How to Make Corsages and Boutonnieres
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I'm not a florist but I do love working with flowers...a lot. From time to time, I've requests to make flowers for wedding, 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 wrist band, if you're in a hurry and 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).
Corsages are small bouquets of flowers using worn at wedding, formal dances and proms. It adds accent to the dress and brings out a festive feel to the occasion. Originially, the ancient Greeks wore bouquets of flowers and herbs to wedding, 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 goes 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 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.
Make Your Own Ribbon Bow.
Here's what you need:
- 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
- Flower bracelet
- Pick the main flower. You may choose to have one single flower or groups of three.
- Cut off stem, leaving about 3 to 4 inches
- Cut about 6 to 8 inches of floral wire.
- Insert wire through the stem, just below the flower.
- Pull through and make sure both sides of the wire sits on either side of stem, as shown.
- Using floral tape, begin by tapping wire to stem just below flower.
- Make sure the floral tape was tightly wound around stem.
- Continue covering the stem and wire until you reached the end of the stem.
- In the same way, wire any other flower you need for the corsage.
- If the flower is small, you don't have to wire it.
- After you've wired the flowers, add any leaves or small flowers.
- In this case, I've added a small twig of pittosporum and some small white roses.
- Use floral tape to hold them together and cut off any uneven ends.
- This is a good time to add ribbons to accent the bouquet.
- Use ribbons to match or complement the color of the dress.
- Tie ribbon at the back of bouquet.
- Once you're happy with the arrangement of flowers and accents, attach bouquet to flower bracelet.
- There are different types of flower bracelet. They're also called corsage wristlet. They can be elaborate with jewels, pearls, stones or they can be a simple elastic corsage wristlet.
- You can tie the bouquet on, as I did with mine. The elastic corsage wristlet has a fasterner 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.
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 ubiquituous as watch chains, cigar cases and jeweled pins (the neccesary accessories of those days). By the 19th century, it became a symbol of male elegance and masculinity. Today, it is an indispensible part of wedding, formal occasions, dances and proms.
How to Make a Boutonniere:
Boutonniere is easier to make than corsages. You'll need:
- Flowers of choice
- Small filler flowers
- Floral wire
- Floral tape
- Wire Cutter
- Ribbons (if desired)
- Boutonniere pins
- Choose main flower and cut off stem, leaving about 3 to 4 inches.
- Insert wire just below flower and pull through. Keep wire close to stem.
- Wrap stem and wire with floral tape, keep it snug and tight.
- Add leaves and filler flowers.
- Once you're happy with the arrangment, use floral tape to hold all the stems together.
- Trim off uneven edges at the end.
- Add ribbons and accents. You can also decorate covered stem with decorative wires.
- All done. Boutonnieres are then pinned onto coats with boutonniere pins.