Library of Flowers – Growing Like Weeds

Before the wedding, I posted about making paper flowers, fabric leaves, and then again about putting the paper boutonnieres together. The original plan was 3 boutonnieres and 3 bouquets – flowers just for the wedding party.

Between getting engaged and about March, I waffled over whether I wanted real or paper flowers. As you know, I chose to make paper flowers. I purposely didn’t tell Cinnamum about this decision until she asked me directly ‘what are you doing for flowers?’ And when I told her I was making them out of book paper, I got the expected silence on the other end of the line. I emailed a few photos to her after that conversation, and never received any feedback on them. A few days passed, and I got a phone call. This phone call nearly put me over the edge. It was all ‘Are you doing it to save money? We can send more money! I can buy flowers and arrange them the morning of the wedding! We can go to Safeway! You need real flowers!’ I don’t think it was ever said in so many words, but the impression was that paper flowers would look cheap and childish and a real wedding needed real flowers. That time, I was the one emanating silence from the other end of the line.

After that phone call, I fell into a crafting slump. I didn’t do anything with the paper flowers for weeks. I was thisclose to phoning Cinnamum up and saying ‘Fine, if you care that much about the flowers, they’re your job now. Do as you will, I don’t feel like giving input into this thing I don’t really want, but I’d rather have you off my back.’ Cinnamon Buns, rockstar that he his, talked me out of doing that. He told me to just keep going with my plan, and not to talk about flowers with my mum. So, that’s what I did. I ignored the emails I got about reasonably priced florists in Calgary, and plugged away at my paper flowers.

Somewhere in here, we agreed to do bouts for the parents. I’m still not entirely sure where that came from, but it happened! I do remember that at that point I’d used up all the flowers in the bridesmaids’ bouquets, so I had to make more. Luckily not too many more – 3 flowers per bout, 6 more bouts total. This time, I cut out a few more shapes too, in case anything else came up. The dad bouts were just the same as Cinnamon Buns’ and the groomsmen, except I wrapped them in ivory ribbon, not teal, and I used a different leaf fabric than I did for the boys’:

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The mothers were a little different. Cinnamon Buns’ mum had said she’d rather have a pin than a wrist corsage, so I made that one just like the dad bouts. My mum and Cinnamon Buns’ step mum I wasn’t sure about. My mum I was unsure about because (a) she hated the idea of these flowers to begin with. I couldn’t not make her one, but would she refuse to wear it? Wear it and hate it? and (b) I knew she was planning on wearing a big pin on her dress, so pins were out. I decided to go the wrist corsage route for her and step-mum-C-Bun.

I knew I wanted basically the same layout as the others – 3 flowers, one leaf, but it took a while to figure out exactly how to put everything together and have it on a ribbon. I decided to make them tie-on corsages simply because I didn’t have any elastic at home, and I wanted to get them done NOW. I knew they’d need a backing of some sort, so I pulled out some ivory felt (I love my well of craft supplies!).

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The leaf got hot glued down first.

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Then the next two flowers. To get the third flower sitting nicely, I had to cut the wire off and glue it down that way. The first time, I glued that one right on to what you see in the above photo. Then I realised I’d have to attach the ribbon to the back of the felt, and that just wouldn’t be as pretty. So I pulled off flower #3, and glued the ribbon down (I cut it to 24″ to have lots to tie on to the mum’s wrists):

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Then I glued wire-less flower #3 on top of the ribbon.

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After that, trim the felt so it is still behind the ribbon and the bottom of the leaf. This way no wires or glue blobs will scratch your ladies’ wrists!

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It felt pretty darn good to finish those, I have to say.

One of my bridesmaids had asked if there were any spare flowers that I could put on bobby pins for their hair. BM K has quite short hair, so fun accessories are how she usually dresses it up. I took those spare flowers I cut out, and put them together onto a bobby pin instead of a wire. Here is the post where I detail how I glued the flowers together onto a wire. Instead of poking a wire through the centre of the biggest flower, I poked a hole through the centre with a toothpick, and then made another hole 1/4″ away, and threaded the bobby pin through that.

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Then splodge glue and the other flower bits in as in the other post.

After about 10 bobby pins, I was for really done with paper flowers.

And just so I don’t leave you in suspense… Cinnamum loved the paper flowers on the day. She apologized for what she said, and even said she was *gasp* wrong about it, and seeing them in person they were beautiful. :)

Did any of your projects take on a life of their own and just grow? Do you have any satisfying stories of your ideas proving non-believers wrong? πŸ˜‰

Manly flowers

I started on my flower arranging adventure with the boutonnieres for the gentlemen. I figured it was best to start small, and these are only a couple flowers each! I decided to use some of the blue roses I had made in the bouts. Our ‘best men’ will be wearing apple green shirts with ivory ties, and Cinnamon Buns will be wearing a teal shirt with an ivory tie.

