Broke-Ass Category: Florists & Floral Inspiration

9/12

One of the trends I immediately fell in love with on Pinterest was the paper flower. I thought they were beautiful and were a great way to cut down on floral costs. So, after pouring over hundreds of pictures online, I decided that I wanted to use paper flowers to decorate the wedding arch and the sweetheart table backdrop. I am toying with the idea of using them to create a selfie-station as well, but I am still undecided.

To be sure that I wasn’t biting off more than I could chew with this project, I decided to have a trial run. I wanted to make sure that:

  1. I was skilled enough to make them, I didn’t want to commit myself to something that was beyond my skill level.
  2. The time and stress involved in making the flowers were worth the savings. If I’m going to be up all hours of the night stressed out, it might be worth it to buy them ready made.

So, this week I decided to embark upon my flower-making journey with a classic flower.

A rose, by any other name, would still smell as sweet.

Now, normally I am not a fan of roses. Don’t get me wrong, they are pretty; but I prefer calla lilies, orchids, and peonies. However, I think roses transform perfectly into paper and would look gorgeous on my arch and backdrop. So, once I’d chosen the rose, I searched online for a template and tutorials on how to make them. During my search, I came across Pearl’s Crafts on You Tube. The rose that I saw her make in her videos were exactly what I was looking for. She also had some other flowers that I thought would be perfect for what I was planning for my wedding.

After looking through the comments, I discovered that she sells the templates for the flowers that she makes. So, I emailed her with a few questions including how much the templates were, and how and when would I receive them. Judy got back to me right away and was very sweet and helpful. Her templates normally run $13, which I though was reasonable. However, fate was smiling down on me that day, and she told me she was running a sale. So, I got the rose template plus three other templates for $25. And, the rose template includes a small, medium, and large version, so that was a great bonus.

Once I had the files, I printed the templates on 65 lb cardstock and mentally prepared myself for an evening of tracing, cutting and gluing.

No tools, no problem. Well… maybe it’s a little problem.

I knew from watching the videos, and from speaking with her that Judy used a cameo silhouette to cut out her petals. My sister has a Cricut, a similar machine, and she offered to let me borrow it whenever I needed it. Work was hectic this week, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to learn how to use the Cricut, as well as work on the rose. So, I decided to trace and cut the petals out by hand with scissors. I didn’t think it would be a big deal to cut out some petals. WRONG! By the time I got done cutting everything, my hand was killing me. I took a little break to massage my sore hand and kept on pushing.

Another tool that I was missing was the bone folder, which Judy uses to curl the petals of the flower. Now, she provides alternative methods of curling the paper, but I decided that I wanted to buy the tool. It wasn’t expensive, and I had a 40% off coupon for Michaels. (I love Michaels and their 40% off coupons.) Once again, I was too busy and unable to purchase the tool in time to make the rose. Rest assured, that I will be visiting Michaels before the weekend is out and my coupon expires.

After some moaning and groaning, I traced and cut out the twenty-six petals that are needed to make the rose. Now I was finally ready to start gluing

Petal power and folding finesse.

Once the petals were cut and folded, I glued four of the small petals together into a t-shape. Once I had two t-shapes, I began to roll and glue the petals together to make a cone. This would become the center bud of the flower. My bud didn’t come out exactly how I wanted, so I was a little discouraged. But, I continued to fold away until I was finished in the hopes that the finished product wouldn’t look so bad. Needless to say I wasn’t a happy camper at this point.

You catch more bees with honey than vinegar.

Next, I began to glue the twelve medium petals to the underside of the bud, two at a time. Once each petal was attached, I would bring the edges toward the bud and glue them down. This was kind of tricky as I didn’t want to have any ugly folds or ripped paper. I discovered that if I tried to force the paper where I wanted it to go, it would not obey. However, if I let it fold naturally it would look much nicer and give me less trouble. If you are kind to your paper, your paper will be kind to you.

Would you look at that, this paper is starting to become identifiable.

Once I got about halfway through gluing the medium petals, I could see the rose start to take shape, and I began to get excited. For the first time, I felt like maybe this was doable. Maybe I could make the beautiful flowers that I had seen on Pearl’s Crafts or Pinterest. At one point I got up from the kitchen to show my fiance my work. I felt like a little kid showing their dad what they made in art class that day, but I didn’t care. I was proud of myself, damn it!

