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!
Make a Votive Candle Luminary Out of Skeleton Leaves – Video
When Spring isn’t quite shining her light…. make your own with this diy votive candle luminary.
This Skeleton Leaf Votive will bring a fun and effortless touch to your parties– or your fairy shrine, it depends on what you’re doing I suppose! This lovely little votive is our last feature from our spring Moth Fairy photoshoot and in case you’ve missed it, we’ve had three other DIY projects from this shoot; a floral centerpiece, a floral frame, and a branch chandelier!
After waiting far too long for Spring to show up, our fairy’s guest finally arrives and better yet– with some sunshine and blooming flowers.
This project requires:
-spray dye or spray paint
Now its your turn to make some votives! Jump over to our Youtube Channel for the full tutorial! Don’t forget to show us your creations!
Make a Floral Centerpiece with a Vine Foliage Cage
Spring is just around the corner and seriously, who doesn’t love having some flowers to brighten up the house? Learn this quick and eco-friendly way to create a beautiful floral arrangement with a vine foliage cage. You know we don’t use flower foam so it’s our go-to, tried and true way of keeping stems in place. Reference our video version of this tutorial if you’re wanting some more tips on creating this!
If this is your first time making a centerpiece, fear not! We have another video that covers our common-sense method on flower placement. It’s right here: centerpiece demonstration It goes a bit more in depth.
- floral tape
- chicken wire
- bind wire, cut into 1″ pieces
- floral clippers
- wire cutters
- flowers, of course! We go to our local wholesale floral market, but you can find some goodies at your local store or garden.
First, use your wire cutters to snip a piece of chicken wire from the roll. For this size of pot, I cut a piece about 6 inches wide. Bend the chicken wire into a ball shape and tie the ends around one another to secure it. Then, place it in your vase.
Tear off strips of floral tape and place them like a grid over your ball. This will ensure the chicken wire won’t fall out. Once it feels sturdy, add the water.
Once you have a few stems in the base, choose two vines and attach them with a piece of bind wire in a place they might naturally grow together. Continue to add in vines and sprigs of Jasmine until your foliage cage feels full and strong.
Just let it get wild…
Now it’s just about full enough to support some flowers. Add in them flowers!
Taa-daa! You have made a glorious, foam-free floral arrangement! Snap a picture and show off, be sure to tag us so we can enjoy your work too!
We’ll be featuring this arrangement and others in a moody photoshoot we did about a Subterranean Moth-Fairy who is waiting in her underground den for spring to come. Oh and she’s a hoarder… Ha! To hear more about our hoarder fairy and the next DIYs from that shoot. You’ll want to SUBSCRIBE!
Here’s a sneak peak:)
Ugh. I just love those moody blooms.
Tips To Communicate With Your Designer
Recently, a fellow designer asked me the following…
“How do you help your clients feel less intimidated in telling you their ideas.”
I was blown away. It had never occurred to me that people might be intimidated to tell their true thoughts to the designers they hire.
Once this designer said that, I immediately thought how dangerous this situation could be.
To let a free-associating, visual stimuli addict run wild is just dangerous.
People could be wasting money, ending up with a design related to my favorite color of the day (orange) mixed with the origami something I made out of my pastry napkin from my morning coffee mixed with the slick detail from an airstream lunch trailer. However cool that may be, it may not relate to you. Somewhere down the road, you may look at my design and suddenly think…
“What the hell is that?”
Nobody wants that, so here are some tips on how to communicate with your designer to ensure you don’t have any “what the hell is that?” kind of moments.
Inside Every Designer’s Mind
In order to prevent such disaster, allow my to explain how a designer’s mind may work (ahem).
And this doesn’t just go for me, but most designers I know (and, therefore, it applies to every designer everywhere).
We view everything as if it has some useful information. For that reason we inspect how things are made, how colors change in different light, how long it takes for a pumpkin to rot… All potentially useful information. These things zip around, running into things, tripping over each other, or sometimes just waiting. They are in there because we know that one day we will be sitting in front of you.
You will say something that will connect with something else and BANG, a great idea for you.
