Tuesday, July 5, 2011

About the Bouts

This long holiday weekend saw the completion of phase one of what I'm dubbing Project Floral Creations. (Have I mentioned that we aren't using any real flowers in our wedding? Well, we're not. And now that I've remembered to inform you of that, this post is gonna make a lot more sense!) The list of florals that need to be created isn't all that long, but it's felt really daunting because I assumed that everything would take a long time to complete. And if phase one is any indication, I was absolutely right about that. Thankfully I'm super pleased with the final outcome.

In case you couldn't tell (and I hope that's not the case), these are our boutonnieres. Over a year ago I saw an inspiration picture of grosgrain ribbon flower bouts and I thought the idea was fabulously fun, chic, and totally DIY-able. Mr. FW agreed and thus the plan was born. The steps were all pretty simple, but because I'm meticulous to a fault they each took an inordinately long time. In case you're interested, here's the step-by-step.

First you stitch down one side, either with the sewing machine or by hand. Knot the thread on one end and then pull the string on the other end (or one of the two strings, if you're using a sewing machine) until it gathers by an amount that will work for the size of the ribbon and the shape of the flower you're trying to make. Then you simply knot off the other end to hold the gather.

Hot glue one end of the gathered ribbon to the other, forming a (sometimes wonky-looking) circle. You're then going to hot glue a piece of felt to the back of each flower to hold the shape and to make it more sturdy.

Now for the flower centers. I know a lot of other people use buttons or beads, but we wanted a more substantial center that wasn't visibly button-like. I considered using buttons with shanks on the backs, and they would've been infinitely easier. But they were also more money than I wanted to spend and I knew tissue paper could give a similar look, so I went that route.

To do this, you start with a tissue paper ball roughly the size of the center you want. Bury the tip of your floral wire inside this ball and then wrap one or two layers of smooth tissue paper around both of them. Use floral tape to secure the tissue paper.

Make a hole in your felt center that's large enough to accommodate the tape-wrapped stem, then use a little hot glue to secure the ribbon flower onto the tissue paper center. To complete the look you can use some needle-nose pliers to bend the stem down. Then step back and admire your finished flower.

For Mr. FW's bout I incorporated a glass tile with a picture of his/our dog, Patches. I just needed to build up the center of the flower with some additional felt before I attached the tile with hot glue. My/our dog Eli has a matching tile that will probably be featured on my bouquet. This way we can have the dogs with us on our wedding day, even if they can't be physically present.

To put everything together, just bend the stems to place the flowers where you want them. A thin floral wire will secure them while you work. (In this picture you can see the two different kinds of backs I used - one as described and one where I just sandwiched the stem between two circles of felt. For that method I glued the tissue paper balls onto the center. Neither method was necessarily easier or faster, so just do whatever you prefer.) After everything is wired together exactly as you want it, you can give your bout a finished look by wrapping the stems with (more) ribbon and securing that ribbon with (more) hot glue.

And now we can cross that project off the list! Woohoo! Let's hope this recent craftiness is the beginning of a Project Floral Creations momentum streak - that way I'll be a little less stressed about our neverending to-do list, AND I'll have lots more to show you soon.

Are you using any floral-alternative elements for your wedding day? If so, are they DIY or something you're purchasing?

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