Slow Flowers Summit – Flower Wall Demo
Hello, hello! Today I want to show you a super cool new way to build a flower wall. We built this beaut as a communal building experience for this year’s Slow Flowers Summit attendees. If you haven’t heard about it, read about it here. Need I tell you that its foam free? No, I do not. Of course it is!
We’ve used this flower wall technique in the past for Seattle’s 2016 Art Fair; where it wowed outside during a hot, sunny August day in Seattle (hot and sunny DO happen in Seattle, we just don’t tell you about them). The point is, it holds up in heat, is pretty easy to construct, and is more sustainable than a van full of foam. This particular construction is strong enough to be stacked into an enormous wall. You can see such enormous wall stacking and construction of this in video from last year’s ART FAIR if you click here!
PS, if you are here looking for FLOWER WALL PRICING AND SPECIFIC INGREDIENTS, we are giving that away to folks who want to be part of our email flower posse. There’s a link at the bottom.
But back to our flower wall demo. About a month ago, I had the privilege to speak at Seattle’s first Slow Flowers Summit. Have you ever had a communal experience where you are surrounded by inspiring people and all you can think is “YASSSS, These are my people.” And suddenly it’s all you can do to NOT throw your arms around complete stranger and babble like you’ve been friends since you were 13? Like you ARE 13?!
This was one of those times. My talk was about Reinvention. But we also were asked to demo this wall. Really THE wall. We got the royal treatment as the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, SUOT farms and Alaskan Peonies donated buckets of flowers. Ehem, did I mention that we got the first cut of Alaskan Peonies, which were then airplaned (is that a verb? … is now.) with their human caretakers. These peonies were larger than my face, and my brother says my face is large.
For Flower walls, we use two methods. This one is the “moss and cage” or the “moss sandwich”. Our other go-to wall is a bioboard wall. We demo that soon. Stay tuned for a DIY video on how we made the Queen Bee’s backdrop, which is equally excellent but is useful in a totally different way. Here’s a breakdown of why you would use each wall..
Now that you get the basics, lets get your materials together! For this moss and cage wall, you will need:
- (3) Lumber 2in x 2in x 8ft
- Drill and bit
- A roll of chicken wire
- Zip ties
- (2) 4 x 6ft display grids, we got ours from Grand and Benedicts but you can find them at any retail display fixture store. If you are in a city, you probably have one.
- (5) bags of moss
- Wire cutters
- Saw (human powered or otherwise)
- Flowers, flowers and more flowers!
- 2 saw horses or a table. This is easier to build horizontally
Step 1: Wrap the Grid
Cover one side of each grid with chicken wire.
To get an idea of how this will look, try imagining the structure like a sandwich. The “condiments” (chicken wire) will be on the inside of the bread (the grid) to hold in the meat (the moss). For us, two long pieces of chicken wire was just the right amount to cover one side.
Starting with one piece of chicken wire, secure it to the grid with bind wire. Make sure you weave around the perimeter and throughout the middle. This keeps it from slipping or bulging. To save some bind wire, I cut a couple 3″ pieces and did little twist ties in random spots.
Step 2: Measure and Cut the Spacers
We are going to use the 2X2s as spacers, this ensures your thickness is uniform. We are going to pack in the moss but the spacers ensure that if there is a thin/ or dryer spot, the face won’t warp. It’s also critical if you are making a wall that is larger than your grid size (like in that video).
Measure the length and width of your grid. Cut your 2X2s to size. Remember to cut your short ends to account for the width of the longer pieces. We will want the shorties to fit inside the long pieces. All spacers should be attached Under the perimeter of your grid.
Step 3: Drill the Spacers and Zip Tie to the Grid
Choose a drill bit that gives enough room for one zip tie to slide through.
Next, drill a hole about two inches from the end and then continue to drill a hole every 4″ or so.
Once they’ve been drilled, attach the wood spacers to the grid by securing a zip tie through every other hole.
Step 4: Repeat on Other Grid
Cover the other grid with chicken wire as you did in Step 1. You won’t need spacers on this one, just the chicken wire. This will be the top piece of ‘bread’ to our sandwich.
Step 5: Moss It Up and Close the Sandwich
We’ll be adding moss to the grid with the spacers, so you may need to switch your setup now.
