US20070023311A1 - Decorative floral sleeve - Google Patents

Decorative floral sleeve Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070023311A1
US20070023311A1 US11/459,448 US45944806A US2007023311A1 US 20070023311 A1 US20070023311 A1 US 20070023311A1 US 45944806 A US45944806 A US 45944806A US 2007023311 A1 US2007023311 A1 US 2007023311A1
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Prior art keywords
container
portion
hook
substrate
decorative cover
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Abandoned
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US11/459,448
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Cathy Skraba
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Cathy Skraba
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Priority to US11/459,448 priority patent/US20070023311A1/en
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D85/00Containers, packaging elements or packages, specially adapted for particular articles or materials
    • B65D85/50Containers, packaging elements or packages, specially adapted for particular articles or materials for living organisms, articles or materials sensitive to changes of environment or atmospheric conditions, e.g. land animals, birds, fish, water plants, non-aquatic plants, flower bulbs, cut flowers or foliage
    • B65D85/52Containers, packaging elements or packages, specially adapted for particular articles or materials for living organisms, articles or materials sensitive to changes of environment or atmospheric conditions, e.g. land animals, birds, fish, water plants, non-aquatic plants, flower bulbs, cut flowers or foliage for living plants; for growing bulbs
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47GHOUSEHOLD OR TABLE EQUIPMENT
    • A47G7/00Flower holders or the like
    • A47G7/02Devices for supporting flower-pots or cut flowers
    • A47G7/08Covers for flower-pots, e.g. ornamental pots
    • A47G7/085Covers for flower-pots, e.g. ornamental pots made of flexible sheets of non-resilient material

Abstract

A decorative floral cover or sleeve is configured to be used in connection with containers for plants and floral arrangements. A single sheet of material is configured to cover the sidewall portions of container, without covering the base of the container. In one exemplary embodiment, the decorative floral cover comprises a lower edge including a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, such that when the decorative cover substantially conforms to the outer surface of the container, the plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces extend below a bottom of the container, so that the outwardly projecting surfaces must be bent to enable the bottom of the container to contact a support surface the container is placed upon. The cover can be formed of a specialty paper that substantially does not wick water when an edge of the specialty paper is placed in water.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is based on a prior copending Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/702,032, filed on Jul. 23, 2005, the benefit of the filing date of which is hereby claimed under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e).
  • BACKGROUND
  • The floral industry sells many containerized plants each year. The majority of the containers are plain plastic containers, and there is a need for decorative covers to enhance the appearance of the containers. Preformed foil covers have been available for a number of years. Red or green foil covers are particularly ubiquitous during the Christmas holidays, when such covers are used to enhance the appearance of containerized poinsettias. The covers are often formed from a single sheet of material, and cover the base and sides of the floral container. An elastic material is often used to secure the cover to the container. Such containers are generally sold to wholesale and retail florists, rather than being an item purchased directly by the consumer. It would be desirable to provide additional choices with respect to decorative covers for containerized plants and floral arrangements.
  • SUMMARY
  • A decorative floral cover or sleeve is configured to be used in connection with containers for plants and floral arrangements. A single sheet of material is configured to cover the sidewall portions of the container, without covering the base of the container. A wide variety of patterns and designs can be preprinted on the sheet of material to achieve an aesthetically pleasing floral cover or decorative sleeve.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the decorative floral cover comprises a lower edge including a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, such that when the decorative cover substantially conforms to the outer surface of the container, the plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces extend below a bottom of the container, so that the outwardly projecting surfaces can be bent to enable the bottom of the container to contact a support surface on which the container is placed.
  • In other exemplary embodiments, the decorative cover includes an upper edge comprising a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, each outwardly projecting surface being configured to bend outwardly and away from a main body of the decorative cover, such that when the decorative cover substantially conforms to the outer surface of the container, the plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces extend outwardly and away from a top portion of the container.
  • An additional feature that can be beneficially incorporated into decorative covers encompassed within the disclosure provided herein, includes a substantially T-shaped opening configured to receive a hanger, such that when properly assembled a combination comprising the container, the decorative cover, and the hanger can be hung over an object such as a railing or church pew. One example of such a hanger is described in detail in U.S. Pat. No. 4,852,590, the disclosure and drawings of which are hereby specifically incorporated herein by reference.
  • Preferably, the decorative cover is formed of a specialty paper that does not substantially wick water when an edge of the specialty paper is placed in water. This characteristic enables the decorative cover to be used in moist environments without deterioration. Papers that does wick water via edge surfaces tends to delaminate and deteriorate. This characteristic is readily empirically tested.
  • Decorative covers including combinations of the embodiments described above are contemplated.
  • Another aspect of the concepts disclosed herein is a decorative system comprising a container configured to hold flowers or gifts, a decorative cover configured to conform to and substantially cover the container, and a support structure configured to engage openings in the container and decorative cover, to enable the decorative system to be attached to a supporting object.
  • This Summary has been provided to introduce a few concepts in a simplified form that are further described in detail below in the Description. However, this Summary is not intended to identify key or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.
