Is your work counter crowded? Does simplicity—and beauty—appeal to your floral soul?
If it does, what if, with one endlessly useful new product, you could kick some things off your counter and more easily create more attractive designs too?
Time to start kicking, if you haven’t already.
Floral designers have long relied on functional base mechanics—products born of necessity that are usually less than visually pleasing. We like what they do for our designs but keep them hidden.
We cover our foam with foliage and mosses and tape over wires. Go farther back, and you’ll find designers vasing flowers into shredded Styrofoam or poking stems into bags of pine needles.
Which brings us to chicken wire. It’s useful but stiffish, sharp and no one ever called it pretty.
Fortunately, as we grow as an industry, new and better solutions appear. A product or method replaces another or many others.
Today, there’s a safer, lighter, easier-to-use and oh-so-pretty instant replacement for chicken wire: Oasis Floral Mesh. Here are just some of the uses, many design photos with mesh and why Hitomi Gilliam and Fabian Salcedo are fans.
The many uses for mesh
Mesh is more than a chicken wire replacement. You can use it:
- To create bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages and
- For lightweight suspended designs.
- To enhance everyday vessels.
- Adding stability to tall and wide designs.
- As an underwater mechanic, replacing curly willow, branches and other natural mechanics as your means to secure your design.
- Quick and easy gridding over the top of a wide mouthed vessel like a cube or bubble bowl, making tape suddenly seems tedious.
- In wrapped bouquets, omitting the ever-present waxed tissue or plastic decorative mesh.
- To give climbing plants a sleek modern trellis to grow upon.
- Come holiday season, to replace that punchinello ribbon in your wreaths and garlands for an updated look.
- As an attractive mechanic for a table-runner.
Hitomi is a fan
Hitomi Gilliam is a mesh fan. The vanguard Vancouver, BC, floral designer loves experimenting with new products.
“The wire mesh is decoratively attractive when parts are left visible,” she says, unlike chicken wire which needs to be entirely covered as a mechanic (Oasis mesh comes in three classic metallics—gold, silver and the right-now copper).
Fabian Salcedo likes it too. “It’s lighter weight than traditional steel chicken wire,” says the Austin, Texas, based-designer. One way he uses it is to “improve the mechanics of a design as a sheath around a column of floral foam.”
A mesh foundation for bouquets
When using mesh as a foundational base for a bridal bouquet, work from the outside in. You’ll find you use fewer stems to achieve the same abundant and lush look than you would creating without the mesh frame.
The additional stability and control eases the design process and enables you to pause mid-bouquet to answer a call, text or email right away. Fuss no more! Each stem slides into the grid and stays put for good.
Floral mesh has great visual appeal
Consider leaving mesh exposed as a shiny decorative element with strong form and negative space. Hitomi suggests, “using it as vertical or horizontal cylindrical structures, using water tubes as water source.”
The increased safety factor is a huge plus as well, as Hitomi notes.
“When building with it, it is so easy to simply bend the wire back into itself and the seams always end up looking clean.”
When working with any wire in a design, you want to finish the wire considering client safety. The easy-to-bend aluminum floral mesh helps you create clean edges. When working with floral mesh in handheld bouquets, you can always go around the edge of the frame with hot glue for additional safety.
Think outside the vase
Fabian recently had a request for something different: a graduation bouquet on a budget.
He started by forming mesh into a cone and then covering it with yarn to soften any sharp edges. Inside this fabulous base, he designed a few cool blooms into the cone and called it done!
He’s also used mesh as an abstract base for a floral design in his signature sculptural style.
For those of you wondering about the mesh in water, try this: before submerging, apply a clear and flexible coating like Design Master Dresden Clear Glaze.
The space between blooms is your profit
Because the mesh adds visual and physical space between your blooms, you end up using fewer flowers. That extra bit of room really adds up in a design or a bouquet.
A dozen roses handtied with greens is two to three inches smaller in diameter than the same dozen designed with a mesh grid to keep them in place. The metallic shine makes it easy to see where a piece of foliage or an accent flower needs to go as you build your design.
Maximize the drama with an overhead installation with tubed in blooms or a swooping welcome design with a few knock-out flowers.
Use mesh as a table-runner, weaving in foliages and decorative naturals like Flat Cane and Midollino for receptions or holiday wall décor. Add it to garlands to pick up light or as an accent in any floral design that benefits from a little something extra.
A decorative workhorse
When built with floral mesh, corsages, cuffs, crowns, boutonnieres and pocket squares all have the familiar aluminum structure we know and love from working with flat wire.
Hitomi says working with the mesh is easy because, “it is so light and transparent and its general appearance is clean and modern,” perfect for today’s modern special event flowers.
The possibilities are endless for this decorative workhorse! What are some of your favorite ways to use floral mesh? Leave a comment below!