Fake Plastic Flower Death Squad

Every time I go into a craft store, I visibly cringe while walking past the “floral” department. Some marketing genius decided to refer to them all as “silk” flowers, rather than what they really are: horribly fake plastic imitations of plants. Either way, I’m on a mission to dissociate that muck from mainstream crafting once and for all.

That is, until it becomes “the thing” to find their relics in thrift stores, and use them to make something really cool we haven’t even thought of yet. This isn’t to say that high quality, environmentally friendly silk and natural varieties don’t exist, but generally you will only be able to find them through a florist.

So, how do we fight our way out of the indoor polyester jungle? We should join forces to form a Fake Plastic Flower Death Squad. Here is our plan of action:

  • Stealthily confiscate all visible artificial foliage from the homes of your loved ones. They will spend significantly less time dusting, but not know why. Bury your contraband in a time capsule until enough decades go by for them to become a hot vintage commodity.
  • Don’t buy manufactured fake flowers, you can make your own from just about anything. Wise Craft has a tutorial for a cute fabric version(pictured).
  • Remember houseplants? Though most hardy ones do not provide breathtaking blooms, just think of all the terrific stuff you could re-purpose or create for containers!
  • Go high tech DIY: Make your houseplants contact you through Twitter when they need to be watered.
  • Start seeds now for a bountiful windowsill herb garden this spring. This tutorial on Modish will show you how to make a mini indoor green house.
  • Keep a can of wildflower seeds in your car. It’s nature’s glitter!

Does this all sound a bit more like gardening than crafting to you? Perhaps you think it’s just an elaborate scheme to bring back macrame plant hangers…bingo.

Written by Autumn Wiggins

This 2008 interview pretty much sums it up:

1. How would you describe yourself?
An oddly situated performer of thought experiments

2. Do you have any anecdotes about your work (how you got started, frustrating moments, or funny stories)?
At this year's Maker Faire in San Mateo, I gave a presentation on how the trend of green crafting can ultimately address the problem of consumption and waste. Dale Dougherty,the publisher of Make and Craft, later had a gift delivered to me, a staple bound book of poetry: Music Like Dirt by Frank Bidart. This is the last thing one would expect to take home from an event so focused on renegade technology. To my surprise, it was an existential reflection on the human need to make things that I now find myself going back to whenever I need some inspiration to look beyond the materials and processes of crafting.

3. What kinds of things do you do for fun?
In my spare time I enjoy amateur astronomy, outdoor adventures, collecting domain names, and hanging out at coffee shops.

4. What interesting projects are you working on right now?
I'm working to organize community involvement in upcycling, and have a few top-secret website projects up my sleeves!

5. Where do you live? Kids, pets, spouse, occupation?
O'Fallon, IL, a suburb (and I mean a totally typical suburb) of St. Louis, MO. Rather than moving to the more culture friendly urban environment, I am staying put and annoying the heck out of Wal-Mart by throwing a massive indie craft show(Strange Folk) in their backyard. I have a husband, Doug, and two sons: a 7 year old mad scientist named Jack, and 6 year old Max, who we think is an aspiring tattoo artist since he's so fond of drawing all over himself with markers. To pay the bills, I do freelance writing, mural painting, and website design, sell my handmade crafts, teach art classes for kids, and work part -time at a local coffee shop.

6. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?
The concept known as "Cradle-to-Cradle" is a blueprint for sustainability that states everything we manufacture should be either biodegrable, infinitely recyclable, or intended to be upcycled. This is the basis for many of my ideas of how the crafting community can be more widely involved in solving the environmental crisis.

7. What is your favorite food/color/tool?
granola/green/sewing machine!


Leave a Reply
  1. Autumn, I am totally with you. My first target will be my sister, who is far too young to have so many fake flower arrangements around her house.

  2. Ooh I hate those sections of craft stores too! They are waaay too big of sections, like two aisles worth! They should just cart all that stuff to the dumpster. Oh wait, that wouldn’t be very green.

    I can’t stand fake ivy above kitchen cabinets in other people’s houses. They should replace it with something worthwhile like Pez dispensers or vintage lunch boxes.

  3. Recently, after years of being grossed-out by the fake flower section of kraft stores, I was totally taken in.

    A particularly dreary New England winter day combined with a vulnerable state of hormone imbalance made me see the light! Why fake flowers are awesome! They bring you bright colors on a slushy day – at ANY time of year! I want some!
    Thankfully my sister accompanying me slapped me in the face and I woke up. And now your article will save me from ever thinking such thoughts again. Phew!

  4. I’m just loving the idea. Especially if the squad gets outfits! At least shirts with an ugly plastic flower and a big X through it!

  5. Thanks for your enthusiastic responses to this! So, I’m now the proud owner of fakeplasticflowerdeathsquad.com. I plan on modeling the site somewhat after the Handmade Pledge campaign. Stay tuned to CAGW for further details!

  6. ooer, this is fabby

    I certainly agree with it; fake flowers are stupid, bizarre and… well gross. Not to mention unnecissary as we have loads of real, not to mention prettier, flowers all of the place.
    What’s worse is fake flowers at a funeral…
    False flowers, false grief. If you’re going to buy flowers for someone who’s died, don’t be an ass and by fake ones! Ditto weddings.

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