Wet Floral Foam Buying Guide

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Wet Floral Foam Buying Guide

Floral arrangers who work with living blooms often use wet floral foam as a medium to help stabilise the arrangement and maintain a constant level of moisture around the stems. Arrangements in wet floral foam last seven to 10 days, typically. Wet floral foam is appropriate for arrangements from home gardens, for professional designs, and for competitive show arrangements. Although the Oasis name is as synonymous with floral foam as Kleenex with facial tissue, other reputable manufacturers include the Val Spicer Company and Florist Sundries of the U.K.

For most purchasers of wet floral foam, the most critical decision is what shape to purchase for the container being used. Some designers also use floral foam as a design medium in itself, creating free-standing shapes that are decorated with blooms. The floral arranger seeking wet floral foam for arrangements may find options to meet virtually any need available on eBay.

Wet Floral Foam Shapes

Wet floral foam is marketed in various shapes, saving the arranger valuable time. Instead of needing to cut to size or shape, the desired size and shape are often directly available in the market. This also spares a great deal of what might otherwise be wasted floral foam. Popular shapes and sizes, as well as their uses, are listed in the table below.

Shape

Sizes (cm)

Uses

Brick

23 x 11 x 8 or 55 x 32 x 23

Workhorse of floral foam; able to be cut to size for almost any purpose

Casket Tray

Lengths: 90, 60, 45

Pre-fitted to plastic tray for funeral casket sprays

Cone

Heights: 60, 32, 24

Classic boxwood and other holiday trees

"Cupcake"

6 x 8

Cylinder pre-packaged into a pottery "cupcake paper"

Cylinder "Cake Dummy"

7 x 22, 7 x 14

Unusual cylinder sizes used almost exclusively for floral "cakes"

Cylinder

6 high by 8, 10, 18

Vase and bowl filler

Florette

31 x 13 x 9

Measure is of hanging fixture; foam is pre-packaged into fixture for weddings and other formal events

Pillow

36 x 53; 30 x 45

Used for sympathy floral arrangments

Ring or Wreath

Exterior diameters: 20, 25, 36

These forms create wreaths for doors, walls and table arrangements

Sphere

Diameters: 9, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30

Besides the traditional mistletoe ball, variations include round floral centrepieces and dangling spheres on the wedding aisle

These popular wet floral foam shapes give the professional or hobby arranger convenient bases for beginning any design project. Of these, three shapes deserve elaboration for their special place in contemporary floral design.

The "Cake Dummy" and "Cupcake"

The relatively recent tradition of sending a cake made of flowers is a way to allow a dieting friend to have her cake and not eat it, too. The wet floral foam "cake dummy" is a relatively thin cylinder of floral foam that is covered with flowers to imitate a layer of iced pastry.

Depending on the designer's artistry, these may be more or less complex. The floral "cake" may be presented on a simple plastic florist's platter designed to allow for watering the flowers or that platter may be elevated on a cake presentation plate that is the birthday girl's proper gift. The wet floral foam "cupcake" is an alternative. It is presented in a pottery "cupcake cup" dish that may later be used for plants or in the kitchen.

Round Sphere

The round ball of live mistletoe is a seasonal tradition, but the sphere has come into its own in contemporary arranging. The wet floral foam sphere is frequently seen as a centrepiece, completely covered with a single kind of bloom, from carnation to rose. It is also found dangling along the wedding aisle where more formal arrangements once dominated. They even serve, at smaller sizes hanging from ribbons, as flower girl bouquets.

These standard shapes represent the bulk of floral design work. As a result, they may be ordered in bulk quantities as well as in small lots. Even the "cupcake" with its accompanying pottery is usually packaged in a lot of three or six units.

Choosing the Correct Foam Size

Wet floral foam arrangements require replenishment of their water supply, for which it must be possible to add water to the arrangement. This is typically allowed for by cutting the foam smaller than the diameter of the container, so water may be added at the side or corner as the days pass. The foam cuts and fits for several common container sizes are noted below.

For Broad, Flat Containers

When using broad, flat containers, it is easy to cut the foam block smaller than the breadth of the container, allowing the top to sit 5 to 7 cm higher than the edge of the container. In these cases, the block is attached to the dish with florist's tape run criss-cross over its top. Florist's tape is used because it is the only kind of tape that remains in place when it becomes wet.

For Tall, Narrow Containers

In tall, narrow containers, the foam must be tightly fitted to the container, but the foam's corners are cut off to leave small areas where water may be carefully added to the container. The top still rises above the top of the container. Some designs may call for it to rise as much as 7 cm above the top of a container that is only 5 cm in diameter.

For the Standard Vase

To cut foam for a standard vase, one typically fits the block to the neck of the vase, with at least one corner cut to allow for the addition of water. If the vase design does not have a neck but is shaped more like an open bowl, the block may need to be held in place with tape. In either case, the block still is cut to rise above the top of the container by 3 to 7 cm.