  • DRAWINGS
  • Various aspects and attendant advantages of one or more exemplary embodiments and modifications thereto will become more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • FIG. 1A schematically illustrates an exemplary decorative cover for a round container, with plain edges and generally T-shaped openings to accommodate a support structure having a corresponding shape;
  • FIG. 1B schematically illustrates an exemplary decorative cover for a round container, with an embellished bottom edge round opening to accommodate a ribbon-like support structure;
  • FIG. 1C schematically illustrates an exemplary kit including a decorative cover for a round container, with an embellished top edge and a coordinating gift tag;
  • FIG. 1D schematically illustrates an exemplary decorative cover for a relatively taller round container;
  • FIG. 2 schematically illustrates an exemplary decorative cover for a square container;
  • FIG. 3A schematically illustrates an exemplary decorative cover for a square container including no additional embellishments other than printing and/or embossing on the decorative cover;
  • FIG. 3B schematically illustrates an exemplary decorative cover with embellishments on the upper portion of the decorative cover;
  • FIG. 3C schematically illustrates an exemplary decorative cover for a square container, including an embellishment on the lower edge of the decorative cover;
  • FIG. 3D schematically illustrates an exemplary decorative cover for a square container, including an embellishment on the upper edge of the decorative cover, as well as the addition of a matching gift tag;
  • FIG. 3E schematically illustrates an exemplary decorative cover for a round container, including an embellishment on the upper edge of the decorative cover;
  • FIG. 4 schematically illustrates flanges or other embellishments on the upper edge of the decorative cover that have been folded outwardly to achieve an aesthetic effect;
  • FIG. 5 schematically illustrates an exemplary decorative cover for large flower pots, with embellishments on the bottom portion of the decorative cover;
  • FIG. 6 schematically illustrates a variety of different types of containers that can be covered using the decorative covers that are herein described in detail;
  • FIGS. 7A-7C schematically illustrate the decorative covers described herein being used with hanging floral containers;
  • FIGS. 8A-8C schematically illustrate exemplary decorative covers including openings configured to accommodate different types of hangers;
  • FIG. 9 schematically illustrates an optional bottom to be used in connection with the decorative covers described herein; and
  • FIG. 10 schematically illustrates a kit including a container, a decorative cover for the container, and a coordinating gift tag.
  • DESCRIPTION
  • Figures and Disclosed Embodiments Are Not Limiting
  • Exemplary embodiments are illustrated in referenced Figures of the drawings. It is intended that the embodiments and Figures disclosed herein are to be considered illustrative rather than restrictive. No limitation on the scope of the technology and of the claims that follow is to be imputed to the examples shown in the drawings and discussed herein.
  • The disclosure provided herein is directed to the following exemplary embodiments.
  • 1. A decorative cover for a container (particularly a floral container) and a method of forming the decorative cover.
  • 2. Use of the decorative cover with a container.
  • 3. An embodiment of the decorative cover used with at least one of the container and the hanging apparatus referenced in U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590.
  • 4. An embodiment of the decorative cover used with other hanging apparatus or other commercially available hanging containers.
  • 5. A bottom enclosure for the decorative cover.
  • 1. A Decorative Cover and a Method of Forming the Decorative Cover: FIGS. 1A-1D schematically illustrate decorative covers for a round container, while FIG. 2 schematically illustrates a decorative cover for a square container. The decorative cover is formed from a generally flat sheet of material, and is configured to be placed on the side walls of a container. Each decorative cover is specifically configured to be used with a particular style and shape of a container. The shape of the decorative cover is then cut using a process such as die-cutting. The flat die-cut material is then joined using a simple insertion technique. Beginning with the inside of the cover facing towards the person preparing the decorative cover for use, a die-cut slit 16 a on the left edge of the decorative cover slips into an adjacent die-cut 16 b on the right edge of the decorative cover, thereby converting the flat decorative cover into a generally cylindrical form without requiring the use of an adhesive. Of course, the relative positions of the die-cuts can be reversed. The decorative cover can then be placed over a container, creating a unique, attractive and inexpensive cover for an otherwise plain container.
  • If desired, the decorative cover can include a plurality of upper or lower flanges that can be folded outwardly to create unique decorative shapes. In an exemplary embodiment, such flanges are implemented as 1/16″ rounded corners (i.e., forming a scalloped edge).
  • If desired, an adhesive can be used join the two edges of the flat decorative cover to form the assembled cover.
  • The decorative cover can be fabricated from a specialty paper that does not substantially wick water when an edge of the specialty paper is exposed to water. In general, when an edge surface of a conventional paper is exposed to water, the water is absorbed into the body of the paper by a wicking action, leading to discoloration or deterioration of the paper. Several types of specialty papers can be beneficially employed to achieve a decorative cover as described herein. Reich Paper of Brooklyn, N.Y. offers a specialty paper marketed under the trademark SHINE, which does not wick water when an edge of the specialty paper is exposed to water. Another type of specialty paper that can be beneficially employed to achieve a decorative cover is generally referred to as synthetic paper. Synthetic paper is a polymer-based product available in sizes and shapes corresponding to conventional fiber-based papers. Synthetic paper readily accepts inks of many types, and can generally be used as a direct replacement for many paper products. Synthetic paper is available from several manufacturers, including Arjobex of North Carolina (marketed as Polyart paper) and YUPO of Japan. Use of such specialty paper materials is particularly beneficial because a variety of different printing techniques can be used to incorporate an aesthetic design onto the decorative cover, and because when decorative covers are used to cover floral pots, it is likely that the decorative cover will be exposed to moisture (used to water plants contained in the containers the decorative covers are used to cover).
  • The cover shown in FIG. 1A is configured for use with a 3¾″ (height)×3⅝″ (diameter) round container (i.e., relatively small flower pots), while FIGS. 1D and 5 schematically illustrate a decorative cover for relatively larger flower pots. Covers configured for use with other size and shape containers will vary with the size and shape of the container. It is important that each specific size and shape of the round and oval containers have its own appropriate angle of curvature at the top and bottom as well as the correct angle on the left and right edges. The length and width of the flat die-cut material will vary to match the required diameter or shape and height and width of the container.
  • Referring once again to FIG. 1A, a decorative cover 10 a includes a design element (generally indicated by circles 14, although it should be recognized that any design that can be printed onto the decorative cover can be beneficially implemented), slits 16 a and 16 b, and generally T-shaped openings 12 (which are configured to overlap when the decorative cover is in the three-dimensional configuration). The openings are configured to enable a support structure exhibiting a similar cross-sectional shape to engage the openings when the decorative cover is placed over a container (where the container includes an opening having a similar size and shape). U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590 (which has been incorporated herein by reference) discloses a container and support structure enabling a container to be attached to an object, such as a chair rail or a church pew. Decorative cover 10 a can be used in connection with such a container and support structure, to enable a variety of different decorative schemes (printed onto the decorative cover) to be added to the container/support structure.