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The world’s longest bouts have both those colours! They’re super-long, because I made all my flowers with long stems for bouquet-making.

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This one is Cinnamon Buns’. I decided that three flowers was a nice number, and picked through my blue bunch to give each man a very blue one, and a less blue one, plus one white one. Cinnamon Buns’ has a larger white flower than the other two. And yes, I did trim off that thread you see poking off the leaf in that photo. :)

Once I was happy with the arrangement of each, I wrapped everything in floral tape to secure them together. Floral tape doesn’t look like much, but as soon as you stretch it (like when you’re wrapping it around something with tension on it) it gets nice and sticky, so it sticks to itself. I wrapped for about 2″, then trimmed off the extra wire.

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Floral tape on the left. I had some nice 1″ wide teal grosgrain ribbon hanging around (I bought a few rolls of various types and widths in our two wedding colours, and they’re so handy to have for stuff like this!) so I used that to wrap them. With help from Mrs Hyena and Miss Crepe‘s posts, the wrapping was achieved! I kept wanting to wrap from top down, but bottom up is the way to go. I cut about 5″-6″ of ribbon for each, and sealed both ends with our Mega Lighter:

Picture from BicWorld

Then a wee bit of hot glue at the bottom:

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And wrap around:

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I glued the ribbon on at a 90 degree angle to the wire so I could get one full wrap around the bottom to hide all the wires. After that, I angled the ribbon to get those nice layers you see. At the top, I used another dab of hot glue to stick the ribbon up there. I had to cut some extra ribbon off some of them, because I wanted the end of the ribbon to be at the back. I re-sealed the ribbon with the lighter, while having the thought that firing up a BBQ lighter in such close vicinity to so much nice dry paper was probably a bad idea, but I managed to keep the flames just to the ribbon.

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I tried a couple of embellishements on the stems that you can see in the above photos – thin green ribbon and some baker’s twine. I showed them all to Cinnamon Buns, and he thinks that the baker’s twine might end up looking like a loose thread when it is against a black suit, so we decided (probably) that his will have thin green bow (with much shorter tails than the one in the photo!) and the other mens’ will just be the blue grosgrain.

We’re thinking large safety pins to secure them, because the pin can be entirely hidden by the lapels of their jackets.

I’m so happy to have these done well before the wedding!

Library of Flowers – Production Line

Here is the original tutorial that I have used to make my flowers, so if you want to make similar flowers, give that one a read first! I’ve talked a bit about my flowers before, but this is how I’ve adapted the tutorial to make mine.

Because I’m making so many of these, I am very happy for my Silhouette SD machine.

1 - Run paper through cutter

This allows me to cut out many flowers at once, and I can easily re-size the cut file so I can get multiple sizes. The other shortcut that I took was to have the machine cut everything out exactly as I need it. The original tutorial uses a paper punch, then has you cut out single and double petal pieces to make the 5 different bits you need to make each flower. I had the Silhouette do this all for me, by creating a cut file that looks like this:

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It cuts the whole flower with the slit, the one with one petal separate, and the one with two petals separate. Easy-peasy! When it comes out of the machine, pull all the bits apart (some stick to the waste paper, some stick to the cutting mat) and sort them into piles of the same thing.

3 - Sort by shape

When you realise exactly how many of these you’re making, find an appropriate container, rather than little piles on the desk:

4 - Sort better!

Next pick a size and find your glue:

5 - Pick a size to work on

Then glue them all into their cone shapes.

6 - Just a bit of glue

7 - Rinse and repeat

When you’re done with one size, move on to another. I really prefer doing crafts this way – finishing all of one task, then moving on. I feel like it moves faster that way. All the cutting, all the gluing, all the trimming… It’s a good, old-fashioned production line! Once I had all the little petal cones glued, I trimmed the pointy ends off them all except the largest one. You can see the holes at the bottom of the cones in this photo:

8 - Cut all the ends

Then I cut all my wire – I’m using 18 gauge covered, because it seems the most like real stems, and I cut everything to about 9″ long. Then I put a little bend at the top of each one, about a quarter of an inch in:

9 - Cut and bend your wire

Thread the biggest flower (it should be a 5-petalled cone) on to the wire. I found it helped to make the hole in the flower with a toothpick first, then stick the bottom of the wire through and slide the flower all the way up to the bend.