Grab your 5 bags of moss and get to town! Don’t spread this sparingly; pack as much moss in as you’ve got. Its very important that this is thick. You want your stems to be lodged in the moss and hydrated. Too loose and your stems may stay but they won’t get as much hydration.
Once every area feels full and even, lay the other grid on top of the moss. Grab more zip ties and connect the spacers to the top grid. Try adding one on one side then adding one on the opposite side for an even and super tight grid. Ensure your zip ties are rotated to the outside of the spacer- so your top grid can be cinched down right on top of the spacer.
Step 6: Water and Flower Prep
You’re almost done! Have someone help you move this outside or somewhere you don’t mind getting a lot of water on the floor. “Is it heavy,” you ask? Yes.
Take your hose and drench the whole thing so that every area is dripping water onto the floor. Do it a few more times. You’ll want to give the moss a chance to really absorb as much water as possible. You can also pre-soak your moss before adding to the grid. That way you have full moss absorption but it is messier. We went for the less messy option this time.
Prep your flowers, cutting the stems to about 3″-4″ long.
Step 7: Make it a FLOWER Wall!
Add in those darn flowers and foliage and consider yourself a Flower Wall Extraordinaire! The moss should keep it moist for a full day and probably longer, but I would test it in your neck of the woods to be sure.
Although not necessary, you may want to build a boarder around it as we did with leftover bio-board and some wrapping paper.
Some additional notes:
- Timing: You can make this in advance but I would add a bit of flower glue to each stem to be sure it doesn’t dislodge in transport. I typically add greens in the shop and add all the flowers in on site.
- We’ve done this wall 3 times and I am ALWAYS impressed with how long the flowers last. They typically look great the next day and most of the flowers still look great days later. I include some images of what the flowers look like after two days squished in my hot van after the summit. You will be amazed. I am still conservative in adding flowers too far in advance but . I would urge you to test a patch in your area.
- Super thirsty flowers may not be a good idea for this wall type- though you can always tube your flowers and that works well. Particular species that I don’t use in this wall are Hydrangea, raspberry foliage, sweet pea, or any other herbaceous, soft stemmed flower or foliage.
- How much does this cost? Simply put, lots. Sign up for our Flower posse and we’ll go over that. If you’ve liked this information, you’ll like what you get as a part of our inner circle.
THE FLOWER POSSE!
I think you’re going to love this wall.
Thanks for reading!
DIY Floral Frame Video for Your Wedding or Event
This quick DIY floral frame is a reusable piece that will surprise and delight your clients and their guests. I love this piece because it can be whimsical or romantic. It can be giant, or small and sweet. AAAAND my toddler can’t knock them off the table as he does with every other vase that enters my house.
For events, it will leave your guests blathering on about how clever you are.
Go ahead and watch our video if you’re wanting a more detailed version of this tutorial.
Lets get started!
- measuring tape
- (4) pipe straps
- (4) test tubes or party shot glasses
- wood, fit to the size of the shortest side of frame
- (2) screw eye hooks
All of these items can be found at Home Depot or your local hardware store. One note to add, when hanging this up we used the (2) screw eye hooks and some twine.
To begin, fit a pipe strap around a test tube and place it close to the center of your frame. Drill in two screws to each side. Continue to do this with the other 3 pipe straps and test tubes.
Next, we drill the piece of wood to the opposite side as a spacer so that the frame sits straight on the wall.
Finally, hang up your frame, fill the test tubes with water and throw in those flowers!
Thanks for building this DIY Floral Frame with us. I know it will wow at your next event.
As always, don’t forget to take a picture of your floral frame masterpiece and tag us on Facebook, Instagram (@lola.creative), and Pinterest (LolaCreativeCo)! Stay tuned for more DIY tutorials that we feature in our Subterranean Moth-Fairy photoshoot and SUBSCRIBE!
Here is how we used it in our recent photoshoot.
And this is pretty much how I feel right now if the rain doesn’t stop. Srrrrsly.
Behind The Scenes At One of Our Favorite Past Weddings
Check out what it took to pull together one of Lola Creative’s favorite summer destination weddings!
