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Saturday 8 June 2013

Stag Horn Fern Workshop

It's been a while since I took part in any of the fantastic workshops offered by Utsuwa Floral Design in San Francisco so I decided it was time to get back into it.

Last Friday I took part in a mounted Stag Horn Fern workshop. Remember those incredibly retro looking ferns everyone seemed to have hanging off their walls in the 70s and 80s? Well, they're back in all their retro splendour. And we now have one to hang in our apartment.

One completed mounted stag horn fern

Like most of the workshops that I've attended at Utsuwa Floral Design, this project is actually relatively easy once you the know materials to use and how to put it all together.

Here's a look at the workshop...

Stag Horn Fern
Sheet moss
Mounting board
U-shaped nails
Fishing line
Floral wire - cut into small lengths and folded in half to form pins
String for hanging

The materials for the project

We started off the workshop with a tutorial from Hiro, the owner of Utsuwa Floral Design. He showed us how to wrap the base of the fern in moss and securely mount it on the board. Once we knew what to do it was time to get started on our own creations.

Hiro shows us how to mount the fern on the board

The first step is to prepare the board. This was actually already done in advance for us so we skipped this step. What you'll need to do is work out the approximate size of the base of your fern and mark out a circle shape with 6 or so U-shaped nails hammered into the board. Make sure you leave a little clearance under the nail as you'll be using these as anchor points to tie the fern down. You'll also need to drill a hole through the top centre of the board for hanging.

Once the board is prepared you can start work on your fern.

Carefully remove the fern from its pot. Remove a little of the soil from the top to give the base (the soil and roots) a more natural, mountain-like shape.

Place the fern on top of the sheet moss and cover it completely. If you have too much moss it can be ripped off easily. Make sure that all of the soil is covered with moss. This will help keep moisture in and will stop soil from falling off. It's important that the base of soil is covered as well even though it will not show.

Make sure that the moss is quite tight against the soil. To help secure the moss use small pieces of floral wire folded in half as pins.

Wrap the moss tightly around the soil and secure with floral wire pins

Once the soil is completely covered you're ready to secure it to the board. Start by working out which way you would like the plant to sit. It's best to have the plant placed with the larger leaves pointing down. This will look more natural and be easier on the plant, especially as it grows and the leaves become bigger and heavier.

With the fern placed in the desired position secure it in place with the fishing line. Cut off a length of fishing line and attach it with a double knot to one of the nails in the board. Stretch the fishing line around to the other side of the fern and thread through another nail. Criss cross the fishing line backwards and forwards around the base of the fern, pulling it tight as you go. Make sure that you wrap the fishing line around the moss covered base rather than through the middle of the plant as this may cause damage to the leaves.

Ready to secure in place.

You'll need to wrap the finishing line around the moss base approximately thirty times to keep the fern securely in place. Work with shorter lengths of fishing line at a time (maybe going backwards and forwards about 7 times with each) as this will be easier to handle than one long length.

Securing the fern to the base with fishing line

As you can see in the photo above the nails may be visible once you are finished securing the fern in place. Small pieces of moss can be placed tightly under the fishing wire to hide the nails if you wish. As time goes by and your fern grows the leaves will hide any exposed nails as well as the fishing line.

Nails hidden with the addition of extra moss

As the wooden board was quite new looking and had sharp cornered edges, I used a wood cutting tool to carve a small amount off the sides. This gave the wood a softer more natural feel. Over time moss will start to grow on the board which will also enhance the natural look of the overall piece. Of course, if you prefer for the board to have a cleaner look you can always clean off any moss that grows on it.

Thread some string through the hole in the top of the wooden board, tie a knot in it and voila - your stag horn fern is all ready to hang!

Front on view

Side on view

If you're interested in seeing the other workshops I've attended at Utsuwa Floral Design you can find the links below:
Hanging Succulent Terrarium Workshop
Hanging Rabbit Foot Fern Workshop
Air Plant Workshop

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