  • FIG. 1B similarly schematically illustrates a decorative cover 10 b for a round container, also including slits 16 a and 16 b (it should be noted that while slits 16 a and 16 b can be beneficially employed to transform the decorative cover from a generally planar configuration to a three-dimensional configuration substantially conforming to a container, such slits can be replaced by an adhesive, to couple a first portion of the decorative cover to a second portion of the decorative cover to achieve the above-noted three-dimensional configuration. Thus, slits 16 a and 16 b should be considered to be exemplary, rather than limiting). Note that a bottom edge of decorative cover 10 b includes a plurality of embellishments 20, which generally extend outwardly beyond a main body of the decorative cover.
  • Embellishments 20 generally extend beyond the side wall of the container with which the decorative cover is configured to be used. Where embellishments 20 are implemented on a bottom edge of the decorative cover (as in FIG. 1B), such embellishments will need to be bent outwardly and away from the main body of the decorative cover; otherwise, the embellishments would prevent the bottom of the container from engaging a supporting surface such as a table top. Preferably, the embellishments are bent to achieve a configuration substantially parallel to the supporting surface (i.e., the tabletop). Preferably, decorative cover 10 b includes fold lines or score lines indicating where the embellishments should be folded with respect to the main body of the decorative cover. Such fold lines are indicated in the Figure as dash lines. Decorative cover 10 b includes generally circular openings 18 (which are configured to overlap when the decorative cover is in the three-dimensional configuration). The circular openings can be employed to attach a gift tag or a support structure (such as a ribbon) to the decorative cover/container combination (when the decorative cover is used to cover a container).
  • FIG. 1C schematically illustrates a kit comprising a decorative cover 10 c a coordinating gift tag 26. Once again, decorative cover 10 c preferably incorporates slits 16 a and 16 b, as well as openings 18, although it should be recognized that such features are intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting. Decorative cover 10 c also includes embellishments 24 disposed on an upper edge of the decorative cover. Note that such embellishments are not required to be folded over once the decorative cover is placed on a container; however, if desired, such embellishments can be folded to enhance an appearance of the decorative cover/container combination. The embellishments can include the same, or a different design, as the main body portion of the decorative cover. A coordinating gift tag 26 is preferably coupled to the decorative cover/container combination using a ribbon or string that passes through openings 18 (and a corresponding opening in the container) and one or more openings in the gift tag. Preferably, the gift tag includes a score line 28 indicating where the gift tag should be folded. The gift tag can incorporate the same design element as the decorative cover, or a coordinating or contrasting design element.
  • FIG. 1D schematically illustrates a decorative cover 10 d configured to be used with relatively larger/taller containers. Coordinating slits 16 a and 16 b may not work as well on relatively larger decorative containers. Thus, decorative container 10 d does not incorporate such slits. An adhesive, provided separately, can be employed when transforming the decorative cover from the planar configuration to the three-dimensional configuration. Alternatively, an optional adhesive panel 17 can be provided on the decorative cover to facilitate transforming the decorative cover from the planar configuration to the three-dimensional configuration.
  • As noted above, FIG. 2 schematically illustrates a decorative cover 10 e specifically configured for use with square containers. Exemplary measurements have been provided in the Figure, although such make measurements are intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting. Note that because decorative cover 10 is intended to be used with a square container, the decorative cover must be folded to substantially conform to the square container. Preferably, score/fold lines 30 will be included to facilitate proper bending/folding of the decorative cover.
  • FIG. 3A schematically illustrates a decorative cover for a square container including no additional embellishments other than printing and/or embossing on the decorative cover. FIG. 3B schematically illustrates a decorative cover with embellishments on the upper portion of the decorative cover. Such embellishments can be formed by varying an upper edge of the decorative cover (for example, during the die-cutting process), to achieve a crenellated or other embellishment on the upper (or lower) edge of the decorative cover. FIG. 3C schematically illustrates a decorative cover for a square container including embellishment 20 on the lower edge of the decorative cover. For example, such embellishments can be formed by varying the line of a lower edge of the decorative cover. A further type of embellishment can be achieved by folding flanges formed into an upper or lower edge of the decorative cover outwardly to achieve an aesthetic effect. Note that in FIG. 3C, the flanges forming the embellishment have been folded outwardly. FIG. 3D schematically illustrates a decorative cover for a square container including an embellishment 24 on the upper edge of the decorative cover, as well as the addition of a matching gift tag 32, coupled to the decorative cover using a wire, string, tie or ribbon 34. FIG. 3E schematically illustrates the decorative cover of FIG. 1A in the three-dimensional configuration, modified to include an embellishment 24 on the upper edge of the decorative cover.
  • FIG. 4 schematically illustrates flanges 25 and embellishments 24 a on the upper edge of the decorative cover been folded outwardly to achieve an aesthetic effect (embellishments 24 a have been folded downwardly and outwardly). Note that the decorative cover for the relatively larger flowerpot (or vase) schematically illustrated in FIG. 5 includes embellishments 20 on the bottom edge of the decorative cover. FIG. 5 also provides an enlarged view 20 a of the embellishments. In at least one embodiment, the embellishments comprise rounded endpoints or scallops, although it should be recognized that the other embellishments implementing other shapes can also be beneficially implemented, and the illustrated embellishments are intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting
  • FIG. 6 schematically illustrates a wide variety of different types of containers that can be covered using the decorative covers described herein in detail, including paper or plastic drinking cups 40 (if desired, such cups can incorporate an opening, such as generally T-shaped opening 12, to facilitate attaching a combination of cup and decorative cover to an object), recycled water bottles 42 with their tops cut off (or frozen juice cans and further, such containers can incorporate an opening, such as generally T-shaped opening 12, to similarly facilitate attaching the combination of cup and decorative cover to an object), generally round commercially available containers 44 (which can also beneficially incorporate an opening configured to facilitate attaching the combination of container and decorative cover to an object), generally square commercially available containers 46 (which can also beneficially incorporate an opening configured to facilitate attaching the combination of container and decorative cover to an object), inverted containers 48 (i.e., containers that are larger at their base than they are at their top, a configuration that is inverted with respect to the configuration of most other types of floral containers, which generally include a base having a smaller diameter than their top), and a plurality of generally cylindrical containers 50 a-50 e. Containers 50 a and 50 c incorporate embellishments or design features at the bottom, while containers 50 d and 50 e incorporate embellishments or design features at the top. It should be recognized that such container types and shapes are intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting.
