Friday, February 14, 2014

How To Submerge Flowers

Want to do something special with your Valentine flowers?
How about submerging them in a vases of water.
It is an unusual and eye-catching look that is fun for your
home or for a party or wedding reception d├ęcor.
 If you already have vases it is an inexpensive look also. 


It makes your bouquet of Valentine flowers have a bigger
visual impact than just putting them all together in one vase
in the traditional way.

Here are a couple of bunches of flowers that I used to try
out some new ways to submerge flowers.
When we were at Costco a few weeks before Valentine's Day, I told my husband that if he would buy me these
 flowers now so I could experiment submerging them that he would not have to get me any flowers on Feb. 14th. 

I experimented with submerging flowers a couple of years
ago with this blog post but wanted to try again to find an
easier and prettier way to get the flowers to stay underwater.

This time around I tried making attractive "sinkers" for the
flowers using mainly clear glass vase filler "gems",
 metal washers and wire.

The glass gems can be found easily in the floral section
 of craft stores and even at Dollar Tree stores.  The washers
are in the screw and nail section of hardware stores.

More weight than you think is required to keep the flowers
submerged under the water. I bunched glass gems together
for one way to try to accomplish this...strength in numbers.

Although I tried different types of glue to cluster the
glass gems...

...the clear silicone turned out to be the best adhesive
for this project. First, I glued two gems together on top of
each other. 

They look like a little clear hamburger bun.

After the two glass gems dried about an hour, three glass gem "hamburgers" were joined together on the sides
with the silicone...

...try to leave a hole in the center if you can. 
It helps to have a center hole when you are adding
 wire for the flowers and more gem clusters.


If you have too much silicone and want to "neaten it up"
you can clean off the excess with a skewer.


I tried making a mega cluster of gems but it was harder
to manage all of those gems at one time.

If more than one cluster of three "hamburgers" is needed
(and usually it is) just wire more together.
 You can also wire the clusters together horizontally if you don't want to add
height to the sinker/flower combo. Lower profile sinker equals longer stem on flower.

Plan on letting the silicone set up for 24 hours before using
the sinkers in the vases of water.

After the silicone adhesive has set up and is holding
the six-gem-bundle together you can run the wire
through (the hole) and around the gem bundle(s).

Leave plenty of wire on each end to wrap around 
the flower stem.  Try to "catch" a leaf or base of the
 flower in the wire wrapping to hold the flower down. 

To get an idea of how many gem bundles you will need
per flower, fill a vase with water.

Try a flower wrapped with wire and weighted by
the sinkers in the vase.

If the flower is not submerged enough, pull it out of the
vase and add another gem bundle with wire.

You can also add more water to the vase.

The clear glass gem sinkers look almost like bubbles under
the water and don't distract from the flower. They are easy
to reuse as they go with any color scheme. 

Just like life, there are pros and cons to most things.
If you got long stemmed flowers for Valentine's Day,
you may need to cut off some length to submerge them
(unless you have really tall vases!)

I used a ruler to help me know how much of the
stem I needed to cut off to have the flower head
be underwater.  I like the look of at least one leaf left
on the stem but you can decide if you want more or none. 

While you are experimenting with the flowers and
sinkers you might want to have a towel ready to 
lay a wet flower on to protect your surface.

The photo below has a mini rainbow across the towel from
the water in the vase refracting the afternoon sunlight.

You get so many pretty and unique views of the flowers
when they are underwater in the vases. 


Another option to use for a weight is a metal washer.
You can wrap the wire around the washer, then the flower.
Usually one washer is not enough weight to hold down
 the flower...you can add more washers (the largest
ones I could find are about 40 cents each).

A drawback to the washers is that they are not attractive.
The clear gems do not hide the washers.

 There are solid color glass gems available that do cover the washer.

After you find how many washers it takes to hold the flower
submerged, you can go ahead and put the wired down flower
in the vase, cover the washers with solid gems...

...and then fill the vase with water.  Sometimes this way of
adding the water to the vase results in pretty trapped air
bubbles on the flower, the stem and the leaves. 

Depending on the look you want, if you don't mind the
more rustic look of rocks, you can weight the flower with
one washer...
This photo shows the washers with the wires attached before adding one washer to each flower.

...put the flower(s) in the vase...


...add well-washed river stones to the vase...

... then stick your hand in the vase and push the washers 
underneath the river stones.  The river stones have
 enough weight that they hold the washer down. 


Bagged river stones are available in the floral sections
of craft stores also if you don't have a natural source. 

I used this trio of roses in front of a framed Christmas angel 
that has been re-vamped as a cupid for Valentine's Day.


Another way to use washers as sinkers (but not have to buy
so many) is to use florist clay to stick the washer to the 
bottom of the vase before adding water.

I had never noticed the green wrapped brick in the floral
section of the craft store until I was looking for it for this 
project.  It was only $2. Pinch off a piece of florist clay.

Roll it around in your hands to make it pliable.  Stick small
rolls of the clay to the bottom of a washer that already has
a flower wired onto it.  Push the washer onto the bottom of 
the dry vase with firm pressure.
This submerged arrangement is using five roses.  Two roses are wired  onto some washers.

Add washed river stones (or solid colored glass gems)
 to the bottom of the vase to hide the washers.
 Add water to the vase.
As you add more water the flowers will begin to float
and then eventually be submerged. 

