Spring weddings are a perfect opportunity to give seeds or plants as favors. No better time than when they have a whole growing season ahead of them! I have seen some lovely personalized seed packet favors but they lack the “oomph” that some desire. So I came up with a way to present seeds in a fun and striking manner that is also far easier to plant for your guests when they get home. Win, win! Seed tape has long been a gardener’s secret weapon for getting ahead of things in the pre-season. Having seeds attached to a paper ribbon means they are pre-spaced and ready to go. For seeds like carrots where spacing is critical, they have always been very popular. But really any seed can receive this treatment (though if you want your seed tapes to be used for a flower box, choose a shorter plant variety). Seed tape is normally pretty ugly stuff made out of paper towels or toilet paper and taped into a roll. I try to avoid any project made out of toilet paper to be used as wedding decor! So when I learned that white crepe paper can be used instead, I was delighted to see if I could make paper flowers embedded with seeds. The answer was a resounding “yes” and I’m super excited to share the results with you. These DIY seed tape favors are unique, useful, inexpensive, and insanely easy to make. That’s the best kind of favor!
- White crepe paper streamers (Colored papers can poison seeds. Alternatively you can use black and white newsprint, paper towels, or toilet paper.)
- Mini-muffin liners
- Ruler or yard stick
- White school glue (Alternatively you can use a paste made of water and flour)
- Pre-printed labels with care instructions
- Cut a piece of streamer 6 ft long.
- Fold the length of paper in half repeatedly until you get a bundle approximately 1″ wide.
- Cut an arch along the top of the paper to create petal shapes.
- Open the paper back up to reveal your scallops.
- Laying the ruler along the length of the paper, add small drops of glue (or flour paste) along half the length. Your glue spacing will be determined by the instructions on the packaging for seed spacing. I put two or more seeds per droplet of glue to ensure that there is a germinated seedling at each location. It is better to thin later than have a gap.
- Fold the paper back in half once and press the pieces together to sandwich the seeds between paper and seal them in. You can line up the scallops or offset them for a more ruffled appearance.
- Allow to dry completely.
- Roll up your seed tape very loosely down the length of the paper. Allow to unravel slightly in you hand.
- Place your rolled up seed tape into the mini-muffin liner.
- Gently arrange the layers as you wish to make the flower appear fuller or more even.
- I added an optional bundle of wired flower stamen from the hobby store (in the baking aisle and used to make sugar flowers).
- Display Suggestions: Arrange roses on trays, moss sheets, cake plates, or runners. You can put one or more of them at each place setting as well. They can easily be lowered into small gift boxes to protect them. Make sure to include care instructions and keep them dry!
- If you want colorful flowers, place the whole roll of crepe paper (on one of its flat sides) into a very shallow bath of weakly diluted food coloring. Allow the paper to soak up the mixture. Unroll onto newspapers and allow to dry completely before moving forward. It will create a gradient effect (ombre). I would personally use the more concentrated color at the tips of your flower petals (so the side that you cut the arch into).
- To encourage germination, you can lightly scratch the surface of the seeds across a nail file before putting onto the glue.
For this Floral Friday (with not a second to spare in the day), I wanted to present something original. When I first posted about the idea of a glamelia (A.K.A. composite bouquet, duchess bouquet, rose bouquet, etc.), I immediately got the idea that I wanted to do one with aspen leaves for fall. But somehow the timing was never right to acquire materials and get it done. This year I was compelled once and for all to make an aspen leaf glamelia! So I collected an insane amount of leaves, brushed up on YouTube tutorials, and set to work on this dream project of mine. I knew it would be interesting since it was the internet leading the blind. In reality, the execution was easy peasy! HOWEVER! It is damn time consuming. It is also materials intensive. If you want a glamelia made of flowers (expensive) instead of leaves (free), I can see why it’s pricey and painstaking.
After my experience, I do NOT suggest doing this yourself. Definitely outsource this project to a qualified person who wants to spend an entire day making it happen for you. The eve of your wedding shouldn’t be spent sorting leaves by size and color. Get a mani-pedi instead! But if you insist, expand the bar below the images.
Aspen Leaf Glamelia How-To
Large Container and a Towel for Hydration
Foam Core Board, Circle Template, Pen, Utility Knife
Floral Glue or Hot Glue**
Bouquet Holder (Angled Handle)
Sticks for Handle
*I acquired approximately two crap-tons of leaves. I went way overboard and had a lot left over. But it’s better to have more than you need rather than less with such a time-consuming and perishable project. It afforded me the ability to pick the very best leaves. However, I can’t give you a great estimate since your leaves will be different sizes than mine and probably different quality. When in doubt, fill your entire trunk with branches like I did. Just make sure to get a variety of leaf sizes!