  • In at least some embodiments, the sides of the decorative cover, when formed, will have a wide opening at the top, slanting inwardly at the bottom to contain and secure a tapered container whether round, square, or oval in shape. This tapered shape enables the container to be held securely in place without a bottom enclosure.
  • The covers may be shipped and stored flat.
  • Designs and graphics may be applied using standard four-color printing methods, which include, but are not limited to, varnishes, foils, embossing, silk screening, laser and ink jet printing, and any combination thereof. Particularly preferred materials for implementing the decorative covers disclosed herein can be written on by a consumer using substantially any type of writing instrument, including pens, pencils, crayons, permanent markers and nonpermanent markers. The specialty papers referred to above can be written on using such writing instruments.
  • The covers may be customized with custom graphic designs.
  • The covers may be customized by embossing.
  • The covers may be customized through the use of various die-cut shapes.
  • The covers may be customized by creating die-cut patterns, so that the container is visible through the cover wherein the material is thus cut away.
  • The covers may be customized with the use of precise scoring techniques to create folds to produce interesting shapes.
  • The covers may be customized with the use of appliques, such as (but not limited to) ribbons, beads, monograms, photographs, fabrics, and adhesive labels.
  • An embodiment of the cover can include any one, two, or three-dimensional object attached to create a novel cover.
  • The covers may be printed on one or two sides.
  • One embodiment of a two-sided cover will be a reversible cover.
  • The covers can utilize an unlimited variety of designs, colors, patterns, and techniques, for example, to produce a product that coincides with the seasons and seasonal themes such as, but not limited to, Easter, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and May Day.
  • The covers can employ an unlimited variety of designs, colors, patterns, and techniques to create a product that is directed to events such as, but not limited to, weddings, parties, funerals, birthdays, and auctions. Also logos, branding, events planning materials, and corporate materials can be included on the covers.
  • When applicable, the patterns will meet and align to a uniform continuation where the left and right sides are joined.
  • As noted above, a particularly beneficial material for implementing the decorative covers encompassed herein is a specialty paper that will generally not wick water when an edge of the specialty paper is exposed to water. Additional materials that can be used to implement the decorative covers disclosed herein include, but are not limited to, water-resistant papers, synthetic waterproof and tear-proof or tear-resistant papers, fabrics, natural materials, felts, vinyls, light-weight waterproof materials, etc. The waterproof and water-resistant materials will enable use of the cover indoors or outdoors and can endure exposure to moisture without damage to the covers in the event of a spill or exposure to wet weather conditions.
  • Another embodiment of the cover will be made without die-cut openings.
  • Another embodiment of the cover will include a simple orifice in the cover material. The cutout or orifice enables gift tags to be secured to the covers with an attachment device in a variety of materials such as, but not limited to, string or ribbon, for example, as schematically illustrated in FIG. 3D.
  • The inclusion of an orifice for attaching a gift tag will enable a cover and a container to be provided as a packaged gift. The size of the gift tag can be proportionate to the cover size in regards to height, width, and diameter and can be of the same material and use similar graphic designs as are included on the cover, if a matching relationship between the gift tag and the cover is desired.
  • 2. Use of the Decorative Cover with a Container: The decorative cover can cover and enhance an otherwise plain inexpensive thin-walled, commercially available container. For example, containerized plants are often provided in plain round or square-shaped containers. Decorative covers such as those described herein can be used to enhance the appearance of such containers. The decorative covers described herein can be provided to nurseries, floral retailers, and floral wholesalers such that the decorative covers can be attached to the containers before a customer purchases a containerized plant. But, it should also be understood that decorative covers can be sold directly to a consumer, enabling the consumer to customize a containerized plant purchased separately.
  • The decorative covers described herein can be configured for use with containers of many sizes and shapes. As noted above, FIGS. 1A-1D schematically illustrate a decorative cover for use with a round floral container, while FIG. 2 schematically illustrates a decorative cover for use with a square floral container. Those of ordinary skill in the art readily appreciate that decorative covers for other sizes and shapes containers can be readily achieved, by ensuring that the die-cut shape can be configured to the container size and shape.
  • The decorative covers described herein can be used with containers whose sides are vertical, as well as tapered inwardly or outwardly. For containers exhibiting an outward taper (from bottom to top), the taper will help to prevent the decorative cover from slipping off the container while the container is being transported.
  • The decorative covers described herein can be used with commercially available paper and plastic cups, to enable the appearance of such cups to be enhanced or to be customize as desired. For example, a customized cup can be produced utilizing stock cups and a cover as described herein, without requiring that the cups themselves be produced with the desired decorative effect or logo. Decorative covers such as those described herein can be designed to precisely fit such cups.
  • The decorative covers described herein can be used to achieve an aesthetic container for plants or other items where a recycled container (such as, but not limited to, plastic bottles, paper boxes, and cartons) is covered with the decorative cover. Such recycled containers may be altered (for example, a plastic water bottle's top may be cut back to provide a wider lip). As noted above, FIG. 6 schematically illustrates a variety of containers that can be aesthetically enhanced using the decorative covers described herein.
  • Note that the decorative covers described herein can be used with containers having: a flat, straight edge at the top, as well as a decorative top edge of curved scallops, circles, square scallops, wavy patterns, and random shapes.
  • The decorative containers described herein can also be used with containers configured to be used with an apparatus attachment. FIGS. 7A and 7B schematically illustrate decorative covers being used with containers and attachment apparatus disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590, the disclosure and drawings of which are hereby specifically incorporated herein by reference.