Here is the submerged five-rose arrangement in the center...

The oval shaped vases used the clear-glass-gem-sinker method.
The smaller the vase, the more you have to cut 
the stem of the flower to have it submerged.



If you want, the whole flower does not have to be
under water.  Sometimes it looks pretty to have the tops
of the flowers slightly out of the water.

You can also use smaller flowers bunched together.
Go ahead and wire the flowers together in a small bouquet.
Leave enough wire on the end to be able to add a
sinker to the bottom of the bouquet.

You can also use waterproof items as sinkers.
Wrap and twist a length of wire around an object.
Here I used a shell. Wire your flower onto the object.

 Place a coil of the green floral clay
on the bottom of the object and push it firmly onto 
the bottom of a dry vase.

The green floral clay might show.  If that is distracting, you
can add other objects to hide the clay.

The shell/rose submerged arrangement was used in the display
cabinet in the dining room near the larger vases.

Usually the doors are closed but here is a peek with the
doors open so you can see some of the smaller vignettes.


In some of the cabinet groupings I used roses in a more
traditional way.  Votive candle holders acted as mini vases 
to hold real roses and greenery along with faux flowers. 






While the roses were used in the dining room, 
the white Fugi mums were made into (mostly) 
submerged arrangements in the living room. 

Because the mums did not have high leaves to catch the wire
on, they were wrapped with the bent wire being worked between
the petals from the top of the flower and then twisted down 
the stem and then twisted onto the clear glass gem sinkers. 

The submerged flowers are just so interesting from all angles
because of the way the water bends the light coming through
the vases.  It also magnifies the flowers. 


Another way I tried to hide the washer/sinker with the mums
is to put larger almost pyramid glass gems on the washer
with the silicone adhesive. Wait 24 hours before submerging.

Although the gems did not hide the washer completely
it looked pretty good when it got in the water.
The silver of the washer was not very noticeable.

One of the BIG bonuses of submerging your flowers is that
they last longer.  I was amazed by this the first time I tried 
submerged flowers.  I guess all the water preserves the flower.

But eventually, decay has its way and the flowers and
 leaves start to deteriorate and make the water cloudy. 
You can change out the water (like we did first with the oval
vase in the sunlight on the right). Your flowers will last
several more days with clean water infusion. 

The five rose arrangement was too heavy to even pick up
with all the water and rocks, etc.  Tom Kat devised a siphon
out of thick drinking straws to drain a lot of the yucky water
out so we could then take it to the sink to dump out.


Clean any yucky water lines, etc. before adding new water.

The glass gem sinker arrangements were easy to change 
out the water...put the flower/sinker out, dump water,
 clean vase, add new water, re-sink flower. 

The ones with washers were pretty much the same but
the washers had to be rehidden under rocks or gems.

The washers secured to the bottom of the vases with
the green floral clay stayed in place for the water change.
They even took a little effort to get the floral clay to 
"let loose" when the flowers were completely gone and
the submerged flowers arrangements were being dismantled.

Bottom line: the glass gem sinkers take 24 hours to set up but
they are the easiest to use and re-use; the washers can give 
you instant gratification as they no adhesive to worry about
 but the probably need to be hidden under gems or rocks.  

How ever you decide to enjoy your flowers, 
have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

I'm sharing this post over at 
Link Party Palooza @ I Heart Naptime and others
Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage
Seasonal Sundays @ The Tablescaper
Mod Mix Monday @ Mod Vintage Life
Amaze Me Monday @ Dwellings
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps On The Porch
Sunday Showcase @ Under The Table and Dreaming

8 comments:

Gail said...

These are so pretty! I especially like the mums. I had never noticed this technique before until we were in Cabo, Mexico recently and the resort where we stayed had orchids submerged in tall rectangular shaped glass. I wish I had looked closer to see how they were submerged and taken pictures of their beauty. You did a fabulous job in displaying your flowers!

NanaDiana said...

That is such a neat idea. I just love it-love those roses submerged like that. Great tutorial, too.

Years ago my grandmother had a rose that was open and submerged in water (I think) in a perfectly round globe with a screw on base. She called it her permanent rose and I wonder if sealing it kept the water from going bad?

Fun post- xo Diana

FABBY'S LIVING said...

Oh my goodness my friend! This submerged vignette of roses inside pretty flower clear vases is the most stunning thing I've seen lately! Amazing tutorial as well. Thank you soo much for sharing step by step! Glad you had a wonderful Valentine's. Have a lovely week ahead.
FABBY

The Tablescaper said...

These are amazing. You did such an awesome job presenting it to us!

Great to have you at Seasonal Sundays.

- The Tablescaper

Debbiedoos said...

Oh my goodness you gone submerge happy! I LOVE this idea. I wish I would have seen this before my roses bit the dust. Very clever and it looks beautiful!

Veronica Roth said...

Hi Miss Kitty, That looks so opulent and rich; like it belongs in the lobby of a five star hotel or someplace like that. Really well done. :)

Marti @ SewLicious Home Decor said...

What a pretty look...I like this idea for putting them on a shelf where they normally wouldn't fit if it were a bouquet.

Marti

concretenprimroses said...

Lovely!
Great diy too rather than buying the special vase.
Kathy

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