If you’re interested in buying silk flowers, the following article is for you – it will help you understand the price and quality available, and also help you to get the most out of your money. We’ll explain where you can find the very best artificial flowers, and the equipment you may need to make a fantastic artificial flower display or bouquet.
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Price compared to quality
There are huge differences in the design of artificial flowers, and in turn, a huge difference in the price that comes with it. Like most things in life, you do tend to get what you pay for – and this is absolutely true when it comes to buying silk flowers!
Even though we commonly refer to them as silk flowers, synthetic or artificial flowers and plants can combine a lot of different materials nowadays. For example, not only do you have silk, but there is also parchment, latex, velvet and even polyester; along with lots of other varied different coatings and finishes. So the good news is that there is something for everyone, and no matter what your preference and or taste, there are lots to choose from allowing you the chance to find exactly what you want.
Let’s start by looking at the lower price range and what you might find. Typically the silk stem might only have just one single blossom. You may also see several blossoms with just a few leaves as well. The stems are usually made of moulded plastic, and there are very little or even no wire inserts in the stems, branches or petals. So this means you have virtually no way of shaping them to your satisfaction.
Obviously they will also tend to be quite small, and the overall height is usually anywhere between 7 to 11 inches. The price per stem will range between £1-£3, depending on how it’s been made. Silk flowers for this kind of price range are typically located in stores like Wilkos, pound stores or supermarkets. Overall, this type of artificial flower is fine for a little colour in the corner of a dull room, but you have to be wary that they will not look very real close up, and are extremely difficult to mould and shape to your liking; and even in some cases, cannot be shaped whatsoever – so they are fine for casual arrangements in vases, but not so good if you want to make a formal arrangement with florists’ foam.
So, not too surprisingly you are going to get a much more realistic flower when you pay more. And in addition, you would typically get wires throughout the flower to allow you to be as creative as you want. In most cases, if you are unable to bend the flower then you are going to struggle to create that all important realism. Being able to shape an artificial flower is one of the most important aspects, particularly in formal arrangements.
Also, longer stems are apparent when you move towards the higher price range, and can be as big as 2 feet long. However, one of the best features of a high priced silk flower is the time and effort spent hand-painting the petals. This isn’t always the case, but something you should definitely look for if you’re spending a lot of money. Other great features you may find include floral tape wrapped around the stems.
Price range for these high end flowers can typically be between £10-£20, or even more if they include all of the qualities mentioned above. Don’t forget however that the price will also depend on the construction required for the type of
flower. You will usually only find these artificial flowers at a florists or quality floral craft shops although they are becoming more readily available with the growth of online shopping.
The demand for artificial flowers and their realism has shot through the roof over the last few years, which pushes manufacturers to make them more realistic and offer a wider range for consumers to find what they need. We’ve already covered a few designs, but the scope is huge and we are now seeing flowers given even more special treatment to make them look like the real thing. For example, blossoms are coated in or sometimes moulded using latex. This not only makes them look real but they also feel real to the touch. They are now even adding a little fuzz to the stems and leaves, for that extra realism.
Although this kind of construction is simple in this day and age when we consider the technology we have available, it’s still amazing to see an artificial flower made to look so real. The quality nowadays is truly fantastic! Again, if you want this level of quality you won’t find it at your local store or supermarket, and a trip to a professional florist is required.
Be smart when buying silk flowers
One of the best tips we can offer when buying silk flowers is to buy a stem which has several blossoms, rather than just one large blossom. As an added bonus, the stem may also include a couple of buds as well as more foliage. This is a great tip for beginners, because a multi-blossomed stem can provide a much better overall fill. It will ultimately be much easier to create a fuller bouquet!
As soon as you’re accustomed to cutting stems and including extensions, you could contemplate buying flower ‘bushes’. A silk flower bush includes an ample amount of flowers and foliage in a single unit. The majority are provided with various flowers and colours in one bush, and in combinations that work very well with each other. The price comparison between an artificial floral bush and single silk flower stems is typically large.
If you’re going to try and create formal arrangements rather than informal bunches in a vase, our advice would be to use cheaper (but not too cheap) fake flower varieties when your practicing. And if anything goes wrong, medium-priced flowers can be used in later arrangements. Extremely cheap and shabby flowers will be easily noticed and will affect the overall display and realism you are looking to create.
Tip – looking for a bargain? A shop’s inventory is often cleared around August to make some more room for the next seasonal items. So you might be able to pick up an absolute steal if you can time it just right!
Buying silk flowers
If you’d rather examine the flowers in person instead of ordering them on the web, you’ll be looking for a local shop to help you. Once you’ve located a nearby vendor, the next step is to find out how friendly and helpful the staff are. Finding the right people who are helpful and willing to share their knowledge and experience is essential!
Getting to know the staff can also be very rewarding as you may be able to get a good discount for regularly buying in bulk. Once you become a familiar face you may stand a good chance of pushing the prices down slightly.
So what do you need to start making a flower arrangement?
Of course, you can arrange silk flowers just like regular ones – you don’t have to come up with a fancy arrangement and they work great alongside dried grasses and in unusual containers and so on. But if you fancy giving a formal arrangement a go or you’re working on a display for a wedding or party, here is a comprehensive list of all the supplies you’ll need to get started:
A block of Styrofoam will serve as a foundation for your centrepiece. You can typically buy it in large sheets of 3 feet by 1 foot by 2 inches. Or, you can even get it in brick shaped, usually in white but also lighter green colours.
In all fairness, it doesn’t really matter unless you’re using a see through container (highly unlikely) as the Styrofoam will be covered in moss anyway.
Cling clay (florist clay), double-sided foam mounting tape, or a glue gun
The Styrofoam block you choose has to be secured inside the container, and there are a few ways this can be done using the list above. The most popular is the clay, which comes in various different types. Speak to your florist for advice as to what they prefer to use. Double-sided foam mounting tape is also great for Styrofoam. However, some people prefer to use a glue gun for more permanent bonding.
Cover the Styrofoam in dried moss for a more natural look. There are lots of different variations of dried moss, so again, don’t hesitate to speak with your local expert to help find the right one for you.
There are a huge number of different containers to choose from, for example vases, baskets, etc. They will all produce a different look, so it’s important to take your time and make sure it’s what you want.
Floral tape or paddle wire if you prefer is great for binding loose leaves or even stems. Paddle wire for example is very flexible and easy to use, which makes it perfect for this task. Floral tape is also an option, and comes in various different colours.
Choosing the right one is always down to the user, and you may need to experiment with both for a while before you decide which works best for you. Maybe even both!
It’s essential you don’t forget to buy some decent cutting pliers. Make sure you buy the right ones which are ideal for cutting stems.
Above all else, have fun and don’t be frightened to throw caution to the wind. No matter what you read and no matter how much help you get, ultimately it’s down to you and your own creativity.
Don’t be afraid to experiment over and over again until you find what works for you. Sure, cost is important and you don’t want to spend too much and end up wasting a lot of flowers, but it is the only real way you’re going to get good at it and end up with an amazing arrangement you’re proud to present and show off!