The final step was to glue the six large petals. The petals were glued down side-by-side, one over-lapping the other to give the rose a finished look. Once I’d done five of them, I looked at my rose and I felt that the last petal wasn’t needed. I placed it on the flower, but it made the rose look uneven, so I left it off.

I earned my paper rose wings today. Yay! Now, somebody get me a drink.

I started making the rose at 9:00 P.M. I finished just after midnight. Yes, that was three hours of my life tracing, cutting, folding and gluing a single paper rose. Now, during that time I was also watching the tutorial, massaging my aching hands, and showing off my masterpiece. I’m sure once I get comfortable with the process it won’t take me so long. Plus, I’ll have the Cricut, so hopefully that will save me some time.  Having the bone folder will also save me some time as rolling the paper with a glue stick to curl the petals was awkward and time-consuming.

And the verdict is in…

Am I skilled enough to make the paper flowers on my own? YES. It was easier to make than it looked. Yes, I had some ugly fold lines, and I ripped the tip of a petal, but you can’t tell. The flower looks beautiful if I do say so myself. And I do.

Is making the flowers myself to save money worth the time, effort, and stress that goes into creating them? YES. I am confident that I can significantly cut down on the amount of time it takes to make the flowers. And, making the flower wasn’t particularly stressful. Even though it took me three hours from beginning to end, it didn’t feel that long. I can definitely see myself making paper flowers for other events. All in all, it was a good experience, and I am excited to continue learning and to start building up my paper flower stock pile. Full steam ahead!

Next up, the dahlia. Wish me luck!

  • 4/11

    If you saw my last post, you know what I’m in the middle of packing and moving everything. I can’t find anything because most of it is already packed. A few days before I found out I was getting a new job and moving, I started doing trials on drying flowers. As a broke, DIY bride, I was hoping I could preserve my own wedding bouquet and use it as art in a shadow box after the wedding.

    I scoured the Interwebs for tips and tricks and decided to do a dry run (pun intended) on some flowers I got for my birthday. In the chaos of moving, I didn’t take pictures of all of the steps, but some are self explanatory.

    29 Cup Snapware Container from Amazon

    I started with about 8 roses, a gerber daisy, and some random greenery. My bouquet will be sunflowers, but since they aren’t in season, the daisy had to do. I wandered over to amazon and picked up some Activa Silica Gel for Flower Drying. It comes in 5 pound boxes. I quickly realized one wasn’t enough and ended up with three. Depending on the size of your bouquet and the bin you put them in, you might need two or three. At first I tried using a Gladware container but quickly realized they weren’t deep enough so I also bought an 18.5 cup Snapware Container and a 29 cup Snapware Container since it was in the recommended with purchase section on Amazon. I really like these containers, but if you have a similarly sized one laying around, it should be fine. It does need to be air tight and deep enough to allow an inch of gel on the top and bottom of your flower. Roses have fairly tall blooms.

    Insert wire into stem and fold it over for later

    For the rose and gerber daisy, I trimmed the stem off right at the base and shoved about 3 inches of greenery wire into the stem. This will allow me to anchor it to the shadow box or back into a stem later on. Fold the wire over a few times and bend it up so it is out of the way.

    Fill around base of flower first to avoid petals spreading too far

    I 300% recommend laying out a towel or plastic drop cloth over your work area before you open the gel. Newspaper does not cut it and the gel gets everywhere and WILL scratch your furniture. Though it’s called gel, it has the consistency of fine sand. Pour about an inch of gel into the bottom of your chosen container. For tall blooms like roses you will want to cushion the sides of the bloom before adding any gel into the inside. Do this by placing the bloom down and pouring gel around it, slowly creating a little mountain. Do not fill the inside of the bloom until the mountain of gel reaches the top of the blooms. The gel is heavy and will crush, bruise, or bend the petals if you aren’t careful.

    “Bible paper fragile” dried rose

    I broke the lone gerber daisy removing it from the gel, so I do not have pictures of it. For flat petaled flowers like daisies and sunflowers, lay the flower petals down near the top of the container, on top of buried sturdier flowers like roses. Since these petals are flat, they are more likely to bruise and should only be covered with enough gel to cover it, not a drop more. I made the mistake of burying them deep in the gel and the extra weight bruised the petals and made it look gross. It’s OK if the stem and wire stick out a tiny bit from the gel — once the container is sealed, the gel pulls the moisture out of the air and will dry the stem as well.

