What florist wire should i use?
Wires come in a vast array of differing thicknesses, known as the gauge. The two basic colours are green and white, usually paper covered, and various metallic colours are now available for more decorative uses.
Use a pair of wire cutters to cut a wire, and a pair of tweezers to make a hook on the end of a wire for flowers. Cut each wire into 3 or 4 lengths, depending on what you are making.
If you require a very thick stem e.g. For calla/arum lilies, use a pipe cleaner alongside a thick wire and tape together.
If you are short of thicker wires, as an emergency measure, tape two or more thinner gauge wires together.
Generally speaking, use a white wire if inserting into a white or pale coloured petal/leaf as there is less chance of it showing through the paste. Use a green wire for darker colours.
All wires used in flowers, after flower/leaf is complete, are best covered with florist tape to give a more realistic finish to your wired flowers. The florist tape may then be dusted to give an even more realistic finish to the stem. The metallic wires (24 gauge) are more decorative, and look great when used in a fountain or explosion on the top of a cake.They can also be shaped, twisted, or used for sparkling beadwork on or around a cake for a sensational effect.
No wires should be inserted directly into a cake – always use a posy pick. These are also available in different sizes to accommodate various sizes of wires, stems etc.
Here is a general guide to the different gauges and their uses:
30 gauge - for inserting into very fine, fairly small leaves.
26/28 gauge - for small, lightweight flowers and leaves
24 gauge - for small / medium size roses or other flowers, say, 1-1 ½” diameter max. Or for creating a fountain / explosion supporting shapes e.g. stars, hearts, letters, numbers etc.
22 gauge - For medium / large general flower use, similar to 24 gauge, but these are just a little stronger.
20 gauge - For larger flowers that need the support of a thicker wire, and to hold their position in a spray.
18 gauge - To hold very large, heavier flowers such as a full blown rose, calla lily, chrysanthemum etc. and which may be included in a spray of flowers and need to hold their shape.