Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Crochet and Paper Flower Wedding Bouquet

Well, I did it: I made my wedding bouquet! AND I made two more for my bridal party. And I'm so happy with them. Thought I'd share the process.


Book pages you're willing to rip out and cut up
Glue gun
"Pearl" head pins
"Pearl" beads
Green wodden plant stakes
One 8" hard styrofoam ball
Two 6" hard styrofoam balls
Paint to match the colour of your flowers
Green paint
Lace ribbon
Silver charms

Step 1: Find flowers that you like and can make.

I thought for a while about trying to do an entirely paper flower bouquet because I found this tutorial for paper flowers and fell in love:

And, since our wedding theme was books and tea, these were doubly perfect. They're not a very quick project, but they aren't difficult and they ARE beautiful.

I'd bought an old book on sailing for almost nothing in anticipation of making the paper flowers. The pages were nice and thick, and not a bright white so they were great. To get the coloured flowers, I bought acrylic paint and watered it down a whole bunch to get the colours I wanted. Then I painted all the pages. The painting (and drying) took longer than any other part of making these flowers. I spent an hour and a half one morning before I realized how long I'd been doing it. And there were many, many other times I spent painting pages. But, very worth it in the end.

I started making them in different sizes and with different shaped petals and with different types of paper. And, like I said, I wanted my whole bouquet to be made of these paper flowers.

Unfortunately for me, I couldn't get them to sit in a nice, tight bouquet. After much agonizing, and considering giving up completely on a handmade  (by me) bouquet, I decided to add some crocheted flowers and see how that went. Which was great because crochet is my favourite craft. 

I thought I had found my perfect crocheted flower (my realistic rose from my previous post: but it didn't work in a bouquet either! My heart was broken once more. The flowers were too stiff and too tall to sit nicely in a bouquet on their own and to sit nicely with the paper flowers. 

I realized, to my surprise, that the roll up type rose that you can find everywhere, and that I basically poo-pooed in my previous post causing me to spend hours coming up with my realistic rose pattern, was actually perfect in a bouquet with my favourite paper flowers. So, I made a whole bunch. 

I used this pattern:

Step 2: Choose your colours. 

I had 4 wedding colours: orange, yellow, burgundy and blue. My best women (I couldn't choose one maid of honour, and best women sounded better than maids of honour) were in two different coloured dresses: one in yellow and one in burgundy. I had planned to wear all four colours in some way. Somehow, I finally decided that my bouquet would be entirely blue (and I had burgundy pearls and yellow in my necklace, and an orange flower for my hair) so I had all four colours. For my ladies, they each were going to have blue necklaces so their bouquets ended up being one in burgundy and orange and one in yellow and orange. 

Step 3: Decide how you will assemble your bouquet. 

Originally I really wanted to have each flower with its own stem, and then wrap the stems together like a real bouquet. But I could not get the flowers to stay tight and nicely arranged while trying to do that. I'd read a lot of blogs about handmade bouquets, and many of them looked down on using styrofoam balls as the base for a bouquet, but that's what I ended up using. 

When I thought about having a real flower bouquet, I always pictured a very rounded bouquet anyway. So I was perfectly happy having such a round bouquet because of the styrofoam ball. 

Then, I bought tons of those little pins with heads that look like pearls, and used them to pin on the crocheted flowers. I used my glue gun to glue them into the bottom of the paper flowers and stuck them on. 

And then I realized that I had to paint the white styrofoam ball blue or you would see the white here and there. So I took out all the flowers I'd pinned in and painted mine blue, and then the other two yellow and burgundy, respectively. 

I'd also decided to use wooden plant stakes as the stems so I painted around where the stakes would go in green, just in case. 

Then, I made more flowers, both crocheted and paper, and gathered some "pearl" beads to put in the center of each flower, and assembled once more. 

Once I got the look I wanted, I set the bouquet aside for a bit. I wanted to put a few bits and pieces I'd collected in the centers of some of the flowers, so I stuck them in temporarily and looked at it each day for a bit, sometimes moving them around. 

And once I'd decided on which ones to use and where, I had to figure out how to use the plant stakes as stems. The bouquet was pretty heavy, and I was worried that the stakes wouldn't be sturdy enough to hold the bouquet up. I was also worried that they wouldn't stay in the ball, and I might have to glue each one in. But, I just started poking them in. And it turns out, not only are they sturdy enough, but they are a b*@#$ to get into the ball, so there's no way they're just going to fall out of it. I had to get my (then) fiancee to help poke some in because they just didn't want to go for me. 

I also found some ivory rose beads at Michael's that I fell in love with, so I wrapped them with wire, wrapped the wire around a head pin and stuck them in a bunch of the flowers. And I hot glued some smaller "pearl" beads into the center of each of the paper flowers. 

Finally, I wanted to wrap the "stems" in satin and then lace. I got blue, yellow, and burgundy satin, cut it into strips and wrapped that around, hot gluing the ends in place. I bought some lace ribbon and wrapped that on top of the satin, and pinned that in place with 3 "pearl" head pins. I thought I might have to redo this a bunch, but I was really happy with the way they each turned out the first time so that was a plus. 

I also added a silver charm to each of our bouquets: love birds for me, a sand dollar for my beach-loving friend and a book for my book-loving friend. 

Et voila! Three wedding bouquets, better than I had imagined. At least, I think they're great. My best women loved them too so that's a plus, since they're keeping theirs. 

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