Saturday, October 26, 2013

DIY Handmade Brooch Bouquet with Real Preserved Roses

Since I just posted about our invitation
making adventure, I figured I'll stick with the wedding theme
and cover the DIY brooch bouquet I made for our local reception.

I had seen some brooch bouquets in wedding photography and determined that this was something that would fit our overall wedding style, and would be a fun project.
While it was fun, it was also a lot of work, haha.

After looking around on the internet (and a lot of Etsy),
I eventually decided that I didn't want a bouquet made primarily of brooches, but instead a traditional rose bouquet 
highlighted by brooches.

My MIL Donna jumped on board and gave the project a head start
by purchasing the brooches on Ebay.  The set came with about 13-14 brooches, and I think she paid around 50 dollars.
The brooches were PERFECT for the style I was envisioning!

The first step was wiring the brooches in preparation for use.
Donna did several of these before I picked the brooches up from her, based on online tutorials.  It's not super *hard* work,
but it *can* be tricky to find the right spot on the
brooch to attach the wire, and it can be tiresome on the fingers.

While you can certainly find a more detailed how-to guide
on the internet...

How to Wire the Brooches 

Take a long strip of 18-22 gauge wire, and form it into a 'V'.  The wire should be twice as long as your desired stem length.
(Many people use green florist wire for this step. I didn't want any fake green stems in the bouquet, so we used silver, which blended with the brooches better.)

Find 1 or 2 (depending on the weight of the brooch) inconspicuous areas to place the wiring. 

Starting from the top (visible) side of the brooch,
slide both ends of the wire through the brooch but 
over a background element of the brooch.  

Pull the both ends of the wire all the way through as tight as you can. The point of the 'V', that secures the brooch, 
should nearly disappear into the brooch.
This is why its important to choose the spot wisely!  

Wind both ends of the wire together as close together and tightly to the brooch as possible - without going so tight that it just curls up. If you have several wires, wind them together in the middle to create one stem.

Prepping the Roses

Once all the brooches were finished, I had to prepare the preserved roses for the project by 'stemming' them as well.
They came in boxes of 6, which really only contained
the rose heads.  I bought these roses online from saveoncrafts.
I also bought these stems for preserved roses.

I absolutely loved the color of these antiqued white roses.
I used a hot glue gun to attach the tiny preserved rose stem to the wired stem.  The preserved rose stems were supposed to
conveniently fit into the purchased stems, but I think
because I bought the extra large roses, sometimes they didn't
fit very well at all.  That was rather frustrating.

I also thought it would be a lot more convenient if the purchasable stems for preserved roses were quite long - like an actual stem, but they were only about 4" long.
So I bought some paper wrapped stem wire, 
similar to these sold at Jo-Ann, and used white 
florist tape to tape the mini stems to the stem wire.

Shaping the Bouquet

The next step was to put the brooches and the roses together.
I had 24 roses and 14 brooches.

There isn't really a good way to describe *how* to put the roses and brooches together into a bouquet.  Some people that use
artificial flowers use those foam balls to stick the flowers/brooches into, and I could see that working fairly well.
I started with 2 roses and 1 extra pretty brooch in the
middle, and I worked out from there.

Donna came over, and she helped hold the bouquet. I 
would add a rose or brooch and then bend the stem so that the rose/brooch was placed just how I wanted it. Then Donna would hold the bouquet and I'd quickly use the florist tape or wire (or regular tape) to tape the stems together.
You don't have to go crazy here because this isn't a permanent solution - it just has to hold the stems where you want them until you're done shaping the bouquet and you're ready to wrap the stems to create the base/handle. 
Then trim the wire stems to the size that you want.

Turning the Stems into a Handle

I've never made a bouquet before, so I wasn't sure
exactly how to wrap the handle to make it pretty.

I ended up making a sort of 'scalloped' edge along the base
of the flowers by cutting small strips of wired florist ribbon, folding them in half, and gluing them onto the stems in an overlapping pattern.  (In retrospect I probably could have just folded the ribbon in a continuing 'W' shape and saved
myself a LOT of cutting!).  Gluing each piece down did guarantee the stability of that ribbon.
Make sure to fold over exposed edges of ribbon.
Then I wrapped a base layer of ribbon diagonally around the stems. 

On top of that layer, I did an interlocking ribbon pattern by wrapping the ribbon around the handle base, and then twisting it when I got to the front.  Then I would turn the bouquet around (you sort of have to dedicate a front/back), and do it
again on the other side.

By the time I got to the bottom, I wasn't quite sure how to finish it off, so I just tied a bow. :)

Donna is my Vanna White!

Since I was using this at our local reception
(and there was no ceremony), I wasn't planning to hold the
bouquet at all.  So for display, I bought a cheap
decanter at HomeGoods, and some decorative
sand/rocks at a hobby shop.

I thought the rock and sand mix matched perfectly!

A close-up of the flower.
All in all, I was really happy with the way
the bouquet turned out, and (maybe because of the hard
work put into it) I ended up liking it a lot more
than most of the inspiration bouquets I'd scouted online.
The real roses had a such a delicate and sophisticated
look to them, I loved the way they looked with the brooches.

Overall, this bouquet cost about 200 dollars to make.
So it wasn't exactly cheap, but then again buying brooch bouquets isn't necessarily cheap either. And I got exactly what I wanted.

If you're interested in making your own, I'd recommend:

- taking it slowly (the processes are rough on the fingers)
- listening to good music


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