Or so we think.
Your Willingness To Be Open With Your Designer Is Critical To Your Happiness… Seriously
I’m not saying you won’t be happy on an existential level. You still might be happy, deep down. But you might not be happy when you see the results… know what I’m sayin?
Sometimes an essential part of design is just figuring out where your brain is at.
What will freak you out and what won’t. In that case, we may throw out a lot of ideas. Don’t worry, we will not jam pack your event full of nonsense. We’re just gauging your reaction.
What Can I Do?
Over the years, I’ve gained confidence that I am pretty darn good at nailing someone’s design boundaries and style. But what makes this process better for both of us is the following:
- Bring images of rooms, clothes, events, flowers, hairstyles, vacations, whatever that reminds of the vibe you want to achieve. It can really be anything that helps us learn about you.
- Tell us what you love, and tell us what you DON’T love and why. (it’s okay if you don’t know why)
- Come with an open mind.
- You can’t hurt our feelings, so just be direct if you have any reservations about a path we are taking.
- Let us know what your priorities are.
That’s it, pretty simple. If you bring an open mind along with some of the above items, you can be sure your design experience will be that much closer to dream-making–and not of the nightmare variety!
Seamless Take-Offs and Landings
Starting out, this business can seem like it’s exploding one moment, and fizzling the next. When exploding, it’s easy to feel like we are barreling toward a bright, uncertain, fiery end, with our parts being thrashed around and coming loose. These times are exciting and all-consuming. Once we climax at a shining glorious event, we fizzle back to reality, thin, used up, and with a smile on our faces. As we come to, we are surrounded with the neglected routine to resume. Oops.
I had a little moment of clarity this past month regarding how this company will function as we grow bigger. Luckily, it aligns with goal number 4 of our little manifesto in our first post. And I think it’s going to go far in terms of providing the kind of consistency that we need. While it’s normal to focus heavily on an urgent event, we need to keep our long-term goals in check with systems and routines. Here’s what we did this month to handle a surprising number of large events during a typically slow period:
- Hire flexible people early, get them trained. Pull back in employees from busy times. Test out new techniques and materials early.
- Hire professionals on a project basis to handle management of a few key areas. This month, we had someone in charge of procuring items (fancy speak for driving around gettin’ stuff) and floral design. We added people to our buying accounts and ordered AMEX cards for our employees for hassle free purchasing.
- Delegate the pieces: A few key pieces were doled out to employees. They became responsible for following through on the complications that arose with each piece. Rather than me as lead on every piece, I became the orchestrator who tried to support the people making everything. This became essential when the inevitable hang up occurred. I was available to either jump in and help, or switch our team to a new direction. Without my head into the specifics of each piece, I was able to move resources around to the most urgent needs. We also had one employee who managed incoming inquiries and normal day-to-day requests. She followed up with everyone and scheduled consultations.
- Remove yourself as a barrier. Each person was used where they were most effective and removed where they were not. For example, I know that I don’t have the best tact nor do I speak clearly when exhausted, so it was best to put one of our managers in charge during the client walk throughs. Same goes for staffing the event.
- Reign in your perfectionism. Quality is essential but when one little detail is slowing progress, it’s important to identify if that detail is essential. If not, work around it or eliminate it and move on.
- Tap into your resources. It’s difficult to anticipate everything that can go wrong, but being resourceful helps to smooth out the inevitable hang ups. In one extreme case, during a particularly overwhelming task, we called everyone we knew in to assist. We even posted a Craigslist ad at 9pm for ‘people with hammers’ to come in to work late that night. We were overwhelmed with interest. While we didn’t end up using the Craigslist people, that opened up a new avenue of help if things ever got so hairy. We now have a screened list of on call handy people who are willing to work all hours. Awesome.
What we did let slide a bit was our marketing and social media efforts. We’ll be looking into ways to create content that’s ready to go for busy times such as this. Marketing we’ve learned we need to do year round- even in busy times as it’s about a 3-6 month lag before we see results from many marketing efforts.
Any suggestions on tools for maintaining consistency?