Thursday, February 20, 2014

Brooch Bouquet!

So one of the things trending on Pinterest right now is the brooch bouquet - a gorgeous bouquet alternative that's made of a collection of brooches instead of flowers.

So after toying with the idea of having a brooch bouquet for over a year, I finally pulled the trigger when I found a brooch shop less than a month ago. From there, the 'idea' just spun out of control and now I have a completed bouquet sitting downstairs, waiting for me to finally decide whether that's the one I'm going to use.

But while I'm still deciding on that, I can share with you how I ended up making it! I read through quite a few tutorials, mainly one from PlantingSequoias.

The biggest hurdle, of course, was collecting the brooches. Now there are a few really sweet ideas that I saw for this that would make your bouquet more meaningful... one was that everyone from the bridal shower brings a brooch to make your bouquet. That was cutting it a little too close for me on time, so no-go. Another one was that you ask family members to send you brooches, but I was worried I would offend someone if I didn't use theirs and I was also going for a very particular color scheme.
So, I was one my own to find silver and pink brooches to add to my bouquet. I had a few pieces of jewelry that I had been setting aside that I was able to use first. Then I found a few brooches at a gift shop expo. My next big purchase was actually at Michael's - they had a lot of great brooches and beads that worked really well for the different sizes I needed. My final success was at the Flea Market, where I found great pieces for like a dollar each! Fiance's grandma also sent me a beautiful piece that worked perfectly.
The key was to be creative - I didn't stick to brooches, but really used any piece of jewelry that I could add a wire to.

Once I got a good ways into my collection, I collected the rest of the materials I needed. Now there were many different ways to go about putting the brooches together, and the directions on Planting Sequoias instructed me to use large amounts of layered floral wire in a matching color to make long stems, then twist all the stems together. I was worried about the brooches moving or bending over time with this approach, so I chose instead to use a foam craft ball (spray-painted silver) and dowel.

This tutorial from the Knot gives instructions on this approach, and it says to use E-6000 glue to attach the dowel to the a hole in the foam ball. I tried this multiple times, but the glue kept eating away at the hole, making it bigger and bigger and the dowel more and more loose.

So I had to get creative.
Long, long ago, back when I was just getting back into crafts, I made these fake cupcakes with insulating foam from the hardware store. Remembering the consistency off the stuff and how it expanded and hardened, I thought it was the perfect thing to attach my dowel to my foam ball.

Buuut... I wanted to check first. So, I went to Home Depot with my problem. I started in the insulating section, and that guy sent me to the painting section. In the painting section, the girl said 'yeaah... most adhesives are going to eat away at foam. Let me look it up for you."... then... she googled it. This was very considerate of her, but little did she know I already had the solution and my plan of getting them to come up with the idea first was failing miserably.  When she told me some craft stores might have 'some kind of foam glue that might work' I finally asked her about the insulating foam. Her reply was 'yeah... that might work.'

So, I went back to the insulating section. I wandered the aisle, looking for the foam. Just so you know, it's called Great Stuff, and it looks like this:

Finally, I had to break down and ask someone what I was looking for. He was happy to lead me down the aisle and point me in the right direction, but to be extra helpful, he asked what I needed it for. You know, windows? Doors?

Nope. I'm making a bouquet.

He... literally... laughed in my face, then said, "You're on your own with that one".

Well, one hour later... SUCCESS!

Take THAT Home Depot helpers... brush up on your crafts!

Ok, so if you follow this same procedure, just remember to use a very little bit of the foam. I sprayed a little in, then put the dowel in, then sprayed a little more around the edges to secure it. The foam expands like crazy, so it filled in the cracks the E-6000 glue had made, but it also kept over-filling the hole. No big deal, I just kept wiping it away with a paper towel, but my advice is... read the warning label first and wear gloves. This stuff is crazy sticky and permanent.

In this picture, you can see there was a little bit of the yellow gunk still visible the handle and the ball, but I wasn't worried about that because I knew it would all be covered up soon.

Ok, so I have my base, and I was ready to add my brooches. I decided to kind of create my own way of doing this with help from the tutorials I had already read. I used PlantingSequoias' tutorial to add wire to the bottom of the brooches, but instead of making really long stems I just made 2-3" stems and poked them in the foam ball. I had to secure them with glue, but I again had the problem of the E-6000 just eating away at the foam, so once again I had to come up with a solution.

Obviously, I wasn't going to get anything to stick to that Styrofoam ball, but I could get stuff to stick to fabric over the ball. I was planning on adding some fabric flower petals in there to soften it up, as Planting Sequoia advised, but I had to get the petals to stick to the foam ball too!

So... here's what I did. I took a large piece of lace that I already had on hand, and wrapped it around the foam ball, cut it in the right places, and hot-glued it to itself. I then hot-glued the fabric petals on top of the lace, securing them to themselves and to the lace. When it was complete, this is what it looked like:

So now I REALLY have my base and I'm ready to add the brooches... but first I had to prepare the brooches with wire. Here's a video I took of how to add the wire according to PlantingSequoia's tutorial:

Once I added all my wire, I separated the brooches into two piles: accent pieces and filler pieces. The accent pieces were the large statement brooches, and the filler pieces were the smaller beads, earrings, or jewelry that I would find a place for later.  I then chose my favorite brooches and found a special place for them first, spreading them out around the ball.

Now, remember, I have this 2-3" wire stem that would penetrate perfectly into a foam ball, but now my foam ball is covered with two layers of fabric. Once again, I had to get creative.

Creativity, in this case, was an Ikea Paring knife from our kitchen drawer. Now, I WOULD NOT ADVISE YOU DOING THIS but I'm just sharing what I did. Yes, a craft knife or even a small pocket knife would but much more effective, but I was in the kitchen and my craft knife was all the way upstairs.

So, every time I wanted to add a brooch, I just poked a hole through the lace and petals with my paring knife, stuck the wire in there, and secured the brooch with hot glue. Ta-Da!

Like I said, I started with my favorite statement pieces, added in more of the big accent pieces, and finished with the filler pieces to fill in the gaps. There were a few times where I had to cut away the petal to remove a brooch and place it somewhere else, but altogether it wasn't too bad.

I worked on adding the pieces over a period of a few days, and here are some pictures of the bouquet during the process.

When I finally finished adding all the brooches, I got to add the finishing touches. This meant covering the handle (dowel) in white ribbon, adding jeweled ribbon on top of the white ribbon, tying some pieces of white and pink tulle to the top of the handle (which I can't decide if I'm keeping), and adding draping pearls.

To add the draping pearls, I bought three strings of beads/pearls from Michael's for $0.99 each. I cut them down to size and strung each end to a wire, twisting it together and creating the same 'stem' that I did with the brooches on each end. I then found a place to stick the stem on each side and glued it in. I made sure the side I added it to was definitely going to be the front of the bouquet.

And, there you have it! My brooch bouquet!!  I know it's definitely alternative, but I am going very much with a glitzy theme for the wedding so I thought this was fun. If  I decide not to use it for my actual bouquet, I figured I can use it for the rehearsal or just a decoration. Or, as I keep telling everyone, I can always use it for a throw bouquet.

By the way, this thing weighs like 10 pounds.

So, this was a very long post, so I'm going to condense it into a very short and to-the-point instructable. Keep in mind this is just what I did... there are plenty of variations!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, great job improvising and making your brooch bouquet work for you! I find that most of my crafts end up with me making it up as I go... :) Your brooch bouquet looks gorgeous!