11 - Flower on wire

I found the best position to hold these in was as pictured above: My index finger is pressing the paper flush against the bent bit of the wire. Now you squeeze a big glob of glue into the flower:

12 - flower filled with glue

Once this dries that wire will be stuck for good! But before it dries, plop in the 4-petal cone:

13 - the next petal

Sometimes I’d just stick this one in on top of the wire, sometimes I threaded the bent of the wire through the hole. That really just depended on how I was feeling, how big the hole was, and how long the bent piece of wire was. Glob more glue in, and put in the 3-petal cone:

14 - 3rd petals

You guessed it, glob more glue in and put in the last couple pieces (2 petal-cone, and the single petal). I found it helped to put the two centre pieces together first, as the very centre one is fiddly to put in with one hand. You don’t need to glue these when you’re prepping them, they’ll just stay because of friction.

15 - Prep these two ahead!

Stick your finished flower in a jar and let it dry! Using that much glue makes them very sturdy when dry (Glossy Accents is one of my favourites, it dries nice and hard and super-sturdy), but it does make them feel a little waterlogged when you’re working although it doesn’t give the rippled effect to paper that regular Elmer’s does. Nothing burst or ripped on me while I was working, and the wire was thick enough that no glue ever dripped out the hole and down the stem either.

Making these wasn’t terribly hard, especially with the Silhouette doing all the cutting work. We’ll see if arranging is as easy (I’m thinking not).

A Library of Flowers

Hey Cinnamon Bun, how’s the paper flower thing going?

Not bad, thanks for asking! I’ve got 50+ white roses:

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A handful of smaller blue roses (the Queen of Hearts would not approve!):

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And some pale pink not-roses. Not really daisies either. I’m not sure what flower these are most similar to – water lilies maybe?

DSC06341 I haven’t started making bouquets yet, but I finally feel like I have enough flowers to start that. I just need to make a few more leaves tonight, and then I can start putting things together. I’ll probably have to make more flowers, but I’ve got that down to a fine art, which I shall detail in my next post. :)

I’m not sure which ones will go into which bouquet. Right now I’m thinking of using all 3 types in my bouquet, and just the white roses in my girls’ bouquets, but I’m still wiffling back and forth on that. What would you do?

Even Paper Flowers Need Leaves

So I figured out how I’m going to make the paper flowers for our wedding, but even paper flowers need leaves. How to make the leaves? Cinnamon Buns and I had talked about it, and we both agreed that we didn’t want leaves that were trying too hard to be leaves. We definitely aren’t going for realism, we’re making flowers out of printed paper! We thought that “realistic” silk leaves would look a little funny, we wanted something less real.

I’d had this tutorial in my ‘Floral Alternative’ bookmarks folder for a while, and decided that that was the way to go. I went to a large local fabric store (“Canada’s largest quilt shoppe”, according to them!), and bought the following:

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The one in the middle is my favourite, it’s a little batik-y, and it has those amazing jacquard dots! Jacquard is when the design (in this case, dots) is worked into the weave, not printed on. Love love love. The green dot on top was in their clearance bin, and I bought the bottom one to have something a little darker. Cinnamon Buns said that the bottom one reminds him of turtles… I’m not sure if that means I should use it or not? The top fabric is a fat quarter that was in the green bin – I had to buy it, it has words on! Printed words are our theme! I’m not sure what (if anything) I’ll end up doing with it, I’m thinking possibly for wrapping the bouts, but that is a long way away.

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I also stopped by Michaels for some other supplies (more floral wire!) and got distracted by the Mod Podge. I already had the matte medium at home, but all of a sudden I wasn’t sure how matte would look on fabric versus gloss! And they had sparkle Mod Podge! Sparkle!! I ended up buying a small bottle of the sparkle, and a medium of the gloss, just to be able to test them.

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I cut my little rectangles, just enough to test each glue.

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And let my little test swatches dry on wires. The sparkle was too sparkle-y for me (and for Cinnamon Buns too!), and over all I preferred the gloss finish: I feel like the fabric is brighter with the gloss, and more muted with the matte.

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Top to bottom: Matte, Sparkle, Gloss. As you can see, I was also testing different gauges of floral wire. This helped me to decide which wire to use, and to help me tell apart the finished leaves! The thick one (with the gloss) is 18 gauge, the thin one (with the matte) is 22 gauge. In the finished leaves, I think I like the 18 gauge, although the finer would be easier to work with.

