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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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wire frogs are nice for arranging flowers in a uniform height and spread. My mom, Erika, used a wire frog for this arrangement.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vintage flower frogs are collectible but a savvy shopper can still find them at bargain prices. You can find so many fun and unusual flower frogs on Etsy.
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