October 6, 2013

How to make a Corsage like a pro

I used to work for a florist when I was in undergrad like a million years ago. It was one of many jobs over the years but one that has always been a favorite.  I have used the skills I learned there a thousand different ways (this might be a slight exaggeration...but I do use these skills) in my home and garden so this was one of those jobs that was gotten on a whim and has proved to be awesome. The shop owner took a chance on me. I stopped in and asked if they were hiring. She asked if I had done any floral arranging. I fudged a little and said yes, just for myself. At least I was honest about that part. She gave me a trial and I guess thought my attempt at a rounded bouquet was passable so she hired me. I  loved working there! I learned so much from the owner and the other designers. I was just the filler girl for awhile. That is the person who makes up all of the containers ahead of time so when you get an order, you can just add the flowers.  One Mother's Day I filled 120 containers with nothing but boxwood. I was a little sick of boxwood after that.

After about 3 months they let me start doing orders and I found out I was pretty good at it. I usually did less traditional arrangements (shocking, I know) but the owner seemed to like what I came up with.  I also became an expert on dish gardens, those baskets filled with 3-5 different house plants. Not a big fan of those but the general public seemed to like them so we made them.....a lot. Now if I get one of these I know to take them apart and plant them in individual pots and the plants thrive better. Many of these gardens are made up of plants that may look good together but they have very different watering needs so taking it apart makes more sense to me. 

They also learned me some mad skills in the boutonniere and corsage department! Never thought I'd make another any of those again but I did this weekend for my son's date! It was homecoming weekend and he informed me that he needed a corsage on Thursday for Saturday! When I looked at how much they charge for these, I about fell over into a dead faint. 
$40 for 3 little roses and some baby's breath! 
And I hate to say it they weren't that nice. They looked very 80's to me. 
I figured what's the worst that can happen if I make my own? The bigger issue was would I remember how to make one.......turns out I was having a light bulb moment and remembered where to look in my internal filing system I call a brain.

So here's the skinny on how to make a simple wrist corsage.
Gather you supplies:
floral wire
floral tape
flowers, real or fake
foliage, real or fake
filler flowers, baby's breath or the like
wire cutters
needle nose pliers
Total cost: $14.00
I used fake flowers because the real flowers that I found were not going to work with a teal  dress. In the floral shop, we would actually color water  and then stick white carnations in the water and the flowers would siphon up the water and the petals would turn the color of the water. Interesting from a science stand point.  But seriously?!? Black carnations? Teal carnations? So I found a lot of fake colored real flowers that I didn't like.at.all.
And since teal can go so many different ways, I decided to go with colors that go with teal and not try to be matchy-matchy. Plus there are no naturally occurring teal flowers in nature so I think teal flowers would look not only fake (and I think I have beat that horse to death.....) but they would also look weird. And weird would embarrass Jake so we stuck with complimentary colors. I bought a bouquet of flowers that had yellowish roses with burgundy tips, white roses, greenish/purple hydrangea, and green ranunculus (these do occur in nature believe it or not). I then bought two sprigs of white filler flowers a wrist band, that I did not use due to how uncomfortable it felt, floral tape, and teal beads. I had foliage, wire, and ribbon on hand.

First thing to do is take your bouquet apart and decide what flowers you want to use. I liked the hydrangea, the yellow roses and the green ranunculus. If using real flowers, choose three kinds of flowers or a single bunch of the same. Odd numbers look better in flowers always.

Remove the fake stem and cut your wire to 1 inch. If using real flowers, cut the stem down to 1 inch.

You will do this next step to each real flower that you are going to use. My hydrangea did not have a good stem so cut about 6 inches of floral wire and fold in half and thread through the flower and twist tightly. If real flower, poke the wire through the base of the flower just above the stem. Twist your wire starting about 1/2 inch down from the base of the flower. 

The reason you do this for the flowers is if you use the real stem, when you tape all of the flowers together, you will have about a 2 inch thick stem! Not good. And since you need corsages to fit the flowers closely together you need all of that bulk out of the way. Hence, you make skinny fake stems from wire.

Cover  you twisted wire with the floral tape, starting at the top and going at a diagonal down the stem. Pull the tape tightly as you twirl the stem. Just rip off the end of the tape.

Here are the filler flowers wrapped.

Next thing I did was thread the beads onto smaller gauge wire. I used about 6 inches of wire as well. I made 5 initially and then added 2 more when I started putting the corsage together. That's the beauty. You can add more using the tape.

Now you are going to make two bunches of flowers. My first bunch consisted of 1 filler, 1 rose and 1 ranunculus. Wrap all of these together with the floral tape. 

And here is your two for one bonus tutorial! 
A boutonniere is just 1 piece of small foliage, 1 filler, and one flower bud all wrapped together and then add a pearl pin!  And they charge $30!!!!!!! Okay, enough soap boxing, get onto your second bunch of flowers...
My second bunch was 1 filler, 1 smaller rose bud and two hydrangea bunches. One hydrangea looked too sparse so again add as you feel led. Wrap all of these together with tape. 

Next wrap your beads in each bunch as you like them. Make sure they are long enough to poke through the flowers but not too long that you see the wire. I didn't wrap the wire with floral tape. Didn't think it was necessary.

The next thing you will do is lay the  bunches with the stems facing each other. Grab a length of tape and have it ready. With the stems still facing each other, place them closely together so there are no gaps in the flowers then wrap your tape around both stems tightly. Remember to pull the tape as you wrap to make it hold nice and tight.

I then hot glued two peony leaves to each end. You do not have to do this but I thought it looked better.  Many people will also add some small ribbon bows at this point. I'm not a fan of bows so I did not add any which was good since I needed ribbon to attach the corsage to her arm. The wrist holder was that ridiculously uncomfortable. I tied a length of ribbon (about 20 inches) around the middle a few times, and let the tails hang down.  Now rearrange your flowers to fill in any blank spaces and rearrange your beads if you need to.

Here's the final corsage:

We bought a box to transport the corsage. If you use real flowers, get a cellophane bag, blow it open, spray the flowers with water and then place inside. Roll up the end, staple closed and refrigerate until ready to leave.  

Here is the sweet couple:
This was Jake saying "I have no idea how to do this." It was so cute. He was so nervous he said to me in the car, 'Wait! I don't know how to tie this on her!" I said "It is just like you tying your shoes....."  And he proceeded to "air tie" the bow. 
It was so cute.
 Ridiculously cute. 
I love that boy.

It was a little loose..... so I retied it for him.
 And then took an iPhone pic which is terrible but what can you do. I'm due for an upgrade in December!

She loved it and loved that it would last. I love that girl too BTW. 
Time wise this took less time than it did to write this post! 
Only about 20-30 minutes so don't be afraid to try it. 
Just make sure that you choose good quality fake flowers (that would mean ones that don't look fake or are a fake flower color... this horse is beyond dead I think you would agree) or buy fresh flowers the day before the event and no earlier.
You can do this!

Would any of you try this? Or I am I cheap and I should have shelled out the $40?? 

Check out more ideas that I learned from my floral days:
Christmas Booth Decorations
Cloche Planter
Vintage Downspouts turned Planters
Container Garden Ideas
Silver Tray Wreath
Easy Tip for Flower Arranging

Always being renewed,

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Kim! What a great tutorial! I love making things myself, so if the occasion ever comes, (my son is a senior and has never taken a girl out!), I'll definitely give this a try! That boutonniere would look good on his lapel! Thanks for sharing! Blessings from Bama!


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