  • The decorative covers described herein can be used in connection with embellishments such as ribbons, cords, strings, and gift tags, or used without such additional embellishments.
  • Note that the decorative covers described herein enable the appearance of the container printed with graphic elements to be modified. This capability will facilitate the reuse of containers that were originally customized for a specific event, but not used, so that the container can subsequently be customized using a decorative cover for use with a different event. For example, in connection with the release of a specific movie, concession cups for soft drinks or popcorn may be printed with scenes or graphics associated with the movie. If such cups remain in inventory after the movie is no longer being shown, the decorative covers described herein can be printed with material relevant to a newly released different movie and used to enable such inventory to be employed to promote the new movie. For example, decorative covers could be printed with graphics or scenes associated with a currently released film.
  • The decorative covers described herein can be used with containers that are embossed.
  • The decorative covers described herein can be used with containers comprising a commercially available product of thin vinyl, known as a liner.
  • The decorative covers described herein can be used with containers configured to be folded flat, and unfolded for use. Such fold-up containers are sometimes available in waterproof materials, and when unfolded are filled with water (i.e., to form a vase).
  • The decorative covers described herein can be used with the containers specifically described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590, which will be discussed in greater detail below.
  • 3. Use of Decorative Cover with Apparatus/Container of U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590: As noted above, the decorative covers described herein can be used in conjunction with the receptacle hanger and the container disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590, as schematically illustrated in FIG. 7A and 7B. Those of ordinary skill in the art will readily recognize that openings of other sizes and shapes can be aligned on corresponding covers and containers.
  • When the cover is to be used with the hanging apparatus referenced in U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590, an opening will be die-cut into the left and right sides of the cover, such that when the decorative cover is manipulated to transform the decorative cover from a planar configuration to a three-dimensional configuration substantially conforming to the container, the openings on the left and right sides of the decorative cover (in the planar configuration are substantially aligned). FIGS. 7A and 7B schematically illustrate decorative covers being used with the above-identified hanging apparatus. As schematically is illustrated in FIG. 7A, a decorative cover 52 (including T-shaped opening 12 and optionally embellishments 20), a container 54 (including T-shaped opening 12), and a hanger 56 (including a generally T-shaped portion 13) are combined to achieve a decorative floral container 58 that can be hung on an object such as a chair or the rail of a church pew. It should be recognized that hangers having a portion configured to engage the container having a different cross-sectional shape can also be beneficially employed, so long as the openings in the decorative cover and container have a similar cross-sectional shape. FIG. 7B schematically illustrates decorative floral container 58 in the assembled configuration. Note that optional embellishment 60 can be included with decorative cover 52, where the optional embellishment is configured to adhere to the decorative cover to cover the generally T-shaped opening, if the decorative cover is not to be used in conjunction with hanger 56. Thus, decorative cover 52 can be used with or without hanger 56. Preferably embellishment 60 is fabricated from the same material as decorative cover 52, including the same design elements or printed design. And adhesive backing can be added to embellishment 60, to enable embellishment 60 to be adhesively coupled with decorative cover 52. While as shown, embellishment 60 is generally circular, it should be recognized that embellishment 60 can be implemented in many different sizes and shapes, so long as the size of embellishment 60 is sufficient to cover the opening in the decorative cover.
  • In an exemplary (but not limiting) embodiment, the container will comprise a 3¾″ (height)×3⅝″ (diameter) container. The approximate measurements for a decorative cover configured to be used with such a container are as follows. A leftmost T-shape will begin approximately ⅝″ from the left edge and begin approximately ½″ down from the top. A rightmost T-shape will be begin approximately ¼″ from the right edge and begin approximately ¾″ down from the top. The T-shape die-cut in the cover for the 3¾″×3 ⅝″ size container will be approximately ⅝″ wide by ⅝″ high and ¼″ in thickness. Preferably, the T-shape will have inside and outside comers rounded with a 1/16″ radius to prevent tearing of the material. In another embodiment the T-shape opening will not incorporate any rounded comers. It should be recognized that such measurements are intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting.
  • The T-shape opening in the decorative cover will enable the hanging apparatus to fit securely to the container and the decorative cover. The combination container, decorative cover, and hanging apparatus can then be attached to a surface, such as a church pew. If the decorative cover described herein is intended to be used with the container described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590, without the contemporaneous use of the hanging apparatus, the cover does not need to include the T-shaped openings.
  • If the decorative cover described herein is intended to be used with the hanging apparatus described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590, without the contemporaneous use of the container specified in that patent, then corresponding generally T-shaped openings will need to be formed into the container to be used, to enable the container, decorative cover, and hanging apparatus to be used together. For example, the decorative cover and the hanging apparatus referenced in U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590 can be used in connection with an inexpensive thin-walled, commercially available container (with suitable openings formed therein).
  • FIG. 7C is substantially similar to FIG. 7A, but shows cover 52 in the generally planar configuration, as opposed to the three-dimensional configuration substantially conforming to the container 54. Completed decorative floral container 58 a includes flowers inserted into the container. In one aspect of the concepts disclosed herein, container 54, decorative cover 52, and hanger 56 are available as a kit.
  • 4. Use of the Decorative Cover with Commercially Available Hangers/Containers: Another embodiment of the decorative cover will be used with other hanging apparatus. This embodiment of the decorative cover will have die-cut openings and will be used with hanging apparatus other than those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,590. For instance, materials such as (but not limited to) ribbons, cords, and strings can be inserted through the openings to be used as the hanging apparatus. FIGS. 8A-8C schematically illustrates decorative covers including openings configured to accommodate different types of hangers.
