Hanging Vines and Greenery on Any Surface
Have you ever had a bride send over an image of greenery sprawled on a wall and think “How on earth do I do that?” As a designer, I love the challenge of creating and hanging these masterpieces. I’m here to show you my tips, tricks, and toolkit for building some unforgettable greenery displays on a variety of surfaces.
When a client first shows me their greenery inspirations, I try to envision the mechanics. How can I make this work? I need to take into consideration the venue and its rules or restrictions for hanging things, so I like to do a site visit with my client to uncover any possible issues beforehand. This is a great time to locate attachment points and chat with the venue about what we plan on doing. We discuss the scope of the job and make sure they are on board with our plans. Conducting in-person research has saved me a few times in the past when venues won’t allow décor on particular areas or object to certain hanging methods. I find that getting approval prior to the event is a great way to build vendor connections and demonstrate that I will respect their venue and am not going to damage anything.
Greenery used in installations needs to be hardy and withstand conditions without a water source. There are times when I will water tube or use oasis foam, but often the greenery is without water for long periods of time. Hardy waxy greenery works well in these types of conditions. My favorites are Southern Smilax, Italian Ruscus, Nagi, Salal, Magnolia, Huckleberry and Camelia Foliage. For brides who want a softer, grey-green color, most Eucalyptus varieties will do great out of water (silver dollar, seeded, spiral) and Olive Foliage is always lovely.
What’s inside my toolkit:
My hanging toolkit is extensive. I like to have multiple ways to hang and attach things because I never know what challenge might present itself. All the items in my toolkit are available on Amazon and most home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes.
- Saltwater Fishing Line – I like to have a few different varieties of fishing line available. The weight used will vary depending on what we are hanging. I like to have some 15-20 lb., 60 lb. and 150 lb. available.
- Gaffers Tape – ½” and 1” in white and black
- Uglu Dashes (Oasis Brand)
- Spring Clamps
- C Clamps
- Brick Clips
- 4” Black Zip Ties
- Chicken Wire – A small roll of it, to create a quick armature if needed
- Suction Cups with Hook
- Safety Pins
- Command Hooks
- Hot Glue Gun
When approaching a job, the wall surface dictates the types of mechanics that are used. Here’s a breakdown of what I have found to work for each surface.
Brick clips are an excellent tool for hanging larger greenery pieces and florals on a brick wall. They provide an anchor point to suspend oasis cages or attach greenery. Fishing line can be strung between clips to create a vine-like look on the wall. Greenery can be wrapped or strategically zip tied on the line (the 4” black zip ties blend in nicely).
Hot glue can also work on a traditional brick wall if you only need to attach a few pieces of greenery or a single rose. I found white polo roses worked well and didn’t show any heat damage. The hot glue gun needs to be on high heat and the glue very hot to work, and it will peel right off the brick post-event. I have only used this method on traditional red brick and would test it out if trying on a painted brick surface first.
Wallpaper, Painted Walls, and Windows:
I love using gaffers tape to hang greenery on walls as it doesn’t leave a residue or damage paint or wallpaper. Gaffers tape is not very strong, so it’s only appropriate for attaching simple greens to a wall. I prefer to use a thin ½” size. I cross two strips of tape in an X fashion on the piece of greenery and will typically do this one to two times for each piece depending on weight. To hide the tape, I will take a round leaf (salal and silver dollar eucalyptus work well), loop a piece of gaffer tape on the back, and then place the leaf over the visible tape.
For windows or glass frames, a suction cup hook is the key. They are easy to hide behind curtains and can hold a surprising amount of weight. Even floral wreaths can be hung in windows with a large suction cup.
Concrete or Wood Walls:
For concrete or wood walls, I have found that Uglu dashes, gaffers tape and command hooks work well and don’t cause any damage. I rarely use command hooks because I have had them pull off paint/wallpaper in the past, but on hard, durable surfaces like wood or concrete they work well and are easily removable.
Fabric, pipe and drape, cocktail tables:
Safety pins can be used to help hold greenery on fabric, and fishing line can be run between two pins to create a structure to weave greenery through. Straight pins (boutonniere pins) can also be used to help attach lightweight greenery to fabric surfaces.
If you’re asked to do a tie of greenery on a cocktail table, I like to use bind wire to gather up the tablecloth, and then I wrap greenery pieces onto the bind wire. Make sure your client orders linens that are long enough to be gathered without showing the table legs.
Columns or poles:
Fishing line can be wrapped down the column/pole and the greenery woven into the fishing line. Gaffers tape can also help to secure individual pieces of the fishing line.
Ledges, bars, and tables:
To affix a greenery garland to the front of a table, bar, or fireplace mantle I like to use either C-clamps or spring clamps. My toolbox has both available in varying sizes (mine go from 2” to 6”). Simply clamp the device onto the ledge or surface you want to cover, and then zip tie the garland onto the clamp. The clamp is easily covered with greenery or a few roses depending on the look you want to achieve.
String or café lights:
I love like using Italian ruscus for string lights because it’s easy to attach and determine how many stems are needed. Italian ruscus is about 2-3 feet long, so I will take the length of string lights being used and divide by 2. This gives me the number of stems needed and will build in a little room for extra length if some pieces are shorter than others. The night before the event, I’ll prep the Italian ruscus by zip tying two pieces together at their stems to create longer pieces about 5 feet in length, which I then store in a flower box in my cooler. These pieces can then be easily wrapped onto the string lights, often without needing any extra attaching although occasionally we might use a small 4” zip tie if they’re loose.
Ceilings or long passes across a room:
Fishing line is fantastic for bringing greenery across a room. Just be sure to use a line that has a weight limit which can handle the amount of items hung on the line. I’m a worrier/over-planner, so I will typically use a 150 lb tested fishing line for greens crossing over people’s heads. Southern Smilax is my favorite greenery to use for this type of installation as it quickly expands to fill large spaces. A couple of pieces can cover a large area.
When all other methods for hanging fail, look up and to the sides of where you are working. I always have fishing line in my toolbox because it can be used to create a hanging point from almost anywhere you can tie it. Maybe there’s a small nail that you can run a line to or a ledge that a clamp can be secured to with fishing line hung from it. Over the years I’ve had to get really creative and having a wide variety of tools to choose from has helped me be successful.
Of all the recent trends in floral design, hanging greenery on walls, ledges, windows, doorways, and ceilings is one of my favorites. It can transform a room, and I love enhancing the guests’ experience with these beautiful displays. Hopefully, this article gave you some ideas for your installations. If you ever need help figuring out mechanics, feel free to send me a message or email as I love helping with this sort of thing. Happy hanging!