** Hot glue will cause the leaves to brown wherever it sits on them. This is hidden by the subsequent row. I used a cool melt setting to put the last leaves in the middle and not have them brown. Floral glue is typically recommended for this but the warnings on the tube scared the bejesus out of me. I enjoy breathing and may not be done having kids! Please read the instructions carefully if you use the floral glue and take the necessary precautions.
- Create a base for your project. I used a dessert plate to trace a circle onto foam core board and then I cut it out with a utility knife.
Fig. 1 – Making the circular base for your glamelia
- Remove most of your leaves from the branches. Keep a few branches intact if you’d like for embellishments at the end. Place the leaves in a cool water bath (this rinses them, and keeps them pliable).
- Dampen a towel and place it on your work surface to keep the leaves hydrated. If you need to take a break, you can roll up the towel with the leaves on it or overlay them with another damp towel.
- Organize your leaves by size. (I also made piles based on color – all yellow or ones with green.) Then toss out all the yucky ones. Note: A template of some sort might be beneficial because I realized that the leaves in my piles kept getting bigger as I went along and I had to organize again…and again. I might be a little insane. In the end, however, the imperfections made it look more organic so I didn’t stress too hard.
Fig. 2 – Soaking the leaves and organizing into piles
Fig. 3 – Organizing leaves by size and color
- Cut the stems off your leaves. Note: This needn’t be very tidy because you will be covering these bits up for the most part. In the images of mine, I kept the stems intact for the first row and then realized I needed to eliminate them.
- Using your largest leaves, create a ring of “petals” around the base, overlapping the leaves slightly and letting the leaves overhang the foam board. Flip the board over and repeat. Note: This creates one row on the back to cover the raw edges of the foam board. You can decide how you want to finish out the back.
- After the first row, you will need to create a little dimension because leaves are flat, unlike petals. I made a small slit in the bottom of each leaf, overlapped the two newly formed pieces slightly, and glued to create a more petal-like shape.
Fig. 4 – Cut a slit into the leaf pull the sides together to make the leaves more petal-like.
- Keep adding rows of leaves in concentric circles. After each row, step down to the next sized leaf. Reserve the remaining leaves in each size for filling in gaps later. Use your judgment on this to make it look good and not get too tiny too quickly. Note: If you are making a green center, begin using mottled leaves when you are halfway through. Increase the amount of green as you go along until you have mostly or entirely green leaves in the middle. I placed one small green leaf directly in the center to finish it off.
- If you are like me, it will look a little mangy and lacking at this juncture. You may be starting to panic. Using the extra leaves you reserved, add a little glue to the bottom of each leaf (no need to curve these ones) and stick them in between rows in your glamelia to create bulk. They will basically sit atop the existing ones in each row and it begins to be fluffy. Continue doing this until the whole bouquet has an even looking loft.
Fig. 5 – It was at this point that it got dicey for me. It looked like a plate of tortilla chips waiting for cheese. There was sweat and a feeling of utter disappointment. Fortunately, I pressed on and it got magical…after a while. And it’s a good thing too because nobody wants a nacho bouquet. Joke: What do you call a tortilla chip bouquet that doesn’t belong to you…Nacho Bouquet!
- Glue the bouquet holder to the back of the glamelia. You want the handle to be angled in such a way that the glamelia is angled upward slightly when held. Because it is flatter than a normal bouquet, the handle needs to be almost parallel to the bouquet to keep it facing forward.
- Create a bouquet handle with branches. Trim a bundle of sticks (the straighter the better) to equal lengths. The ones I used were about 9 inches in length. Arrange the sticks around the handle of the bouquet holder. Using a rubber band to hold them together, glue the sticks to the handle.
- Finish out the back however you would like. Some people do flat rows of petals or leaves on the back. You may choose to do a circle of fabric or leather.
- Wrap the handle with whatever decorative finish you like as well. I kept the rubber band in place, wrapped with a ribbon the shade of the branches, pinned in place, and then criss-crossed with leather. It was what I had available without paying for more supplies! This bouquet was all but free for me!
- Finishing touches: I thought that a pure circle was a little boring, so I attached a few intact branches to create a different shape to the overall bouquet.
- Keeping it pretty: To preserve it, I used a squirt bottle to mist the glamelia. I then put it on a cutting board, overlaid it with saran wrap, and put it in the fridge until it was time to use it. Keep the bouquet protected, moist, and refrigerated as long as possible. As it stays out, it will begin to dry and develop dark spots. These buggers are fragile but cool! It also weighs a bit and has pokey parts so probably don’t throw this bouquet at anyone, ceremonially or otherwise. ;)
Fig. 6 – The center of the glamelia becomes increasingly more green and is finishing off with a single green leaf.