Floral foam (also known as Oasis foam) is a very popular product which allows florists to create full and perfectly arranged floral displays. It’s used by pressing the end of the flower stems into the foam to build up the display. The foam keeps the flower in place, and the the finished result is an arrangement which doesn’t move about or lose its shape.
When using real flowers, the foam is soaked in water so adds the benefit of keeping your flowers looking fresh for longer. Oasis foam is a characteristic green colour, and becomes very deep green as it becomes wet.
The shape and type of floral foam you use will differ depending on what you actually want to create, and whether you’ll be using real or silk flowers. If you’re using real flowers, use the green floral foam. If you’re using artificial flowers, you can use special dry foam, which is sandy in colour and can be used with dried and silk flowers.
How to use your floral foam
You can buy so many different shapes and sizes of Oasis foam. Unless you’re using a set shape such as a wreath, you’ll probably be using foam in a brick format. Therefore, you’ll need to cut your floral foam to size to fit whatever container you’ll be using. It’s generally a bit easier if you do this before you soak the foam in water. You can just use a normal knife to do this.
Fill a large bucket with water, then gently place the foam onto the water so it floats. Let the floral foam do its thing and soak the water up on its own – don’t poke it around, turn it over or force it down into the water. This is because you will create air pockets in the foam, so some of your flower stems may end up being pressed into air pockets. These flowers won’t be able to take up water and then they will die, ruining your display.
So just leave it to soak. You can even add a bit of flower food to the water to help increase the life span of your floral arrangement. Just make sure you add the right amount according to the volume of water you’re soaking the foam in.
Once the foam is completely soaked, and the whole thing has turned very dark green, take it out of the water. Now you can start creating your display.
Building your floral arrangement
You can simply place the foam into the vase or container if it’s opaque, but if you have a clear vase, you’ll probably want to hide the foam by using coloured stone, beans, leaves, or anything that you want.
If you don’t want this decoration to become wet, you can Wrap the wet foam in plastic, leaving the topmost side free of plastic. Place it in the vase and put your decor around the foam, until it’s no longer visible anywhere around the vase. You can then pour a small amount of water on top of the block, just to make sure it stays completely wet once the flowers have started soaking it up.
Prepare the flower stems by removing any leaves from the bottoms, and also cut the bottom of the stems at an angle to more easily penetrate the foam. Make sure to place the flowers in exactly the right place you want them to be. It’s not a good idea to pull them out again as this will damage the integrity of the foam and there will be a permanent hole, increasing the risk of stem tips landing in the these air pockets and being unable to drink the water.
When arranging, it can often work well to start with your largest flowers first. Cut them to size, and stick the stems into the foam, later building on this with smaller flowers or stems of foliage to add more interest.
The benefits of Oasis foam
The fabulous thing about floral foam is that it is readily available in most good florists, hobby and craft shops. It’s certainly easy enough to find online as well. This means that even someone who never thought they’d be able to create professional floral displays can produce something to really impress and amaze – all at a very affordable price. Creating a flower arrangement will still take practice of course, but there are plenty of instructional videos around, even by Oasis themselves, to inspire your own creations. You can see some of these Oasis videos here.
Floral foam unlocks so much potential, allowing anyone to even make their own wedding flower displays, or whatever they want to do.
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Teresa has years of experience with flower arrangements and writes about her hobby for magazines and blogs. She works at the popular store Inspirations Wholesale who are suppliers for florists, selling Oasis products such as floral foam and other tools.