...Or, alternatively, how I made all my wedding bouquets for less than $60 (though, clearly, I did not pay myself for my time - that becomes a less economical proposition). This tutorial builds a lovely wedding bouquet (shown below) with the fabric flowers constructed in this post. I opted for fabric flowers for a lot of reasons (cost, keepsake value, lack of seersucker in nature, etc.), and I'm pretty thrilled with how all my bouquets turned out.
Tutorial: DIY Fabric Flower Wedding Bouquet
Start by gathering your materials. You need:
- Floral Wire (like this, from Hobby Lobby, and frequently 50% off)
- Whatever fabric you want to cover the floral wire (in this case, seersucker)
- A bouquet collar (like this - it will be covered, so I opted for the cheapest possible)
- A glue gun/glue sticks
- Fabric Flowers (~18 for a bridesmaid bouquet; I used 38 or so in my bridal bouquet)
Step one is to attach the stems to the flowers. This can be done by tightly wrapping the wire around the "tail" of each flower. Most of mine are wrapped three-ish times - just be careful not to stab yourself with the end of the wire!
Once you've attached wire to all of your flowers, it's time to do a rough assembly of the bouquet. Start with a few flowers that will be in the center of the bouquet, and build outward. As you do, hold the stems all together ~4" from the base of the flowers. This means that some of the wires will need to be bent, so that they can all stay together and form a dome shape. The pictures below show approximately what I did for my "toss" bouquet - seven flowers, no collar, with the wires trimmed to a shorter length.
Keep building outward for a bridesmaid bouquet. As I said, most of my bridesmaid bouquets used 18 flowers.
And keep building out for the bridal bouquet. Just worry about getting flowers in roughly the right place. Once the collar is on and the stems and gathered better, you have a better opportunity to be fussy with how close the flowers are to each other and whatnot.
Once you're happy with the general size and flower distribution, insert the stems into a bouquet collar, and move the collar to the place that you had been holding the stems (approximately 4" down from the middle flowers).
Use another piece of floral wire to secure the stems under the collar.
Now is your opportunity to shape the bouquet - wires should still slide relatively easily through the collar/securing wire, so you should be able to shape the dome, adjust how close the flowers are to one another, etc.
After you've done that, it's time to cover the collar, which happens in three steps. As a pre-step, if they're not already, trim or fold your floral wire stems to be all roughly the same length. Once that's done, cut the following shapes out of your fabric:
- A ~270 degree circle that is the same diameter as the cone-shaped plastic part of the floral collar (not the lacy or flat parts)
- A 1.5" strip, ~24" long
- A 4" strip, ~24" long
As you can see, seersucker, being a loosely woven fabric, frays like crazy. My measurements take that into account, and leave a little room to trim once everything is together. Start with the 1.5" strip. Fold one end long-ways over the tips of the stems, and wrap the stems to the base of the collar. I found that I didn't need to use glue until I got to the base. Glue the fabric to the plastic, and trim any excess.
Next, take your mostly-circle, and wrap that around the cone, covering the end of the fabric you used over the stems. Glue that in place. Don't worry if this isn't too precise - it gets covered up too.
Finally, take your 4" strip and glue it to the base of the cone. You'll work your way around the circle and pleat as you go, which will cause the fabric to curve upward and provide a nice base for your flowers. Trim any excess at the end (I also trimmed the outermost edges at the end, because of the fraying - this meant that the actual strip I used was only around 3.5").
And you're more or less done! I took this opportunity to tie on a "something blue" charm, and I know that some people like bows/ribbons attached here too.
And, because I'm not a professional photographer (what? shocking, I know), here are a few pictures of the bouquets in action :)
And that's it for now! I also made corsages with the flowers, which is considerably less time consuming (in that it requires far fewer flowers), so at some point I'll do a tutorial for that as well. Hope this is helpful to all my fellow DIY brides out there!