Flower Frogs 101

It’s back to school season – time for a basic course in flower frogs.  Why flower frogs?  In part because the holidays are just around the corner and a good centerpiece starts with the right frog.  But mostly because I enjoy collecting vintage flower frogs.  And now I want to talk about them.

How a Frog Collection Starts

A while back, I inherited a few vintage flower frogs from my mother-in-law, Betty.  One was an ancient-looking, tiny spike frog measuring only 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  It intrigued me, especially in contrast to the largest of Betty’s frogs, an obviously much-used glass frog measuring 5 inches in diameter.

Vintage flower frogs

It started me thinking about how much variety there is in the world of vintage frogs  – all the different sizes, shapes, and designs.  I began seeking them out.

Types of Frogs

There are countless flower frog designs out there, but most frogs fall loosely into one of these categories:

Cage Frogs

Usually made of wire, mesh, or metal, cage frogs are very popular.

The green frog on the left is a Dazey Flower Holder with a patent date of 1918.  The copper colored frog on the right is unmarked and has a suction cup on the bottom.

vintage flower frogs - cage frogs

But cage frogs need not be placed only on the bottom of a vase.  If the circumference of the vase works for it and the vase is sufficiently weighted at the bottom, these frogs can be wedged at or near the top for better control of the flowers.

Popular mason jar frog lids are also a form of cage frog.  As the name suggests, they fit on top of a mason jar, taking the place of the lid and turning the mason jar into a vase with a built-in frog.

But I will show you later in this post how to make your own temporary frog that works similarly for any vase.

Glass or Crystal Frogs

Glass or crystal frogs are great because they are usually weighty and stay in place.  Some, like those made of depression glass, are also very decorative.

I acquired the frog in the photo below because it is unusual:  The center hole is larger than the perimeter holes, so one large and showy flower stem can be placed in the center, surrounded by smaller stems – or so I thought.

Vintage flower frog - glass frog

But I wondered why the large center hole is not cut all the way through.  An observant reader solved the mystery:  It is so that it could be used to hold a candle.

I have yet to use this frog, but am looking forward to the possibilities.

I did use a glass frog in this centerpiece.

Daffodils in milk glass vase

Spike Frogs

For practical use, these are by far my favorites because they allow more versatility when arranging flowers, and they are excellent at holding stems exactly where I want them.

Vintage flower frogs - spike frogs

I recently acquired the frog to the far left at an estate sale.  Its rectangular shape is unusual, and the base is early plastic instead of metal.  The stamp on the bottom is intriguing.

spike frog made in california

It’s hard to read, but the bottom line says it’s made in California.  How often do we see that these days?

My favorite spike frog is the tiny one I mentioned earlier.  It works great in shallow bowls and was the glue holding these three arrangements together.

For more on these arrangements, see my posts about my camellia centerpiece,  arranging calla lilies, and the flowering quince.

Wire frogs are nice for arranging flowers in a uniform height and spread.   My mom, Erika, used a wire frog for this arrangement.

Carnation centerpiece

Ceramic Frogs

Vintage ceramic frogs are very decorative in their own right, and some are made by well-known pottery studios such as Weller Pottery.

While on a road trip recently, we stopped at an antique store.  When I saw this frog, I suddenly heard the words “I need this for my frog collection” tumble out of my mouth.

Vintage flower frog
Ceramic pottery frog, circa 1940

The proprietor looked amused that anyone would have a frog collection.

DIY Temporary Frogs

These are not vintage frogs.  In fact they aren’t really frogs at all.  But I just thought I would share a couple of work-arounds that I use when I don’t have the right frog for the job.

For instance, getting back to those mason jar frog lids, what if you don’t have one, or what if you want use something other than a mason jar?  Say you have a pretty glass vase and you don’t want the frog to show through.  No problem – just create a tape grid on top of the vase as I did for these two arrangements.

roses    Hydrangeas in large urn

The how-to can be found in my post on arranging hydrangeas.  You could do the job right and use waterproof clear floral tape, but I find it works for me to just use regular clear tape.

Erika likes to use florist Oasis in her arrangements, and last fall she used it when creating the centerpiece for her fall dinner party.

fall party table setting

Other Uses for Flower Frogs

When not holding a floral arrangement together, these little superheros can serve many purposes.  Glass frogs make great paperweights.  Ceramic, glass, and cage frogs can hold pencils, pens, makeup brushes, small tools, small paintbrushes and other art supplies. Spike frogs can double as stands for business cards, post cards, and place cards at formal dinners.

uses for frogs

Your Grade

If you’ve read this far, then you’ve earned an A in Flower Frogs 101.  Want an A+?  Leave a comment with your own creative use for flower frogs.


Resources:

Vintage flower frogs are collectible but a savvy shopper can still find them at bargain prices.  I love these unique frogs on Etsy.

Brush McCoy Frog Frog Cage and Spikes set Depression Glass Frog Green flowr frog Hair Pin Style Metal Frog Industrial metal frog

Brush McCoy Frog Frog | Mini Spike and Cage Duo | Depression Glass Frog | Green Flower Frog | Hairpin Style Metal Frog | Industrial Metal Frog

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17 thoughts on “Flower Frogs 101”

  1. Great article! I’m including it on my “Antique & Vintage Online Info” list that I keep on my sidebar. I’ve done a couple of posts on flower frogs; I just love ’em. I use a spiky one at my antique booth to hold business cards and glass ones to hold scissors and pens on my desk.

  2. Another great post, Heidi! I remember now that my mom had a spike frog and also some kind of green styrofoam thing maybe? I’ll be on the lookout for frogs!

  3. Heidi,
    Thanks so much for sharing at my party…I LOVE this post and it will be featured at my party this week (Monday).

    Blessings,
    Linda

  4. I love and collect frogs as well. Mine started unintentionally, just found a couple and I love using them in vignettes. Great for holding a postcard or flashcard. I also use my large one to hold pens. Love your collection! I have a tiny one as well, but have never seen a rectangular one. It is fabulous! I also don’t have any glass ones, but my cousin called me the other day and said that she found an old glass one that had been her mothers and did I want it . You bet!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

    1. Jann, sounds like you have floral frog fever too. You do such lovely vignettes, I’m sure your frogs go to great use. (Readers: Check out “Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson” if you want your sprits instantly lifted.) I hope you enjoy your new (old) glass frog.

  5. Heidi, I enjoyed your blog, having a modest collection of flower frogs myself. An antique dealer told me that the larger hole in the centre sometimes didn’t go all the way through and was thought to be used for a candle. Wouldn’t that be pretty?

    1. Elaine, I was wondering about that, and you’ve solved the mystery for me. Now I really can’t wait to use that glass frog, and I’m updating my post with this new info. It’s definitely an A+ for you!

  6. I am envious of your flower frog collection. My collection is much smaller than yours without as much variation. You provided great information for the collector or collector to be. Thank you so much for sharing at Vintage Charm and hope to see you back this week!

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