    Rose petals can be dried in stacked layers

    There are detailed drying time charts included with the silica gel for each flower. Roses are densely petaled flowers and take a very long time to dry out. The instructions suggested four days but up to seven. I uncovered one at the four-day mark to find the interior still moist. There’s no such thing as over drying them apparently since they’ve been hanging out in the powdery gel now for about a month and are totally fine, some of these pictures were taken today. They seemed safer still in the gel for the move.

    The resulting dried flowers are SUPER CRAZY fragile. It feels a little like Bible paper, super thin and a little brittle. Whatever you decide to do with your dried flowers, make sure they are in a setting that will keep them from being bumped around.

    Rose petals, surprisingly, hold up to tons of weight unlike the daisy petals. I filled the 18.5 cup container full of layers of petals with the vague idea of saving them for my flower girl to throw. My venue requires real flower petals if they are to be thrown outside. I managed to get about one and a half roses’ worth of petals into the 18.5 cup container. The amount of space that the flowers take up is a bit staggering. The must be fully covered to dry properly.

    Dried rose petal

    After the allotted time passes, lay out your drop cloth again and grab a spare container. Gently pour the gel off until a bloom is visible. Dust it off with your fingers and make sure it’s fully visible before pulling it up (especially if its delicate like a daisy, roses are sturdier). Store the used gel in an airtight container. The box includes instructions for baking it once it has lost the blue, so don’t lose (or accidentally pack) the instructions, you’ll need them again.

    So a quick recap if you decide to dry your own flowers:

    • Silica gel is a bit pricey, but can be used over and over again
    • Sturdy flowers like roses can be buried deep, flat-petaled flowers like daisies should only get a light dusting of gel
    • Shove some floral wire into the base so you can attach them afterwards
    • They take up way more room than you think they will, plan accordingly
    • Use plastic or fabric drop cloths, newspaper just makes a huge mess
    • Make sure your container is actually airtight
    • No peeking! Wait the number of days in the instructions and then add a few more just for good measure

     

    Anyone have any other recommendations when drying your own flowers?

  • 3/1

    ... I am still on the hunt for a florist, how about you? The original plan was to keep the flower plan simple: bouquets and boutonnieres only. Well that plan is not realistic! Who was I kidding? I love fresh flowers and buy them weekly to decorate my house. A minimal flower presence at my wedding was a silly idea. What was I thinking?  I…

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    1/10

    I mentioned a while ago that we planned to use fake flowers when it came time for bouquets, bouts, corsages and decor. So that's what we did. Other than my bouquet, every other piece of flowery goodness was made with artificial flowers, and we were insanely happy with how they all turned out. We had two separate seating areas since dinner was outdoors, and dancing…

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    11/21

    Credit: Shaina Sheaff Hello lovelies, I’ll be honest, I haven’t been thinking about wedding stuff much this week. I’ve been very hard at work and probably wont be slowing down until about April. I’m okay with that, though -- almost all of the major vendors have been nailed down. We have a venue, caterer, DJ and photographer, and I’ve got my dress. The only two things…

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    10/24

    Flowers were not a priority for me in the wedding planning process. I gave the florist a few photos and gave them full control. I have to say, I was blown away by my bouquet on my wedding day! It was exactly what I would have asked for if I could have put it in to words. I was thrilled, but sad at the same…

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    6/7

    DIY wedding flowers can be a tough project to take on -- especially when it comes to figuring out where the hell to order your blooms from. Putting your trust in a wholesaler you're not entirely familiar with could potentially result in flowers that are a bit off-color (uh, peach and hot pink aren't the same, y'all) and it can be tough to find bulk…

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    5/25

    Don't buy them. Brilliant advice, right? Lol, or not. Obviously it's possible to have a wedding sans flowers, but I can't think of many brides who go with that option. I am not a flower lover in general (they cost money and then they die ... so just buy me something else), but even I have always known that they would be included in my…

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    4/5

    Something that we value is shopping local or independent retailers when we’re able. We love supporting the Milwaukee economy and I’ve sort of made it a personal wedding mission. Obviously, most people’s wedding photographers or florists are local, but I thought I’d share a rundown of how we’re supporting local or other independent vendors elsewhere. Dress: While Maggie Sottero is an international designer, I was…

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