As some of you may know, many French Beaded Flower artists wrap the stems of their flowers with embroidery floss to cover the floral tape used in construction. You can also wrap the stems with beads. I do have a free tutorial for how to do this here.
Today I am focusing on the embroidery floss option.
There are different types of embroidery floss available on the market. I'll be talking about two types - cotton and silk.
I've taken 12" lengths of each type and wrapped them on 16 gauge stem wire to compare them.
DMC Cotton Thread
Regular old DMC brand cotton floss can found in just about any craft store. These come on skeins that contain around 8 meters of thread (8.7 yards). They are made of individual twisted strands of cotton thread twisted together into one thicker twisted thread. This stuff is pretty cheap. Where I live a regular sized skein is only .40 cents or roughly .02 cents per foot.
To properly use this thread, you have to untwist it as you wrap so it lays flat. Though the individual threads will remain twisted.
Pros: It's cheap. It also had the best coverage of all three threads. Since it is thicker, laying it flat and wrapping a 12" length covered 2.5" of a 16 gauge florist stem wire. It is still more appealing than just floral tape alone.
Cons: It's not very smooth looking, you have to untwist as you wrap which is annoying and slows you down. It's much thicker than the other flosses, so it will add more bulk to your stems than the others below.
Soie Ovale Silk Thread
Next up is a silk thread made by the French company Au ver a soie. This thread is claimed to be some of the best silk embroidery thread on the market, so I had to try it. I purchased mine from Needle in a Haystack (here's a link to their soie ovale selection, since it was bothersome to find). It comes on a 15 meter spool, which is currently $3.35 (plus shipping) so around .07 cents a foot. I'm sure there are other sources.
Pros - It's shiny. You don't have to untwist to wrap it.
Cons - Not sure if you can see in the picture, but this stuff has tons of little fly-away threads sticking out all over the place, which I don't find very attractive. The most expensive of the three. Silk threads are much thinner than the cotton. Silk threads are measured by sugas, or the individual silk filaments, which are very fine. The 12" piece of this thread covered 1 1/4" of 16g florist stem wire.
Once I saw those little hairs sticking out, I wondered if it were a handling issue, or a thread issue. So I bought another brand of silk thread to find out.
Japanese Embroidery Silk Thread
This is my favorite. I purchased mine from JECstore for $8 (plus shipping) for a 60 meter spool (.04 cents a foot). The thread is untwisted flat silk made of 12 sugas.
Pros: No fly-away hairs sticking out, smooth and shiny and beautiful. No untwisting to wrap. Cheaper than Soie Ovale.
Cons: More expensive than DMC cotton thread. At 12 sugas it is pretty fine. The 12" length only covered 7/8 of an inch of 16 gauge florist stem wire, so you'll need much more of it to cover your stems.
Until now, I've been using mostly regular old cotton embroidery thread. The nicer silk stuff is not readily available in my small town, and trying to find a supplier was difficult for me, so I put off trying it. Last month I finally got around to it and I must say I am very pleased with the silk floss! Well, the last one I'm pleased with. I will probably be using this more often than the others.
The pictures I took are very close up, so the textures are more exaggerated than they are at a normal viewing distance. At a normal distance, they all look smoother than the pictures. If the silk threads are too much, I promise your flowers will still be beautiful with the cotton. Flossing at all is optional. Folks have been making beaded flowers for years with just floral tape covering the stems. Some people hate just floral tape, but I will repeat advice I've given before. Use what works for you. Use the best materials that you can afford. If anyone gives you grief about your flowers, poke them in the eyes! :)
Anyways, those are just a few options for flossing your stem, if you have a favorite, please share it in the comments so others can check them out!
Also, if anyone would like a little giggle. I recently ordered this square photography pop-up light box thing. It's made of translucent fabric and it folds up. Well, it's supposed to. Anyways. One of my biggest annoyances about my current photo set up is that's it's difficult to get pictures of taller or wider arrangements without weird cropping. So I needed a wider background. Silly me, I forgot that 48 inches is actually pretty large. It is 4 ft after all, duh. I even used my measuring tape to measure out 48 inches to see if that would be large enough. I guess I'm not intelligent enough to visualize very well because...
... I can fit my kids in there. Oh my gosh, and the worst part? These are the folding instructions.
It started as a small circle... I can barely even reach all the way across it, let alone grab it like that to fold it. My children are laughing at me because I can't figure out how to fold it back up. I'm laughing at me too. So now I have this huge photo tent in my living room. Nice.
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