We thought you’d like a behind the scenes peek into how things were made, installed, delivered, all that not-glamorous hidden stuff that you may want to know about.
Maybe you want to do a big DIY feature for your own wedding (beware and read on)…
Maybe you are just starting your own floral or event design company…
Maybe you are just curious…
As for me, I just want to have an excuse to look at these gorgeous photos. Nonetheless, here is a look behind the scenes at a fabulous destination wedding.
Jana and Troy got married at Roche Harbor Resort in Washington’s San Juan Islands (Friday Harbor to be precise). All these light filled dreamy images are shared with us from Laura Gordon Photography. Thanks Laura!
A Luxurious Journey
The day went something like this: our staff catches the 6am ferry from Anacortes. This means we get in line sometime around 5am to be sure not to miss it. Which means we have left our houses sometime around 3:30am. (ugh). We sleep on the ride over.
We arrive, eat some breakfast, and head over to the resort to be let into the reception hall, a charming, white washed room filled with light and easy vibes.
Everything Went According To Plan
The van floor is awash with water. Since we don’t use foam often the water from our pre-made floral arrangements sloshes out. The first thing we do is find a shady spot for the floral arrangements and refill them with water.
Kokedama? Yes Please!
Four people get working on hanging an iron gate to the beams that will be the structure from which our kokedama balls will hang.
(Our bride introduced us to kokedama and now I am obsessed.)
The bride and mother of the bride supplied us with pearled wire and baubles to hang from some of the kokedama. We hand made the tassels days earlier in our studio. Kokedama are made by wrapping plants with roots in a well draining soil wrapped with moss and then hung.
Some Assembly Required
Two people get to work on assembling the sweetheart table backdrop. It was inspired by a fabric display in an Anthropologie window. For a ten foot wide and 7 foot tall display, it took over 400 yards of fabric and four people 3 full days of ripping and tying.
TIP: This is good info for you folks planning your own DIY feature for a wedding. These things take lots and lots of time, and often much more materials than you may think. The individual fabric strips are pre-tied to a rope so that just the individual strands need to be attached.
We attached the back to two adjustable height coat racks so that they could be moved behind the DJ after dinner. A shorter strip was attached to the ceiling to create a frame and layered effect.
The couple sat on a vintage loveseat behind wooden farm tables with luxurious garlands. The loveseat was provided by our dear friends at Vintage Ambiance.
TIP: Vintage furniture is often lower to the ground than contemporary furniture. We solved this by building two 4″ height risers to prop up the bride and groom to normal height.
Next we hung the kokedama balls.
TIP: If using kokedama or any hanging plant with soil, make sure you have watered it a couple of days before. Do not water it on the day of your event, or it will drip or be unnecessarily heavy. Also, pre-tie your individual plants to an S-hook so you don’t have to adjust the height in the air.
Making Sure Everything Is Right
One of our team takes the bouquets and personal flowers over to the couple as they prepare for photos. We want to make sure they are perfect and that they love them, know how to hold them, and remind them to dry off the exposed stems when they are out of water. We leave little vases with them so that the bouquets can stay hydrated when they are not in use.
We hustle down to the chapel to get the ceremony in order before heading back to the reception hall. We assemble the giant bird cage and fill it with candles and vines. Attach two giant swags to the door (both created without foam), and attach the adorable pew ends. Simple and beautiful.
Once the ceremony is complete, we head back up to place the mixed greenery garlands on the tables, flowers, and add decor to the indoor and outdoor fireplaces.
We tie sweet feathers and leather straps to candles, light all the 10 hour tealights, and fine tune any wayward flowers.
13 Hours and… It’s Break Time
We get the “okay” from the mother of the bride and are off for dinner around 5pm. So far, my team has been working for 13 hours.
After dinner, two of our team arrive back at the reception. After the guests have finished eating we roll the backdrop behind the DJ and take down the hanging layered piece.
Two people stay overnight and wake up early to tear it all down, pack it up, and catch a ferry home.
What It Takes
Wedding sets, especially destinations, are usually long days.
This one took two staff 8 hours and two more 16 hours.
But sweet, trusting families, light-filled rooms, gorgeous pieces to make, and dreamy photos like these are worth the sore feet!
