My Favorite Design Tools! - Crested Perch

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April 20, 2020 5 min read

How many of you have an overflowing tool box or a secret tool stash just for crafting? 🙋‍♀️ I don’t know about you but I also have a few that I couldn’t live without & lord help anyone that dares to touch them!!

I do get asked about these prized possessions often & what makes them so special so I’m gonna lay them all out here!

First up, my stem cutters - 

 

They are actually cable cutters, not traditional wire cutters. They're the absolute best cutters for silk stems & I'll tell you why...they are designed for heavy cable. Why is that important? Wellllll, silk stems are made from wire - sometimes it's thin wire, sometimes it's thick wire & sometimes it's multiple gauges of wire grouped together that's been either coated in plastic or wrapped in florist tape. 

Cable cutters are designed to cut through multiple layers of heavy gauge wire which is essentially what cable is. These are invaluable to me because they cut right through heavy stems & bushes like butter! And bonus...they fit in your hand the same as traditional wire cutters! No extra long handle to fumble with when trying to find a grip.

They have saved my hands a million times over & since doing this type of work increases arthritis & carpal tunnel syndrome, I need all the help I can get!

Next, we have a critical piece for any florist or designer - the Steel Pix Machine. And yes, I just capitalized the name of this machine like it was an important person because it is!

No doubt about, if you are doing silk centerpieces this gadget is a must have! This tool is basically a vice grip that clamps little steel picks onto the end of silk stems. Those picks have serrated edges & are designed to punch through foam & lock in place so your flowers don't wiggle themselves out of place. 

Head's up guys, this machine is expensive!!! It's an investment for a business so if you're thinking you need one be sure you have the business to support the decision to purchase. They're also testy little creatures. If you imagine it will solve all your problems & it will work forever, I'm here to break it to you - it won't. I've been a florist for over 25 years & have personally been through about 5 of these things. Just got a new one this week to replace one with a broken pin that was beyond repair. 

I'm not trying to bash it - they are awesome & essential for my business however, be prepared for frustrations when the tension pin slips out of place or the picks won't slide correctly. There is some trial & error with adjusting when the pin begins to slip from continuous use, but once you learn how to adjust the pin & screw you'll be all set for a long happy relationship with your machine.

The great thing about this machine is that Syndicate Sales (manufacturer) will repair the machine for free (in most cases), all you need to do is ship it back to them & you will have it back in about 2 weeks good as new!

Below are the steel pix that you load into the machine - 

There are a few sizes available but I prefer the 2 1/8 size & use that exclusively.

My newest tool that I am obsessed with & couldn't believe I never had before is a cordless glue gun!

Why am I obsessed over a glue gun? Because it is cordless!!!!!! It's perfect in every way & I'm so happy I have finally entered into the world of cordless!

Speaking of glue, I do also use a glue pan. What's that you say? A special pan for glue???? Really, it's just a little cheap-o skillet. Nothing special about it at all except I heat glue in it!

You may be wondering if they make skillets or pots specifically for glue & the answer is yes, they do! Like this one -

Your next question may be is it better to get one made just for glue? My answer - NOPE! There is no difference & trust me, I had a skillet once for 7 years & never had the first problem with it. It still worked right up to the last time I used it & probably still does, wherever it is now. It was put in storage somewhere when I moved & disappeared.

Now, when it comes to the type of glue to use in a skillet or pot, you can use just regular glue sticks to melt down - totally fine, a lot of people do. If you're asking my professional choice of glue to use for a skillet I do recommend a certain brand called Oasis hot melt glue pillows. 

Oasis hot melt glue pillows are pretty much what all florists use. The reason is because these are specifically designed to bond securely & withstand the elements.

Why should you worry about weather? Well, if you sell a wreath to a customer in Arizona, it gets pretty darn hot over there in the summer & regular glue sticks (yes, even gorilla glue) will soften or even melt & next thing you know flower stems are falling out of your wreath. In cold weather, glue will freeze, become brittle & break apart. 

Oasis hot melt glue has a bonding rate much higher than any glue sticks out there on the market & has always held up great for me & hands down better than anything else I have tried.

I will forewarn you that the glue pillows are yellow & they melt yellow & they dry yellow. It kind of looks like snot for lack of a better word. It may seem counterintuitive to put yellow glue into your wreath but when you are designing a wreath you shouldn't have any of your work showing by the time you're done, soooo the yellow glue should never show anyway!

Okay guys, that's it for my top picks for tried & true tools that I use daily when designing. I literally could not get through my day without using at least one or more of these handy dandy tools.

*All of the above links will take you direct to the exact tool I use! These links are affiliate links that I may receive a small commission for if you purchase using the links. Please note that I will never recommend any product that I have not used personally or have found to be inadequate. 

Cheers!

Stacey


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