Now that florist foam comes in a rainbow of vibrant hues, anyone can easily get fancy with flowers. Unlike the original mossy green florist foam that's designed to blend in with leaves and stems, this material screams to be seen. Pink, blue, yellow, lime green, and orange foam (along with a few other colors) is available in cubes, cylinders, and other geometric shapes; just stack a few of these to fashion a base for your flowers. You can even use a kitchen knife or a cookie cutter to make cutouts and other details. There's also a powdered florist foam that creates new options for clear containers. You can buy Oasis Rainbow Foam, a product of Smithers-Oasis, from a florist or online through www.floraldesigninstitute.com and www.weddingflowersandmore.com.
Cut florist foam into different-size small blocks, and saturate them with water. Arrange the cubes on a platter, and insert flower stems. Vary the height of flowers for an arrangement with depth. Try yellow roses, green ‘Kermit' mums, pink gerbera daisies, or any springtime blossoms you love.
All Stacked Up
Combine a few basic shapes, and you won't even need a vase. Set a circle of saturated foam on a plate, and place one or more other moistened shapes on top. Insert flowers into the foam.
Powdered florist foam lets you create arrangements that resemble layered parfaits. Prepare a separate bowl of powder-and-water mixture for each color. Mix approximately 1 cup of powdered foam with about 1/2 cup of water, and stir well. Add more powder and water alternately until mixture reaches the consistency of stiff mashed potatoes. Spoon the first layer of foam into a glass, and compact it by pressing mixture down with a spoon; fill glass with additional layers. Insert leaves and flowers, and slowly add water.
Ready, Get Set, Arrange
Float foam on water, and let it absorb moisture gradually until it sinks. (Pushing foam into the water makes air pockets that cause flowers to wilt faster.) Use an ice pick to pierce holes for the stems. Keep stems long so they will still reach water as the foam dries. Replenish water often.
"Fun With Flowers" is from the April 2006 issue of Southern Living.