And moments like these…
Designing Events, With A Pinch Of Wonder
I was going through images last week and came across this book arch we created a few years ago. I always thought this was so cool, and people went crazy.
With wedding madness in full swing, I thought the book arch would be a good reminder of how powerful this business can be.
Much of the time we get caught up in running the business:
- Has everything been ordered?
- Is everything ready to go?
- Are all the subcontractors prepped?
- Is there enough staff?
And for set pieces like the Book Arch:
- Do we have the materials?
- Do we have the welding equipment?
- Are we sure it’s going to be stable?
- How does it look?
It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane–albeit necessary–aspects of getting the job done.
When I come across images of events that really worked–and that had such a wide impact on people outside the event–it is a good reminder of the purpose of what we’re really doing: we’re adding that wee pinch of wonder that makes the difference between a serious yawner and a “I can’t stop gawking at how amazing this is” experience.
When we’re at our best, we take a profound moment in someone’s life and insert a bit of magic. It’s incredible what can happen when everything lines up.
Five Sustainable Floral Products to Green Your Designs
Let’s face it, weddings and corporate events can be massively wasteful. But your floral shop doesn’t have to be. In fact, in the upper left corner of this country, it’s a selling point to operate a greener floral studio with sustainable products and techniques. Our clients seek out ways to live more responsibly and love knowing that their decor isn’t unnecessarily wasteful.
We gauge wastefulness by weighing the material’s life cycle. Start of life, during life, and after life. So with this in mind, something like bioboard is less wasteful than styrofoam or foamcore. Floral Soil is less wasteful (if at all) than floral foam.
At the start of life, how was the material created and what pollutants and general yuckies were created by its production? Was it grown? Super. Was it grown locally without chemicals and practices that might pollute waterways and harm insects? Super Duper!!! Was it made from previously recycled content? Love that. How was it shipped?
During it’s life in our studio, how many times can we reuse it? Can we make it into a quality, long-lived piece that our clients will want to keep? Does it give me a mysterious rash? Can my dog eat it?
When we are done with it, where does it go? Can it be recycled? Can it be composted? Can we rent it out again?
Now I’ll admit there is a stockpile of adhesives and paints in our studio that are nowhere near Super Duper, Gold Star Life Cycle Rating, but we do what we can where we can and are always on the lookout for materials that better fit our goals.
Here are a few materials you can be confident in and start using immediately that won’t raise eyebrows.
1. Bioboard: Made originally for printing, this stuff comes in 1/4 inch to 1″ thicknesses and 4X8 foot sheets. It’s extremely light and strong. We use this in place of foam-core, styro sheets, masonite, and even sometimes wood. Don’t get water on it though, because it will dissolve fast. We use this to build scenes, 3D shapes, and support for flower walls. Photo is provided by Laird Plastics, our Seattle source for BioBoard.
2. Floral Soil: currently ramping up production is floral soil solutions, a water- holding, bio=based compound that will replace toxic floral foam. Get on the list to get your own stash and experiment with how it works, including tall arrangements that were once so improbable in a studio without foam. It can be reused for a time, and then tossed into your compost nary a concern. Photo sourced from the Floral Soil Website .
3. Sticks: So versatile, seriously. ‘Le Stick’ is practically used everyday in our studio to create volume and a transport- proof armature in which to stick our stems. Even in low, wide arrangements, a tape grid and a stick armature is all you need to create a secure centerpiece with volume. Haven’t mastered ‘Le Stick’? Try it out in our centerpiece workshop Coming up May 7th! Click Here.
4. Moss: Nature’s natural sponge that holds moisture for days. Use as a matrix for holding stems in place over an opaque container or mass into a ball for a natural sculpture. Both uses eliminate the need for floral foam.
5. Local Flowers: They’re not just prettier but they haven’t traveled long distances. Local allows you to have greater knowledge of how your flowers were raised and supports local business. With the right growers, you can work together to ensure you are getting all those great, strange flowers that are extra special. Nothing conveys specialness than pointing out a flower and telling them about the person who grew it for them. That’s just love and specialness all over the place.
Again, if you’d like to learn more about sustainable floral design practices and all sorts of behind the scenes fun, join our community by subscribing to our email list. Also, if you know of someone else who may think this is helpful, please send it to them!