How to choose a flower iron?
IMPORTANT – JANUARY 2023 UPDATE
Weller have discontinued the trusty model of a soldering iron I have been using (and recommending!) for the last decade to my students all over the globe.
I have been in touch with multiple retail tool stores as well as with the manufacturer themselves and this is what they say:
The 40W SP irons are no longer available, but we do have replacements.
The 25W were upgraded to 30W, and the 40W were upgraded to 60W versions, we have also improved the tip choice as well as upgrading the LED lighting on the handpieces.
It is available in 2 options, basic iron
and mini kit with additional tips.
If you internet search with these part numbers you should be able to find a number of UK distributors supporting the product. (RS/Farnell/Amazon etc)
||IRON, W/LED RING, 60W/230V, UK
I am yet to try the new model they’ve recommended. There is also a version with a dimmer, but it is more expensive and there is no evidence it will work any better:
We do have a variant, that actually uses the same iron, but is wired into a basic power supply.
It has a rotary dial that allows regulation of power, though the temperature remains fixed.
It’s a little more expensive but does have a built in safety rest.
Link to product.
So to sum up, I would get a new 60W version that is the correct width for the flower making tools and work with it. You will need to switch it off regularly to let the tools cool slightly so that they do not burn the materials. The previous model was presented in the US as well as EU markets with the corresponding plugs, so I suppose the new 60W should do as well. Alternatively,try visiting a large hardware store in your area, where you could go in person with the flower tools and ask the stuff there to show you what they’ve got in the right spec.
Which tools to choose?
To make the most of the flower making tutorials I and other tutors offer one must have a set of flower shaping tools.
Flower shaping or otherwise known as millinery tools… We use millinery tools to shape fabric or leather in order to create realistic or artistic petals and leaves which we then assemble into
flower pieces. They are essential for the craft (and ART) and yet they cause more questions than any other aspect of flower making.
Traditionally millinery tools have always been on separate handles and required heating over an open flame or using other sources of heat. The famous Atelier Legeron which supply Parisian fashion houses with silk flowers still use traditional tools like these.
However there is another option available to us, flower artists, now. I am talking about an electric iron and millinery tools that are inserted inside it to be heated.
To use a traditional set or a more modern electric flower iron may be down to personal preferences. But I do believe that the electric iron set allows to work quicker. It is advisable to have 2 or 3 flower irons so that when shaping a flower you could have 2-3 tools that are required for shaping it, heated and ready to be used at the same time.
Sets on separate handles come from the times when there was no electricity. So why not use the achievements of the civilization to our advantage? If you have inherited a set of tools on separate handle
s or you have already got one of those, you can of course continue using it. For those of you who are thinking about purchasing a new set I would recommend to go for an electric flower iron with a set of interchangeable tips (see the photo of the tips above).
Which flower iron to choose?
I am often asked by students about how to choose and flower iron and what iron to use.
Whilst I offer flower tools on my website, I do not sell flower irons. This happens for several reasons. First of all, soldering irons are not a particularly specialist piece of kit and can be easily obtained (although you will need to know which one to buy!).
is that my students live all over the world, which means your sockets and plugs might be very different from mine.
Luckily I can recommend the flower iron I have been using myself for 5+ years. It seems to be a popular global model and sells in different countries with the right socket that suits each country.
This flower iron is compatible with different tools I have seen, used and owned myself. However, in case if your tools are wider than 6 mm at the part which is inserted into an iron, this model is not for you.
You can easily pick up the right soldering iron on Amazon in your country. You need this Weller SP40N 40 Watt High Performance Soldering Iron (see the photo on the right).