Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let's Make a Boutonniere!!!

Tonight I have a few boutonnieres to make for a neighbor.  She is getting married in just a couple of days.  The past few days I have been working to get all of her flowers ready.  The bride and groom have six attendants each.  That means the brides bouquet, six bridesmaids bouquets, a throw bouquet, another throw for the little girls (you gotta include the little sister...she has to be a part of catching the bouquet), two mother's corsages, the grooms boutonniere, the two father's boutonnieres, and six groomsmen boutonnieres.  So, the numbers have changed a bit since we first put these flowers together.  So, last night I made 3 more bridesmaid bouquets.  Tonight we will make the extra boutonnieres and the little girls throw bouquet.  Unfortunately, I will not reveal most of the bridal parties flowers with this post.  That needs to happen on the day of the wedding and reception.  It is the brides day, not the lady that made the flowers day.  Believe me, I want to show you what I have done.  I love it!  I hope the bride loves it too.  AND I hope you like them too.  So, that being said, what I will show you is how to make a boutonniere.  It isn't hard.  It just takes a little time and patience.  Not to mention a good grip to hang on to everything in your hands.  Here we go....

flowers, of course
wire (I prefer a thinner gauge like 20 to 22 gauge)
a good set of wire cutters 
green floral tape (I prefer the light green if you can get it)
a candle
a floral knife if working with fresh flowers
ribbon for trim
corsage pins
a thin pencil or a wooden dowel
a glue gun and glue sticks

If you are using silk flowers, I suggest that you get your glue gun out and glue the tops/buds of the flowers to the stems for each flower you plan to use in your boutonniere.  The reason I do this is to make sure the flowers stay together.  I remember when I was working as a florist and heard about the classes FTD use to offer.  The instructor use to throw the completed corsages and boutonnieres the student made up against the wall.  If the piece survived they got a good grade. You don't want your pieces to fall apart during a Wedding or a Prom.  
That would NOT be good!!

Then I cut down the stem to about 1/4 of an inch from the flower bud.

Next, you need to wire each flower you plan to use in your boutonniere.  I like to use a thin wire like 22 gauge wire.  My favorite wire comes in about 20 inch lengths.  I will then cut them in half.  Figure about the length of a paper plate as shown in the photo below.
(The paper plate was used mostly so you could see my work, but it works great to show you the length of the wire too.)

To wire each flower I get the end of the wire hot by sticking the end into the fire of a candle as shown below.  It needs to be hot enough to go through the plastic in the 1/4 inch length of stem remaining under the flower bud.

(I thought I included a photo of the wire through the stem, but apparently not.  Hopefully you will get the idea from the other photos below)

Next you need to get out your floral tape.  Most stores sell the dark green tape.  I prefer the light green because it matches the flower better.  Keep in mind when you wrap your flowers, you need to wrap them tightly.  This tape stretches.  It is also made to rip, so don't be surprised if it rips a couple of times.  Sometimes you might get a bad roll of tape from some stores.  You do not want tape that rips a lot (like down the middle) or that is dried out.  It needs to be somewhat sticky when you get it out of the package, but not too tacky.  Too tacky means you have a bad roll of tape too. 

When you wrap your flowers start from where you place the floral wire.  Since the flower below is a cluster of three buds that I wanted to have separate behind my main flower, I started taping at the end of the cluster.  Normally, I would start right underneath the flower bud.  Tape most or all the way down the floral wire, stretching the floral tape as you go.  The gummy texture to the tape will bond with itself as you stretch and wrap the stems.

Below is a shop of all of my flowers wired and wrapped with floral tape.  Keep in mind, I am making 4 boutonnieres.

Once you have the flowers individually wrapped, the next thing you will do is start to construct your boutonniere.  I just eyeball things.  I have been known to rip a piece apart several times until I get the desired look I am wanting.  

One thing you need to remember to do as you group your flowers together is to trim the wires as you go.  You don't want the stem portion to become thick and fat.  No one wants to wear a boutonniere that is bulky.  So, I thin out the wires, but trimming them in a staggered manner.  See below.

This is what the piece looked like as i added a couple flowers.  The photo below is also before the leaves are added.

Once I have all the flowers put together the way I want them I then have to decide what I want to do with the stem.  For this boutonniere, we are going to do something super simple and curl the ends.  BUT, you could trim down the wire/stem portion and wrap the end or stumpy part with ribbon, jute, or lace.  Pretty much anything your heart desires goes.  (I will show you how to do this in a future post)

For curling the stem/wire portion, I take a thin pencil or thin wooden dowel and start from the bottom and curl the ends.  See below.

Below is the finished boutonniere.  I always add at least two pins for each boutonniere or corsage I make.  EVEN IF I AM MAKING A WRIST CORSAGE.  This way the person wearing the piece has an extra and the girl wearing the corsage does too.

This boutonniere is one of 7 I made for the wedding I just finished.  There are also 2 corsages, 6 bridesmaid bouquets, a throw bouquet for the older girls, a throw bouquet for the little girls, and the grooms boutonniere and the brides bouquet.  I always try to make the bride and groom stand out more than the rest of the wedding party.  This bride has two shades of purple, black, off while and silver as her colors.  I used big dark purple roses, off while cabbage roses, tiny lavender buds, with black feathers, silver and black ribbon, with tufts of black lace, purple berries, and sequin sparkles for the brides bouquet....along with a little BLING for the front of her bouquet at the handle.  (see the sneak peak in a previous post)  

For the groom, we used dark purple buds with a few buds and greenery.  I sure hope the bride and groom are happy with their flowers.  I also hope the happy couple has a wonderful day Saturday........AND I hope my little demo helps you with your floral projects.  Keep watching for demos on corsages and other floral bouquets.

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