  • FIG. 8A schematically illustrates other structures that can be used to attach a combination decorative cover/container to an object, in place of hanger 56. A combined decorative cover/container 62 can be attached to an object using a ribbon 64 (or string, or twine, or a satin cord, or other equivalents that would be recognized by one of ordinary skill in the art). It should also be recognized that instead of using ribbon 64 as a means for attachment, the ribbon can simply be added to the combined decorative cover/container to enhance the appearance of the combined decorative cover/container. It should be recognized that decorative cover/container 62 can incorporate openings of many different styles and shapes, and not simply the T-shaped opening shown, as the cordage type materials discussed above can be configured to work with openings of many different sizes and shapes.
  • Also shown in FIG. 8A is a combined decorative cover/container 66 including two openings to accommodate a handle 68 (which can be implemented using cordage, metal wire or rod, a plastic strap or rod, or other recognized equivalents). It should be recognized that a decorative cover 66 a that is combined with a container to achieve combined decorative cover/container 66 will actually include three openings in a planar configuration, such that when the decorative cover is transformed from the planar configuration to the three-dimensional configuration substantially conforming to the container, the two of the three openings in the decorative cover align with one another and with the corresponding opening in the container, generally as described above. Thus, in combined decorative cover/container 66, openings 18 are aligned with one another and with a corresponding opening in the container, while opening 18 a is aligned with a corresponding opening in the container. It should be recognized that the openings in decorative cover 66 a and its corresponding container (not separately shown) can be implemented either as generally circular openings, or generally T-shaped openings, or some other size or shape. Thus, other embodiments of the cover will have other die-cut openings and can be used with other hanging apparatus.
  • An embodiment of the cover will have three die-cut openings, generally as illustrated in FIGS. 8B and 8C. A decorative cover 70 includes four openings 72, two of which are aligned when the decorative cover is in the three-dimensional configuration substantially conforming to a container (this concept has been generally described above). The two aligned openings also align with an opening in a corresponding container. The additional two openings in the decorative cover similarly align with openings in the corresponding container. A combination of decorative cover 70, a container, and cordage 74 (to implement an attachment means) is shown in FIG. 8C.
  • The openings will vary in design and placement depending on the design and placement of the openings and attachment methods for the hanging apparatus of the container with which the decorative cover is intended to be used.
  • It should be recognized that the openings can only be partially formed in the decorative cover, and that the consumer or person installing the decorative cover can punch out the material corresponding to a partially completed opening. In some embodiments, the decorative cover will include a plurality of partially formed openings in different positions, to enable a single decorative cover to be used with different containers, each having one or more different openings, to accommodate a plurality of different hangers.
  • Another exemplary embodiment of the cover and container will use materials such as ribbons, cords, and strings inserted through such openings for decorative purposes only, instead of being provided to facilitate hanging the container and cover.
  • Another exemplary embodiment of the decorative cover includes three die-cut openings. When three die-cut openings are made in a cover, it may be used with a container with corresponding openings to form a bucket, basket, or hanging container.
  • Another exemplary embodiment of the decorative cover can be used with a commercially available hanging container. A decorative cover can be used to cover existing commercially available hanging pots and may have three holes die-cut around the upper portion of the cover, corresponding to the disposition of corresponding holes in such pots.
  • 5. A Bottom Enclosure for Decorative Covers: As schematically illustrated in FIG. 9, a bottom enclosure 76 may be inserted into a decorative cover 78 before a container 80 is inserted, to create a waterproof saucer on which the container can be placed. This bottom enclosure can be circular, square, or oval, as appropriate to snugly fit the container in which it sits.
  • An exemplary embodiment of the bottom enclosure may include a commercially available product commonly referred to as a saucer.
  • An exemplary embodiment of the bottom enclosure is a commercially available product commonly known as a liner.
  • An exemplary embodiment of the bottom enclosure may be created from the same material as the cover and formed fitted to the container.
  • An exemplary embodiment of bottom enclosure comprises a die-cut and scored shape having a closed bottom created by folding a die-cut piece inside, with one edge held in place with an adhesive. This embodiment can also hold non-tapered containers.
  • 6. A Kit Including a Container, a Decorative Cover, and Gift Tag: As schematically illustrated in FIG. 10, another aspect of the concepts disclosed herein is directed to an exemplary kit 80 including a container 82, a decorative cover 84 for the container, and a coordinating gift tag 86. The container can be watertight, such that the kit can be used for floral arrangements, although it should be recognized that such a kit can be used to hold other gift items, including but not limited to, small toys, candy, souvenirs, mementos, and other items. Where the container is intended to hold non-floral items, it should be recognized that the container need not be watertight, and might be fabricated from non-waterproof materials.
  • Although the concepts disclosed herein have been described in connection with the preferred form of practicing them and modifications thereto, those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that many other modifications can be made thereto within the scope of the claims that follow. Accordingly, it is not intended that the scope of these concepts in any way be limited by the above description, but instead be determined entirely by reference to the claims that follow.

Claims (24)

1. A decorative cover for a floral container, comprising a flexible substrate, such that when a first portion of the substrate is coupled with a second portion of the substrate, the substrate substantially conforms to and covers an outer surface of the container, the substrate comprising one or more elements selected from a group consisting essentially of:
(a) a lower edge comprising a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, such that when the substrate substantially conforms to the outer surface of the container, the plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces extend below a bottom of the container, so that the outwardly projecting surfaces can be bent to enable the bottom of the container to contact a support surface on which the container is placed;
(b) an upper edge comprising a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, each outwardly projecting surface being configured to bend outwardly and away from a main body of the substrate, such that when the substrate substantially conforms to the outer surface of the container, the plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces extend outwardly and away from a top portion of the container;
(c) a generally T-shaped opening configured to receive a hanger, so that the hanger can extend over an object to support the container and the decorative cover from the object; and
(d) a specialty paper that substantially does not wick water when an edge of the specialty paper is placed in water.
2. A decorative cover for a floral container, comprising a flexible substrate, such that when a first portion of the substrate is coupled with a second portion of the substrate, the substrate substantially conforms to and covers an outer surface of the container, the substrate comprising:
(a) a specialty paper that substantially does not wick water when an edge of the specialty paper is placed in water; and
(b) a lower edge having a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, each outwardly projecting surface being configured to extend beyond the outer surface of the container to enable the container to be placed upon a support surface, so that when a bottom of the container contacts the support surface, the outwardly projecting surfaces are bent outwardly and away from a main body of the substrate.