Unusual container sizes may pose specific challenges, but the same general principles apply. The correct size foam for a specific container is smaller than the container diameter to allow for the addition of water over the life of the arrangement. It rises 3 to 7 cm above the top of the container, depending on the design of the arrangement.

Specialty Shapes

Wet floral foam is also available pre-cut in a variety of specialty shapes. Some are used as tributes at special events; others are sometimes requested as funeral tributes. Some of the diverse shapes offered include those listed below:

  • Standing dog
  • Football
  • Rugby ball on base
  • Motorcycle
  • Rabbit
  • Cat
  • Teddy bear
  • Fish
  • Angel
  • Heart

Wet foam is also preformed into sections of garland that may be inserted with flowers and laurel or other greens. They are typically used at weddings and holiday parties.

Wetting the Foam Correctly

If foam is correctly wetted, it can keep blooms in condition for seven to 10 days. If the foam has been incorrectly wetted, parts of the block may remain dry. As a result, when the stems are inserted, some stems may be inserted into a dry spot and begin to wilt immediately.

The correct way to wet floral foam is to set the uncut block into a container of water that is larger in breadth and width than the block and at least as deep as the block is thick. At first, the foam block floats on the water at first. As the foam cells pull water into the block, the block begins to sink slowly into the container. When the block is fully submerged, it is wet throughout. Top arrangers recommend plain tap water for soaking the block; ironically, solutions designed to extend the life of flowers in vases do not flow through the block as well and therefore shorten the life of foam block arrangements.

Best Uses of Different Wet Floral Foams

Wet floral foams are produced in several grades or densities. Each grade offers optimal support to different types of flowers or is best suited to receiving different kinds of stem.

Foam Density

Appropriate Uses

Standard or Medium

Average weight flowers: carnations, roses, chrysanthemums, lilies

Low

Spring bulb flowers: hollow or softer stems may be inserted without damage

High

Woody stems, heavier blooms, and taller arrangements

Mixed arrangements are typically made in standard density foam. If a particular stem is weak and does not penetrate the foam properly, it may be wired to a floral pick so that the stem and pick become, together, one sturdier stem. The two may then be inserted together without difficulty.

When inserting stems into wet floral foam, it is important that the stem be inserted fully and not pulled back. If it is pulled back, this creates an air pocket at the bottom of the stem that prevents the bloom from receiving water. Should the arranger be dissatisfied with the stem placement, it is better to remove the stem entirely and place it again.

Reusing Wet Floral Foam

A florist uses wet floral foam only one time because it is set into an arrangement and sent out the door. The home arranger may reuse this material up to three times. In order to do so, the foam must not be allowed to dry between uses since it does not re-saturate properly. Keeping it in a closed plastic bag in the refrigerator allows it to remain wet until the next use.

Buying Wet Floral Foam on eBay

Wet floral foam is available in many shapes, sizes, and package sizes on eBay: from a single brick to a case of bricks, spheres, cones, or other frequently used shapes. The hobby floral arranger or the professional arranger buying for a shop are therefore equally able to find this material in quantities suited to their needs.

When searching for wet floral foam brick, the buyer should realise that many sellers refer every shape as brick, so wet floral foam cylinders, wet floral foam cones, and wet floral foam spheres also appear in the search. If a particular size is sought, for example a 25 cm sphere, then a search such as "wet floral foam sphere 25" typically turns up what is desired. If the requested size is the same as a common package size, as in "wet floral foam cylinders 6", both 6 cm cylinders and packages of six cylinders appear in the search results. Keeping these tips in mind ensures an easy shopping experience on eBay.

Other Desirable Items

When purchasing wet floral foam, other items that may be useful include Oasis trays made to fit specific size blocks or cylinders of wet floral foam. Oasis candle holders and spray trays are made for reception tables. Some have handles so they may be used as pew hangers at weddings. It may also be convenient to order floral tape to fasten foam to other containers.

Conclusion

Wet floral foam provides a steady base for many kinds of floral arrangements. In bowls, vases, on trays, and in garlands, it is a standard for helping arrangements maintain their visual placement and their freshness for up to 10 days. In freestanding displays of cut-out forms, it offers the opportunity to provide special and unique tributes.

Floral artistry, never content, has expanded the repertoire of frequently seen designs to include cakes, cupcakes, and flower spheres that suggest old-fashioned pomanders but are crafted of fresh blooms and may be as large as 30 cm. Wet floral foam provides the solid base that allows all of these to work successfully.

Whether seeking a brick or two for arrangements from the home garden or cases of wet floral foam for arrangements done at a shop, the floral arranger seeking wet floral foam may find options to meet virtually any need on eBay. Thanks to eBay handy search features, finding wet floral foam is fast and easy to do.

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