMAGES

Another way to keep flowers in place is with chicken wire. “Chicken wire is a metal mesh most commonly used to keep chickens in their pens, however florists use chicken wire to make all manner of floral designs, from small table centers to huge arches and hanging installations,” says Sarah Diligent, owner and creative director of Floribunda Rose Floral Design.

To use chicken wire, fold a piece into a general egg-shape bundle so it forms a grid-like structure and place it in the bottom of your vase. You’ll then add your flowers around or inside the holes in the wire to secure the stems. “When creating your bouquet, add stems outside the chicken wire to cover it—big leafy greens are perfect for this technique,” says Merola.” After adding the greenery, your flowers can be added.”


<p>dmf87 / GETTY IMAGES</p>


Natural flower mechanics, like moss, are a great option because they’re more sustainable and you don’t have to worry about trying to cover them up. One popular choice is moss, which can be used as a water source and is reusable for a period of time, says Lauren Anderson and Rachel Bridgwood, the owners of Sweet Root Village. To use moss as a mechanic, tightly pack it into a vessel and then use an orchid stick (or a knitting needle) to poke ‘guide holes’ before pushing flower stems into place, says Diligent.

Willow Branches

<p>lassi meony / GETTY IMAGES</p>

lassi meony / GETTY IMAGES

If you’re walking through your neighborhood and find a few fallen willow branches, you may want to collect them for your next flower arrangement. “Willow can be shaped to form a natural support for flowers, or form the base onto which moss can be tied,” says Diligent. “You will need to soak the willow first to make it malleable enough to shape into a support structure, but once formed it can be used over and over.” Once the branches are flexible, you can manipulate them to form a grid network that’s similar to chicken wire. The best part? After your blooms are spent, you can put the entire bouquet in your compost bin to decompose—no disassembly required.