3. The decorative cover of claim 2, wherein the specialty paper comprises a synthetic paper.
4. The decorative cover of claim 2, wherein the substrate further comprises a substantially T-shaped opening configured to receive a hanger, such that when properly assembled, a combination comprising the container, the decorative cover, and the hanger can be attached to a supporting object.
5. The decorative cover of claim 2, wherein the substrate further comprises an upper edge having a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, each outwardly projecting surface being configured to bend outwardly and away from a main body of the substrate, such that when the substrate substantially conforms to the outer surface of the container, the plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces extend outwardly and away from a top portion of the container.
6. The decorative cover of claim 2, wherein one of the first portion of the substrate and the second portion of the substrate comprises an adhesive layer configured to facilitate coupling the first portion with the second portion.
7. A decorative system comprising:
(a) an open-ended container defining a volume, the container comprising at least one side wall, a bottom, and an opening in the side wall, the opening being disposed adjacent an upper portion of the container defining an open end;
(b) a decorative cover configured to substantially conform to and cover an outer surface of the container, the decorative cover comprising a flexible substrate, such that when a first portion of the substrate is coupled with a second portion of the substrate, the substrate substantially conforms to and covers the outer surface of the container, the substrate comprising a specialty paper that substantially does not wick water when an edge of the specialty paper is placed in water, the substrate further comprising an opening configured to substantially align with the opening in the container when the decorative cover is used to cover the outer surface of the container; and
(c) a support structure configured to pass through the openings in the container and in the decorative cover, to enable the decorative system to be attached to an object with the support structure.
8. The decorative system of claim 7, wherein the openings in the container and the substrate are generally circular, and wherein the support structure comprises a ribbon.
9. The decorative system of claim 7, wherein the openings in the container and the substrate are generally T-shaped, and wherein the support structure comprises a clip having a corresponding T-shaped portion configured to engage the openings in the container and in the substrate.
10. The decorative system of claim 7, wherein the support structure comprises a clip.
11. The decorative system of claim 7, wherein the substrate comprises an upper edge comprising a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, each outwardly projecting surface being configured to bend outwardly and away from a main body of the substrate, such that when the substrate substantially conforms to the outer surface of the container, the plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces extend outwardly and away from a top portion of the container.
12. The decorative system of claim 7, wherein the substrate comprises a lower edge having a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, such that when the substrate substantially conforms to the outer surface of the container, the plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces extend below a bottom of the container and are bent to enable the bottom of the container to contact a support surface on which the container is placed.
13. The decorative system of claim 7, wherein the substrate comprises an upper edge, a lower edge, a first outer edge, and a second outer edge, the first outer edge corresponding to the first portion and the second outer edge corresponding to the second portion, a first slit being disposed adjacent to the first outer edge and extending from the lower edge toward the upper edge, a second slit being disposed adjacent to the second outer edge and extending from the upper edge toward the lower edge, the first and second slits cooperating to enable the first portion and the second portion to be coupled together to transform the substrate from a generally planar structure to a three-dimensional structure substantially conforming to the outer surface of the container.
14. The decorative system of claim 7, wherein the support structure comprises:
(a) a vertically elongated front leg having upper and lower ends and a front surface;
(b) a rear mounting hook extending from the upper end of the front leg, first rearwardly and then downwardly, said rear mounting hook being configured to engage an upper portion of an object, to secure the support structure to the object with the front leg depending from the mounting hook on a side of the object;
(c) said front leg including a container hook adjacent to its upper end, said container hook having a base portion that extends forwardly from the front leg and a front portion which extends upwardly from the base portion;
(d) a hook throat defined by and between the front portion of the container hook and an adjacent upper front portion of the front leg;
(e) said front portion of the container hook being sized and shaped to be inserted into the opening in the container;
(f) said hook throat being sized and shaped to receive and accommodate a portion of the container side wall disposed above the opening in the container, following insertion of the front portion of the container hook through the opening in the container;
(g) said front surface of said front leg making stabilizing contact with the container below the opening in the container when the container is hanging from said container hook; and
(h) wherein the rear mounting hook has a downwardly directed hook entrance that is initially narrower than the upper portion of the object to which the support structure is to be attached, said rear mounting hook being readily bendable in position away from the front leg, so that the downwardly directed hook throat can be enlarged for receiving the upper portion of the object, said rear mounting hook being sufficiently elastomeric to spring back towards an initial position after being placed on the support structure, and said front leg including a rearwardly directed stiffening web.
15. The decorative system of claim 7, wherein the support structure comprises:
(a) a vertically elongated front leg having upper and lower ends and a front surface;
(b) a rear mounting hook extending from the upper end of the leg, first rearwardly and then downwardly, said rear mounting hook being configured to engage an upper portion of the object, to secure the support structure to the object with the front leg depending from the mounting hook on a side of the object;
(c) said front leg including a container hook adjacent to its upper end, said container hook having a base portion that extends forwardly from the leg and a front portion that extends upwardly from the base portion;
(d) a hook throat defined by and between the front portion of the container hook and an adjacent upper front portion of the front leg;
(e) said front portion of the container hook being sized and shaped to be inserted into the opening in the container;
(f) said hook throat being sized and shaped to receive and accommodate a portion of the side wall of the container disposed above the opening in the container, following insertion of the front portion of the container hook through the opening in the container;
(g) said front surface of said front leg making stabilizing contact with the container below the opening in the container when the container is hanging from said container hook; and
(h) a web extending rearwardly from at least a lower portion of the front leg of the support structure and increasing in depth as it extends downwardly, said web contacting the object to help establish the attitude of the support structure on the object.
