Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gumnut Rose Wedding Bouquet

I am an unapologetic hoarder of Martha Stewart Wedding magazines.  I pull them out of the bookcase again and again - they are so beautifully crafted and have wonderful ideas in them time and time again.  I got the urge to make a hand-tied wedding bouquet, which I haven't done for a while.  Hand-tied bouquets have been the most popular style of floral arrangement for brides for a while now and they look just as at home in a vase as they do accompanying a bride down the aisle (minus the ribbon of course).

I managed to purchase these lovely large roses for a very reasonable price at the markets as they were on their way out.  Good for practicing, however I definitely recommend buying as fresh as you can if it is for a special occasion.  I actually removed about a quarter to a half of all the rose petals from every rose as they were going brown and deteriorating.  The buds that were uncovered underneath were lovely, full and happy to oblige for this project. 

Milly our Burmese cat likes to do a quality check at this point - it's always a tense moment waiting for her nod of approval.

Gumnut Rose Wedding Bouquet
  • 20 full soft pink roses
  • 20 full butter-coloured roses
  • 12 to 15 sprigs of gum-nuts or other types of nuts that can be wired and used as vessels for your diamantes
  • roll of string/twine 
  • 15 green stem wires (craft or florist suppliers) or similar guage wire purchased from hardware for the gumnuts
  • green stem tape to cover wires on gumnuts
  • small packet of diamontes (dicount/craft stores)
  • floral tape or gaffer tape - silver or black (discount/hardware store)  for attaching ribbon to stems
  • roll of brown satin ribbon or colour of choice
  • 6 coffee coloured pearl pins (just everyday sewing pins) to match in with and secure the ribbon at the top and back of bouquet)
  • 2 decorative appliques for the front of the bouquet handle
  • flower scissors
  • stem cleaner (plastic yellow flower-shaped tool in the picture, used to strip leaves and thorns from stems) or a small sharp fruit knife to nip the leaves and thorns off, OR if you have neither of these and you are feeling brave you can carefully pinch off the thorns and leaves with your nimble little fingers
  • hot glue gun with glue sticks.

Before you wire the gumnuts fill the cavity of the gumnuts with hot glue right up to the very top  (glue gets very hot so be  careful) and drop a diamonte in, this process gets easier with practice.  You could use tweezers to place the diamonte if you''re worried about the hot glue however doing it that way may take an eternity and send you batty at the same time! With this process you can only do one at a time as the glue dries very quickly.  Clean up any bits of dried glue that are outside of the gumnuts and you're ready to wire.

Thread the stem wire through a little branch in the gumnut twig.  Keep one end straight and wind the other around the twig and all the way down.  I've looped it over the branch quite loosely as they are quite brittle and you don't want to snap them.  Starting at the point on the twig where there are no little branches that will snap, start wrapping the stem and wire in green stem tape gently stretching the tape and winding down as you go all the way to the end.

Select your central flower - usually the best in form and colour.  Pick your next flower and, pointing the stem away from, you place it to the left of the main flower so the stems are crossed over one another at the point you will be binding them with the string (which will be fairly high on the bouquet as pictured below).  At this point you can add one of your gumnut diamonte sprigs.  Then place the next rose to the left of this, with the stem crossing to the right.  Turn the whole bouquet a little.  You are basically making a spiral with the stems and turning the bouquet bit by little bit as you go, making sure the stems are crossing over from left to right (or opposite if you are left handed). 

Make sure that when you are turning you keep a firm hold on the flowers you have grouped so that they don't move from the position you have placed them.  If this sounds tricky, which it can be (was for me), at first you can practice with skewers.  Stick some marshmallows on the end of the wooden skewers and spiral them evenly around each other, one by one, crossing over the sticks from left to right, continuing to turn the whole bouquet bit by bit as you go until you have a bouquet of marshmallows with a gentle dome.  Sounds like an idea for a bonfire!    

For this bouquet it is important to place the gumnuts at equal intervals amongst the roses.

Tie off your bouquet with string by holding the bouquet and end of string with your left hand (if right handed). Cut enough string to wind around three times quite firmly.  Place the bouquet on a table whilst still holding the string firmly.  Tie a knot with both hands and knot, then cut any excess string.  Hold the stems together towards the base of the bouquet, decide how long you want your stems to be (taking into account the desired length of your ribbon handle and green stems showing below ribbon - this will depend on how tall the bride is) and cut.

Take your florist or gaffa tape and, starting at the top, wind around the stems once then turn the tape back on itself so the sticky side is facing out and wind down as far as the ribbon will be wound.  Twist the end of the tape back, stick down and cut.  Taking the brown ribbon, start winding it from about three-quarters down the sticky taped part of the stems.  Continue down to the bottom of the sticky tape and then back up again to the top with the end of the ribbon finishing at the back of the top of the bouquet.

Before you pin your ribbon in place at the back, turn the bouquet around and decide which is the most attractive side of your bouquet and make that this is at the front (that which will be facing outwards for all to admire).  Tuck the end of the ribbon under and secure it with the coffee coloured pins on an angle so that the sharp ends don't go through to the other side.

I found these beautiful brown, gold and diamonte appliques, which have been hot glue gunned onto the front of the bouquet's handle, at an Indian stand at a craft fair a few years ago.  I think they give it a little bit more bling for a special occassion.

Make sure that when you first bring your flowers home, cut two inches off the stems and place in a bucket of water in a cool room until you are ready to begin.  When you have completed your bouquet you can place the bouquet in a vase with a little water at the base so that the ribbon doesn't get wet - keep an eye on the water level just in case the flowers get thirsty.

I'm going to have a nice cup of tea now and look at my latest Martha Stewart Weddings!

No comments:

Post a Comment