My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

Drinking straws become flower test tubes

Used the Unusual to Use as Usual, again
Up-cycling design 2

In January I touched on the subject of up-cycling in Floral Art- in fact you will notice that I often up-cycle or even down-cycle or just plain recycle items in my art. Let me explain the difference between down-cycling and up-cycling.

Down-cycling is what we understood traditionally as "recycling". Take the life-cycle of a beautiful sheet of paper. Recycled it would become a slightly off colour paper towel then compressed in a pulp mould to become a mushy cup holder and then a really ugly egg box or electronics packaging before its boiled pulp is so useless it can only be (burnable) waste.

Up-cycling is the process of converting waste materials into products that are more valuable, better quality or of a higher environmental importance. Beautiful paper, when up-cycled becomes wallpaper. Burned out candle stumps become floral vases. An old wool jersey becomes felt pebbles. A cardboard box becomes the base of my Floral Hourglass sculpture. Re-purposed wire and fishing line found between the rocks on the beach becomes my In the bag Design.

Successful up-cycling in design always appear to be seamless and never forced.

Consider adding details only if it is the natural solution to a design problem. If you force "recycling" into a design it attracts too much attention and distract from the beauty of nature- which is still the point of Floral Art.

Willow twig blind with tiny Mokara orchids

This design is all about the orchids

I used Aranthera: James Storie orchids.

They look rather similar to the Mokara and Aranda orchids. As I understand it, Arandas and Aranthera orchids are similar in shape to Mokara orchids, but have longer and thinner petals. The Arandas are also slightly bigger than the Arantheras.

For an example of both the Aranthera and Aranda orchids in one design see my WAFA 10th International Flower Show in Boston USA: This Glorious Earth made for the WAFA Flower show in Boston.This design was the starting point of the idea for the Zipper design. You will clearly see the similarities.

Floral Art design twig blind .

Willow twig blind with tiny Aranthera: James Storie orchids

I wanted to place these orchids on a twig blind. I could either hang the entire stem to naturally trail up (or down) the blind but this is quite a small design and the flowers would be spaced very far apart. To place the tiny florets in exactly the right spot I needed tiny test tubes.

Orchids in straws

Orchids are slow drinkers and ideal to design in tiny test tubes or even drinking straws test tubes

See below for a drinking straw test tubes Tutorial

Twig Cage

Next, I wired a fragile "cage" of willow twigs to emphasize the vertical placement of the orchids on the horizontal lines of the blind.

Willow hook to hang the design from.

Willow hook to hang the design from.

Every week I add a new design with related tutorials. Be sure to subscribe to receive an email notification with design inspiration.


4 January 2011 Drinking straw "test tubes"

When you need to keep a tiny stem hydrated this is just what you need.

26 April 2011 Natural stem hook to hang plant material from

Side stems of branches can be used as hooks to hang floral material in a design.

26 April 2011 Weave a willow twig blind

Weave twigs in parallel to create a twig blind with strong but natural horizontal lines.

Related Designs

29 April 2011 Copper wire Spiral pot scrubber becomes a Tiara

Design 3:Wedding Tiara. This is a real Cinderella design, one moment scrubbing pots and the next getting ready for the ball.

24 April 2011 The plastic inside of a roll of Florist tape becomes a Wrist Corsage

Up-cycle the inner plastic ring from a roll of floral tape to make a wrist corsage. This design was also featured in the Italian floral design magazine Blossom Zine

4 November 2015 Delicate

Bleached Gypsophila wreath with delicate autumn touches

17 February 2016 Where would you put it!?!

Tie a twig armature enclosure for fresh flowers

18 January 2017 Look at you!

Tie twigs to shape a hanging armature

29 November 2017 Marcescent

Glue a delicate autumn room devider

29 January 2011 Ground Breaking

Water stream breaking through ground in an autumn forest.