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How to Make Corsages and Boutonnieres

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Flower crazy and flower power are my incentives for my flower-related articles. I make flower arrangements for all occasions.

Learn how to make your own corsages and boutonnieres!

Learn how to make your own corsages and boutonnieres!

DIY Corsage and Boutonniere

I'm not a florist, but I do love working with flowers . . . a lot. From time to time, I've received requests to make flowers for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and proms. When that happens, it's always a good excuse to detour from life's boring demands and enjoy my side passion. Working with flowers is just the best, and over the weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of making some corsages and boutonnieres for my best friends' kids.

If you're thinking of making your own corsage or boutonniere, here's how I did mine. Of course, there are variations. You can even glue your flowers to the wristband if you're in a hurry. Most florists do that now as it's easier and less time-consuming. However, mine is made the traditional way, so it'll last the whole night and not fall off (as may be the case if you glue it on).

What Is a Corsage?

Corsages are small bouquets of flowers using worn at weddings, formal dances, and proms. It adds an accent to the dress and brings out a festive feel to the occasion. Originially, the ancient Greeks wore bouquets of flowers and herbs to weddings, believing that the fragrances would ward off evil spirits. If you think about it, the fragrance is quite a natural way to diffuse odor in crowded spaces, as is the often case in a wedding.

The modern use of the word "corsage" comes from the French word "bouquet de corsage," meaning " a bouquet of a bodice." Needless to say, it was originally worn on the bodice of a dress. As time went by, the corsage found many other suitable places to showcase itself, for instance, pinned on shoulders, tied around wrist, neck, ankle, or used to adorn hair or handbags.

The corsage I'm showing is a wrist corsage, commonly used in proms and weddings as it's a very clever way to carry around a bouquet of flowers, strapped to the wrist, leaving the hands free to do whatever . . . like hold the date's hand.

Materials Needed

  • Flowers of choice (remember to pick ones that will last through the night)
  • Foliage (leaves of various sorts)
  • Small flowers (as fillers, if needed)
  • Ribbons (see video on how to make ribbon bow)
  • Floral tape
  • Floral wire
  • Wire Cutter
  • Scissors
  • Flower bracelet
From left to right: flowers of choice, ribbon, wire cutter, floral wire, floral tape and flower bracelet.

From left to right: flowers of choice, ribbon, wire cutter, floral wire, floral tape and flower bracelet.

Pink Gerber daisy all ready for wiring.

Pink Gerber daisy all ready for wiring.

Instructions

1. Pick the main flower. You may choose to have one single flower or groups of three.

2. Cut off the stem, leaving about 3 to 4 inches.

Once flower is wired, press wire close to stem.

Once flower is wired, press wire close to stem.

3. Cut about 6 to 8 inches of floral wire.

4. Insert wire through the stem, just below the flower.

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5. Pull through and make sure both sides of the wire sit on either side of the stem, as shown.

Floral tape should be wound tightly around stem.

Floral tape should be wound tightly around stem.

6. Using floral tape, begin by tapping wire to stem just below the flower.

7. Make sure the floral tape is tightly wound around the stem.

8. Continue covering the stem and wire until you reach the end of the stem.

Prep any other flower. Normally, leaves and small flowers can be spared from wiring.

Prep any other flower. Normally, leaves and small flowers can be spared from wiring.

9. In the same way, wire any other flower you need for the corsage.

10. If the flower is small, you don't have to wire it.

Almost ready...cut off uneven ends.

Almost ready...cut off uneven ends.

11. After you've wired the flowers, add any leaves or small flowers.

12. In this case, I've added a small twig of pittosporum and some small white roses.

13. Use floral tape to hold them together and cut off any uneven ends.

Light ribbon is a better choice as you don't want the corsage to weigh a ton.

Light ribbon is a better choice as you don't want the corsage to weigh a ton.

14. This is a good time to add ribbons to accent the bouquet.

15. Use ribbons to match or complement the color of the dress.

16. Tie ribbon at the back of the bouquet.

You can buy flower bracelet from Michaels or any craft store. They sell them online too. There are many variations of this bracelet.

You can buy flower bracelet from Michaels or any craft store. They sell them online too. There are many variations of this bracelet.

17. Once you're happy with the arrangement of flowers and accents, attach the bouquet to the flower bracelet.

18. There are different types of flower bracelets. They're also called corsage wristlets. They can be elaborate with jewels, pearls, stones, or they can be a simple elastic corsage wristlet.

19. You can tie the bouquet on, as I did with mine. The elastic corsage wristlet has a fastener that you can use to attach flowers. Then again, you can always glue flowers on the wristlet.

The final result—a stunning corsage, all ready to go.

The final result—a stunning corsage, all ready to go.

Brian's boutonniere—bold and elegant--that's what Brian wanted and that's what he got. --courtesy of Terri Lee

Brian's boutonniere—bold and elegant--that's what Brian wanted and that's what he got. --courtesy of Terri Lee

What Is a Boutonniere?

Boutonnieres are the male equivalents of corsages—a collection of a single bloom or groups of flowers. The practice of wearing boutonnieres dates back to the 16th century, and its original intent was again to ward off evil spirits. The French coined the word "boutonniere," which means "buttonhole flower"—adaptly named because the flowers were conveniently slipped into buttonholes.

Its popularity continued, and by the end of the first century, men who were careful about their appearance would wear a boutonniere . . . almost as ubiquitous as watch chains, cigar cases, and jeweled pins (the necessary accessories of those days). By the 19th century, it became a symbol of male elegance and masculinity. Today, it is an indispensable part of weddings, formal occasions, dances, and proms.

step-by-step-instruction-on-how-to-make-corsages-and-boutonnieres

Materials Needed

  • Flowers of choice
  • Small filler flowers
  • Foliage
  • Floral wire
  • Floral tape
  • Wire cutter
  • Ribbons (if desired)
  • Boutonniere pins
step-by-step-instruction-on-how-to-make-corsages-and-boutonnieres

Instructions

1. Choose the main flower and cut off the stem, leaving about 3 to 4 inches.

2. Insert wire just below the flower and pull through. Keep wire close to the stem.

3. Wrap stem and wire with floral tape; keep it snug and tight.

The finished boutonniere is seen as the first picture of the article.

The finished boutonniere is seen as the first picture of the article.

4. Add leaves and filler flowers.

5. Once you're happy with the arrangement, use floral tape to hold all the stems together.

6. Trim off uneven edges at the end.

7. Add ribbons and accents. You can also decorate covered stem with decorative wires.

All done! Boutonnieres are then pinned onto coats with boutonniere pins.

I use succulents and rosemary from my backyard to accent a single red rose--more akin to the traditional boutonniere, where herbs are also used.

I use succulents and rosemary from my backyard to accent a single red rose--more akin to the traditional boutonniere, where herbs are also used.