Tag Archives: Tools

Q & A with a Floral Design Expert

I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Michaels Floral Designer, Shirley, from our Irving, Texas store to talk about floral designing, a few of her favorite tools of the trade, and some simple tips to help you make your next arrangement look fresh-from-the-garden fabulous!

Tell me about yourself & how you got started in floral arrangement?

I’ve been with Michaels for 23 years. I started in customer service and would sneak off to be with the designers and learn the art. I used to paint, so I really visualize color and this has helped me in designing because I can see which colors & textures will work best together.

Are there any resources you recommend for beginners?

Take a basic course. (Guess what! We have courses coming to a Michaels Store near you this spring!) Learn the mechanics of arranging flowers and feel the confidence to give it a try and personalize your space. Also, if you see an arrangement you like, say in a magazine or online, try to mimic the style. Floral arranging is trying your hand, then honing your skill. Your first few arrangements won’t be perfect out of the gate. Like any craft, it takes practice.

What are some of the basic tools to get started and try an easy arrangement?

Shirley's Favorite Floral Tools

  • Wire Cutters will allow you to shorten the stems as desired
  • Floral Foam is the foundation of the arrangement, it’s what keeps the flowers standing.
  • The Vase is your fashion statement or functional piece to hold the arrangement together.
  • Filler is what will hide the floral foam. It can be rocks, moss or another loose additive.
  • Flowers… of course! Any color, any flower and any texture- it’s your choice.

You mentioned vase shape, can you expand on the different types of vases and why you would choose one?

There are four basic vase shapes: the bud vase, cube vase, trumpet vase and tall vases. The vase is selected by the space you plan to place it. As I mentioned earlier, it is the fashion statement to any arrangement and the shape will influence your arrangement style. Here’s a little bit of advice in choosing one…

Four different types of floral vases that you can use in floral arranging

  • Bud vases are small but dramatic statements. A single flower or dainty flowers are all you need. This is a perfect complement to any desk or kitchen counter.
  • Cube vases have a wide berth and allow for a tightly packed and low arrangement. The shape naturally says “modern”. The cube shape is perfect in any room, office or coffee table.
  • The trumpet vase has a flare on the top which allows for more flowers, therefor a larger arrangement. This versatile arrangement works best on a dining table or console table.
  • The tall vase can highlight tall dramatic flowers and can also be a stylized fashion statement. Being such a statement this vase works best in large rooms with tall ceilings.

What are some common mistakes that beginners make when designing floral arrangements?

First, being too hard on yourself. Let go, and let the flowers take you where they will. Again, if you learn the basics, you’ll be able to visualize your arrangement quickly. Second, using the wrong Styrofoam. If you have a smaller arrangement (under 18”), use soft. For larger arrangements, you’ll need something more solid to hold up the stems, so use the hard, crusty kind. I guess for most beginners soft is the “go to” Styrofoam.

What is your favorite base to work with?

I like to work with a pedestal vase. It has the same purpose as the trumpet vase and allows for a large amount of flowers or can also be designed as a shorter arrangement since the vase is short and wide. I love having creative freedom!

Do you have tips for working on projects outside of the vase?

Lay out your project before cutting.

Of course! When you work on a wreath, garland or swag, lay the flowers you want to use on top of the base, then take a photo to see if you like the placement before cutting them. This is a great tip since photos always let you see how the colors will work together.

What is the most popularly requested arrangement?

There is a huge interest in regional and tropical flowers here in our store. People love the look of Birds of Paradise, Orchids, Ginger, Water Lilies and Bamboo. (These are some of my favorites as well!). They remind me of warm summer and vacations far, far away. I arrange flowers for all events, personal styles and holidays. Making the arrangement a one of a kind piece of art is my favorite part of the job.

Top 10 Scrapbooking Tool Must-Haves


Every paper crafter can tell you that they have their favorite items. An ink they prefer over all others, or a brand of paper which has the best patterns, colors and textures. And it’s a bit different for everyone. But one thing we can all agree on – scrapbooking tools! Paper crafters are very selective of their tools. We’ve pulled together a few favorites that we rely on for all our paper crafts!

10: Straight Edge Paper Trimmer

sbtool2This is a must have for anyone who is doing crafting. This versatile tool can be used on paper, cardstock, some fabrics, kids crafting foam, the list goes on and on. Use it to trim, shape and even create paper strips & borders. Find one that’s large enough for your biggest paper (usually 12″x12″), with easily replaceable blades and cutting strips so it will last for years!

9: Punches


From large to small, punches can be extremely versatile! Use them to create different shaped and sized holes, shape edges, create borders and re-size your photos. Use the punch out as an embellishment or border. Keep them working properly by punching through wax paper, and keep them sharp by punching through foil (remember – a tiny bit of maintenance goes a long way!)


sbtool48: Martha Stewart Crafts® Bone Folder and Scoreboard

We love, love, LOVE both of these items! Even though you purchase them together, they are awesome separately. Create the perfect fold, crease or edge for cards, envelopes, or use the bone folder when you are wrapping gifts! We can’t rave enough on this nifty set of gadgets from Martha Stewart Crafts®!




7: Glitter Traysbtool5

I don’t think of this as the “glitter tray”, to me, it’s the “put-this-under-everything-messy” tray! It’s so simple to grab this handy dandy gadget, set it under whatever project I need to glitter, emboss or chalk, then go to town! The tiny spout at the end lets you dump the excess back into your bottle or jar. Use a dry, soft bristle brush to remove the excess. And, I wash and dry mine between uses in the dishwasher, just because I’m a neat freak like that.



6: Circle Cutter

gracol2006_coated1v2Oh, to make the perfect 360° circle without one of these will drive you bonkers. This handy gadget makes them small, makes them large, it makes them from any paper your heart desires. And, it makes them quickly. Check out how easy it is!

5. A good pair of Scissors

sbtool8These aren’t your mama’s kitchen drawer scissors. You need something sharp, something with a smooth action, and dedicated to cutting paper. Find a favorite pair, and hide them from the kiddos because these will be your go-to snippers when it comes to paper crafts. You can find styles with non-stick coating for your “sticky situations”, styles with tiny blades to get into the small spaces, and pretty handles for those of you who like everything decorated!

4. Cricut® Personal Die Cut Machinecircut01

A Cricut® machine just makes your life easier. And, with the new Cricut Explore®, your die cutting goes to a whole new level of awesome! Design everything in their online Design Room® using new software and old cartridges that you bought years ago and cut away!





3. Inkssentials™ Non-Stick Craft Sheet

The perfect protective layer for all your paper crafts! Not only does this reusable sheet protect your surface, it’s melt-proof, so you can use a hot glue gun or melt art right on the sheet, then once cooled, the excess product peels right off. Paint or ink on it, and wipe away with a damp cloth. Emboss on it, and it protects your desk from the direct heat of an embossing tool. We never craft without this essential tool!







2. Heat Embossing Tool


Quickly dry paint, set ink or melt embossing powder using a Heat Embossing Tool. Hotter and more direct than a hairdryer, this useful gadget makes quick work of your messier paper craft projects.

1. Zip Dry® Paper Gluesbtool11

I can’t rave enough about this adhesive! Glue almost any embellishment to paper, even metal, and it stays. It’s a liquid adhesive, but does not leave those “wrinkle trails” in your layers. And, it’s acid and lignin-free. All the things the avid paper crafter needs! A little goes a long way, and you’ll find 100’s of uses for this wonderful, miracle sticky stuff!

Tell us about your favorite paper crafting tools!