Why and How to Glue Flowers
How to attach flowers?
We used to tape and wire boutonnieres and corsages. Now we glue.
Why glue? Which glue to use? And what should you do and not do to get the most from glue?
Weight and speed
Weight is one reason to opt for glue. It’s lighter than wire or tape and customers are more likely to wear light wrist corsages and other structures.
Speed is another reason. Once you learn how to glue, it is usually faster than wiring and taping, especially with the right glue choices. In addition, some designers report that gluing is easier on the hands.
And what works for securing fresh flowers and decorative materials in prom designs also works for party, homecoming, wedding and special occasion floral arrangements.
For gluing fresh flowers and accents into corsages, boutonnieres, headpieces, armbands and bracelets, use High Bond Adhesive Strips and dashes and cold floral adhesive. They make for a hold-tight combo for personal flowers.
Applying High Bond Adhesive Strips to the structural form gives a good base to start layering your design materials. You can then use floral adhesive to secure flowers into the base. The combination of the two bonds the design securely.
Read on for tips and techniques for using these floral adhesives including how to securely attach your designs to clothing and skin.
How to use cold floral adhesive
Two methods work well for gluing flowers in a design: dipping the end of the flower stem into glue and dripping glue directly onto the flower stem.
Dip the flower stem into glue
- Place a small dab of glue on a square of plastic.
- Add a drop of glue to the design area where the flower will sit.
- Dip the end of the flower stem into the glue.
- Insert the flower into the design and hold for a few seconds for it to adhere.
Avoid placing a lot of glue in a puddle at once. Glue tends to dry quickly. If it does become dry, add a bit of new glue to the spot to reconstitute the old glue.
Add glue to the flower stem
- Glue adheres to glue, so attach flowers securely by adding drops of glue to the stem tip of the flower and the surface where the bloom will sit. Wait a few seconds for it to set.
- Position the flower in your design and hold it for a few seconds until the glue becomes tacky enough to keep it in place.
- Wait a few minutes for the glue to completely dry in the design before placing the fresh flowers in the cooler. A glue that is still hydrated cannot dehydrate in the moist and cool environment. The flower won’t be secure until the glue fully dries.
Tips for using a glue tube more efficiently
- Use needle-nosed pliers to squeeze the end of the nozzle into an oval shape to control the flow of glue more efficiently.
- Before using the glue, dab an oil-based product like petroleum jelly, lotion or cooking oil spray onto the tube cap and nozzle to prevent a glue buildup that hardens in the cap. This makes the tube easier to open later.
- Rub the oil-based product on your hands to keep the glue from sticking and to make clean up easier.
- Clean the nozzle each time before placing the cap back on to prevent sticking.
- Save extra caps from empty glue tubes to replace lost ones. You can also seal the nozzle by inserting a corsage pin into the opening or wrapping it in plastic.
Why use adhesive strips and dashes?
If floral adhesive works well, why use High Bond Adhesive too? The two adhesives serve different purposes.
A High Bond Adhesive Strips is an excellent mechanic for attaching the back of a boutonniere to a lapel. Smaller dashes are an efficient way to attach materials to the front of a boutonniere form.
Apply the adhesive to the back of the first surface, such as a flat wire backing, remove one side of the white liner paper and apply the High Bond Adhesive Strips to the surface. With firm pressure, rub your finger over the remaining white liner to ensure solid contact.
To cut High Bond Adhesive Strips into smaller segments, serrated scissors work well. Rub the scissor blades with an oil-based product or dip the blades into water prior to cutting to keep the High Bond Adhesive from sticking to the tool.
With adhesives, use flowers at room temperature
Avoid immediately gluing flowers taken directly out the cooler. Neither High Bond Adhesive nor floral adhesive bond well to cold or damp surfaces. Leave flowers at room temperature for a couple of minutes to allow condensation to dry.
Cold temperatures can cause High Bond Adhesive to become brittle. Hot temperatures can cause High Bond Adhesive to become more liquid. Either can cause the bond to lose its strength. Be sure the surface you are adhering to isn’t too hot, cold or damp.
Also, advise customers not to leave designs made with floral adhesive or High Bond Adhesive in a hot car or place them in a freezer prior to their event.
Prep materials for a tighter bond, including skin
Prepping the two materials you plan to connect is important for a good solid bond.
High Bond Adhesive may not bond well to materials that have surface residues such as dust, oils or uneven surfaces. Take these steps to help it bond to any surfaces including skin and fabrics:
- Wipe away any dust, debris, grease and oil.
- Before applying High Bond Adhesive to skin, clean the area with rubbing alcohol to remove any oily residue.
- When attaching High Bond Adhesive to fabric, be sure the finish is not made of an oil-based product. If the fabric has a smooth or slick surface, rub it with a rough cloth before attaching High Bond Adhesive.
Love your wire and tape?
Keep using them! Try adhesives, though, and you may find they work their way permanently onto your design table.
Gluing makes fast and easy work of corsages, boutonnieres, attaching ribbons and other decorative designs for weddings, proms, homecoming or any event.
Which gluing technique is your favorite? Share it in the comment section below.