Depending on your requirements, this can be a fun little project or a major endeavour, so take it in stride and choose whatever is appropriate for you. I have assumed a general level of craft savvy and have not outlined every miniscule detail of the construction. If you are having trouble let me know and I will do my best to help out.
A blog I read a lot before making my bouquet is Jamie’s craft room. There are several kusudama instruction pages and bouquet instructions, these bouquets are stemmed versions and mine are slightly different, but I have mostly this blog to thank for my wedding bouquets 🙂
Part 1 of this is not required reading but is available
You will Need
- Pre-cut squares of paper in your chosen colour(s)
- Centres for your flowers (Pins, buttons, Brads, etc)
- Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
- Glitter Glue (optional)
- Polystyrene Ball
- Tulle or Netting (optional)
- Dowel or Ribbon (Bouquet or Pomander with a Wristlet band)
How Much and What Types of Stuff
As mentioned in Part 1 flowers are best folded in paper weight that is normal printing weight or thinner. Wrapping Paper would be great. The Key here is to find enough paper in your chosen colour or print. Colours are not too bad, you can get a range of printing paper in quite a rainbow of colours at office supply stores for reasonable prices. (I used Quill Copy Paper Lilac for my purple papers and purchased them from Officeworks).
Specialty papers have specialty prices, you can purchase colour coordinating paper packs from craft or discount stores for a range of prints. I found a print I liked in a paper pack in a discontinued bridal themed paper stack by Bella Crafts from 9 years ago. There was no way to get more of the paper and even if someone did have it in stock, the you only got 2 sheets of the print I liked in a pack of 24. I ended up scanning the print and printing the pages I needed.
You need 5 squares per flower. I used a 15mm diameter polystyrene ball for my bouquet and the squares were 2inch(5cm) pieces. The bouquet requires around 80-100 flowers to cover it in the manner I did, and you get around 20 squares per A4 sheet.
Maths works out as follows:
100 Flowers X 5 Petals = 500 Petals (Squares) / 20 Squares per A4 Sheet = 25 Sheets of A4 Paper
We made my bouquet and two attendants’ bouquets with 15mm polystyrene balls and two pomanders with wristlets for the flower girls. They were combinations of plain (the Quill Lilac) and printed floral paper. Mine had more plain flowers and everyone elses’ had more printed floral paper. We basically arranged them so that a single flower of the less dominant shade/print was surrounded by flowers of the dominant shade/print.
I used diamante pins which can be purchased from florist supply stores (some online stores sell these too and so do people on e-bay) they are marketed as corsage or boutonniere pins which people would use much less of and so prices can be a bit crazy. If you are going to be using 100s I would suggest finding a good bulk price. (I bought some from a florist wholesaler who allows anyone to purchase at trade prices with no minimum buy). Much later in the piece (and we used this for flower domes in our centrepieces), someon suggested getting straight pins from a haberdashery section and sticking rhinestone or crystal brads on them. This would significantly reduce the price (especially if you source your brads from a discount store instead of specialised craft store), but it is will add a bit to the labour time.
The pins served as the flower stem to anchor the flower into the polystyrene ball (you need this and glue). You could use skewers or florist or craft wire cut to size as alternates.
Instead of a diamante centre, you could use buttons, stacked buttons, novelty brads, punched paper, anything you like really and the flowers also look okay without a centre.
Tulle or Netting
We covered the polystyrene ball with tulle, but it wasn’t very visible on the day so you could pull up the tulle more significantly between the flowers (will need more of course), or just not use it and either paint the ball (be careful polystyrene can dissolve with some types of solvents make sure your paint is water based and non-toxic!). 1-2metres would be more than enough.
We used (mostly) Ranger Stickles (both the normal size and Ice Stickles versions) in purple shades for the light floral print flowers and in crystal/hologram for the plain purple flowers. This was for edging each petal, but is also not required. You could use some sort of pearlescent paint or 3d paint or just a marker.
