So when last I left you, we had just discussed the finer points of artificial flowers. I picked my favorites that looked the most real to me and chose to make a bouquet. I think a bouquet is the best place to use artificials because, as opposed to a centerpiece, people aren’t going to be examining them up close to the same degree. I wanted to do something a little out of my usual aesthetic so I went with bright colors. I chose roses, calla lilies, astilbe, eucalyptus and peaches.
Now let it be known that I do not claim to be a florist. I’m sure a real florist could conjure up something a lot more impressive for you, even with artificial flowers. I’m sure that florist is also rolling their eyes at my methods. I’m strictly winging it here on the making of the bouquet itself and I pieced together how to wrap it based on a few YouTube videos. With that being said, I think the results are quite nice and show that anyone really can make a simple bouquet with no formal training and not have it look like a hot mess.
First you want to gather your supplies:
- A good pair of wire cutters
- Floral wire
- Floral tape
- A hot glue gun or flower pins
- A vase that flares out a little at the top to create a good shape easily
- Baby Monitor (I do all this stuff in the middle of the night these days)
- Not pictured: Narrow wooden dowels/skewers and extremely strong hands because some of the wires are miserably hard to cut.
You will start like you would with any real flower arrangement – by cleaning up the flowers. This means that you need to remove the leaves, thorns, etc. and shorten the stems to nearly the length you want them to be in the end. One great thing about working with fake flowers is that you can combine bits and pieces of them to repair damaged ones. Take that real flowers! For items that have short stems or no stems, you can make them using various tactics. For the peaches I stuck a narrow dowel into them and wrapped it in floral tape. For the eucalyptus, I didn’t want the whole bunch so I selected bits and lengthened them by taping floral wire to them. I made sure to keep the length of the eucalyptus shorter than that of the other flowers so you didn’t see the wire sticking out the bottom but it was still long enough to be bound into the bouquet for support.
A note about floral tape: Floral tape only sticks to itself. It also needs to be stretched ever so slightly to maximize the grip. Wind the tape along the stems on a subtle diagonal. Often it’s helpful to hold the tape stationary and twirl the flower to wrap the stem.
Using the vase to hold your work, start putting the largest or most important flowers in first. Then add the next round of flowers, turning your work as you go to see if the arrangement is still fairly round/symmetrical. Pull out or push in pieces as needed make it look the way you want it to. Add filler (in my case the eucalyptus) to balance color or bulk so that the arrangement looks pleasantly finished.
Clutch your bouquet firmly at the base of the flowers and wrap it with a rubber band to hold it in place. Using floral tape, tightly wrap the midsection of the stems. This is your chance to make the bundle tight and not have pieces all wonky at the bottom so do a good job!
Decide where you want the back of the bouquet to be and lay it facing toward you. To tie the bouquet, get a pretty substantial length of ribbon (probably about a yard or more depending on how close together your layers are going to be). Starting at the bottom of where you want the ribbon to end, double knot the ribbon. Bring one side to the top of the stems and wrap around a sturdy stem. Using the other side of the ribbon, start wrapping around at a slight angle (covering the knot on your way around the first time) and continue until the top. At the top, double knot the ribbon again using the piece you looped around the stems before as the other side of your knot (keeping it wrapped around the stem still so you don’t bunch the ribbon). Cut one side the ribbon. Using the other side of the ribbon, wrap around a few more times, covering the knot. As you near the end, start to fold the ribbon in half slightly to make the edge smoother. Now you have the choice to pin it (pin through the ribbon upward into the flowers) or hot glue the ribbon (my choice). Cut the ribbon and tuck the tail into the stems. Trim the bottoms of all the stems to the same length. Finally, I added a broach that I had lying around to compliment and dress it up further. Pretty good for a complete novice eh?
And now for cost breakdown:
Full TrueTouch roses (5 x $5.99), Rosebuds (2 x $3.99), Calla lilies (4 x $1.99), Eucalyptus bunches (2 x $3.99), 1 bunch of the astilbe ($6.99).
That brings my subtotal for flowers to $60.86. But with the half off discount, the flowers were only $30.43 before tax. Add that to the ribbon ($4.99), wire ($2.99), and tape ($1.99) and my total before tax for the project was $40.40. I don’t count the dowels, glue, tools, etc. because I had them around already. Also, the ribbon, wire, and tape are going to used for more than just this project so if I divided that up it would be a lot less on those as well (as in pennies).
You now have a very lovely flower arrangement. You just have to get over the fact that they aren’t real and that the bottoms of the stems are kinda ugly. You could piece them together with tape in such a way that the factory finished ends are on the bottom. But man is that a lot of work!
I guess the other crummy thing is that they don’t smell as nice. If you would like to impart them with some fragrance, you can add essential oils to your bouquet. I would take rose oil, dilute it with another oil (vegetable based oil that is not in itself too fragrant), and either spritz it on the bouquet or soak a cotton ball in the mixture and tuck into the bouquet to hide it if you are worried that the oil will stain the flowers. Wear gloves when working with essential oils because they can be very irritating to the skin.
So there you have it. Economical, lasts forever, and pretty to boot. Next up: Recreating my bouquet when I get the special bits in the mail.