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Once you cut your leaf shapes out, you have what look like little paddles. You want to bend the wire ‘vein’ to give them proper leaf shapes! I also found I could mould the edges of the leaves a little too, once they stiffened up.

Here is what two of the leaves (gloss on the left, matte in the back) look like with one of the larger test flowers:

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Love! This test run turned out so well, I can’t wait to get right into it and make tons of these! I think this would be a fun project to do with my bridesmaids – BM A asked me recently if there was anything she could do to help, because she was feeling like a delinquent! I’m naturally a bit of a loner, so I haven’t made any of my DIYs so far into group efforts. With all the repetitive little bits involved in the flowers though, I think they’re a great candidate. And then I can get some awesome tutorial photos! πŸ˜‰

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Yes, I am using a mason jar to hold my samples and supplies. It’s so pretty to have on my (crowded) desk!

Do the paper flowers + fabric leaves get the hive seal of approval? What do you think?

It’s Only A Paper Flower

Hi, my name is Cinnamon Bun, I’m getting married in less than 4 months (WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?!) and I haven’t booked a florist yet.

Speaking to a florist was actually one of the first things we did after getting engaged – Cinnamon Buns has a friend from high school who now owns her own floral shop in town. We went up there before I had a dress, before we had picked colours or theme, or anything. We brought Cinnamon Buns’ laptop, and showed her a mish-mash of pictures I thought were pretty. There was no theme or reoccuring pattern in these pics, apart from ‘flowers!!1!’ We talked about wrapping the stems, how there could be contrast ribbon, pearl pins, rhinestone blingy pins… it was a little overwhelming. She cut us a bit of a deal when she gave us a quote for what we wanted (1 bride bouquet, 2 BM bouquets, 3 boutonnieres) and it was still ‘Holy cow, flowers cost WHAT?’. We went home to mull it over, and I came to some conclusions:

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(purple source, yellow source)

I don’t like ribbon wraps like these ones, that go all the way down to the end of the stems. To me, it makes the bouquet look a little like a club. I imagine brides wandering around and hitting people with the stem end of the bouquet. I like it better when the stems stick out a bit, then you can see that it is made of actual plants, not concealing a billy club! Unfortunately from looking at her portfolio, high school contact seemed to only do this type of bouquet.

Another conclusion was that I was going to have a hard time picking flowers, because they’re all pretty! Then we chose teal and apple green as colours, and there aren’t many (if any) teal flowers. Green is, unsurprisingly, not a problem, but teal is harder. I didn’t want real flowers that had been dyed either. It was hard to pick, so I put it off, like I do with all hard decisions. Then I started seeing all sorts of other flowers in blogland: felt flowers, fabric flowers, ric-rac flowers, button flowers, paper flowers….

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(source – this wedding was also the inspiration for our guys’ outfits!)

I was very taken with felt flowers for a while, but was never sure enough to make a few test ones. Paper flowers on the other hand seemed right up my alley. Especially as we have chosen a book ‘theme’!

I made a few Kusudama flowers:

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Cute, but I had a hard time translating that shape to a boutonniere, and they’re very geometric: I wanted something a little more organic-looking for a bouquet. In comes this tutorial by Craft, Life & Laughs. Instead of using a flower punch, I found some simple flower shapes in the Silhouette shape shop, and had my magic machine cut the flowers out for me. I even edited the shapes a little so that the machine made all the cuts for me – no fiddly cutting out of 1 and 2 petal groups here! I’ll go into more detail about making them in another post, but here is what I ended up with:

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The one above is a different flower shape, and had 8 petals, not 6. I think I like the other ones best.

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As you can see, I played around a little with some of my Glimmer Mist (I mentioned it before in this post). I love how it just gives a subtle bit of colour, but still lets the printed page show through, not like paint that would cover everything up. I played with layering colours, I used a tealy blue (Dragonfly), a pale green (Lily Pad), a pink (Cherry Blossom), and a yellow (Banana Pudding Chalkboard Glimmer Mist). And, as you can tell, I left some un-coloured too. The floral wire I had just sitting around, it came from Michaels. It is cloth-covered 18 gauge, which felt a little thick and heavy for the smaller flowers, but not bad on the big one.

I really enjoy the look of these flowers, so does Cinnamon Buns, and I think all our wedding flowers will be made of these! I need to figure out something for leaves, I’m wondering if felt would look ok for leaves, or if I should stick with paper? Get a darker green Glimmer Mist? This bride (a big inspiration for me) seems to have satin-y leaves in a paper bouquet:

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(source)

What do you think about non-traditional flower options?