16. The decorative system of claim 7, wherein the opening in the container comprises a horizontally elongated upper portion and a vertically elongated lower portion, and wherein the support structure comprises:
(a) a front part;
(b) a rear mounting hook extending from the front part rearwardly and then downwardly, said rear mounting hook being configured to engage an upper portion of an object, to secure the support structure to the object, with the front part depending from the mounting hook on a side of the object;
(c) said front part including a container hook having a base portion that extends forwardly from the front portion and a front portion that extends upwardly from the base portion;
(d) a hook throat defined by and between the front portion of the container hook and an adjacent portion of the front part;
(e) said base portion of the container hook being configured to extend through the opening in the container, such that when the decorative system is assembled, a portion of the container side wall above the opening is disposed adjacent to the hook throat, and a lower edge of the portion of the container side wall above the opening rests on the base portion of the container hook;
(f) when the system is assembled, a weight of the container and its contents are transferred to the container mount by contact between an edge surface of the portion of the container side wall above the opening and the base portion of the container hook;
(h) the front part of the container mount comprises a front leg which depends from the rear mounting hook along a side of the object, the container hook being disposed adjacent to the upper end of the front leg, and the container contacting said front leg below the opening in the container when the decorative system is assembled; and
(i) wherein the front leg of the container mount includes a stem portion extending vertically downwardly from the front portion of the container hook, wherein the stem portion fits into the lower portion of the opening in the container.
17. The decorative system of claim 7, wherein the opening in the container comprises a horizontally elongated upper portion and a vertically elongated lower portion, and wherein the support structure comprises:
(a) a vertically elongated front leg having upper and lower ends and a front surface;
(b) a rear mounting hook extending from the upper end of the leg, first rearwardly and then downwardly, said rear mounting hook being configured to engage an upper portion of an object, to secure the support structure to the object with the front leg depending from the mounting hook on a side of the object;
(c) said front leg including a container hook adjacent to its upper end, said container hook having a base portion that extends forwardly from the leg and a front portion that extends upwardly from the base portion;
(d) a hook throat defined by and between the front portion of the container hook and an adjacent upper front portion of the front leg;
(e) said front portion of the container hook being sized and shaped to be inserted into the opening in the container;
(f) the front leg including a stem portion extending vertically downwardly from the front portion of the container hook, and the front portion of the container hook being configured to fit into the upper portion of the opening in the container, and the stem portion being configured to fit into the lower portion of the opening in the container, with an interfit of the stem portion of the front leg with the lower portion of the opening in the container functioning to brace the container against sideways rotation when the decorative system is assembled;
(g) said hook throat being dimensioned to receive and accommodate a portion of the container side wall disposed above the opening in the container, following insertion of the front portion of the container hook through the opening in the container; and
(h) said front surface of said front leg making stabilizing contact with the container below the opening in the container when the container is hanging from said container hook.
18. A method for decorating a floral container, comprising the steps of:
(a) providing a decorative cover configured to substantially conform to and cover an outer surface of the container, the decorative cover comprising a substantially flexible substrate, the substrate comprising a specialty paper that generally does not wick water when an edge of the specialty paper is placed in water; and
(b) coupling a first portion of the decorative cover with a second portion of the decorative cover, such that the decorative cover substantially conforms to and covers the outer surface of the container.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein the step of providing a decorative cover comprises the step of providing an edge on the flexible substrate comprising a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, each outwardly projecting surface being configured to extend beyond the outer surface of the container, and further comprising the step of bending the outwardly projecting surfaces outwardly and away from a main body of the substrate, such that the outwardly projecting surfaces extend outwardly and away from the container.
20. The method of claim 18, wherein the step of providing a decorative cover comprises the step of providing a lower edge on the flexible substrate comprising a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, each outwardly projecting surface being configured to extend beyond a bottom of the container, and further comprising the step of bending the outwardly projecting surfaces outwardly and away from a main body of the substrate and from the bottom of the container, such that the outwardly projecting surfaces extend outwardly and away from the container, the outwardly projecting surfaces being oriented substantially parallel to a support surface when the bottom of the container is placed upon the support surface.
21. The method of claim 18, wherein the step of coupling a first portion of the decorative cover with a second portion of the decorative cover, such that the decorative cover substantially conforms to and covers the outer surface of the container comprises the step of transforming the decorative cover from a generally planar configuration to a three-dimensional configuration substantially conforming to the outer surface of the container by engaging a first slit in the decorative cover with a second slit in the decorative cover, the first slit being disposed adjacent to the first portion of the decorative cover and extending from a lower edge of the decorative cover towards an upper edge of the decorative cover, the second slit being disposed adjacent to the second portion of the decorative cover and extending from the upper edge of the decorative cover towards the lower edge of the decorative cover.
22. A decorative kit comprising:
(a) a container defining a volume, the container comprising a bottom portion and a sidewall portion, and an opening in the sidewall portion, the opening being disposed adjacent to an upper portion of the container;
(b) a decorative cover configured to substantially conform to and cover the sidewall portion of the container, the decorative cover comprising a flexible substrate that is initially substantially planar, such that when a first portion of the substrate is coupled with a second portion of the substrate, the substrate substantially conforms to and covers the sidewall portion of the container, the substrate further comprising an opening configured to substantially align with the opening in the container when the decorative cover is used to cover the sidewall portion of the container;
(c) a coordinating gift tag; and
(d) a coupler configured to attach the coordinating gift tag to the container after the decorative cover has been placed on the container, by engaging the openings in the container and in the decorative cover.
23. The decorative kit of claim 22, wherein the substrate comprises a specialty paper that generally does not wick water when an edge of the specialty paper is placed in water.
24. The decorative kit of claim 22, wherein the substrate comprises a lower edge having a plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces, such that when the substrate substantially conforms to the outer surface of the container, the plurality of outwardly projecting surfaces extend below a bottom of the container and can be bent to enable the bottom of the container to contact a support surface on which the container is placed.
US11/459,448 2005-07-23 2006-07-24 Decorative floral sleeve Abandoned US20070023311A1 (en)

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