This is quite labour intensive too, you can’t pre-paint the petal edges, they take a long time to dry and when you get to the end of the stickles bottle it can be a bit ouchie to constantly squeeze the glue out and to get it on a precise edge. The flower itself is reasonably hardy, but you do need to be slightly careful not to totally squish or crinkle it when edging the petals.
We also tried a few (you can see one on the far right in the image above) with glitter over the centre of the flower, but I didn’t like them in the end.
Dowel or Ribbon
If you want a lollypop looking bouquet, just get some dowel with a reasonable diameter cut to the size you want to be able to hold your bouquet comfortably, and cover it or paint it to your taste. I chose to use a bunch of thin dowels wrapped together, and then I covered all of them in gross grain ribbon.
My flower girls bouquets used the gross grain ribbon, stapled in a loop to the pomander (ball of flowers) so that they could wear the bouquets around their wrists.
Any questions about what you need or are thinking about using, feel free to get in touch!
This is not something you can sit down and do in 1 sitting it is a project that takes some time and some of the steps take much longer than others.
- Fold all the petals into Kusudama Petals (instructions for petal fold here and here) – I sent boxes of petals home with my mum and Aunt and sister-in-law. We folded them in front of the telly and in lunch breaks at work. This is just the folds, I did not complete the petals (they need to be glued) or assemble flowers at this point
- Assemble Petals by gluing the petal shut using small amount of hot glue (mind your fingers with that hot glue!).
- Assemble Flowers – the method that worked best for me was to glue 4 petals to each other, then in the gap the 4 petals have left for the last petal to be inserted into, I piped the hot glue in that gap, then inserted my diamante pin (use whatever stem you are using) and then place the final petal in this channel. Hold the flower for a few seconds till glue sets. I had sheets of foam board that I stuck the pins into and lined up the flowers as I was assembling them a styrofoam board would work, pieces of foam even thick cardboard box layered on top of each other would be fine. There were times I even did this sittin in bed, with a lap table and watched television (as per photo with our furbaby Arya above), if you do anything like that make sure that you are safe and the hot glue gun has a stable stand. (despite this I did pull it over when getting up and dropped the gun on my bare thigh and trust me that is not pleasant and takes at least a couple of weeks for the burn to heal 🙁 )
- Cover the Stem – I wrapped my stem with grossgrain ribbon and just hot glued it intermittently while doing the wrapping. You could just use a layer of paint or any other finishing technique you prefer.
- Create a calyx (optional) – I cut out 5 Leaf Shapes from Hessian and stuck them to the top of the stem
- Add Stem or Ribbon to the polystyrene ball. For a stem, I just drew a circle on the ball and then dug out a hole in the ball around the diameter of the stem and about 2cm deep, I filled the whole with hot glue and stuck the stem in there. I cut a length of ribbon that would fit around my nieces’ wrists comfortably and then stapled the ribbon together and stuck this into the polystyrene ball with pins and glued it as well.
- Cover ball in netting (or paint). I gathered the tulle slightly (too slightly for it to be visible, but you know this now and can make it differently)
- Start sticking in flowers – finally (!) – we stuck flowers pretty close together and decided on a pattern before hand, ours was one colour surrounded by another, but you can play around with this. Our protoype was not glued, so we could get an idea of what the final product would look like.
And that is pretty much it!
Wedding Craft Disclaimer Thingie…
I did a lot of crafting for our wedding. A lot. In most cases (this is true for Australia, it may or may not be true elsewhere) I don’t necessarily think this was the budget option. In some cases it was definitely the more costly option (especially if you factor in your time and any other poor souls who you have roped into crafting for you). I loved doing it, planning it and executing it. To a certain extent I would even say I loved the stress associated with worrying about whether or not it would be done or it would be done on time.
Do what you love, because you love it (as a couple or on your own if your partner is one of those, “I just show up and look pretty right?” peeps). This is probably not going to be super useful if you need to make honey without paying for the bees (sorry!).