Why use hanging glass tubes in your floral designs? What are the best ways to attach and support them? To which types of designs are they best suited? Are they easy to use?
Design: Kevin Ylvisaker, AIFD, PFCI and Laura Daluga, AIFD
To help answer these questions, we turned to OASIS Floral Design Director Frank Feysa AIFD, PFCI and floral artists Leopoldo Gomez and Donald Yim AIFD. Frank shares what he discovered working with a variety of hanging glass tubes in large scale displays while Leopoldo and Donald offer tips on how they incorporate smaller glass tubes in their creative centerpieces.
Why hanging glass tubes?
Whether you hang or attach them directly to a structure, glass tubes offer a decorative support for placing flowers with a water source in challenging places. These trendy containers offer more than just mechanical support as you can use them to express design styles including organic, artistic and abstract.
Glass tubes can enhance designs in many interesting ways:
- To place flowers in a compact water source in strategic places
- Allow additional options when using a variety of flower types and sizes within a design
- To add the glass forms as a design feature
- To incorporate small and delicate flowers
- To distribute small flower arrangements around a large design or on an object like a holiday tree
What kind of designs?
The on-trend look of flower-filled glass tubes adds visual interest to modern everyday, event and wedding design.
For his large designs, Frank used a variety of hanging glass tubes in two interesting displays he designed for Smithers-Oasis at the recent American Institute of Floral Designers Partner’s Expo in Seattle.
Leopoldo and Donald were able to strategically position small and delicate blooms by attaching the tubes to the structure of their centerpieces.
Flower design versatility
You can suspend floral tubes throughout a composition to create focal areas of color and texture in difficult to reach design spaces or attach glass tubes to the structure of a design to offer a visible water-source for fresh flower insertions.
According to Frank, “the graduated tube sizes ranging from 4-inches to 20-inches offer design versatility. It allows you to mix different sizes of flowers into one composition. The two pre-burnt holes are great because you can affix the tube securely regardless of what type of support you are attaching it to.”
Managing the weight of water
“The tubes offer a good amount of vessel without the weight of a lot of water,” says Frank. They can support from above when positioning flower stems in the empty spaces of an arrangement.
Photo credit: Sharon McGukin
Frank created an armature (decorative or supportive framework) of bamboo for one of the Partner’s Expo displays. He used fresh flowers in hanging glass tubes to achieve a pendulous effect within the design.
To secure the larger glass tubes, Frank combined two pieces of Midollino with a small piece of wire, for added support.
Frank cautions that Midollino alone is not adequate for the support of a tube filled with water. Too much water in the tube has the potential of wetting the Midollino and weakening its support.
In fact, he suggests that too much water in any tube makes it heavy and more difficult to suspend. Fortunately, the tube “doesn’t need to be filled up completely for event work. Just enough water to keep the flowers fresh during the event,” he explains.
Add depth and variety
Frank also created a canopy (covering supported on poles) design at the Partners Expo. The bamboo structure was decorated with layers of freshfoliage. Flowers in glass tubes were hung strategically throughout the design, adding pops of color and creating depth within the design.
If you’re unfamiliar with working with hanging glass tubes – you’ll find them easy to use. Frank used rustic wire to secure the big tubes. He made a circular band of it around the tube top and left two long ends for attaching the tube to a support inside the design. “A few bumps of the exterior finish of the wire had to be clipped off to fit through the holes, but that was easy to accomplish,” Frank explains.
Glass tubes can be used in many interesting ways to enhance designs:
- Place tropical flower stems in the larger sized glass tubes.
- Dye the water inside the tubes for a more colorful effect.
- Submerge lights in the larger tubes to draw attention into designs.
- Fill tubes with fresh flowers and submerged lights to decorate a Christmas tree.
“You could make a really cool sculpture,” Frank suggests. “Drill holes on a vertical board. Use floral adhesive to glue one end of a small dowel rods dowels or stick each into a hole, extending out to the side 1½ inches or so. Hang the various sized tubes on the dowels and sticks to create your pattern. Add water and fresh flowers to the tubes to finish the design.
Design: Donald Yim Photo: Sharon McGukin
A popular trend for centerpieces
Photo: Katie McCormick AIFD
Leopoldo Gomez used glass tubes for the water source of his minimalistic designs shown in the slideshow above. He used both aluminum and metallic wire to secure the tubes to flower stems for design stability in the protea arrangement. In his natural design, the tubes were less visible, giving the design a sleek look.
Donald Yim AIFD attached glass tubes to chopsticks with rustic wire to create his abstract design featured above. The use of smaller tubes allowed him to incorporate a mass of small blooms and berries with greater visual impact.
Photo: Katie McCormick AIFD
For a trend-setting centerpiece, glue hyacinth stakes into pre-drilled holes, wire glass tubes to the stakes and add water and flowers to complete the design.
Consider the many ways you can incorporate hanging glass tubes into your designs to offer a fresh, modern look that will appeal to your trend-savvy customers.
Photo: Katie McCormick AIFD
Which design technique do you prefer? How can you use hanging or attached glass tubes in your designs?
Photo Credit: American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD)